North Polar Bear

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Polar Bear had fallen from top to bottom onto his nose by J.R.R. Tolkien

The North Polar Bear (also, the Great Polar Bear[1]) was a polar bear who lived with Father Christmas at the North Pole. He is especially noted for being "helpful" and for causing a lot of accidents. His real name was Karhu (Finnish for 'bear'). He had two nephews, Paksu and Valkotukka (respectively Finnish for 'plump' and 'white hair'), and the Great Bear (Big Dipper) was his cousin. The Polar Bear was, according to Father Christmas, magical, and he sometimes wrote comments on Father Christmas' letters.[2]

Personality[edit | edit source]

The North Polar Bear started out as very foolish, unrepentant, and temperamental. When he broke the North Pole and the house while climbing the North Pole (see below) Father Christmas was angry with him and so the Polar Bear refused to help with the presents. He was most unrepentant when he turned on the Northern Lights, causing a huge bang and lots of inconvenience, and when he caused lists to be blown about and mixed up, he laughed. The Polar Bear also put his nose against the North Pole on a cold day - the result can be imagined. He could be hurt easily - he ran away in shame after he fell down some steps. The Polar Bear was very lazy, leading to accidents, including an explosion of crackers.

But, in later letters, the North Polar Bear was nicer and more considerate. He was noted as being "a nice old thing" by Father Christmas. One year, he noticed strange smells and so, not wanting to trouble Father Christmas, he slept in the kitchen, which had steps going down to the cellars. This led to his saving Christmas, because Goblins attacked - "the worst attack in centuries" - and the Polar Bear killed many, preventing them from killing Father Christmas and the other helpers. Father Christmas called him splendid, and the Polar Bear's comment was "Say no more; I enjoyed it immensely!".

Polar Bear sometimes wrote a letter as well as Father Christmas. In these, he attributed his mistakes in spelling due to the fact that Arktik is the language spoken at the North Pole, instead of English.

Accidents[edit | edit source]

The Polar Bear caused many accidents. The more notable include falling through the roof of Father Christmas' old house, losing his way in the caves, and setting himself alight while decorating a Christmas tree. He has also fallen down steps, pushed the Snowman over a cliff, fallen asleep during a bath causing an overflow and the ruin of many Christmas presents, eaten nuts whole, and upturned a boat. These accidents were so frequent that Father Christmas wrote "I should hardly feel it was Christmas if he didn't do something ridiculous."

  • When the wind blew Father Christmas' hood to the top of the North Pole, the Polar Bear "climbed up to the top to get it down - and he did." The pole broke in the middle and landed on the roof of Father Christmas' house, along with a lot of snow, which ruined a lot of presents. The Polar Bear's leg was broken in the process.
  • A tap that would turn on the Northern Lights was still in Father Christmas' house. The Polar Bear knew that he should not touch the tap, but he did anyway one Christmas Eve morning, and so he let off a big firework. which "turned the North Pole BLACK and shook all the stars out of place, broke the moon in four - and the Man in it fell into [the] back garden." The reindeer also broke loose. The Polar Bear "wasn't a bit sorry!".
  • During one windy storm, the Polar Bear "said it was stuffy" and he opened a window in Father Christmas' office. Papers and list were blown about and mixed up. Father Christmas was, needless to say, very angry, but the Polar Bear laughed.


The world of the Letters from Father Christmas
Main characters: Father Christmas · North Polar Bear · Ilbereth
Other characters: Mr Cave Bear · Green Brother · Grandfather Yule
Man in the Moon · Paksu & Valkotukka · Snow Man
Races & Peoples: Goblins · Green elves · Red Elves · Snow-elves · Snow-men
Other concepts: Arktik · Goblin Alphabet · Windbeam