Piotr Karpenko

I am sure that this sketch was afterwards embodied in a map exactly as the officer had made it. Later, the printer of the maps, having never been to these regions, would place those details not on the side of the mountain where they belong but on the other side, and of course that is where our brother traveller will expect to find them. With few exceptions everything connected with the making of these maps proceeds in this way. Therefore, when a map indicates that you are approaching a river, you should not be surprised to come across one of the ‘gorgeous daughters of Mr. Himalaya’.


And so we continued for several days at random, without a guide, observing great caution to avoid meeting any of those bands of brigands who, particularly at that time, were not great lovers of the Europeans who fell into their hands, and transformed them with solemn ceremony into captives and later, with no less ceremony, exchanged them with some other tribe inhabiting this part of the surface of our dear planet for a good horse, or a rifle of the latest model, or simply for a young girl, also, of course, a captive.

Moving from place to place, we reached a small stream and decided to follow its course, reckoning that it must ultimately lead us somewhere. We did not even know whether it would lead us north or south, as the area we were in was a watershed.

We followed the banks of this stream as long as we could, but soon, when they became very steep and almost impassable, we decided to go along the bed of the stream itself.

We had not gone more than a few miles in this way when it was apparent that the stream, swollen by the water from numerous small tributaries, was rising to such a height that it was becoming impossible to continue our journey along its bed, and we were obliged to stop and deliberate seriously how to proceed.

After long discussions, we decided to slaughter all the goats, which we had brought with us for transporting our things and for our subsistence, in order to make bourdiouks out of their skins which we could inflate and attach to a raft, and thus float further down the river.