“Nechilli Eskimo in Their Snow Hut”


His name was Atikleura. . . . He showed himself later to be far superior to all his countrymen in every respect. I followed his suggestion, and went inside his igloo. A passage led into the hut proper; this was so low, that I had to stoop down. It had two extensions, like quite small huts, and what they served for was not difficult to guess by the odour; there was nothing to see, as the dogs were the scavengers. A hole so small that one had almost to creep through it led into the dwelling room. When I stood upright inside, I was speechless with astonishment. It was quite an apartment for festive occasions; it had been constructed the day before, and was therefore still gleaming white. From floor to roof the room measured fully twice a man's height. The blocks in the wall were regular and of equal size, and the inside diameter was not less than fifteen feet. It was evident that Atikleura knew how to build beautifully. The sleeping shelf was so high, one had to swing onself up on it, and it was covered with the most delicate reindeer skin. Everything gave the impression of the most perfect order. [Amundsen, Vol. 1, pp. 167-168.]