Tent Life in Siberia eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 467 pages of information about Tent Life in Siberia.
of the celestial city.  Presently it faded away again to a faint diffused glow in the north, and one pale-green streamer, slender and bright as the spear of Ithuriel, pushed slowly up toward the zenith until it touched with its translucent point the jewelled belt of Orion; then it, too, faded and vanished, and nothing but a bank of pale white mist on the northern horizon showed the location of the celestial armory whence the arctic spirits drew the gleaming swords and lances which they shook and brandished nightly over the lonely Siberian steppes.  Crawling back into my bag as the aurora disappeared, I fell asleep, and did not wake until near morning.  With the first streak of dawn the camp began to show signs of animation.  The dogs crawled out of the deep holes which their warm bodies had melted in the snow; the Cossacks poked their heads out of their frosty fur coats, and whipped off with little sticks the mass of frost which had accumulated around their breathing-holes; a fire was built, tea boiled, and we crawled out of our sleeping-bags to shiver around the fire and eat a hasty breakfast of rye-bread, dried fish, and tea.  In twenty minutes the dogs were harnessed, sledges packed, and runners covered with ice, and one after another we drove away at a brisk trot from the smoking fire, and began another day’s journey across the barren steppe.

In this monotonous routine of riding, camping, and sleeping on the snow, day after day slowly passed until, on December 20th, we arrived at the Settled Korak village of Shestakova, near the head of Penzhinsk Gulf.  From this point our Gizhiga Cossacks were to return, and here we were to wait until the expected sledges from Penzhina should arrive.  We lowered our bedding, pillows, camp-equipage, and provisions down through the chimney hole of the largest yurt in the small village, arranged them as tastefully as possible on the wide wooden platform which extended out from the wall on one side, and made ourselves as comfortable as darkness, smoke, cold, and dirt would permit.

[Illustration:  Korak Adzes]



Our short stay at Shestakova, while waiting for the Penzhina sledges, was dismal and lonesome beyond expression.  It began to storm furiously about noon on the 20th, and the violent wind swept up such tremendous clouds of snow from the great steppe north of the village, that the whole earth was darkened as if by an eclipse, and the atmosphere, to a height of a hundred feet from the ground, was literally packed with a driving mist of white snowflakes.  I ventured to the top of the chimney hole once, but I was nearly blown over the edge of the yurt, and, blinded and choked by snow, I hastily retreated down the chimney, congratulating myself that I was not obliged to lie out all day on

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Tent Life in Siberia from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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