- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
105

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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NOSONOVSKI PESOK AND THE SAMOYEDES
105
boat, which might have lam a hundred years on the
tundra ; but not one iron nail was missing from it, for
it was the property of the White Tsar—and at that
time iron nails were worth more to the northern
Samoyede than the purest gold.
How different people are ! To men of our race it
may be easier not to give way entirely to liquor, but
perhaps it would be more difficult to leave it alone if
they found it on the tundra and had a fancy for it, or
still more difficult to deny themselves the iron nails,
if they wanted them. But with contact with European
civilization and its liquor, and too close an acquaint
ance with the extortions of traders and officials, honesty
and morality decline even in a people like the Samo
yedes.
Wc came now to two or three mud huts. They were
inhabited by Russians, who fished here in summer and
also bought fish from the natives.
Farthest west was a low timber house, which was
the " convent "wc had heard about. In it lived five
or six monks, or rather novices, who were preparing to
become monks. Together with them lived two nuns.
They stayed here during the summer to fish for the
monastery they came from.
They received us well and seemed to be decent,
mannerly people. One of them had a long fair beard
and resembled what I should call a good type of a
Norwegian peasant, like so many men one finds in
this part of Siberia. Another, who appeared to be
their leading man, had long hair over his shoulders
and a long beard, quite a Christ type, devout blue
eyes, a very regular nose, and a well-shaped gentle
mouth. To resemble the current representation of Christ
in appearance and expression is the ideal sought after by
all priests and monks in Russia and Siberia ; therefore

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