- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
192

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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TMROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
192
Caucasian dress, with high-boots, a belt around his
waist, and the usual heavy dagger. So far as I could
understand he was a Lesghi. I was told of him
that he had carried on his back all the earth for the
garden and patches of field that he was now
cultivating in the eyry where he dwelt right up
among the mountain precipices; it looked as
though the back could still carry a good load.
These people, indeed, up in the mountains, have
but little ground to till, and therefore in former
days, when food grew too scanty, they were wont
to make an excursion down below to carry off
something from the plain-dwellers. The patches of
field that they till generally lic scattered on ledges
along the mountain slopes; often there is so little
soil that they have to carry it up on their backs,
while the patches are small. Korkmazov told us
how one day a peasant went up the mountain to
work in his field; it was a hot day and when he
had come there he threw off his cloak (burka).
When he looked round for his field he could not
find it, it had disappeared ; and in the end he had
to pick up his cloak to go down again, but there
lay the field after all under it.
Although still weak, I had to take a walk next
morning (ioth of July) down to the shore, and
there I could not withstand the temptation to have
a swim, which was very refreshing in the heat.
Out in the sea one got a strong impression of how
the low coastland runs quite flat from the shore up
to the foot of the steeply rising mountains. To the
north the shore was made up of sand and gravel,

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