Leif Eriksson in "The Saga of the Greenlanders"

Chapter 3


[...] They [Leif and his crew] headed out to sea and had favourable winds, until they came in sight of Greenland and the mountains under its glaciers.

Then one of the crew spoke up, asking, 'Why do you steer a course so close to the wind?'

Leif answered, 'I'm watching my course, but there's more to it than that: do you see anything of note?'

The crew said they saw nothing worthy of note.

'I'm not sure,' Leif said, 'whether it's a ship or a skerry that I see.'

They then saw it and said it was a skerry. Leif saw so much better than they did, that he could make out men on the skerry.

'I want to steer us close into the wind,' Leif said, 'so that we can reach them; if these men should be in need of our help, we have to try to give it to them. If they should prove to be hostile, we have all the advantages on our side and they have none.'

They managed to sail close to the skerry and lowered their sail, cast anchor and put out one of the two extra boats they had taken with them.

Leif then asked who was in charge of the company.

The man who replied said his name was Thorir and that he was of Norwegian origin. 'And what is your name?'

Leif told him his name.

'Are you the son of Eirik the Red of Brattahlid?' he asked.

Leif said he was. 'Now I want to invite all of you,' Leif said, 'to come on board my ship, bringing as much of your valuables as the ship can carry.'

After they had accepted his offer, the ship sailed to Eiriksfjord [...] Leif rescued fifteen men from the skerry. After this he was called Leif the Lucky.

Leif had now become very wealthy and was held in much respect. [...]


[...] Leif then said to Thorvald, ‘You go to Vinland, brother, and take my ship if you wish, but before you do so I want the ship to make a trip to the skerry to fetch the wood that Thorir had there.’

And so was done.

Chapter 6



Karlsefni asked Leif for his houses in Vinland, and Leif said he would lend but not give them to him.

Chapter 7


[...] Freydis Eiriksdottir, [...] went to her brother Leif and asked him to give her the houses he had built in Vinland. He replied as he had before, that he would lend the houses but not give them to anyone. [...]

Chapter 8



Leif then took three men from Freydis's company and forced them all


under torture to tell the truth about the events, and their accounts agreed in every detail.

'I am not the one to deal my sister, Freydis, the punishment she deserves,' Leif said, 'but I predict that their descendants will not get on well in this world.'

Source: Keneva Kunz, trans., "[Leif Eriksson 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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