Erik the Red in "Eyrbyggja Saga"

Chapter 24


At this assembly Thorgest the Old and the sons of Thord Gellir brought an action against Eirik the Red for the killing of Thorgest’s sons the autumn before, when Eirik went over to


Breidabolstad to claim his bench-boards. It was a well-attended Assembly. Each side had kept a large standing force.

During the Assembly Eirik got his ship ready at Eirik’s Bay on Oxna Island. He got the backing of Thorbjorn Vifilsson, Killer-Styr, the sons of Thorbrand of Alftafjord and Eyolf Aesuson of Svin Island, but of all his supporters Styr was the only one who attended the Assembly. He persuaded all the men he could to withdraw their support from Thorgest, and then he pleaded with Snorri the Priest not to join Thorgest in his attack on Eirik after the Assembly. In return he promised to back Snorri any time he had trouble on his hands. Snorri accepted the offer and took no part in the quarrel.

After the Assembly Thorgest and his men set out to the islands in a number of boats, but Eyolf Aesuson hid Eirik’s ship in Dimun Bay, and that’s where Styr and Thorbjorn came to join Eirik. Eyolf and Eirik did just as Arnkel had done and went with Eirik out beyond Ellida Island, each in his own boat.

It was on this voyage that Eirik discovered Greenland. He stayed there for three years, and then went back to Iceland. The following year he set out to colonise Greenland, fourteen years before Christianity was adopted by law in Iceland.

Source: Hermann Pálsson and Paul Edwards, trans., "[Erik the Red in] Eyrbyggja Saga" (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1973), 84-85.

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