Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The courage and enterprise of the Finlander

The hunting of the Seal also sets the courage and enterprise of the Finlander in the strongest possible light. The season for this chase begins when the sea breaks up, and the ice floats in shoals upon the surface. Four or five peasants will go out to sea in one small open boat, and will often continue more than a month absent from their families. Thus do they expose themselves to all the horrors of the northern seas, having only a small fire, which they kindle on a sort of brick hearth, and living on the flesh of the Seals which they kill. The fat and skins they bring home. The perils with which these voyagers have to struggle, are almost incredible. They have incessantly to pass betwixt masses of ice, which threaten to crush their little bark to atoms. They mount the floating shoals; and, creeping along them, steal cautiously upon the animals, and kill them as they repose on the ice.

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