Sigurðsson, Gísli. 2004. The Medieval Icelandic Saga and Oral Tradition: A Discourse on Method. Trans. Nicholas Jones. Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature 2. Cambridge, MA: Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_SigurdssonG.The_Medieval_Icelandic_Saga_and_Oral_Tradition.2004.
7. The Saga Map of Vínland
Viking sagas and archaeological remains
The settlement of Iceland in the sagas and other sources
Leifr Eiríksson, magical lands in the western ocean, and the Gaelic connection
The Sagas and Other Records of Vínland
|Eiríks saga rauða||Grœnlendinga saga|
|GUÐRÍÐR COMES TO GREENLAND
Guðríðr comes to Greenland from Iceland with her father in a group of thirty people. Half of them fall ill and die on the way. A seeress tells Guðríðr’s future and she goes to Eiríkr rauði. Leifr accepts King Óláfr Tryggvason’s commission to promote Christianity in Greenland.
|LEIFR FINDS NEW LANDS
Leifr is blown off course and finds previously unknown lands to the west of Greenland where self-propagating wheat, grapevines, and mǫsurr trees grow. He rescues a group of people shipwrecked on a rock, converts them to Christianity, and is given the nickname ‘heppni’ (‘lucky’).
|BJARNI FINDS NEW LANDS
Bjarni Herjólfsson is blown off course and sees previously unknown forested lands to the west of Greenland.
|LEIFR EXPLORES NEW LANDS
Leifr buys Bjarni’s ship and asks his father Eiríkr to come with him. Eiríkr says he is too old for such a journey but in the end agrees to go. On their way to ship, Eiríkr falls from his horse and returns home. Leifr discovers Helluland, Markland, and Vínland and on the way home rescues Þórir and his crew, fifteen all told, from a rock where they have been shipwrecked. They all fall ill during the winter and Þórir and some of the others die. Guðríðr is Þórir’s wife. Leifr gets the nickname ‘heppni’ (‘lucky’) from saving these people.
|ÞORVALDR GOES EXPLORING AND IS KILLED AT KROSSANES
Leifr’s brother Þorvaldr explores lands to the west and east of Leifr’s camp at Leifsbúðir. He wrecks his ship on a headland, which from this becomes known as Kjalarnes (‘Keel Point’).
Þorvaldr says he wishes to settle thereabouts, but then they see nine men under three skin-covered boats and kill them all except one, who escapes. They are attacked by a large force of natives. Þorvaldr is killed by an arrow and buried on Krossanes.
|ÞORSTEINN ADRIFT IN THE ATLANTIC
Eiríkr rauði’s son Þorsteinn buys Guðríðr’s father’s ship and persuades Eiríkr to come with him on the voyage. Eiríkr hides his gold before setting off, but on the way to ship he falls from his horse and refuses to go any further. The others lose their bearings and sail around lost for the whole summer.
ÞORSTEINN AND GUÐRÍÐR MARRY AND LOSE THEIR WAY IN THE ATLANTIC
|ÞORSTEINN AND GUÐRÍÐR MARRY
Þorsteinn marries Guðríðr and they move to Lýsufjörður in the Western Settlement of Greenland. Þorsteinn falls ill and dies, but rises up from his deathbed and foretells Guðríðr’s future. His remains are moved to consecrated ground at Brattahlíð. Guðríðr’s father dies and she moves to Brattahlíð.
|THE JOURNEY OF KARLSEFNI AND GUÐRÍÐR
Þorfinnr karlsefni comes to Greenland and marries Guðríðr. There is much talk about voyages to Vínland, and Karlsefni and Guðríðr decide to go. With them go Eiríkr’s daughter Freydís, her husband Þorvarðr, and Eiríkr’s son Þorvaldr. They find Helluland, Markland, and Bjarney, as well as the keel of a ship on Kjalarnes.
