Page:Eskimo Life.djvu/11

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ix
AUTHOR'S PREFACE

ingenious implements and attained their masterly skill in the chase. Hundreds, nay thousands, of years passed, tribe after tribe succumbed, while other and stronger stocks survived—and I was filled with admiration for a people which had emerged victorious from the struggle with such inhospitable natural surroundings.

But in melancholy contrast to this inspiriting picture of the past, the present and the future rose before my eyes—a sad, a hopeless mist.

In Greenland the Eskimos fell in with Europeans. First it was our Norwegian forefathers of the olden times; them they gradually overcame. But we returned to the charge, this time bringing with us Christianity and the products of civilisation; then they succumbed, and are sinking ever lower and lower. The world passes on with a pitying shrug of the shoulders.

What more can one say? Who's a penny the worse
Though a beggar be dead?'

But this people, too, has its feelings, like others; it, too, rejoices in life and Nature, and bleeds under our iron heel. If anyone doubts this, let him