With the Lapps in the High Mountains: A Woman among the Sami, 1907–1908
Emilie Demant Hatt
civic life. In the end, Demant Hatt perhaps wisely left out long explanations of Sami history and politics, and told her story personally. The book reads the better for her warm portraits of those she lived with and the many details of their lives. Demant Hatt felt the need for a better grounding in anthropology after she returned home from her year and a half in northern Sweden. She met her husband-to-be, eleven years younger, when a friend introduced them. In the fall of 1909 Gudmund Hatt
both skill and strength to tow the wild animal forward between the trees and rocky outcroppings for seven or eight kilometers. The path of the Lapp and the bull was very irregular; ultimately, they disappeared far ahead of us. The reindeer caravan stepped sedately behind, with people and dogs. Now came the reaction to an exhausting day; everyone was rather silent and tired. Little by little, it grew dark and the stars came out. It was late when we finally glimpsed the glowing tents far below.
well. The child saw this immediately and was offended by its ugliness. IX NOW THAT AUTUMN HAD BEGUN IN EARNEST and all summer pastimes eliminated, conversations and the whole of life turned solely on the reindeer. The subject can never be exhausted; it’s the only thing that totally interests the Lapps. A visitor they’d been in contact with—even if he were the king himself—pales in memory and is paltry compared to any event related to the herd. The tourists with their frivolous questions, even
snowed steadily. In calm weather the snow drifted thick and fine down through the tent poles and melted on the fire. If the snow drifted like that, it could soon form smaller piles, and in the morning you could lie, nice and cozy, with a beautiful solid fifteen centimeters of snow over your legs or along the sleeping place, as if the wind had been there. If it blew in the night, the door was open like as not, and the sky’s wind and wet weather entered freely. If it was really snowing hard, it
smoke hole was pierced by the flame-tinted, spearlike spikes of the tent poles. The whole scene resembled a theatrical setting for witches. When the meat was cooked, the stewpot was lifted by the chain and set on the hearth to cool. It took strength and deftness to take down the full pot and place it well without spilling it. You could scald or burn yourself if you were a touch clumsy or not strong enough. The pot held twenty-eight liters of water—you could read that out on the outside, written