- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
136

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
We were well received, and shown into the great,
light drawing-room, which had four or five windows
and old faded papers on the walls. The old Russian
who managed the place was very keen on politics ; he
was delighted to get a chat with Vostrotin, and to be
able to explain to him how things ought to be managed
in Russia generally, and particularly in Siberia.
There was also a younger Russian, a big, fine fellow
with brown hair and beard, who looked something like
a saint. He was the engineer of the little steam-launch
they had there.
In the yard outside the house we saw a cow, which
must have been the most northerly cow in this part of
the world. It was very far north for Siberia ; we were
here in latitude 70° 5’ N. She looked very well, though,
and I had to photograph her with the girl who looked
after the farm. There was rich grass growing round
about, and it seemed as if there must be good pasture.
The cow looked fat enough too. In one place down by the
shore the grass had just been cut and cocked ; but I
saw no sign of a decent hay-field, though it must have
been easy to find enough land for one.
On the flat shore to the south of the house stood a
solitary Yurak tent. On the beach lay one of the
ordinary heavy fishing-boats that they use, and besides
that a little light canoe, hollowed out of a tree-trunk
(vyetka). It was the first of that kind I had seen,
and was probably used for shooting on the water. It
had so little resemblance to the rest of the Samoyedes’
outfit that I am inclined to think it came from the
Yenisei-Ostiaks, among whom I afterwards saw similar
canoes.
Up on the hill above the house I found several Yurak
sledges which had been left behind while the Yuraks
were engaged in fishing. These sledges, packed with
136

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