- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
142

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
sledges with waggon roofs that were used for trans
porting goods. A great number of other sledges lay
in rows ; they were all used for sending goods into the
tundra to seil to the natives, and as many as three
of these big sledges might be despatched at the same
time.
The trader sold this place some years ago, but bought
it back last year. He has never come back to live here,
for all that. One winter, a few years ago, a band of
robbers went through this country up the Yenisei ; they
plundered wherever they went and killed several people.
The trader from here was in the tundra at the time, on
a business journey. He heard of the approach of the
raiders from the natives, abandoned all his goods, and
fled to another tribe of natives, with whom he was
acquainted, and thus escaped ; for when the robbers
found his goods, they forgot to follow him up. But
since that time the trader has been so frightened that
he has never ventured to live in these desolate northern
tracts.
They are like little kings, these traders of the
northern Yenisei ; they rule the natives pretty much as
they please. The man here was well spoken of ; his
brother, on the other hand, who had also been a trader,
and lived farther south in a large house near Dudinka,
had been hard on the natives. He treated them badly
in every way, and even went so far as to put out their
eyes. Those who were in debt to him, and whom he
himself had put in his debt, he stripped to the skin ;
he used to visit them on the tundra, take all they had,
and leave them pitilessly to starve. But this went so
far that the Government took the matter up, and the
man was promptly banished to the Lena district. There
he started trading again, but while travelling by boat
on the Lena he was killed and thrown into the river by
142

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