Kjalarnes (Keel Point) and Furdustrandir (Marvel Beaches) in “Eirik the Red’s Saga”

[Karlsefni’s expedition]

Chapter 8

- 666 -

[...]After another two days passed [leaving Markland] they again sighted land and approached the shore where a peninsula jutted out. They sailed upwind along the coast, keeping the land on the starboard. The country was wild with a long shoreline and sand flats. They rowed ashore in boats and, discovering the keel of a ship there, named this point Kjalarnes (Keel point). They also gave the beaches the name Furdustrandir (Wonder beaches) for their surprising length. After this the coastline was indented with numerous inlets which they skirted in their ships.

- 667 -

When Leif had served King Olaf Tryggvason and was told by him to convert Greenland to Christianity, the king had given him two Scots, a man named Haki and a woman called Hekja. The king told him to call upon them whenever he needed someone with speed, as they were fleeter of foot than any deer. Leif and Eirik had sent them to accompany Karlsefni.

After sailing the length of the Furdustrandir, they put the two Scots ashore and told them to run southwards to explore the country and return before three days' time had elapsed. They were dressed in a garment known as a kjafal, which had a hood at the top but no arms, and was open at the sides and fastened between the legs with a button and loop; they wore nothing else.

The ships cast anchor and lay to during this time.

After three days had passed the two returned to the shore, one of them with grapes in hand and the other with self-sown wheat. Karlsefni said that they had found good land. [...]

Chapter 11

- 671 -

[...] The group [...] sailed north around Kjalarnes Point and then westwards of it, keeping the land on their port side. They saw nothing but wild forest. When they had sailed for a long time they reached a river flowing from east to west. They sailed into the mouth of the river and lay to near the south bank. [At this place Thorvald dies in a battle with Aboriginal people.]

- 672 -


They soon left to head northwards where they thought they sighted the Land of the One-Legged, but did not want to put their lives in further danger. They saw mountains which they felt to be the same as those near Hop, and both these places seemed to be equally far away from Straumsfjord.

Source: Keneva Kunz, trans., "[Kjalarnes (Keel Point) and Furdustrandir (Marvel Beaches)] in Eirik the Red’s Saga" 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), 653-674. 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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