Puslapio vaizdai

the youngest son with his family, mothers- Furniture is quite unknown in a comin-law, maid-servants, or foster daughters, mon Eskimo house. The pallet is parlor, as they are called, and other persons. bedchaniber, dining-room, while the space

A large common bed is made for a under the pallet is storehouse for fuel, wet whole family on the pallet, which is cov- and dried skins, raw and cooked eatables, ered first with a layer of hay or straw, and dogs with whelps in the winter, earthen

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then with seal or reindeer skin. The dishes, coffee-cups, and whatever they can parents lie in the middle, with the boys on find no better place for. the father's side, and the girls on the On small, three-legged stools stand the mother's, the youngest ones nearest the lamps, and above them are suspended parents, and all with their heads toward wooden frames upon which wet kamiks the passage. The bedclothes consist only and other garments are dried and the of pillows and feather-beds, mostly very hunter's and fisher's implements and weapsparingly provided with feathers. Such ons are laid. Each member of the family refinements as sheets and pillow-cases are has a small box in which to keep his or her not used.

things; and this is about all the furniture. If the women had only to take care of large one is used as a cover for the wotheir respective rooms, their work would men's boat or for the kayak, to lay over be as nothing. To pile the bedclothes up the pallet, or to keep for sale. A small against the back wall, sweep the pallet- one is used for the outer or inner kamik skin over with a bird's wing, and throw skin, or for breeches. the sweepings under the pallet, that noth- It is not necessary to describe here ing shall be wasted, are not overwhelming what perhaps can interest only a tanner, tasks. Nor is the cooking, for it is of the but the work of the women is incredibly most primitive kind. All that is not eaten hard labor, and calls for great skill and raw is boiled. Nothing is ever roasted, intelligence. and there are no complicated dishes. Nor As soon as the skins are ready for use, do they trouble themselves about a neat the women cut them with a knife called table or cleansing the utensils. The dishes the ulo, a broad, flat, half-moon-shaped are never washed either before or after a knife, with a handle in the middle. The meal.

skins are cut into the strangest shapes, In an Eskimo community there is no which no tailor or dressmaker would ever division of labor. Every one is his, or imagine could be fitted to the human form, more rightly her, own tradesman or me- but which, nevertheless, in their clever chanic. Neither are there any shops hands, become diverse articles of dress, where one can go and buy the needed with the most elaborate embroideries, things or the materials from which to made by sewing together small bits of the make the things. It is true that in almost colored skins. The thread that is used is all places where a hundred or more per- made of the sinews of the seal, whale, or sons live there may be a shop kept by the reindeer. It is pulled out of the flesh, Danish administration; but it contains dried, and split. When it is used in sewonly such things as the Greenlanders can- ing, it is rolled against the cheek with the not procure for themselves--Alour, groats, palm of the hand. The whale thread is peas, coffee, sugar, tea, tobacco, cotton and the best. Every sort of thread has its woolen stuffs, boards, hardware, etc. special use. Whatever else the people need, they must One of the most important labors is produce themselves, and the work is per- covering the kayak and repairing, or covformed almost entirely by the women. ering the woman's boat. The kayak of a

The seal-hunting time, which begins in good seal hunter has to be covered every autumn and continues until spring, is the year, while the woman's boat needs coverhardest time for the woman; for then she ing only every other year. It is almost has to take care of what her husband, son, incomprehensible how the slender, small or brother brings home. When the hunter women's hands can master the skins, which comes to the shore with his prey, he has are stretched like the head of a drum. But already done his duty; and then it is for the work is done so skilfully, and with the women to do theirs. He leaves the such nimble fingers, that it is a pleasure to heavy slain animal on the beach, while all watch it, and all the while there is such the women from the house run down to a chattering, gossiping, and laughing, that haul it up over the icy cliff to the house ; no one would think the work hard and or, if it is very cold, into the house itself, important. where the mistress, assisted by all the other All these tasks are not, of course, the female inmates, Alays the skin, quarters the work of every day; but over and above all body, scrapes off the blubber from the this are the every-day returning tasks, such skin.

as the care of clothes. The Greenlanders While the skin is still wet, it must be have but few suits of clothes, which must stretched with force for drying. If it is be examined every day. When the hunter small, it is stretched on the snow-covered comes home, he is wet from top to toe, and ground; if it is large, on frames made for every piece of his dress has to be dried over that purpose. This is not agreeable work the lamp or in the open air, turned inside when the temperature is ten or twelve de- out, stretched, rubbed, wrung, and pulled grees below zero.

for hours, until it gets smooth and pliable. When the skin is dry, it has to be pre- To all this must be added the embroideries pared according to its size and quality. A that decorate these garments, and that take


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much time. It is of course only the assisted by some of the men. Last year's young folk, with their good eyes, who do wall of stone and turf has suffered much this embroidering; the harder and more from the bad weather in winter, and must tiresome work must be done by the older first be repaired. Then the oars are arfolk.

ranged, like the feathers in a fan and The winter is therefore the hardest time bound together at the top, over the enfor the Greenland women, and glad they trance. Old boat skins and kayak skins are when the sun rises higher and higher are spread over the oars, and fixed with in the sky; for then they know that soon heavy stones at the outer edge. Then all the labor for that season will have an when a pallet has been hastily made of end.

