Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/61

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Some Notes on the Huculs. 49

of Hungary and Bukowina, in the eastern part of the Carpathians, in the valleys of the Prut and Czeremosz, in a part of the country called Pokutia, formerly the object of continual struggles between the ancient kingdom of Poland and Wallachia. They number about 60,000, including 2000 Jews. The Jews have of late years settled in the villages, and introduced brandy to the tribe, at the same time taking from them many cottages and much land.

The tourist visiting the picturesque valleys of the Czeremosz and upper Prut will from time to time meet shepherds and country people whose gaily coloured dress necessarily attracts his attention. The Huculs like gay colours, especially red, which contrasts extremely well with the green background of forest and meadow. These simple people live on what their cattle and fields afford and wear clothes made by themselves from the wool of their sheep, or threads of their own hemp. Caps and shoes are also of their own peculiar make, and only to be seen amongst them. These good and simple- natured people would be quite independent and content were it not for the Jews and the military system. The latter forces their boys to spend some years abroad, and when they return, they bring back the vices of the large towns, as well as diseases previously unknown. The small horses, which carry their riders safely over most perilous mountain paths, are beautiful little animals. Both men and women ride astride, and the latter are generally seen complacently smoking their pipes in com- pany with the men. The Huculs, having been formerly very wealthy, were able to satisfy their love and taste for fine and beautiful things. Many of them possessed extensive pastures, some 30 to 40 horses, and large herds of cattle, with hundreds of sheep. Everywhere in his mountains the Hucul felt free and self-dependent, like the Kosak in his steppe. The waters of the Prut carried