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(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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women and two young boys and some small children
at home. The men were out fishing. They all lived
in two large rooms, where there was not space for a
man to stand upright under the beams. There was also a
cabin close by, where they told us with pride that the
priest lived when he came there once a year.
The woman of the house was from Turukhansk, and
had never been any farther than that. She could not read
or write ; but Vostrotin thought the man probably could
not either ; that may seem rather surprising for a post
master, but it is rare to find people who can read and
write in these parts, beyond scrawling a few signs for
their fishing accounts. The man, whose age was twenty
seven, was born here, where his father and grandfather
had also lived.
There was a girl there, who had come from the
Angarå with her father and an elder brother for fishing
in the summer and hunting and trapping in the winter,
while the mother and the younger children stayed on
the Angarå.
The Government pays for carrying the mails, and
these people kept 20 reindeer, chiefly for the mail and
for posting. During the summer the reindeer were
looked after by an Ostiak somewhere in the forest.
Besides them they had two cows and one horse. But
fishing in summer and trapping in winter seemed to
be their chief source of income.
There was a good deal of game in the forest here, caper
cailzie, black-game, some hazel-grouse now and then,
hares (but none last winter *) wild reindeer and some
eiks, besides foxes, both red and white, and not a few
* It is worth remarking that, as I afterwards learned, the catch
of squirrels farther south has been very poor for the last two years
and especially last year ; the squirrels seem to have disappeared.
The great variations in the number of these rodents must certainly
be due to the ravages of epidemics, as in the case of the lemming.

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