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Much of the time of the native women of Greenland is devoted to the manufacture of footwear for themselves and the men of the family. Before the sealskin takes the form of the foot it must be chewed into pliability, and this practice results in the wearing down of the teeth almost to disfigurement. This young woman is standing on the crosspiece of a primitive last, over which she is stretching the boot.
species suffered from popularity that laws and game laws in Greenland are a novelty have accorded them some protection.
Not only do Eider flesh, down, and eggs figure in the Greenlander's economic arrangements, but also the skins have high value. From the breasts of the birds are plucked the shafted feathers, leaving exposed the down, and the skin bearing this down is then removed. Exquisite Eider robes are made of these skins, which are also fashioned into useful clothing.
MYSTERY SHROUDS THE ARCTIC TERN
The flocks of graceful little Sea Swallows, or Arctic Terns, which fly along the shores and dive into the waves for their food, do not attract the hunter, but they have the charm of mystery for the naturalist.
From the Arctic regions, where it breeds, the bird flies to the Antarctic, where it winters, but the course of the 11,000-mile stretch between is not known and probably never will be until the ornithologist and the aviator join hands and fly with the migratory birds from Pole to Pole. No other migrating bird flies so far and no creature on earth sees so much of daylight.*
On land the birds are few, and only four kinds, three species of Sparrows and the ominous Raven, are commonly seen. Back in the rocky interior, however, nests the Ptarmigan, the grouse of Greenland, which in summer is predominantly gray or brown and is scattered on the hillsides, but in winter turns snow white, except for the feathers of the tail, and descends to the seashore in flocks.
This winter visit often has fatal consequences to the feathered tourists, for the natives, always faced with their greatest urge, hunger, expect the birds and slaughter what they can for food. The Ptarmigan has another dreaded enemy in the snowy Gyrfalcon, a large, swift and fearless hawk, which scours the land for prey, and many feathers on the mountain slopes tell the story of a bird tragedy.
Among the Ptarmigans nesting on the hills breed the little Snowflake and the
*See "Our Greatest Travelers; Birds that Fly from Pole to Pole," by Wells W. Cooke, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE for April, 1911.
Redpolls, whose brilliant songs enliven the Arctic spring.
The Brünnich's Murre and the Sea Pigeon are common, but do not compare in numbers with the Dovekie (Little Auk).
Where the Dovekies breed, north of Melville Bay, the sky is filled with the flocks going to sea to feed or coming home, and the air rings with their maniacal cries. With a net on a pole the native catches these birds out of the air and stores the flesh for winter. From the skin of the breasts his underwear is fashioned.
BEYOND MELVILLE BAY LIES NORTH
Melville Bay, whose ice packs were the dread of the whalers of old, guards the way to the Far North, and only the summer traveler may hope to pass. The drift ice encountered to the south is often blue, but here everything is white.
Ice fields may stretch for miles ahead or
fog may shut down upon struggling ships.
A snow-white bird, the Ivory Gull, flies silently through the snowy haze like an embodiment of its spirit, and over the frozen wastes roams the Polar Bear.
Ice-decked peaks at length loom beyond the dreary stretch; then the landscape smiles again and Nature treats the traveler to the loveliest spectacle of the Arctic. In the ocean there is no longer pack ice, but only an occasional iceberg, born of one of the huge glaciers that often fill the valleys to the water's edge.
Steep from the ocean rise cliffs whose rocks the spring sun clothes with plant life, causing the landscape to take on colors that rival those of our Indian summer. The predominant tones. brilliant orange, which shades through purple into. black, according to the denseness of the lichen growth. Mosaicked into this brilliant groundwork are patches of green where the grass grows thick (see Color Plates VIII, X, XI, XV).
The summer snow takes on color, too, and large patches are stained a lovely pink where hordes of microscopic plants flourish on its melting surface. This is the "red snow" which Arctic travelers have so often seen (see Color Plate VI).
Back from the cliffs the land has gentler slopes, for here the ice in ages.
past has scoured harshly, and plants of many kinds are found. More than a hundred species of vascular plants are found in northwest Greenland and more than half that number live in Peary Land, the Ultima Thule of the Northern Hemisphere. Here there is no asylum from the winter winds, and the willows keep to the ground. Few of the plants have stems and the tallest summer growth hardly exceeds a foot.
The botanist three thousand miles from home finds many friends in this distant land, for the flowers are very like some of those he has known before.
Mustards, Pinks, and Saxifrages, a dozen kinds or more of each, and Buttercups and Roses, with five or six kinds each, grow everywhere, and their pinks, whites, yellows, or purples make the landscape bright. But the brightest spots are where the flaming Lousewort and the yellow Poppies grow. Of dainty shades and sturdy growth, they vie in conspicuousness with the Cottongrasses that wave their snowy heads from many a shallow pool.
The Dandelion and the Bluebell are also common flowers, and in favorable places there are fine growths of Timothy hay. Arctic Timothy is a prized gift of Nature to the natives, and its luxuriant stems supply mattresses, boot stuffing, and towels and serve any other uses to which something soft and absorbent may be put.
GIANT GROWTHS IN ICY WATERS Although the plants on Greenland are Lilliputian, there are giants in the surrounding icy waters. The familiar Rockweed of our North Atlantic coast, with its juicy little bladders, is found wherever the tide-borne ice does not scratch the bottom too smooth, and in times of famine it is gathered for food.
