Thorsteins’s Expedition in “Eirik the Red’s Saga”

Chapter 5

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The suggestion that men go to seek out the land which Leif had found

soon gained wide support. The leading proponent was Eirik’s son, Thorstein, a good, wise and popular man. Eirik was also urged to go, as people valued most his good fortune and leadership. For a long time he was against going, but when his friends urged him he did not refuse.

They made ready the ship on which Thorbjorn had sailed to Greenland, with twenty men to go on the journey. They took few trading goods, but all the more weapons and provisions.

The morning that he left, Eirik took a small chest containing gold and silver. He hid the money and then went on his way. After going only a short way he fell from his horse, breaking several ribs and injuring his shoulder, so that he cried out, 'Ow, ow!' Because of his mishap he sent word to his wife to retrieve the money he had hidden, saying he had been punished for having hidden it.

They then sailed out of Eiriksfjord in fine spirits, pleased with their prospects.[...]

They were tossed about at sea for a long time and failed to reach their intended destination. They came in sight of Iceland and noticed birds from Ireland. Their ship was driven to and fro across the sea until they returned to Greenland in the autumn, worn out and in poor shape, and made land when it was almost winter in Eiriksfjord.

Source: Keneva Kunz, trans., "[Thorstein's Expedition 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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