- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
223

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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VERKHNE-IMBÅTSKOYE TO SUMAROKOVA
223
was still drunk, he answered that he was not drunk
at all; he only sang because it was his habit. He
came trotting out of the boat, sat down by the fire
and lit his pipe, and he was really perfectly sober.
Soon some more came, a whole collection, from the
other boats and a tent close by ; there were ten or
eleven men, besides a couple of women and some children
from the boat here. There were many good types
among them ; most were dark-haired, and with only
one or two exceptions they were entirely beardless,
but it is true that these were mostly young men, while
the bearded ones were older. It is significant that only
the men were loafing about like this, smoking, staring,
chatting and doing nothing, while the women worked
first at preparing the breakfast, and then at getting
the boats ready. Among us it is rather the ladies who
are supposed to waste their time in gossip.
Wc went on to another part of the beach farther
south, where there were many boats lying, and the
Ostiaks sat on the sand round the tea-kettles eating
their breakfast in the middle of the Russians, who were
getting their nets ready to go out fishing. There was
much life and movement. Out on the boats the women
were busily engaged in making ready for the start.
At the same time the fog was beginning to lift, and the
sun was shining brightly above it. A number of women
and men were sitting in a tent at breakfast, and an
entirely naked youngster lay in a cradle.
Here wc were told that they had a real shaman
among them. As wc wanted to see him, he was at
once summoned from one of the boats and led by the
hand by a younger man ; for he was quite blind. Yes,
he was a shaman, he said, but it would take some time
to rig himself out to shaman to us, and besides he had
to have a special tent for it. As the weather was

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