Since the beginning of human history, bears have been regarded as animals of great power. Ethnobotanist and cultural anthropologist Wolf Storl, who spent years in the wilderness with bears, explores the fascinating relationship between bears and humans, including the history, mythology, healing lore, and biology of this formidable creature. Storl takes the reader from the bear caves of the Neanderthals to the bear-worshipping Siberian tribes of today, from the extinct cave bear to the modern teddy bear. Bears were traditionally seen as a kind of "forest human" under whose shaggy fur a king or a god was hidden, he explains. Vividly illustrating the power of myths and fairy tales to reveal more than scientific treatises about the true nature of beings--especially in the case of bears--Storl restores this magnificent animal to its rightful place at the forefront of the human imagination as well as among the dwellers of the forest.