- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
102

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
102
husband and wife come to blows, but otherwise the
Samoyedes are peaceful people.
Their fecundity does not seem to be very great.
Nowhere did I see many children. There might often
be two or three, and sometimes more, in cases where
there was more than one wife.
Wc also looked into the other tents. Outside one
of them sat several women with their children. They
ran into the tent and hid themselves as wc came near.
This display of bashfulness was a part of good manners,
I suspect ; for they had not the slightest objection to
coming out again and being photographed, as soon as
wc asked them.
Under the tent-poles in some of the tents wc saw
little Russian ikons hanging, which they take about
with them like other idols. They are supposed to be
a sort of Christians, at any rate in nåme. How far
down their faith goes is another matter ; but they
certainly keep up their old paganism side by side with
it, as an alternative. It is always safest to have
something else to fall back upon, in case the other
should not work ; and then there is the curious point
about it, that the Christian God may be able to deal
with men, but he does not know much about reindeer,
as, of course, he cannot have picked that up in Europe ;
for the reindeer they must have the old gods who are
used to them.
Within the tundra they certainly have their sacri
ficial mounds here and there, with their rude idols
made of blocks of wood, which they besmear with
reindeer’s blood as a sacrifice, and where they carry
on their heathen ceremonies. They also undoubtedly
have their shamåns or medicine-men, who conduct
their relations with the supernatural powers and are
able to conjure them in case of need.

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