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Land of the Long Night

[Illustration: Your Friend, Paul Du Chaillu]


Land of the Long Night


Paul Du Chaillu

Author of "The Viking Age," "Ivar the Viking," "The
Land of the Midnight Sun," "Exploration
in Equatorial Africa," etc.

_Illustrated by M. J. Burns_

New York
Charles Scribner's Sons

_Copyright, 1899,_

University Press:



_As I write this dedication, dear Judge Daly, a flood of recollections
comes over me of unbroken friendship and great kindness on your part and
that of your wife, whose memory I venerate and cherish. This friendship
has never faltered for a moment, but has grown stronger and stronger as
the years have rolled by. Fortunate is the man who wins for himself two
such friends! I have never ceased to remember the warm interest you and
your noble-hearted wife took from the first in my explorations in
Africa. I can only give you in return love and devotion for all the
kindness I have experienced at your hands._

_Your devoted friend,_


_September 1, 1899._



Friend Paul has led many of you into the great Equatorial Forest of
Africa. We met there many strange and wild tribes of men, and lived
among cannibals and dwarfs or pygmies. We hunted together, and killed
many elephants, fierce gorillas, leopards, huge crocodiles, hippopotami,
buffalos, antelopes, strange-looking monkeys, wonderful chimpanzees of
different varieties, - some of them white, others yellow or black, - and
many other kinds of animals.

In this book I am going to take you to a very different part of the
world. I am going to lead you towards the far North, to "The Land of the
Long Night," - a land where during a part of the year the sun is not
seen, for it does not rise above the horizon, and in some parts of the
country does not show itself for sixty-seven days, during which time the
moon, stars, and the aurora borealis take its place.

"The Land of the Long Night" is a land of darkness, of snow, of wind,
and at times of intense cold; and we shall have a long journey before
us, and shall have to change horses and vehicles at many post stations,
and at those places we shall get meals and lodgings.

When once in "The Land of the Long Night," we shall roam far and
wide - east, west, north - over a vast trackless region, covered with deep
snow, drawn by reindeer instead of horses, and sometimes we shall walk
or run with skees, which are the snowshoes of that country, and very
unlike those used by our Indians.

We shall sleep on the snow in bags made of reindeer skins, follow the
nomadic Laplander and his reindeer, live with him and sleep in his
_kåta_ or tent. We shall hunt wolves, bears, and different kinds of
foxes and other animals, and sail and fish on the stormy Arctic seas.

We shall have plenty of fun, in spite of the snow, the terrific wind,
and the cold we shall encounter; and, thanks to the houses of refuge
which we shall find in our times of peril, we shall not perish in these
Arctic regions. But woe to the man who wanders in that far northern land
without a guide or without knowing where these houses or farms of refuge
are to be found, for he will surely succumb in some one of the storms
that are certain to overtake him.

We shall cross the Swedish and Norwegian mountains of the far North,
which rise to a height of several thousand feet, and come to the
desolate shores of the Arctic Ocean, and there live among the people.

In a sunny room at the Marlborough in Broadway I have written this book.
It is a dear little room, made bright at night with electric lights, and
full of delightful reminiscences of cheerful evenings with friends, all
kinds of knick-knacks, tin horns, "booby" prizes, mugs, etc., - souvenirs
of frolics at which I have had fine times. My two windows look out on
the roof of a church; it is all I can see; the noise of a wheel never
reaches my ears. It is an ideal room to write books in.

I am surrounded by pictures of boys and girls, and many older friends;
they look down upon me and cheer me, and when I write they all seem to
say, "Go on, Paul," and at other times, they cry, "Stop, Paul, you have
written enough to-day; go and take a walk, go and see people and life,
dine with friends; you will work much better to-morrow. 'All work and no
play makes Jack a dull boy.' We shall be here to welcome you when you
come back."

How good it is to have friends, no matter how humble some of them are. I
love them all. No one ever has too many friends, and life without them
is not worth having.

Now, as I am ready to lay down my pen, I draw a long breath - "The Land
of the Long Night" is ready for the printer. I am just thinking: all my
books have been published in New York, and all but two have been
written, in the dear old city.

