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© National Geographic Society
Natural-Color Photograph by Jacob Gayer
A BASHFUL BOOTMAKER 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 Redpolls, whose brilliant songs enliven laws—and game laws in Greenland are a the Arctic spring. novelty-have accorded them some pro- The Brünnich's Murre and the Sea tection,
Pigeon are common, but do not compare Not only do Eider flesh, down, and in numbers with the Dovekie (Little eggs figure in the Greenlander's economic Tuk). arrangements, but also the skins have high Where the Dovekies breed, north of value. From the breasts of the birds are Melville Bay, the sky is filled with the plucked the shafted feathers, leaving ex- flocks going to sea to feed or coming posed the down, and the skin bearing this home, and the air rings with their manidown is then removed. Exquisite Eider acal cries. With a net on a pole the robes are made of these skins, which are native catches these birds out of the air also fashioned into useful clothing.
and stores the flesh for winter. From
the skin of the breasts his underwear is MYSTERY SHROUDS THE ARCTIC TERN
fashioned. The flocks of graceful little Sea Swal
BEYOND MELVILLE BAY LIES NORTH lows, or Arctic Terns, which fly along
GREENLAND the shores and dive into the waves for their food, do not attract the hunter, but
Melville Bay, whose ice packs were the they have the charm of mystery for the
dread of the whalers of old, guards the naturalist.
way to the Far North, and only the sumFrom the Arctic regions, where it breeds,
mer traveler may hope to pass. The drift the bird flies to the Antarctic, where it
ice encountered to the south is often blue, winters, but the course of the 11,000-mile
but here everything is white. stretch between is not known and prob
Ice fields may stretch for miles ahead or ably never will be until the ornithologist fog may shut down upon struggling ships. and the aviator join hands and fly with
A snow-white bird, the Ivory Gull, flies the migratory birds from Pole to Pole.
silently through the snowy haze like an No other migrating bird flies so far and
embodiment of its spirit, and over the no creature on earth sees so much of day
frozen wastes roams the Polar Bear. light.*
Ice-decked peaks at length loom beyond On land the birds are few, and only the dreary stretch; then the landscape four kinds, three species of Sparrows and
smiles again and Nature treats the travthe ominous Raven, are commonly seen.
eler to the loveliest spectacle of the Arctic. Back in the rocky interior, however, nests
In the ocean there is no longer pack ice, the Ptarmigan, the grouse of Greenland,
but only an occasional iceberg, born of which in summer is predominantly gray
one of the huge glaciers that often fill the or brown and is scattered on the hillsides. valleys to the water's edge. but in winter turns snow white, except
Steep from the ocean rise cliffs whose for the feathers of the tail, and descends
rocks the spring sun clothes with plant to the seashore in flocks.
life, causing the landscape to take on colThis winter visit often has fatal con
ors that rival those of our Indian summer. sequences to the feathered tourists, for The predominant tones brilliant the natives, always faced with their great
orange, which shades through purple into est urge, hunger, expect the birds and black, according to the denseness of the slaughter what they can for food. The lichen growth. Vosaicked into this brilPtarmigan has another dreaded enemy in
liant groundwork are patches of green the snowy Gyrfalcon, a large, swift and where the grass grows thick (see Color fearless hawk, which scours the land for
Plates VIII, X, XI, XV). prey, and many feathers on the mountain
The summer snow takes on color, too, slopes tell the story of a bird tragedy.
and large patches are stained a lovely pink Among the Ptarmigans nesting on the where hordes of microscopic plants flourhills breed the little Snowflake and the
ish on its melting surface. This is the
"red snow” which Arctic travelers have * See “Our Greatest Travelers; Birds that
so often seen (see Color Plate VI). Fly from Pole to Pole,” by Wells W. Cooke, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE for
Back from the cliffs the land has April, 1911.
gentler slopes, for here the ice in ages
past has scoured harshly, and plants of to some rock or clam shell, its huge ribmany kinds are found. More than a hun- bons, 20 feet or more in length, wave dred species of vascular plants are found hither and thither in the tidal currents, in northwest Greenland and more than where overhead the sea is covered with half that number live in Peary Land, the massive cakes of ice and during many Ultima Thule of the Northern Hemi- months nocturnal darkness reigns at midsphere. Here there is no asylum from the day. winter winds, and the willows keep to the There are also Insects and Spiders, but ground. Few of the plants have stems none are ever troublesome. When the and the tallest summer growth hardly ex- sun shines, a few kinds of Butterflies flit ceeds a foot.
around, huge Bumblebees drone through The botanist three thousand miles from the air, and Gnats and Flies buzz about, home finds many friends in this distant while Spiders come out of the cracks to land, for the flowers are very like some of
bask on the leaves. those he has known before.
