Two young brothers, the sons of a Russian nobleman, ask their father if they may spend a while travelling the world. He agrees, but lays down two conditions: one, that they should bring back the skins, in good condition, of every species of bear there is; two, that they should proceed from east to west, or from west to east, without doubling back on their tracks, except, of course, while actually engaged in the chase.The boys, for they are still in their teens, accept the conditions, and set off westward, visiting all sorts of interesting places in Europe and elsewhere, and gathering numerous bearskin trophies on the way. Oddly enough they never go to Australia, but maybe the Koala bear is not a bear, within the definition of the word.
the great cities of the world?" exclaimed Ivan, whose mind was evidently occupied with the delights of great cities.
"So" replied his father; "it is just that which I do not intend you shall do. There is a great deal to be learnt in cities, but much that would be better not learnt at all. I have no objection to your passing through cities--for you must needs do so on your journey--but one of the conditions which I shall prescribe is, that you make stay in no city, longer than you can arrange for getting out of it. It is through countries I wish you to travel--amidst the scenes of nature--and not in towns and cities, where you would see very little more than you can in Saint Petersburg itself. It is Nature I wish you to become acquainted with, and you must see it in its most primitive forms. There only can you appreciate Nature in all its sublimity and grandeur."
"Agreed, papa!" exclaimed both the boys at once. "Which way do you wish us to go?"
"All round the world, as I
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