Thorvald Eriksson in "The Saga of the Greenlanders," The Sagas of the Icelanders

Chapter 1



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



There was great discussion of Leif's Vinland voyage and his brother


Thorvald felt they had not explored enough of the land. [...]

In consultation with his brother Leif, Thorvald now prepared for this journey with thirty companions. They made their ship ready and put to sea, and nothing is told of their journey until they came to Vinland, to Leif's camp, where they laid up their ship and settled in for the winter, fishing for their food.


The second summer Thorvald explored the country to the east on the

large ship, going north around the land. [...]



A vast number of hide-covered boats came down the fjord, heading towards them.

Thorvald then spoke: 'We will set up breastworks along the sides of the ship and defend ourselves as well as possible, but fight back as little as we can.'

They did as he said, and after the natives had shot at them for a while, they fled as rapidly as they could.

Thorvald then asked his men if they had been wounded, and they replied that they were unhurt.

'I have been wounded under my arm,' he said. 'An arrow flew between the edge of the ship and the shield into my armpit. Here is the arrow, and this wound will cause my death. I now advise you to prepare for your return journey as quickly as possible, but take me to that cape I thought was such a good farm site. Perhaps the words I spoke will prove true enough and I will dwell there awhile. You will bury me there and mark my grave with crosses at the head and foot, and call the spot Krossanes (Cross point) after that.'

Greenland had been converted to Christianity by that time, although Eirik the Red had died before the conversion.

Thorvald then died, and they did everything as he had advised, then left to meet up with their companions. [...]

In the spring they made ready for the voyage back to Greenland. They steered the ship into Eiriksfjord and had plenty of news to tell Leif.

Source: Keneva Kunz, trans., "[Thorvald 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.

Return to parent page