- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
238

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
have never had the same attraction for the childish
imagination as the primeval forests of America with their
Redskins. Names like Yenisei, Lena, Angarå, Tun
guska, Baikål, with their Ostiaks, Tunguses and Yakuts,
have never sounded the same to a boy’s fancy as the
Hudson River, the Delaware and the Great Lakes,
with their Mohicans, Delaware Indians, and Sioux.
Is this merely because the forests of Siberia have never
had their Cooper ? The life here may certainly be
equally romantic, and it is still going on.
But just as the great forests with their Redskins
along the Hudson and Delaware have long ago vanished,
and their place has been tåken by cultivated fields
without beauty and by somewhat prosaic farmers, so will
also these forests and these natives disappear. In a
hundred, nay, in fifty years, the forests will certainly
be gone, and the wandering hunters with their tents
and their furs will be seen no more. There will be
nothing but a trivial flat country with cultivated fields,
like the uninteresting plains of North Germany, but
with room for millions of human beings. Then, as now,
the moon will still shine down upon the quietly flowing
surface of the Yenisei, but this great stillness will be
gone. Already the silence has been invaded by a new
kind of life. Far away in the wilderness on the east
they are working in the mines, to find that almighty
metal of good and evil, which has brought happiness to so
many, but perhaps ruin to still more.
It is cold on deck to-night. The sails are frozen
stiff and covered with rime for the first time on the trip.
Autumn is coming on. Over the river to the south
hangs a white bank of fog beneath the moon. It is to be
feared we shall have thick weather again to-morrow
morning.
Thursday, Seytember 18. The fog did not come,
238

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