- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
161

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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DUDINKA TO THE KUREIKA
161
What endless, monotonous, slightly undulating plains,
with shallow valleys along the rivers and water-courses.
At first they are almost entirely bare, with only moss
and a little grass, up in the far north—the desolate
tundra ; then a few osier-beds here and there ; then
willow and alder and a few birches scattered far and
wide. But then the forest begins, thin at first ; then
thicker and higher; but the country remains as
monotonous as before. And yet—and yet it has its
own strange attraction. One’s thoughts are drawn
to this wide horizon ; one longs to follow the nomad in
his free, unfettered life over these boundless plains.
Even the tundra and the taiga have their poetry,
their melancholy and their bright dreams in the great,
simple features of this eternal round—in summer, when
all is green ; in the russet of autumn with the blue
lakes and the reedy streams ; in the endless white
mantle of winter, with the gleaming sun and the
crackling frost and the raging snowstorm ; and then
the long winter night, while the moon sails calmly
over the great white surface—and at last the spring,
when life awakes once more, and the brooks begin to
murmur beneath the snow, and patches of ground
appear, and flocks of birds come up from the south,
geese and ducks and snipe, by thousands and
millions.
North of Potapovskoye a house stood high up on
the hill in the forest, where a criminal exile lived. He
had been there many years, was married to a Dolgan
woman and had several children. A man in a red
blouse came running down from the house. He stood
and waved again and again ; he wanted to get us to
land, probably håving a message to send, or perhaps
he wished us to take him on board ; but unfortunately
we had no time to stop.

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