some bottom boards from the boat, the The short summer has come, bringing tent is ready for use for a month in all light and warmth. Now is the time to go sorts of weather. to the angmassat places. The angmassat The shoals of fish come swarming to is a little fish in size between a sardine and the coast, stay only a moment, and are off a herring. These fishes are caught and again. The women and children strew dried by the million, and are, or ought to those that have been scooped up on the be, the chief food of the Eskimo in winter. beach, that they may dry quickly. If rain They come in shoals to the shore to spawn sets in, the fish will most likely be spoiled. for a short time in the month of June, and After the fish have been turned and turned are then caught in scoops, shaken out on again until they are dry, they are stuffed the beach, and dried in the air. The wo- into bags of skin and taken by boat to the men's boat is put into the water, and five winter home. There the women immegay women seize the oars. The men fol- diately set to work to store them away. low in their kayaks.

Because their houses are too small to keep Arrived at the place, the

the fish there, they have storerooms (kistantly set about building the tent, lazily matulivis), which are natural caves or way off.

omen in


grottoes cut in the mountains, often a long tities of heather gathered for the winter,

straw plucked and dried for an interAfter the fishing is ended, if the weather mediate layer in the kamiks, mosses gathbe good, it is time for turf-cutting. This ered for wicks for the lamps, all is ready must be done before going inland to shoot for winter. reindeer and catch salmon, that the turf From Nature's hand the women may lie and dry during their absence, and nicely formed, with slender limbs and be fit for use when they return.

small hands and feet. But, as wise mothers The reindeer hunting, or the hunting of know that nature cannot always be dethe stag, is to the Eskimo what the sports pended upon in all details, they make very of the country or the seaside are to civil- small kamiks, into which they press the ized people. The reindeer grounds are little new-born baby foot, that it may not often a hundred miles away from the win- develop too quickly. It is not to give the ter home, up the fiords, but the prepara- foot another form, as the Chinese do, but tions for going are few. Before they go, only to retard its growth; and, really, a they remove the roofs of their houses, prettier and better-formed foot than that that they may thoroughly air during their of an Eskimo it would be hard to find. absence. It may be thoroughly washed The young maidens are very handsome, too, perhaps, by the heavy showers that but they soon get rough in complexion often fall in summer.

and clumsy in form. Women that have This stay inland is the best time of all been married only a few years look old the year. From July to September they and worn out. They rarely live to be stay on the hunting-grounds. In July old, but those who do, become so hideous there is no difference between day and that they are like scarecrows. night; and, if only the sun shines and the The women are quiet and peaceable, but sky is clear, the people delight to lie in the they possess little real character. They hills and plains that are covered with are kind and good-hearted so far as not to heather and flowers, and to inhale the do mischief, but one cannot say that they warm, clean air, and the odor of the sweet are good in the sense that they display and aromatic mountain herbs.

kindness, goodness, or pity when they canAs soon as possible the hunters leave the not see their profit by it. They are envitent place (the tent has been put up in the ous of one another, and will try to injure same way as for the angmassat fishing) to their adversaries by slandering them. go in among the mountains for deer. They They are clever and quick of apprehension, are commonly accompanied by one or two and are used by Europeans in their houses women who have to cook for them, to as cooks, chambermaids, nursery maids, look after their kamiks, and especially to but they very soon get tired of the multicarry the killed animals back to the tent. tude of tasks in a civilized household, and On these excursions they often stay several grow negligent. days away, and then the women who are The dress of the women is the same, left behind enjoy life in every way. They summer and winter, and is worn in the have little to do but to look after the same way. It consists first of a shiftsalmon nets that are spread in the stream which, in spite of the name, is, nevertheor cut up the fish when caught.

less, not shifted very often-made of comBut everything has an end. When the

mon cotton stuff, and cut in the simplest mountains begin to cast long shadows, and possible form, with no embroideries. Over the heather turns a brownish tint from the this they wear the timiak, of bird's skin, ripe berries, the time to return has come. with its cover of colored cotton stuff for

At the winter place again perhaps rain daily use, and woolen, silk, or velveteen and sleet have done their work, and the for Sundays and holidays. The hood is walls of the house have fallen in. While never used by the women, who always the men contemplate the destruction, and leave it hanging down. Around the neck here and there repair the framework, the the young girls wear a collar more than a women go to collecting the fallen and quarter of a yard wide, made of glass scattered stones and gathering heather pearls set in the most varied patterns. This from the nearest hills to repair the house. pearl collar is worn only by young girls, When the cut turf has been secured, quan- and by wives until they have got their first



child. After that, the pearls are used as their bearers. The wives wear blue in all fringes and tassels for the amaut.

shades, the maidens red, the unmarried The pet garments of the girls, and of mothers green in all shades, and the widmarried women, too, are the breeches and ows wear black. All other colors are forthe kamiks. They take much time to make bidden. In front they like to fasten on theme garments as fine as possible. The the ribbon some shining object, a brooch breeches, which are worn next the bare or an odd ear-ring. For lack of other body, are made of costly sealskins or rein- things, they will pin on a piece of colored deer skins. They are not fastened to the silver or gold paper. To get the top body by any

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