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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

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LETTER xvi         BAKHTIAEI AGEICULTUEE                       9

It is very solitary, although at times we come upon
Baklitiaris in camp, or moving with their flocks, much
darker in complexion and more uncivilised in appearance
than those of Arclal and its neighbourhood. From these
camps Aziz Khan procures guides, milk, and bread.
The heat increases daily, and the hour of getting up is
now 2.45. There are many forlorn burial-grounds, and
their uncouth stone lions, more or less rudely carved, are
the only permanent inhabitants of the region. Wheat
and barley grow in nearly all the valleys, and clothe the
hill-slopes, but where are the sowers and the reapers,
and where are the barns ? Cultivation without visible
cultivators is singularly weird.

Although the Bakhtiaris expend great labour on irriga-
tion, their methods of cultivation are most simple. They
plough with a small plough with the share slightly shod with
iron; make long straight furrows, and then cross them
diagonally. They do not manure the soil, but prevent
exhaustion by long fallows. After they come up to the
mountains they weed their crops carefully, and they look
remarkably clean. In reaping they leave a stubble five
or six inches long. There is a good deal of spade hus-
bandry in places where they have no oxen, or where the
arable patches are steep. The spades are much longer
than ours, and the upper corners of the sides are turned
over for three inches.

A spade is worked by two men, one using his hands
and one foot, and the other a rope placed where the
handle enters the iron, with which he gives the implement
a sharp jerk towards him.

In the higher valleys they grow wheat and barley only,
but in the lower rice, cotton, melons, and cucumbers are
produced, and opium for exportation. They plough and
sow in the autumn, and reap on their return to their
" yailaks" the following summer. Their rude water