- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
162

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
On the flat green bank on the west side were some
groups of large white birds. I also saw a flock of them
to the north of us ; then they rose and flew in a long
line, with long, outstretched necks. They were swans
on their way south.
Here and there on both sides of the river we began
to see low green meadows, on which the hay had been cut
and made into large stacks ; there, I suppose, it has to stay
until it is fetched in the winter. It was strange to see
this, as here they have the great forest and can help
themselves to as much timber as they please ; it has
no value. Nor have the people much to do in winter,
in this country, where the forests are left to take care
of themselves. One might suppose, therefore, that
they would cut down a few trees and put up some
sheds for the hay, instead of håving all the trouble of
making stacks, and then getting a great deal of it spoilt
by wet in the autumn and snowed under in winter.
It made me think of Norway, where we even take
timber far into the mountains to put up sheds for the
mountain hay. But, perhaps, in old days our fore
fathers had not got beyond haystacks either, some
hundreds of years ago. It may take some time yet
for the Siberian peasant to get as far as a barn ; he
will have to learn to build a cow-house first.
Another thing is that here the hay is not worth so
much as with us. It is only wild grass, long and coarse,
and therefore probably not so much damaged by wet
either. In Yeniseisk the price of hay varies between
8 and 12 kopecks a pood, usually about 10 kopecks, or
about 145. a ton. In times of scarcity and famine it may
rise to 20 kopecks a pood. But in Krasnoyarsk prices
are much higher. Hay is, as a rule, about 20 to 30
kopecks a pood, and in time of scarcity it may go up
to 50 or 60 kopecks ; that is, about 705. or 80s. sl ton.
162

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