Parents are free to disinherit their children; and, if a son separates from the family without his father's permission, he receives no share of the property except a gun and his wife's dowry.3 The Lapps are of necessity conservative in most of their habits, many of which can hardly have altered since the first taming of the reindeer.
It is long, however, since these abuses were abolished; and in Scandinavia more especially the Lapps of the present day enjoy the advantages resulting from a large amount of philanthropic legislation on the part of their rulers.
The majority of the Norwegian Lapps lead a semi-nomadic existence; but the number of inveterate nomads can scarcely reach 1500 at the present day.
Linguistically the Lapps belong to the Finno-Ugrian group (q.v.); the similarity of their speech to Finnish is evident though 2 Bertillon found in one instance a cephalic index of 94.
Sometimes there is another church and small settlement in the upper valley, to which, once or twice in a summer, the Lapps come from great distances to attend service.
In education the Scandinavian Lapps are far ahead of their Russian brethren, to whom reading and writing are arts as unfamiliar as they were to their pagan ancestors.
The Lapps have a dim tradition that their ancestors lived in a far eastern land, and they tell rude stories of conflicts with Norsemen and Karelians.
Reindeer are domesticated by the Lapps and other nationalities of northern Europe and Asia, to whom these animals are all-important.
The sea Lapps are in some respects hardly to be distinguished from the other coast dwellers of Finmark.
In Sweden the Lapps are gradually abandoning their nomadic habits and becoming merged in the Swedish population.