- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
200

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - IX. Troitskiy Monastir, and on to the south

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THROUGH SIBERIA
were all dark-haired, and I saw hardly any sign of
oblique, Mongolian eyes.
On the shore lay a canoe, hollowed out of a tree
trunk ; but as the tree had probably not been big enough
the canoe was raised with a board on each side, which
was fastened with treenails. The first cripple with the
bandage on his head offered at once to go out in the
canoe, so that we saw how they rowed them.
What we saw here in this little canoe may have
been just the way in which men learned to build large
boats and ships. First they crossed their rivers on a
tree-trunk, or several tied together ; then they found
out how to hollow out the trunk with fire, to make it
lighter, so that it could carry more and was easier to
propel. Such boats of hollowed trees were also used
in Europe, e.g. in north-western Germania in the time
of the Roman Empire and even later. But then the
hollowed trunks were found too small, and they had to
fasten boards at the sides, as we saw here, to prevent
the water from splashing over. The boards might
either be fastened with treenails, as here, or sewed
fast with withies or roots of trees. They were found
to answer well, and could even be made fairly watertight.
They added more boards, one above the other, in the
same way—and thus the boat built of boards was in
vented, and the gradual further development to the
building of large ships followed of itself.
At last a boat came with three younger men, who
had a healthy look ; but one of them looked more like a
woman, and I thought at first he was one. Another
was also rather womanly in appeararance. They had
been out fishing and trapping ; they had three capercailzie
hens and a big pike. We wanted to buy a capercailzie
hen of one of the men, but he wanted it for himself. We
then bought one from the other. We also bought some
200

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