Helluland in “The Saga of the Greenlanders”

[Bjarni’s voyage]

Chapter 1

- 637 -

[...] He told them to hoist the sail [...], turning the stern towards shore and sailing seawards. For three days [from Markland] they sailed with the wind from south-west until they saw a third land. This land had high mountains, capped by a glacier.

They asked whether Bjarni wished to make land here, but he said he did not wish to do so — 'as this land seems to me to offer nothing of use'.

[...]they [...] followed the shoreline until they saw that the land was an island. Once more they turned their stern landwards and sailed out to sea with the same breeze. [...] They sailed for four days [after which they reached Bjarni’s father’s home in southern Greenland].

[Leif’s expedition]

Chapter 2

- 638 -

[...] Once they had made the ship ready, they put to sea and found first the land which Bjarni and his companions had seen last. They sailed up to the shore and cast anchor, put out a boat and rowed ashore. There they found no grass, but large glaciers covered the highlands, and the land was like a single flat slab of rock from the glaciers to the sea. This land seemed to them of little use.

Leif then spoke: 'As far as this land is concerned it can't be said of us as of Bjarni, that we did not set foot on shore. I am now going to name this land and call it Helluland (Stone-slab land).'

Source: Keneva Kunz, trans., "[Helluland in] The Saga of the Greenlanders" in The Sagas of Icelanders: A Selection, preface by Jane Smiley, introduction by Robert Kellogg, (New York, London, Victoria (Australia), Toronto, Auckland: The Penguin Group, 2000), 636-652. Notes: Translations first published in "The Complete Sagas of Icelanders," volumes I-V (forty-nine tales), Leifur Eiriksson Publishing, Ltd., Iceland, 1997.

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