Your friend,



Chapter Page

I. On the Way to "The Land of the Long Night." - Homesick. - Tempted
to Return. - Girls and Boys Say "No; Go on, Go on,
Paul." - Decide to Continue my Journey. - Winter Coming
On. - Don Warmer Clothing. - From Stockholm North. 1

II. Snow Land. - A Great Snowstorm. - Fearful
Roads. - Snow-ploughs. - Losing the Way. - Intelligence of
the Horses. - Upset in the Snow. - Difficulty of Righting
Ourselves. - Perspiring at 23 Degrees below Zero. - Houses
Buried in the Snow. 9

III. Halt at a Farmhouse. - Made Welcome. - A Strange-looking
Interior. - Queer Beds. - Snowed In. - Exit through the
Chimney. - Clearing Paths. - I Resume my Journey. - Reach
Haparanda. 17

IV. Good Advice from the People of Haparanda. - Warned against
Still Colder Weather. - Different Costume Needed. - Dressed
as a Laplander. - Lapp Grass for Feet Protection. 29

V. What the Arctic Circle is. - Description of the Phenomenon of
the Long Night. - Reasons for its Existence. - The Ecliptic
and the Equinoxes. - Length of the Long Night at Different
Places. 36

VI. Fine Weather Leaving Haparanda. - Windstorms succeed. - A
Finlander's Farm. - Strange Fireplace. - Interior of a
Cow-House. - Queer Food for Cattle. - Passing the Arctic
Circle. 40

VII. Skees, or the Queer Snowshoes of the North. - How They Are
Made. - Learning to Use Them. - Joseff's Instructions. - Hard
Work at First. - Going Down Hill. - I Bid Joseff Good-bye. 48

VIII. A Primitive Steam Bath House. - How the Bath was
Prepared. - What are the Twigs for? - I Ascertain. - Rolling
in the Snow. - Fine Effect of the Bath. 56

IX. How the Laps and Finns Travel. - Strange-looking
Sleighs. - Different Varieties. - Lassoing
Reindeer. - Description of the Reindeer. 60

X. Harnessing Reindeer. - The First Lessons in Driving. - Constantly
Upset at First. - Going Down Hill with Reindeer. - Thrown
Out at the Bottom. - Queer Noise Made by Reindeer Hoofs. 66

XI. The Last Days of the Sun. - Beginning of the Long Night. - A
Mighty Wall of Ice. - The Long Night's Warning Voice - The
Aurora Borealis and its Magnificence. 73

XII. The Snow Getting Deeper. - Lapp Hospitality. - A Lapp
Repast. - Coffee and Tobacco Lapp Staples. - Babies
in Strange Cradles. - How the Tents are Made. - Going
to Sleep with the Mercury at 39° Below. 77

XIII. Toilet with Snow. - A Lapp Breakfast. - Lapp Dogs. Talks
with my Lapp Friend about the Reindeer. - Their Habits
and Various Forms of Usefulness. 89

XIV. Moving Camp. - Another Great Blizzard. - A Remarkable
Sight - Deer Getting their Food by Digging the
Snow. - How Reindeer are Butchered. 99

XV. Watching for the Reappearance of the Sun. - The Upper Rim
First Visible. - The Whole Orb Seen from a Hill. - Days
of Sunshine Ahead. 109

XVI. Wolves the Great Foe of the Lapps. - How the Reindeer are
Protected against Them. - Watching for the Treacherous
Brutes. - Stories of their Sagacity. 112

XVII. In Search of Wolves. - A Large Pack. - They Hold a
Consultation. - Their Fierce Attack on the
Reindeer. - Pursuing Them on Skees. - Killing the
Chief of the Pack. 122

XVIII. Great Skill of the Lapps with Their Skees. - Leaping over
Wide Gullies and Rivers. - Prodigious Length of Their
Leaps. - Accuracy of Their Coasting. - I Start Them by
Waving the American Flag. 129

XIX. We Encounter More Wolves. - My Guide Kills Two with
his Bludgeon. - A Visiting Trip with a Lapp
Family. - Extraordinary Speed of Reindeer. - We
Strike a Boulder. - Lake Givijärvi. - Eastward Again. 136

XX. The Lapp Hamlet of Kautokeino. - A Bath in a Big Iron
Pot. - An Arctic Way of Washing Clothes. - Dress and
Ornaments of the Lapps. - Appearance and Height of
the Lapps. - Givijärvi. - Karasjok. 142

