- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
114

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
i
armpits. It made one think of the souls on their way
to heaven in the " Draumkvædi " :
" Heavy the way over Gangle bogs,
God keep him who has to tread it !
I wonder if it can be heavier than this ? It is enough
to wear a man out to walk here.
Nor was there much game to be seen ; a few snipe
here and there were too small to shoot, and then a lot
of geese flew by and settled along a rushy brook with
long pools. A few ptarmigan feathers lay about and
the dog picked up a scent, which must have been
ptarmigan ; but she could not work it out.
A flock of geese lay cackling in a rushy pool. I tried
to crawl and wade over the naked swamp, when the
flock got up at long range and I only managed to shoot
one goose, which fell into the pool ; but I could not get
to it without swimming, and I didn’t want to do that.
There were geese of several kinds, big and small, out
there among the reeds ; but I had to give up that wild
goose chase and try where there were some osiers ; even
there the water was standing between the thickets.
How flat, how bare, how hopelessly impassable this
country is, without cover, without a dry spot to be
reached anywhere. But in the spring it is even worse ;
then the greater part of these plains is under water.
I could not help thinking of Nummelin and his men.
It was here, on these very islands, that they spent the
winter thirty-seven years ago (1876-1877). In their
little ship, the Severnoe Sianie (" Northern Light "),
they were stopped here by the ice and had to lay her
up for the winter. While the captain and the rest of
the crew returned to Yeniseisk, the mate, Nummelin,
stayed on board with four criminal exiles. They lived
in a wretched plank cabin on land during the winter.
114

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