The Activities in Various Regions in “Eirik the Red’s Saga”

[Thorsten at Straumsfjord and Hˇp]

Chapter 5

- 662 -

[…] 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.[...]

[Karlsefni and Gudrid at Straumsfjord and Hˇp ]

Chapter 8

- 667-668 -

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.[...]

They [...] unloaded the cargo from the ships and began settling in. […]

They had brought all sorts of livestock with them and explored the land and its resources. There were mountains there, and a pleasant landscape. They paid little attention to things other than exploring the land. The grass there grew tall.

They spent the winter there, and it was a harsh winter, for which they had made little preparation, and they grew short of food and caught nothing when hunting or fishing. They went out to the island, expecting to find some prey to hunt or food on the beaches. They found little food, but their livestock improved there. After this they entreated God to send them something to eat, but the response was not as quick in coming as their need was urgent. Thorhall disappeared and men went to look for him. They searched for three days, and on the fourth Karlsefni and Bjarni found him at the edge of a cliff. He was staring skywards, with his mouth, nostrils and eyes wide open, scratching and pinching himself and mumbling something.

They asked what he was doing there, and he replied that it made no difference. He said they need not look so surprised and said for most of his life he had got along without their advice. They told him to come back with them and he did so. […]

In the spring they moved further into Straumsfjord and lived on the produce of both shores of the fjord: hunting game inland, gathering eggs on the island and fishing at sea.

Chapter 9

- 668 -

They then began to discuss and plan the continuation of their journey. Thorhall wanted to head north, past Furdustrandir and around Kjalarnes to seek Vinland. Karlsefni wished to sail south along the east shore, feeling the land would be more substantial the farther south it was, and he felt it was advisable to explore both.

Thorhall then made his ship ready close to the island, with no more than nine men to accompany him. The rest of their company went with Karlsefni. [...]

After that they set out, and Karlsefni followed them as far as the island. [...]

- 669 -

[...]They then separated and Thorhall and his crew sailed north past Furdustrandir and Kjalarnes, and from there attempted to sail to the west of it. But they ran into storms and were driven ashore in Ireland, where they were beaten and enslaved. There Thorhall died.

Chapter 10

- 669-670 -

Karlsefni headed south around the coast, with Snorri and Bjarni and the rest of their company. [...] They stayed there for a fortnight, enjoying themselves and finding nothing unusual. They had taken their livestock with them.[...]

They remained there that winter. There was no snow at all and the livestock could fend for themselves out of doors. [...]

Chapter 11

- 671 -

[…] They then entered Straumsfjord, where they found food in plenty. Some people say that Bjarni and Gudrid had remained behind there with a hundred others and gone no farther, and that it was Karlsefni and Snorri who went further south with some forty men, stayed no more than two months at Hop and returned the same summer.

[…] The group stayed there while Karlsefni went on one ship to look for Thorhall. [...]

Chapter 12

- 672 -

[...] Thorvald died from the wound shortly after. [...]

[…] They returned to spend their third winter in Straumsfjord. Many quarrels arose, as the men who had no wives sought to take those of the married men. Karlsefni's son Snorri was born there the first autumn and was three years old when they left.

Source: Keneva Kunz, trans., "[The Activities in the Various Regions] 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). 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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