Smoke in the DarknessThe reindeer people of Siberia, family groups who made their living herding reindeer, had a rich spirituality. It included a holy man who traveled by magic reindeer, and entered the snow-covered winter homes through the only opening: the smoke hole in the roof. When Christian missionaries ventured as far north as the Arctic Circle in the seventeenth century, they brought with them stories of Saint Nicholas as part of their teachings of Christ. Often, a people’s tradition and Christianity were combined in ways that fit both religions’ symbolisms.Lopahin snuggled in the bed, a pile of reindeer hides that lay as close to the fire are safety would allow. It was dark. It was always dark in the wintertime. His mother, father and grandmother sat near the fire with the uncle who was talking quietly so the child could go to sleep.