Actors performing in Macbeth will never, out of superstition, say the name of the play. Instead they call it “The Scottish Play”.
In similar vein the wizards of the Harry Potter novels refer to their great enemy as “You know who” or “He who must not be named” because to speak the name Voldemort gives it power.
There is a tradition in Celtic society of refusing to give power to a beast by giving it its name. If a village was terrified by an animal, real or mythical, they would name it “the beast” or “the monster” until it was slain. Only when dead could they give name to the beast.
Which brings us to the Bear. You may think you know the bear but in truth you do not. So terrifying was the bear to primitive society that people would not speak it’s name. Instead they called it simply “the brown one”.
So successful was this refusal to say the name of the beast that we no longer know the name. “Bear” simply means “brown one”.
The Two Bears; by Hafiz
after a hard day forage
two bears sat together in silence
on a beautiful vista
watching the sun go down
and feeling deeply grateful
Though, after a while
a thought-provoking conversation began
which turned to the topic of
The one bear said,
“Did you hear about Rustam?
He has become famous
and travels from city to city
in a golden cage;
He performs for hundreds of people
who laugh and applaud
his carnival stunts.
The other bear thought for
a few seconds