- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
104

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUOH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
104
also the institution of marriage. As a rule a man
has but one wife, and for her he pays a small sum.
But among the Avars the girls are better off; they
can choose their own husband, and if a girl goes
to the house of the man she has chosen, he has to
marry her. Among some mountain-dwellers, after
the father’s death the eldest son must take over
his wives, except his own mother. Others had the
same custom as the Great Russians : the father
married his son when under age with a grown-up
girl, whom he then lived with himself; the children
were divided between him and the son when the
latter grew up and could take over the wife.
Children are often suckled by the mother until five
and six years old.
Hospitality is a holy law for these mountaineers.
They may attack and rob a stranger on the road
for the sake of a small booty, but once he steps
over their threshold he is safe, even if he is a foe,
and gets food and shelter, while his host will even
protect him against others.
The men do the heavy tasks, and the women do
the household work, and milk the cattle, mmd the
children, set the cow-dung cakes to dry, cleanse
the wool, spin and weave, fetch wTater, reap the
corn with sickles. The men make the hay, graze the
cattle, shear the sheep, plough and till the land,
thresh, build the houses, slaughter the cattle, and so
on. Among other things the women make wroven and
knitted carpets of sheep’s wool and goat’s hair ; fine
andcoarse Lesghian shawls ofgoat’s hair, and sheep’s
and camel’s wool ; embroideries of gold and silver

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