- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
57

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THE MOUNTAIN PEOPLES
57
cells in a beehive. The houses are square with a
flat roof, generally built of stone and with two
floors : the lower for the cattle and women, the
upper one for men. It is indeed dirty in these smoky
rooms. On the ledges up the steep mountain-sides
there is not much cultivation to speak of; generally
nothing is done beyond hoeing up the small
scattered patches of earth, and growing a little
rye, barley, millet, and potatoes. There is but little
grass, and they cannot have many cows, sheep, or
goats. Generally the living is poor, there is much
want. In former days things were better, as they
could eke out a livelihood very well with robbery.
They bake bannocks somewhat as wc do in
Norway, of coarse-ground barley or rye on thin
plates over an open fire, generally outside on the
ground. These bannocks with sour milk and cheese
are the general food. Another likeness with us is
that they do not eat fowls or eggs or hares; older
Norwegian peasants used not to eat anything with
feathers or claws. That the Khevsurs will not eat
pork may be owing to Mohammedan or Jewish
influences.
Women among these mountain tribes hold a
lower position than they would seem to have held
among us; they are not much more than chattels
and serfs. A man must usually seek his wife in
another village, and the old custom says she shall
whenever possible be carried off; it is as among so
many peoples where the woman was booty in war,
to be robbed from other tribes or peoples, while wc
generally wed within our own stock, or anyhow

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