XXI. Leave Karasjok still Travelling Northward. - The River
Tana. - River Lapps. - Filthy Dwellings. - On the Way
to Nordkyn. - The Most Northern Land in Europe. 150

XXII. Leave Nordkyn. - Frantic Efforts of the Reindeer to Keep
their Footing on the Ice. - The Bear's Night. - Foxes
and Ermines. - Weird Cries of Foxes. - Building Snow
Houses. - Shooting-boxes. - Killing Foxes. - Traps for
Ermines. - A Snow Owl. 155

XXIII. Jakob Talks to Me about Bears. - The Bear's Night. - Watching
a Bear Seeking for Winter Quarters. - They Are Very
Suspicious. - I Tell a Bear Story in my Turn. 165

XXIV. Preparations for Crossing the Mountains to the Arctic
Ocean. - Decide to Take the Trail to the Ulf Fjord. - Houses
of Refuge. - A Series of Terrific Windstorms in the
Mountains. - Lost. - Gloomy Reflections. - A Happy Reunion. 170

XXV. A Dangerous Descent. - How to Descend the Mountains. - The
Most Perilous Portion of the Journey. - Exhaustion of the
Reindeer. - All Safe at the Bottom. - Arrival at the Shore
of the Arctic Sea. 183

XXVI. Sail on the Arctic Ocean. - The Brig _Ragnild_. - Ægir and
Ran, the God and Goddess of the Sea. - The Nine Daughters
of Ægir and Ran. - Great Storms. - Compelled to Heave To. 190

XXVII. A Dark Night at Sea. - Wake of the _Ragnild_. - Thousands
of Phosphorescent Lights. - A Light Ahead. - An Arctic
Fair. - A Fishing Settlement. - How the Cod are
Cured. - Fish and Fertilizer Fragrance. 199

XXVIII. Among the Fishermen. - Their Lodgings and How They
Look. - What They Have to Eat. - An Evening of Talk
about Cod, Salmon, and Herring. - The Immense Number
of Fish. - A Snoring Match. 205

XXIX. Departure for the Fishing Banks. - Great Number of
Boats. - More than Five Thousand Oars Fall into the
Water at the Same Time. - Quantities of Buoys and
Glass Balls. - A Notable Catch of Cod. 211

XXX. A Great Viking Sea Fight. - Svein King of Denmark, Olaf King
of Sweden, Erik Jarl of Norway, against King Olaf
Tryggvasson of Norway. - They Lie in Ambush. - Magnificent
Ships. - The _Long Serpent_. - Ready for the Fight. - The
Attack. - The _Jarn Bardi_. - Defeat of Olaf Tryggvasson. 219

XXXI. Sailing along the Coast of Finmarken. - Hammerfest, the
Most Northern Town in the World. - Schools. - Fruholmen,
the Most Northern Lighthouse in the World. - Among the
Sea Lapps. - Men and Women Sailors. 227

XXXII. A Sea Lapp Hamlet. - Strange Houses. - Their
Interiors. - Summer Dress of the Sea Lapps. - Primitive
Wooden Cart. - Animals Eat Raw Fish. - I Sleep in a Sea
Lapp's House. - They Tell Me to Hurry Southward. 232

XXXIII. Comparison of Finmarken with Alaska. - The Two
Lands Much Alike. - What Must be Done for
Alaska. - Colonization. - Importation of
Reindeer. - Protection of Fisheries. - Houses of Refuge. 241

XXXIV. Preparation to Leave the Arctic Coast. - Great Danger of
Encountering Melting Snow, or Rivers Made Dangerous by
the Ice Breaking. - Reindeer Come. - Farewell to the Sea
Lapps. - I Leave for More Southern Land. 244

XXXV. We Enter a Birch Forest. - The Reindeer are Soon
Fagged. - Sleep on the Snow. - The Rays of the Sun Melt
through the Snow. - Great difficulty in Travelling. - Meet
Herds of Reindeer. - Reindeer Bulls Fight Each Other. 249

