The Hobbit, vegetarianism, and the cult of Óšinn
Isn't it strange that vegetarianism rears its ugly head in [I]The Hobbit[/I]? And in such a context!
I'm thinking, of course, of Beorn, whose name comes from the Old English for "bear" (and is cognate with the Old Norse [I]Björn[/I]).
Beorn is a shape-shifter and a mighty man of war, having echoes of the berserker. These were warriors who (possibly with the aid of fly agaric mushrooms or copious draughts of ale) ran wild in battle, not heeding wounds, and who had it seems an Óšinnic cult, Óšinn's very name being related to words for fury and madness. They were thought of as taking on the personalities of animals, such as wolves and bears, and possibly of actually becoming such:
[url=http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/berserke.shtml]Viking Answer Lady Webpage - Berserkergang[/url]
But what does Beorn eat? Bread and honey.
"Stands the Church clock at ten to three? And is there honey still for tea?"
Not exactly [I] id est furor[/I].
It's kind of interesting to me the fascination abstention from meat has exercised over modern urban-dwelling intellectual - even those who doubtless never practised it.
Rider Haggard's She Who Must Be Obeyed lives off bread and fruit. The talented naturalist and novelist W. H. Hudson wrote a novel, Green Mansions, in which he defames the real Amazonian natives (who he, of all people, ought to have been interested in and respectful of) and invents a preposterous fantasy figure of his, Rima, own who dresses in spiders' webs and eschews real jungle-food.
Goodness knows where Beorn gets the energy to tear orcs limb from limb from. ...