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Bearskin

Popular with: Principalities (esp. Church), Athral Isle
Unpopular with: Tharici, Oresund
Less known by: Akathia, Gaunt, Tarsikka
Archtypes, if any: Any
Variations, if any: NA

There once was a soldier called Arik Lomwijar whose home was destroyed in a terrible war. He lamented the devastation of his family and lands, not knowing where to turn now, save back to the war. But with his family gone, the fight was all gone out of him. Suddenly, a green-coated man with a yellow eyes appeared to him and offered to make him rich if he would for seven years not return to the war, not cut his hair, clip his nails, bathe, or pray. He must give up his soldiers' uniform, and only wear a coat and cloak that he would give him. At the end, if he survived, he would be rich and free; if he died during the time, he would have to serve the green-coated man. The desperate soldier agreed, and the creature gave him the green coat, telling him he would find its pockets always full of limitless money, and then a bearskin, telling him that he had to sleep in it and would be known as Bearskin because of it.

Bearskin set out, and gave much money to the poor that they would pray for him, to live out the seven years. After several years, he grew so revolting that he had to pay heavily to get any shelter. In the fourth year, he heard an old man lamenting, and persuaded him to tell his tale: he had lost all his money, did not know how to provide for his daughters, and could not pay the innkeeper, so he would be sent to jail. Bearskin paid the innkeeper and gave the old man a purse of gold as well.

The old man said that he would marry him to one of his daughters in gratitude. The oldest ran away, screaming, from the sight; the middle one said he was worse than a bear that had tried to pass itself off as human; the youngest one agreed to fulfill her father's promise. Bearskin gave her half a ring and promised to return in three years. Her sisters ridiculed her at length.

At the end of the seven years, Bearskin found the green-coated man again, and demanded he fulfill his promise. Clean and with his money, he dressed himself as a fine gentleman and went to the old man's house, where the older sisters served him, and his bride, dressed in black, showed no reaction to him. He told the old man that he would marry one of his daughters. The two older sisters ran off to dress splendidly, and Bearskin dropped his half of the ring into a wine cup and gave it to his bride. She drank it and realized that he was her bridegroom.

They married. Upon realizing who he was and what they gave up, the eldest sister ran off and joined an evil cult, and the other went to the mountains and became a Ritualist, creating a Homunculus to marry. The Man in the Green Coat appeared at the door to tell Bearskin that he had gotten two servants instead of Bearskin's one.