XXXVI. Variable Weather. - Snowy Days. - An Uninhabited House of
Refuge. - Animals Changing the Color of their Fur. - Mikel
Tells Me about a Bear. - Killing the Bear. - Hurrying on
over Soft Snow and Frozen Rivers. - The Ice Begins to
Break. - Pass the Arctic Circle. 256

List of Illustrations

"Your friend, Paul Du Chaillu." _Frontispiece_


"On the road were many snow-ploughs at work levelling the snow." 8

"The husband suddenly disappeared through the trap-door and soon
came back with potatoes and a big piece of bacon." 20

"The boys got hold of my hands and pulled me through." 24

"It was, indeed, a fearful wind storm." 40

"Paulus, try again!" 54

"The man had to use all his strength." 64

"I was shot out of the sleigh." 68

"At noon I saw the sun's lower rim touching the horizon." 72

"What a strange abode these nomadic Lapps have!" 80

"I went outside the tent with my host." 92

"They were really working hard for their living." 104

"The Lapp passed him like a flash and gave him a terrible blow." 124

"It was a fight for life!" 128

"Suddenly I saw them fly through the air." 132

"I advanced cautiously." 160

"The mist was so thick that I could not see ahead." 172

"We remained seated on the ground, back to back." 180

"Once in a while I gave a look towards the ugly precipice." 184

"I am clad in the garb of a fisherman." 190

"I saw a big towering wave rolling towards the stern of the
ship." 194

"It is hard work to haul in the nets." 212

"We sailed towards North Cape." 228

"He sat on his haunches and looked at us, uttering a tremendous
growl." 262

The Land of the Long Night



At the time when this narrative begins I was travelling on the highroad
that skirts the southern coast of Sweden, then turns northward and
follows the shores of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia. I had
reached that part of the highway overlooking the narrow part of the
Sound which separates Sweden from Denmark, and had just left the pretty
little city of Helsingborg, and was looking at the hundreds of vessels
and steamers which were moving towards the Baltic or coming out of that
sea. It was a most beautiful sight.

I intended to follow the road as far north as it went, and enter "The
Land of the Long Night" when the sun was below the horizon for many
weeks. I had plenty of time to spare, for it was the beginning of

On that day my horse was trotting at the usual gait of post-horses,
going at the rate of six or seven miles an hour. He knew every stone,
ditch, bridge, and house on the road, for many and many a time the dear
old animal had made this journey to and fro, often twice each way in a
day. He had been a post-horse for over twelve years.

His master, my driver, was very kind to him. He always alighted when
there was a hill to ascend, and walked by his side, gently urging him to
go on. When the top of the hill was reached, he stopped to give the
animal time to take breath; then, before starting again, he would give
him a piece or two of black bread, sometimes a potato, which he had put
in his pocket before leaving. The people of Scandinavia are always kind
to their dumb animals. Believe me, dear young folks, there is something
mean and cowardly about a man who is not kind to dumb creatures. Do not
have him for a friend!

As I looked at the ships sailing from the Baltic, a sudden yearning to
go home took hold of me, and I forgot all about "The Land of the Long
Night." I thought of all my dear friends, of all the school girls and
boys whom I knew, and I wanted to see them ever so much, even if it
might be only for a day. It would have made me so happy to look upon
their faces once more. Sometimes one feels very lonely when away from
home, and that day I could not help it. I thought of dear Jeannie, of
sweet Gertrude, and Hilda, of Marie, of Pauline, of Helen, of Laura, of
Blanche, of Julia, of Melissa, of Rowena, of Beatrice, of Alice, of
Maude, of Ethel, of Evelyn, of Louise, of Iphigenia, and others that
were also dear to me. Then I thought of Charles, of Arthur, of William,
of Louis, of John, of Robert, of Frank, of George, of Anson, of
Mortimer, of Eddy, of Fred, and of many others.

Many of the girls and boys call me either "Paul," "Friend Paul," or
"Uncle Paul;" some of the girls call me "Cousin Paul." These are my
chums, and it is lovely to have chums! I thought of the fun and good
times I had had with all of them; and I felt on that day that I loved
them more than ever as the great ocean separated us.

I thought of all the young folks whom I had talked to in the public or
private schools in many of the States, - for if there is a thing Friend
Paul likes, it is to talk to the young folks at school. As I thought of
this, it seemed as if I could see them listening to me.

