And That’s Why the Bear Lost It’s Tail


“Do you have any Romanian proverbs?”

Well there’s this Romanian story about how the bear lost it’s tail. I don’t remember how it goes, but I remember it, because every time I did something that disappoint my mom, she would look at me and go ‘And that’s why the bear lost its tail’

“Does it have an exact meaning”

It does in Romanian, but that’s how it’s translated–it doesn’t really make the same sense in English.

Informant & Context:

My informant is a student at the university of southern California, originally from Sammamish, Washington and of Romanian descent. She described her family as very Americanized. This proverb originates from a Romanian origin myth about why the bear has no tail.


It’s interesting to me that the informant does not actually remember the story, but simply the title—which has become a proverb in her family (if it was not already one). Aside from that, it doesn’t really have a direct meaning, instead it is more a vague association with shame and disappointment. It sounded like the phrase was used to be comedic—as more of a punch line.