Alexander Baranof came to Alaska to manage a fur company. He has been hired by Gregory Shelikof to replace him when he returned to Russia. He was working for the Shelikhov Trading Company and his job was to get furs. When he arrived he faced a problem. One of his men had killed a native. Now the natives were coming to make sure that Baranof was a friend.
An old Indian storyteller came up and said, "Baranof must prove his friendship." He told a beautiful Indian girl to come forward. The storyteller explained that the girl was a gift of trust and friendship. Baranof tried to explain that he already had a wife back in Russia. But Galak, the interpreter said, "Storyteller is offering friendship, if you turn him down there will be war."
Baranof felt that he had no choice. He accepted the princess as his wife and he grew to love his new wife. They had a son named Antipar and a daughter named Irina. Anna often felt rejected by the other women because she was married to a man who already had a wife. She was accused of living in sin. She was told that her children were cursed, and illegitimate. This worried her, and many nights Baranof would find his young wife crying. Due to the pressure she eventually moved away with her children back to her own people until the last two years of Baranof's life. When Baranof's real wife in Russia died Baranof tried to legitimize his children. The matter was brought before the Czar. The mother of the children was described to him as "the daughter of the Prince of Kenai." The Czar was impressed that Baranof's wife was a princess. And as a result of this the Czar not only legitimized the children, he also ennobled them as well.
© Copyright 1997 Elizabeth Beckett and Sarah Teel
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