- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
190

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
stuck aslant in the ground by the side of the embers.
Outside on the shore lay a birch-bark canoe with a hole
in the bottom. It was quite small, no bigger than a
Greenland kayak. They said it was a Tungus canoe
that had drifted down the river. The Ostiak canoes, as a
rule, are not made of birch-bark, but of a hollowed-out
tree trunk. A good canoe of that kind lay on some
barrels down on the beach ; it was like those I had seen
among the Yuraks farther north.
But we were now in a hurry to get away, as we had
to go on to the south as quickly as possible. The first
thing was to get hold of Vostrotin ; with his political
interests he had, of course, mucJi to talk over with
people, to get an idea of their affairs, as he has to look
after the interests of the country in the Duma ; and
he had completely disappeared. At last, after turning
back and searching through the town, we found him,
if not exactly in the temple, at any rate engaged in
deep discussion with the priests and scribes.
After still more waiting—after saying good-bye four
times, and after I had beguiled the time by photograph
ing the last chat of all after the fourth good-bye—I was
rejoiced to see him tear himself away and get into the
boat. Then there was a fifth cordial good-bye, and we
rowed aboard, weighed anchor, and stood out into the
Yenisei, while the two priests with the pristav between
them walked slowly in the sunshine up the long beach
towards the monastery-church, back to their secluded,
peaceful life—and as before the cupolas and spires of
the church shone white against the blue sky high above
the forest, and we could still see them a long way off.
As something went wrong with the motor, we had
to stop for some minutes on the other side of the river.
There were some birch-bark tents on the flat saridy
shore, and I hoped to find Yenisei-Ostiaks, but they
190

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