- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
422

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XVIII. From the Buréya to Transbaikalia

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THROUGH SIBERIA
unless the calf is allowed to suck at the same time.
It then gets half, while the people milk the rest. These
are Mongolian cows. The engineer, who did not know
this, bought a cow and killed her calf, so as to get
the milk for himself ; but he got nothing and had
to kill the cow too. There is so little snow here in
winter that sledging is impossible on land, they have
to sledge along the rivers. It is a cheerless country,
I must say, when the cold winter does not even bring
the compensating advantage of good going for sledges
and ski.
Farther on it is the same hill country with low ridges,
but the trees are for the most part getting still smaller
and thinner, and soon they will be only fit for fencing ;
here and there one sees a tree big enough for a telegraph
pole, perhaps ; and the wind deals severely with this
thin forest, which has such shallow roots and spreads
them so far over the ground ; great stretches of it are
laid low and the torn-up roots stand straggling in the
air. The forest fires also do their work, and in many
places charred stumps and bare, broken stems tell the
tale of their ravåges. There is nothing but larch in
this tract.
Then we came to the bridge over the Chitkan,
where the railway accident I mentioned had occurred
a few days before. The engine and eight carriages fell
over the bridge. It was a ghastly sight ; the fall was
50 feet or more. The engine had been telescoped like
an opera hat, and was twisted as if it had been made of
cardboard. The carriages had fallen one on the top of
another, and the lowest one was entirely smashed ; yet
it was from this lowest carriage, which was so crushed
that there was scarcely a whole board left in it, that
three people were brought out ; one killed—the guard
—but the other two alive and only slightly injured.
422

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