Thorsten Eriksson in "Eirik the Red’s Saga"

Chapter 5


Eirik had a wife named Thjodhild, and two sons, Thorstein and Leif. Both of them were promising young men. Thorstein lived at home with his father, and there was no man in Greenland who was considered as handsome as he.

Chapter 6


The next thing to be told of is the proposal made by Thorstein Eiriksson to Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir. He was given a favourable answer by both Gudrid and her father, and so Thorstein married Gudrid and their wedding was held at Brattahlid that autumn. The wedding feast was a grand one and the guests were many.

Thorstein had a farm and livestock in the western settlement at a place called Lysufjord. A man there named Thorstein owned a half-share in this farm; his wife was named Sigrid. Thorstein and Gudrid went to his namesake


in Lysufjord that autumn where they were received warmly. They spent the winter there.

It then happened that sickness struck the farm shortly after the beginning of winter. The foreman, named Gardi, was an unpopular man. He was the first to fall ill and die. It was not long until the inhabitants caught the sickness, one after the other and died, until Thorstein Eiriksson and Sigrid, the farmer's wife, fell ill, too.

One evening Sigrid wanted to go to the outhouse which stood opposite the door of the farmhouse. [...]

Thorstein Eiriksson died near sundown. [...]


It had been common practice in Greenland, since Christianity had been adopted, to bury people in unconsecrated ground on the farms where they died. A pole was set up on the breast of each corpse until a priest came, then the pole was pulled out and consecrated water poured into the hole and a burial service performed, even though this was only done much later.

The bodies were taken to the church in Eiriksfjord, and priests held burial services for them.

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

Return to parent page