- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
201

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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TROITSKIY MONASTIR, AND TO THE SOUTH
201
sturgeon that had been caught some time before, and
some fresh sturgeon-caviar, besides a wolverene skin
(for ten roubles).
The fishing was poor, as everywhere in this part of the
Yenisei. No " herring " (seld) had come yet. It looked as
if they were almost suffering want, these people here,
and they were poorly clad, all of them. They told us,
it is true, that they now kept reindeer ; that is a thing
they have tåken to lately, as the Yenisei-Ostiaks formerly
knew nothing of reindeer-keeping. On the whole, I had
a lively impression of what an uncertain existence such
a poor people of hunters and fishermen really leads.
If the fishing and hunting fails, as may happen often
enough, they have nothing to fall back upon, except
some dried fish from the summer and a little meal from
the traders, but that does not last long ; and then, in
this case, they had these reindeer. Otherwise, famine
was certain, and often enough they starve to death.
These people had twenty reindeer. While they
were engaged in fishing they let the deer run loose in
the forest a good way off and caught them again in the
autumn. They do not want looking after, they said ;
they were easy to find again, and there were no wild
reindeer there to draw them away. Nor were there
many wolves.
The summer, when there is fishing, ought, of course, to
be the easiest time for them. But even now they were
in difnculties ; and then they would have to dry a lot
of fish against emergencies later ; but it never lasts
long—and then in winter they are, to a great extent,
dependent on what game they can find in the forest.
If they get an elk, of course, they can live well for a long
time, but as a rule it is mostly ptarmigan, wood birds
and other small game, with now and then a bear ;
though when they are hungry they will also eat both

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