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

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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he was a great actor, and imitated the priests as well as
he could.
But now the excitement increased. He took off the
crown and put it on his assistant, while he himself sat
up on the little wooden box. The singing grew louder
and the gesticulation more violent ; now and then
came a refrain, or whatever it was, which had to be
repeated by the listeners ; or perhaps it was more like
what is heard in church, when certain sentences are
uttered by the whole congregation. Soon the exalta
tion increased still more, he had to get higher up and
rose to his feet ; evidently he was now drawing near
the lord of heaven and a wild note came into his voice.
But at that moment a dog barked outside the tent.
He broke off abruptly and became perfectly silent—
sat down and mumbled something about håving being
interrupted by the dog, " and that is an unclean animal,
because it eats excrement," he said. Therefore he had
to begin all over again. And then the whole performance
was repeated, with the same monotonous singing the
whole time, while the voice rose and became more in
sistent, with more and more tremolos.
At the same time he began to prophesy, saying that
there was a foreigner in the tent, and that there was one
who stood near the Tsar (this must have been Vostrotin,
who is a member of the Duma), and then there was a
third, who was a wily fellow and one to beware of— no
doubt this was intended for Loris-Melikov, who is a
diplomatist. He also informed us that a great universal
war was soon coming. But wc had no time for more,
wc wanted to be off.
When he has the great shaman dress on, he is arrayed
with figures of bears and other beasts of the forest all
over him ; and if the performance is carried on long
enough, the shaman really works himself up into a
p 225

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