Thorfinn Thordarson Karlsefni in "Eirik the Red’s Saga"

Chapter 7


There was a man named Thorfinn Karlsefni, the son of Thord Horse-head who lived in north Iceland, at the place now called Reynisnes in Skagafjord. Karlsefni was a man of good family and good means. His mother was named Thorunn. He went on trading voyages and was a merchant of good repute.

One summer Karlsefni made his ship ready for a voyage to Greenland. Snorri Thorbrandsson of Alftafjord was to accompany him and they took a party of forty men with them. [...]


There is no mention of how long they were at sea. But it is said that both these ships sailed into Eiriksfjord that autumn.

Eirik rode to the ships, along with other Greenlanders, and busy trading commenced. [...] But as Yule approached, Eirik grew sadder than was his wont. On one occasion Karlsefni spoke to him [...] But I'll regret it if word gets round that you've spent here a Yuletide as lean as the one now approaching.'

Karlsefni answered, 'It won't be that at all. We've malt and flour and grain aboard our ships, and you may help yourself to them as you will, to prepare a feast worthy of your generous hospitality.'

Eirik accepted this. Preparations for a Yule feast began, which proved to be so bountiful that men could scarcely recall having seen its like.

After Yule Karlsefni approached Eirik to ask for Gudrid's hand, as it seemed to him that she was under Eirik's protection, and both an attractive and knowledgeable woman. Eirik answered that he would support his suit, and that she was a fine match — 'and it's likely that her fate will turn out as prophesied,' he added, even if she did marry Karlsefni, whom he knew to be a worthy man. The subject was broached with Gudrid and she allowed herself to be guided by Eirik's advice. No more needs to be said on that point, except that the match was agreed and the celebrations extended to include the wedding which took place.

Chapter 8


There were great discussions that winter in Brattahlid of Snorri and Karlsefni setting sail for Vinland, and people talked at length about it. In the end Snorri and Karlsefni made their vessel ready, intending to sail in search of Vinland that summer. [...]


[...] Karlsefni had a wide knowledge of whales, but even he did not recognize it. [...]

Chapter 12



They returned to spend their third winter in Straumsfjord. [...] Karlsefni's son Snorri was born there the first autumn and was three years old when they left.[...]

Chapter 14


The following summer Karlsefni sailed for Iceland and Gudrid with him. He came home to his farm at Reynisnes.

His mother thought his match hardly worthy, and Gudrid did not stay on the farm the first winter. But when she learned what an outstanding woman Gudrid was, Gudrid moved to the farm and the two women got along well.

Karlsefni's son Snorri had a daughter, Hallfrid, who was the mother of Bishop Thorlak Runolfsson.

Karlsefni and Gudrid had a son named Thorbjorn, whose daughter Thorunn was the mother of Bishop Bjorn.

Thorgeir, Snorri Karlsefni's son, was the father of Yngvild, the mother of the first Bishop Brand.

And here ends this saga.

Source: Keneva Kunz, trans., "[Thorfinn Thordarson Karlsefni 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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