“The oldest mythological stories of world’s birth in Scandinavia often contain a folklore, where a nation/tribe has an animal ancestors – most often a bear or a moose. Kola Samish people believe they are descendants of a Deerman, who was half-deer, half-man. A human woman, who slept with the Deerman, gave birth to Kola Samish people from this union. The folklore tells that Deerman’s mother was a powerful witch, who could take a form of a deer. Kola Samish people have also folklores of raven and seal, who both marry a human woman. Where the Deerman taught the humanity how to hunt and thus represented forest, Raven was the symbol of air and Seal the symbol of water.
Kolta Samish people believe that they are descendants of bear; on a one cold winter night, a young Samish girl had found a shelter from a bear’s nest, slept with the bear and gave later birth to Kolta Samish folk.
Samish have multiple folklores, where a human transforms into a bear, either by their own will or as a result of being cursed by a witch. Witches could summon a bear to attack someone, and such bears were called Lifted.
“…The bear of Kurtakko
and Kallojärvi (Skull Lake) was Lifted, it was one of those bewitched bears
Otherwise it wouldn’t have hurt anyone. When the bear had been slayed
they found a belt with a knife underneath its skin. It had been a cursed human…”
- Story told to Samuli Paulaharju, in 1920
Wolf was an animal living in packs, so a witch could use their summoning skills to summon a punch of dead people back to Earth in forms of wolves. This kind of story was told in Utsjoki in the beginning of 1900. There was a wolf pack tormenting the area, so a priest was called to help people. He couldn’t help, so a sage called Kovven was called next. He was able to send the restless spirits back. Kovven had, after sending the spirits back, muttered angrily that “Seems that anyone can nowadays summon dead spirits to wander in form of wolves, but then they have no idea how to tame and send them back.”