The plant wonder of the Arctic is the Giant Kelp, which grows in beds in deep water. Fastened by strong adhesive disks
to some rock or clam shell, its huge ribbons, 20 feet or more in length, wave hither and thither in the tidal currents, where overhead the sea is covered with massive cakes of ice and during many months nocturnal darkness reigns at midday.
There are also Insects and Spiders, but none are ever troublesome. When the sun shines, a few kinds of Butterflies flit around, huge Bumblebees drone through the air, and Gnats and Flies buzz about, while Spiders come out of the cracks to bask on the leaves.
NO MICE OR SNAKES IN GREENLAND
Mice and the like do not exist except in the extreme north of Greenland, and the island rates with Ireland in the absence of Snakes. Not even Frogs are to be found, and the Foxes of the region have to subsist on the nesting birds and on what they pilfer from the Eskimo caches.
Hares alone are numerous on the land. Summer and winter they are white, and a wilder creature never lived. On rocky ground they may be found, but lucky is the traveler who sees one. If fortune should favor you with a glimpse, the Hare will have seen you first and will be standing upright at attention. His survey is completed before you are sure of what you see, and to your great bewilderment he may start away, dancing on his hindlegs. Thereafter he is seen no more. Young Hares are gray and are not so timid, and a good shot with a rifle can sometimes bag one.
The life of man in this polar land is harsh and strenuous. The animals on which he depends for food travel far and are often beyond his reach. In darkness he spends the dreary winter and only for a few short months does summer vary the scene of ice and snow. Nature seldom bestows less upon man on earth; yet nowhere has she more honest, more unselfish, or more contented children.
INDEX FOR JULY-DECEMBER, 1925, VOLUME READY
Index for Volume XLVIII (July-December, 1925) of the National Geographic Magazine will be mailed to members upon request.
A Motor Circuit Through Rumania's New Province of Racial Complexity and Architectural Charm
BY J. THEODORE MARRINER, PH. D.
SECRETARY OF EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
UMANIA always was a land of contrast, geographically, socially, and historically, but since the great accretions to her territory that have come about as a result of the World War the contradictory elements within her borders are even more striking.
She contains an epitome of the history of Europe from Roman times to the present, and people and places illustrative of each stage are found side by side within her confines.
One may see on the same day a shepherd in a long fleece cape, moving across the plains toward the mountains, like a quaint survival of an ancient civilization; a fiery nomadic gypsy galloping along a dusty road, with long hair streaming; a peasant like a soldier from Trajan's Column at Rome, with white, embroidered blouse and thong-bound legs, scratching the soil with a primitive plow; a nobleman in his castle gazing down into a medieval Saxon village; and an oil magnate scattering his wealth amid Bucharest's imitative charms.
TRANSYLVANIA IS THE WEST'S FRONTIER
AGAINST THE EAST
Many of these contrasts were inherent within the prewar boundaries and all of them in much enlarged postwar Rumania, due to the addition of Transylvania to the kingdom. This is because Transylvania, known in Rumanian as Ardeal (Forest Land), in Hungarian as Erdely, and in German as Siebenbürgen, has been the frontier of the West against the East for centuries.
Its inhabitants have, furthermore, successfully maintained that border against the Turks since 1700, and this history of border wardenship has given the region its racial complexity and architectural charms.
Nowhere in Europe is the sense of pleasant remoteness more keenly felt than
in this district. Though little known to a traveling public, it is part of the stuff that all our dreams are made of, through such novels as "The Prisoner of Zenda" and "Graustark," which seem either consciously or unconsciously to have been laid in the neighborhood of some one of the Seven Castles which give the German name, Siebenbürgen, to the province and which are quartered on the arms of greater Rumania.
These towns are Brasov (Hungarian, Brasso, and German, Kronstadt), Bistrita (Besztercze, Bistritz), Cluj (Kolozsvar, Klausenburg), Sebesul Sasesc (Szaszsebes, Mühlbach), Sibiu (Nagy Szeben, Hermannstadt), Medias (Medgyes, Mediasch), and Sighisoara (Segesvar, Schässburg). They were settled by Germans from Franconia, who were locally called. Saxons and who, in all the years of their separation from Germany, have maintained a close connection with their mother country, its culture and institutions, the while efficiently keeping the Carpathian frontier.
They had likewise the coöperation of the Szeklers, close kinsmen of Magyars, who for their delight in combat had been settled along the northern portion of the mountain wall. Back of these warders the mass of Magyar farmers and Rumanian laborers, foresters, and shepherds tilled the fertile valleys between the rolling foothills that gradually ebb from the Carpathians toward the Hungarian plain.
CARPATHIANS ACCOUNT FOR TRANSYLVANIA'S HISTORY
It is this mountain wall that accounts for the history of Transylvania—a jagged, glorious barrier that dominates the landscape.
The Saxon woman, pausing in the field to adjust her straw sailor hat atop her tightly bound kerchief, gazes at the rugged heights as if at the border of the
The Red Tower once guarded the important Turnu Rosiu Pass (which
THE TOWN HALL OF BRASOV (KRONSTADT)
Saxon colonists were brought into Transylvania in the 12th and 13th centuries, and Brasov, a city of about 60,000 people, remains to-day more Saxon than Saxony.