- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
197

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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TROITSKIY MONASTIR, AND TO THE SOUTH
197
west bank for a short distance, and in such places this
bank is usually somewhat steeper than the eastern.
It is glorious sunny weather. I cannot help ad
miring our pilot ; he stands there at the wheel steering
from morning till night without a rest. I see he even
has his meals in the wheelhouse. He looks a pleasant,
good-natured man, and he greets me with such a friendly
smile all over his face, and such a roguish twinkle in
his little eyes when I come on deck in the morning.
He seems to be a shrewd and capable fellow. I have
often wanted to go up and have a chat with him and
hear about his life. But then there is the trouble
about the language ; it drives one mad to travel in a
country where one can understand nothing and cannot
make oneself understood.
But Loris-Melikov and Vostrotin talked to him a
good deal. He was a Tatar from Yeniseisk and a
Mohammedan, and could read his Koran in Arabic.
He had travelled far and wide in this part of Siberia.
His father was a fisherman on the Yenisei and had his
own boat, in which they went up and down the river
to fish, so that he learned to know these waters at an
early age. He had also travelled with traders as far
as the Khåtanga and Anåbara. He had even been as
far as Obdorsk. Of the natives he had seen most of
the Tunguses, and had much to say about their manners
and customs. He spoke Tungus and other native
languages.
On a winter journey with a trader over the tundra
far north, he put his right arm out of joint in lifting a
weight. There was nobody there who knew how to
put it in again, and no doctor within reach. He came
back to Dudinka in a helpless condition ; the arm re
mained out of joint, and is still so. It hangs loosely
down and he cannot raise it ; but in the course of years

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