into the bank. Ghertopanov lived by writing petitions,

Nature Difficult to Move Networkmusic2023-11-30 19:42:54 2 5335

I was much surprised to find that nearly all the Icelanders can read and write. The latter quality only was somewhat rarer with the women. Youths and men often wrote a firm, good hand. I also found books in every cottage, the Bible always, and frequently poems and stories, sometimes even in the Danish language.

into the bank. Ghertopanov lived by writing petitions,

They also comprehend very quickly; when I opened my map before them, they soon understood its use and application. Their quickness is doubly surprising, if we consider that every father instructs his own children, and sometimes the neighbouring orphans. This is of course only done in the winter; but as winter lasts eight months in Iceland, it is long enough.

into the bank. Ghertopanov lived by writing petitions,

There is only one school in the whole island, which originally was in Bessestadt, but has been removed to Reikjavik since 1846. In this school only youths who can read and write are received, and they are either educated for priests, and may complete their studies here, or for doctors, apothecaries, or judges, when they must complete their studies in Copenhagen.

into the bank. Ghertopanov lived by writing petitions,

Besides theology, geometry, geography, history, and several languages, such as Latin, Danish, and, since 1846, German and also French, are taught in the school of Reikjavik.

The chief occupation of the Icelandic peasants consists in fishing, which is most industriously pursued in February, March, and April. Then the inhabitants of the interior come to the coasting villages and hire themselves to the dwellers on the beach, the real fishermen, as assistants, taking a portion of the fish as their wages. Fishing is attended to at other times also, but then exclusively by the real fishermen. In the months of July and August many of the latter go into the interior and assist in the hay- harvest, for which they receive butter, sheep's wool, and salt lamb. Others ascend the mountains and gather the Iceland moss, of which they make a decoction, which they drink mixed with milk, or they grind it to flour, and bake flat cakes of it, which serve them in place of bread.

The work of the women consists in the preparation of the fish for drying, smoking, or salting; in tending the cattle, in knitting, sometimes in gathering moss. In winter both men and women knit and weave.

As regards the hospitality of the Icelanders, { 45} I do not think one can give them so very much credit for it. It is true that priests and peasants gladly receive any European traveller, and treat him to every thing in their power; but they know well that the traveller who comes to their island is neither an adventurer nor a beggar, and will therefore pay them well. I did not meet one peasant or priest who did not accept the proffered gift without hesitation. But I must say of the priests that they were every where obliging and ready to serve me, and satisfied with the smallest gift; and their charges, when I required horses for my excursions, were always moderate. I only found the peasant less interested in districts where a traveller scarcely ever appeared; but in such places as were more visited, their charges were often exorbitant. For example, I had to pay 20 to 30 kr. (8d. to 1s.) for being ferried over a river; and then my guide and I only were rowed in the boat, and the horses had to swim. The guide who accompanied me on the Hecla also overcharged me; but he knew that I was forced to take him, as there is no choice of guides, and one does not give up the ascent for the sake of a little money.

This conduct shows that the character of the Icelanders does not belong to the best; and that they take advantage of travellers with as much shrewdness as the landlords and guides on the continent.



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