- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
75

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - IV. Open sea, eastward to the Yenisei

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OPEN SEA, EASTWARD TO THE YENISEI
75
salmon, though it also has white flesh ; but this is not
so plentiful.
The exiled factory hand had also caught five belugas
a short time before in a seine ; they go up the rivers
after omul. The skin is cut into long, broad strips
lengthways of the animal ; the strips are then salted
in barrels and sold to the Samoyedes and Yuraks, who
use them for reindeer harness and prize them greatly,
as besides being strong they have the advantage of
not getting stiff in cold weather. Here, too, wc came
upon the superstition that it is the whales that drive
the fish in towards land ; these people firmly believed
that when fishing was bad, it was because there had
been few whales or belugas out at sea.
It seems as though there must, formerly, have been
far more whaling in these regions than there is now.
In his book on " Northern Russia," Sidorov says that
in 1859 there were caught in the Yenisei estuary 25
small whales, quantities of dolphins, and belugas which
yielded 18 poods (650 Ibs.) of blubber.
Wc went into the largest hut. Eight men lived in
it, and a couple of women ; one of them was the daughter
of one of the men. They all had sleeping places on
low plank beds on the floor. A table stood in the middle
of the hut, and on it a stearine candle was burning.
The men sat round about. One of the women stuek
her head out of some bedclothes on the floor to look at
the strangers.
I was anxious to try a photograph of this nocturnal
scene, and they immediately offered to light more
candles while I did so. But when wc wanted to pay
them, they handed back the money and would not take
anything,. saying it was a great honour to them to have
us in their hut, and to be photographed and get into
the papers.

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