I suddenly became very homesick. I said to myself: "I will go to America
and see my dear friends, and then return to go to 'The Land of the Long
Night.'" I could cross the Sound, go to Copenhagen, - the city was almost
in sight, and a nice city it is, - and take one of the comfortable
steamers of the Thingvalla Line, now called Scandinavian-American Line,
for New York.

As I was thinking of this, it suddenly seemed to me that I heard voices
coming across the Atlantic, - voices from friends, from school girls and
boys, calling: "Friend Paul, go on, go on to 'The Land of the Long
Night' first, and then come and tell us how it is there. Be of good
cheer; no harm will befall you; you will be all right."

Friend Paul cheered up when in imagination he had heard the voices of
his young friends urging him to go on, and he answered back: "Girls and
boys, you are right. I am going to 'The Land of the Long Night' first,
and on my return I will tell you all that I have seen there."

The dear old horse did not know what I was thinking, and was trotting
along - until suddenly he made a sharp turn and entered the post station,
the end of his journey. There I changed horse and vehicle, took some
refreshment, and started again. During the afternoon, I came to the town
of Landskrona. There, looking towards the Sound, I saw a steamer of the
Thingvalla Line gliding over the sea on its way to New York, and I said
aloud, "Steamer, you are not going to take me home this time. I am going
to 'The Land of the Long Night' first, to the land of snow and of gales,
the land of the bear, of the wolf, of the fox, and of the ermine.
Good-bye, good-bye, dear steamer! I hope you will have a successful
passage, and also that you have on board many Scandinavians going to our
shores to make their home with us."

I thought I again heard the same voices as before cry in response, "Good
for you, Paul, good for you!"

I felt now that I was a different man. It was as if I had actually heard
the voices of the dear young people encouraging me to go forward. I
suddenly became very restless and full of energy. I wanted my horse to
go faster. The young folks wished me to go to "The Land of the Long
Night." To that country I should go.

From that day I was ready for any amount of hardships, of bumping and
knocking about in sleighs. I did not care if my ears and nose were
frozen. All I wanted was to go ahead as fast as I could until I reached
"The Land of the Long Night."

I was in splendid condition for the journey. I had been roughing it all
summer in the mountain fastnesses of Norway. I had been living on cream,
butter, cheese, and milk, and had had bacon twice a week, on Sundays and

There were about one hundred and forty or fifty post stations before I
reached Haparanda, the most northern town on the Gulf of Bothnia.

Every day's travel brought me nearer to "The Land of the Long Night,"
but it was still a very long way off. I had yet to sleep at many post
stations and to change horses and vehicles many times.

I entered and left many towns - Malmö, Skanör, Falsterbö,
Trelleborg, - these last three were quaint, and the most southern towns
in Sweden. How charming, clean, and neat are those little Swedish towns!
I wished I could have tarried in some of them. Then I made a sweep
eastward, following the coast, and passed the town of Ystad, and then I
gradually drove northward, for now the road skirted the shores of the
Baltic. I passed Cimbrishamn, Sölvesberg, Carlshamn, and Carlskrona.

From Carlskrona the country was very pretty, and on my way to Kalmar,
and further north, I could see the Island of Öland with its numerous

The continuous driving, often in vehicles without springs, was rather
hard on my trousers, and I had not many pairs with me. In a word my
outfit was very modest. To travel comfortably, one must have as little
baggage as possible; for if you have too much baggage it is as if you
were dragging a heavy log behind you; you are not your own master, all
kinds of difficulties come in the way, and you have become the slave of
your own baggage. I bought clothing as I went along. I wished I could
have found some trousers lined with leather, like those used by cavalry
soldiers and by men who ride much on horseback; these would have lasted
a long time.

The weather was getting colder every day, winter was coming, and we had
had a few falls of snow. I passed Oscarshamn and Westervik, and at last
about the middle of November I arrived in Stockholm. But I had yet to
travel more than nine hundred miles to the north before I came to the
southern border of "The Land of the Long Night."

I had to give up my New York overcoat for warmer clothing and get a new
winter outfit. I bought a long, loose overcoat coming down to my feet.

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Online LibraryPaul B. (Paul Belloni) Du ChailluThe Land of the Long Night → online text (page 1 of 16)