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Only about 1,400 miles from the North Pole!
We are away up in the Land of the Midnight Sun, a short row from the fishing town of Tromso. It is a surprise to see grass and fir trees clothing the ground, but mother earth makes the most of the short summer here - rye, barley and oats will grow even as far north as this where there is a favourable exposure and birch and wild cherry trees are not uncommon.
This Lapp family have come over the border from Sweden just for the season and it is their summer residence where we find them. They are lineal descendants of the aboriginal inhabitants of these northlands, and their language is a far-off cousin of the Hungarian. This house is built of stones and small logs, covered over with turf. There is an opening in the top to let out the smoke of the open fire and all the air and light enter by that opening, and by the door, where the mother sits with that chubby baby. A pretty large family it seems to be for one such hut, but our friends yonder are not very exacting in the matter of food and clothing and fresh air. They get along serenely with their reindeer to depend on as a chief source of livelihood. This beast has just been caught in the pasture (by a lasso over its horns) and led around here to show us a specimen of the master's herd. It is just as well that the mistress does not bestir herself to offer us a drink of reindeer milk, for it is peculiarly thick, as if it had been beaten up with eggs, and the flavour is too strong to recommend it at first to a stranger; in fact the mother dilutes it with water before she gives it to these uncritical urchins for their supper. By the way, it must be good food on the whole, for the children do look plump, well-fed, and rather bright, with all their natural shyness in the presence of us queer southerners. They and the dog, like children and dogs everywhere, are fast friends.
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