A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 647 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 01.

In this land he found a large river, at the mouth of which he lay to, as he could not proceed much farther, on account of the inhabitants being hostile.  All the land on one side of this river was inhabited, and tolerably well cultivated, but he had not met with any inhabitants till now, since he left his own country; the whole land on his right being a desert, and without inhabitants, except the fishers, fowlers, and hunters, before-mentioned, who were all Fins; and the open sea lay on his left hand during his whole voyage.  The Beormas [6], indeed, had well peopled their country, for which reason he did not venture to enter upon it; and the land of the Terfenna [7], which he had passed hitherto, was all a desert, with the exception of the hunters and fishers already mentioned.

The Beormas told him many particulars about their land, and of the neighbouring countries; but he could not rely on their accounts, as he had no opportunity of seeing with his own eyes, but it seemed to him that the Beormas and Fins spoke the same language [8].  Ohthere stated, that his motive for this expedition, besides some little curiosity to explore these countries, which were unknown to his countrymen, was principally in pursuit of horse-whales [9], which are valuable, because their tusks are excellent ivory, some of which he brought to the king, and because their hides serve for making into ropes for ships.  This species of the whale is much smaller than the other kind, being seldom more than seven ells in length; while the other species is often forty-eight ells long, and sometimes even fifty.  In this country was the best whale-fishing that Ohthere had ever seen, the whales being so numerous, that he was one of six who killed threescore in three days[10].

Ohthere was a very rich man in those things which are considered as valuable in his country, and possessed, at the time when he came to the king, six hundred tame deer, none of which he had bought; besides which, he had six decoy deer, which are much in request among the Fins, as by means of them, they are enabled to catch wild deer.  Yet, though one of the richest men in these parts, he had only twenty head of cattle, twenty sheep, and twenty swine; and what little land he had in tillage was ploughed by horses.  The principal wealth of the Norman chiefs in that country consisted in tribute exacted from the Fins; being paid in skins of wild beasts, feathers, whalebone, cables and ropes for ships, made from the hides of whales or seals.  Every one pays in proportion to his substance:  the wealthiest paying the skins of fifteen martins, five rein-deer skins, and one bear-skin, a coat or cloak made of bear-skin or otters skins, and two cables or ship ropes of sixty ells long each, one of which is made of whale hide, and the other from the skins of seals.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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