- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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coarse felt, usually without sleeves, or in the higher
valleys a long fleecy sheep-skin with a wide shaggy
collar; this is often worn over the burka. The
women wear wide trousers, a shift, and a coat,
usually blue, and belt. They wear their hair in
plaits, and cover the head with a kind of shawl or
a hood hanging down at the sides, and often
adorned with coins. In the winter they generally
wear felt boots, in the summer they go bare-footed.
For weapon the men as a rule carry only the
kindjal (a big dagger).
They live mostly by cattle-rearing, and keep
sheep, goats, cowrs, buffaloes, horses, and asses. The
small cattle are the more important, and especially
they have many goats, more than there are in other
parts of the Caucasus. For the cattle they find
grazing in the mountains in summer, while for the
rest of the year the men, often accompanied by
women and children, are wont to betake them
selves with the cattle down to the flat land by the
Caspian, or to the steppes in the north. There is
but little agriculture up in the mountains, where
the small patches of earth on the ledges have to be
fenced with stone walls so as not to be washed away,
and the soil must often be carried up. They are
artificially watered and yield a rich harvest, but
not enough to support the people, and corn and
flour have to be brought from the flat land below or
from Georgia. Even in good years the harvest is only
enough for three or four months’ needs. They also
do some trout-fishing, and shoot hares, pheasants,
and partridges. In Avaria there is also hawking.

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