Thorsten Eriksson in "The Saga of the Greenlanders"

Chapter 1


Eirik’s children were Leif, Thorvald, Thorstein and a daughter, Freydis.

Chapter 5


Among the events taking place meanwhile in Greenland was the marriage of Thorstein Eiriksson to Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir, [...]

Thorstein Eiriksson now wished to sail to Vinland to retrieve his brother Thorvald’s body.


The first week of winter had passed when they made land in Lysufjord, in the western Settlement of Greenland. Thorsten managed to find places for all his crew members. But he and his wife had no accommodation and remained on the ship for several nights. In those days Christianity was still in its infancy in Greenland.

One day some men came to their tent early in the day. The leader of the group asked what men were in the tent.

Thorstein answered, ‘There are two of us,’ he said, ‘and who is asking?”

‘Thorstein is my name, and I am called Thorstein the Black. My reason for coming is to invite you and your wife to stay the winter with me.’

Thorstein Eiriksson said he wished to seek his wife’s guidance, and when she told him to decide he agreed to the offer. [...] and so they went to stay with Thorstein the Black, and he provided for them generously. [...]

It was early in the winter when the first of Thorstein Eiriksson’s companions were stricken by illness and many of them died there.

Thorstein asked that coffins be made for the bodies of those who had died, and that they be taken to the ship and secured away there — ‘as when summer comes I intend to take all the bodies back to Eiriksfjord’.

[...] Soon after that Thorstein Eiriksson was stricken, and both of them lay ill until Grimhild, the wife of Thorstein the Black, died. [...]


Thorstein Eiriksson's condition worsened and he died. His wife, Gudrid, was overtaken by grief. [...] At that Thorstein Eiriksson fell back, and his corpse was made ready and taken to the ship.

Source: Keneva Kunz, trans., "[Thorsten 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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