Writing Prompt Story Starter: Polar Bear

polar bear

I visited Dundee City Centre last week. Restrictions are slightly easing here in Scotland, so I was able to pop into the office to assess the mail situation.

It was really good to be back – although things aren’t normal, they’re nearer normal, and that’s surely a step in the right direction.

Something new has appeared in the town, since I was last there — a new statue.

David Annand’s sculpture commemorates the day a polar bear escaped — into Dundee High Street!

Brought by whaling ship

One of two polar bears brought from Davis Strait to Dundee by a local whaling ship, “Bruin” was bought by a Mr Woods, and intended for public exhibition.

On November 7, 1878, Dundee’s local newspaper, “The Evening Telegraph” reported on the drama which ensued.

“Great excitement was caused in the High Street and Commercial Street this forenoon by the escape of a Polar bear.

The bear was one of a pair which were being transported from a cellar in Nethergate to a ‘show’ which has been erected on vacant space of ground in Commercial Street, top of Seagate.”

Bruin soon “effected clearance on the street, parties flying about in all directions for safety.”

One lady ran into a clothes shop for safety. Only for Bruin to follow!

All’s well that ends well

Thankfully, all ended well after the bear caught sight of himself in a mirror, stopping long enough for a noose to be put round his neck and led away to safety.

“Public art is an important part of the way any city sees itself. It helps to tell interesting and significant stories for residents and visitors alike,” said a council spokesperson.

Might it also help prompt a story this week?

Polar bears, and the changing world we all live in. Being more environmentally aware.

‘Shows’ — the carnival, the fair. Thankfully, no longer featuring live animals.

The old, and the new

Old industries. Whaling, the jute mills.

Public art, transforming our towns and cities.

Local press. The Dundee paper which reported this story originally is still going strong today.

Things happening completely unexpectedly – the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men…

All being well that ends well.

Best of luck with your writing this week.

For more Story Starters from “The People’s Friend”, click here.

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!