NO MICE OR SNAKES IN GREENLAND Mustards, Pinks, and Saxifrages, a dozen kinds or more of each, and Butter- Mice and the like do not exist except cups and Roses, with five or six kinds in the extreme north of Greenland, and each, grow everywhere, and their pinks, the island rates with Ireland in the abwhites, yellows, or purples make the land- sence of Snakes. Not even Frogs are to scape bright. But the brightest spots are be found, and the Foxes of the region have where the flaming Lousewort and the yel- to subsist on the nesting birds and on low Poppies grow. Of dainty shades and what they pilfer from the Eskimo caches. sturdy growth, they vie in conspicuous- Hares alone are numerous on the land. ness with the Cottongrasses that wave Summer and winter they are white, and their snowy heads from many a shallow a wilder creature never lived. On rocky pool.
ground they may be found, but lucky is The Dandelion and the Bluebell are also the traveler who sees one.
If fortune common flowers, and in favorable places should favor you with a glimpse, the Hare there are fine growths of Timothy hay. will have seen you first and will be standArctic Timothy is a prized gift of Nature ing upright at attention. His survey is to the natives, and its luxuriant stems sup- completed before you are sure of what ply mattresses, boot stuffing, and towels you see, and to your great bewilderment and serve any other uses to which some- he may start away, dancing on his hindthing soft and absorbent may be put. legs. Thereafter he is seen no more.
Young Hares are gray and are not so GIANT GROWTHS IN ICY WATERS
timid, and a good shot with a rifle can Although the plants on Greenland are sometimes bag one. Lilliputian, there are giants in the sur- The life of man in this polar land is rounding icy waters. The familiar Rock- harsh and strenuous.
The animals on weed of our North Atlantic coast, with which he depends for food travel far and its juicy little bladders, is found wher- are often beyond his reach. In darkness ever the tide-borne ice does not scratch he spends the dreary winter and only for the bottom too smooth, and in times of 'a few short months does summer vary famine it is gathered for food.
the scene of ice and snow. Nature selThe plant wonder of the Arctic is the dom bestows less upon man on earth; yet Giant Kelp, which grows in beds in deep nowhere has she more honest, more unwater. Fastened by strong adhesive disks selfish, 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 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 con- in this district. Though little known to a
trast, geographically, socially, and traveling public, it is part of the stuff
historically, but since the great ac- that all our dreams are made of, through cretions to her territory that have come such novels as “The Prisoner of Zenda” about as a result of the World War the and “Graustark,” which seem either concontradictory elements within her borders sciously or unconsciously to have been are even more striking.
laid in the neighborhood of some one of She contains an epitome of the history the Seven Castles which give the German of Europe from Roman times to the pres- name, Siebenbürgen, to the province and ent, and people and places illustrative of which are quartered on the arms of each stage are found side by side within greater Rumania. her confines.
These towns are Brasov (Hungarian, One may see on the same day a shep- Brasso, and German, Kronstadt), Bisherd in a long fleece cape, moving across trita (Besztercze, Bistritz), Cluj (Kolozsthe plains toward the mountains, like a var, Klausenburg), Sebesul Sasesc (Szaszquaint survival of an ancient civilization; sebes, Mühlbach), Sibiu (Nagy Szeben, a fiery nomadic gypsy galloping along a Hermannstadt), Medias (Medgyes, Medusty road, with long hair streaming; a diasch), and Sighisoara (Segesvar, Schässpeasant like a soldier from Trajan's Col- burg). They were settled by Germans umn at Rome, with white, embroidered from Franconia, who were locally called blouse and thong-bound legs, scratching Saxons and who, in all the years of their the soil with a primitive plow; a noble- separation from Germany, have mainman in his castle gazing down into a tained a close connection with their mother medieval Saxon village; and an oil mag- country, its culture and institutions, the nate scattering his wealth amid Bucha- while efficiently keeping the Carpathian rest's imitative charms.
They had likewise the coöperation of TRANSYLVANIA IS THE WEST'S FRONTIER
the Szeklers, close kinsmen of Magyars, AGAINST THE EAST
who for their delight in combat had been Many of these contrasts were inherent settled along the northern portion of the within the prewar boundaries and all of mountain wall. Back of these warders them in much enlarged postwar Rumania, the mass of Magyar farmers and Rudue to the addition of Transylvania to manian laborers, foresters, and shepherds the kingdom. This is because Transyl- tilled the fertile valleys between the rollvania, known in Rumanian as Ardeal ing foothills that gradually ebb from the (Forest Land), in Hungarian as Erdely, Carpathians toward the Hungarian plain. and in German as Siebenbürgen, has been
CARPATHIANS ACCOUNT FOR TRANSYLthe frontier of the West against the East
VANIA'S HISTORY for centuries.
Its inhabitants have, furthermore, suc- It is this mountain wall that accounts cessfully maintained that border against for the history of Transylvania—a jagged, the Turks since 1700, and this history of glorious barrier that dominates the landborder wardenship has given the region scape. its racial complexity and architectural The Saxon woman, pausing in the field charms.
to adjust her straw sailor hat atop her Nowhere in Europe is the sense of tightly bound kerchief, gazes at the rugpleasant remoteness more keenly felt than ged heights as if at the border of the
Photograph by J. Theodore Marriner THIS STRONGHOLD HELPED TO HOLD BACK THE TURK
Photograph by Gustav Koch 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.
The Red Tower once guarded the important Turnu Rosiu Pass (which