Herds of reindeer moved across ice and snow. Slim-shouldered Lapps squatting on Ski-Doos nosed their animals toward an arc of stockades. A man in a corral held a pair of velvet antlers while another jabbed a needle into a damp haunch. I made my way toward the outer palisades, where Lapps beyond working age stoked beechwood fires and gulped from bowls of reindeer broth, their faces masked in musky steam. The first new snow had fallen, and the Harrå Sámi were herding reindeer down to the winter grazing. A livid sun hung on the horizon. Sámi, or Lapps, were the last nomadic people in Europe, and until recently they castrated reindeer at this place by biting off their balls. In the stockade I took my baby son from his wooden sledge, prowed like a miniature Viking ship, and wrapped him closer in his calf pelts.
- From The Magnetic North: Notes from the Arctic Circle by Sara Wheeler
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