Eskimo Life/Translators Preface

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TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.

Before placing his 'Eskimoliv' in my hands for translation, Dr. Nansen very carefully revised the text, and made numerous excisions and additions. Thus the following pages will be found to differ in several particulars from the Norwegian original. I also requested and received Dr. Nansen's permission to suppress one or two especially nauseous details of Eskimo manners, which seemed to have no particular ethnological significance. The excisions made on this score, however, probably do not amount to half a page in all.

Dr. Nansen suggested that I should follow the example of Dr. Rink in his 'Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo,' and treat the word 'Eskimo' as indeclinable. I have ventured, however, to overrule his suggestion. There is precedent for both 'Eskimo' and 'Eskimos' as the plural form; and where there is any choice at all, it seems only rational to prefer the regular declension.

In Chapters XIII. and XIV. Dr. Nansen naturally makes numerous references to that great storehouse of Greenland folk-lore, Dr. Rink's 'Eskimo Sagn og Eventyr,' which has been translated and condensed by the author himself, under the above-mentioned title. Where it was possible, I have given the reference to the English edition; but in cases where the text has been very freely condensed or expurgated, I have referred to the Danish original as well. Even where I have not done so, students of folk-lore may be advised to go back to the original text, which is often fuller and more characteristic than the English version.

W. A.