|THE JOURNEY OF KARLSEFNI AND GUÐRÍÐR
Þorfinnr karlsefni comes to Greenland and marries Guðríðr. There is much talk about voyages to Vínland, and Karlsefni and Guðríðr decide to go. They intend to settle, so they take livestock with them.
|THE STAY AT STRAUMSFJÖRÐUR
They sail past Furðustrandir and stop at Straumsfjörður, where they find a beached whale. One ship intends to sail north around Kjalarnes in search of Vínland but is blown off course. Karlsefni continues south to Hóp, taking the livestock with him.
|THE STAY AT LEIFSBÚÐIR
They arrive at Leifsbúðir, where they find a beached whale that provides them with plenty to eat. They also live off the land, hunting, fishing, and collecting grapes.
|ENCOUNTERS WITH NATIVES AT HÓP
At Hóp they meet native Skrælingar. Karlsefni and his men trade with them, giving them red cloths in return for skins. Karlsefni forbids his men from trading their weapons. The Skrælingar are frightened away by a bull.
But they return and attack Karlsefni and his men, who flee. Freydís, who is pregnant, puts the Skrælingar to flight by baring her breasts and beating on them with a sword.
The Skrælingar find one of their number dead with an iron axe in his head. They take the axe and try it out on a tree, but it breaks on a stone and they throw it away.
On the way home, Karlsefni kills five Skrælingar sleeping in their bags/boats made of hides. These Skrælingar feed on blood and bone marrow.
|ENCOUNTERS WITH NATIVES
After one winter they become aware of natives, who become frightened by Karlsefni’s bull. They trade with the natives, who offer furs and want weapons in return, but Karlsefni forbids this.
Guðríðr gives birth to a son, Snorri, and sees a phantom. Karlsefni plans to use the bull to frighten off the natives. The natives attack and many are killed. One of them tries out an iron axe by striking one of his companions and killing him. Their leader picks up the axe and throws it into the sea.
The following spring Karlsefni decides to return to Greenland, taking with him timber, berries, and skins.
|ÞORVALDR IS KILLED IN THE LAND OF THE ONE-LEGGED
Karlsefni sails north around Kjalarnes and comes to a river flowing eastwards. A one-legged man appears and shoots an arrow at Þorvaldr. He pulls it out and is impressed to see the fat hanging from it, a sign of prosperity in the new land.
They realize they are looking at the same mountains as they had seen from Hóp, but from the other side. They estimate the distance from here to Straumsfjörður to be about the same as that from Straumsfjörður south to Hóp.
|SNORRI AT STRAUMSFJÖRÐUR
At Straumsfjörður there is a quarrel over women. Snorri, the son of Guðríðr and Karlsefni, is now three years old. They take hostages on their way home and lose yet another ship.
|FREYDÍS LEADS AN EXPEDITION TO VÍNLAND
Freydís Eiríksdóttir leads an expedition to Vínland with her husband, Þorvarðr of Garðar. Egged on by Freydís, the members of the expedition fall out and start fighting at Leifsbúðir. She kills the women herself and the survivors return to Greenland. Leifr condemns Freydís’s behavior.
|KARLSEFNI AND GUÐRÍÐR IN SKAGAFJÖRÐUR
Karlsefni and Guðríðr move to Iceland and settle at Reynines in Skagafjörður. Karlsefni’s mother takes against Guðríðr, considering her to be too low-born to marry into their family, but eventually comes to accept her.
Three bishops are named as being descended from Karlsefni and Guðríðr.
|KARLSEFNI AND GUÐRÍÐR IN SKAGAFJÖRÐUR
Karlsefni goes to Norway and sells his goods. He returns to Iceland and makes his home with Guðríðr and their son Snorri at Glaumbær in Skagafjörður.
Three bishops are named as being descended from Karlsefni and Guðríðr.
The place of the Vínland sagas among the sagas of Icelanders
L’Anse aux Meadows: viking remains in Newfoundland
Two independent sagas—a re-examination
The scholarly search for Vínland
Figure 7-2: The World of Vίnland Studies
Using the Textual Evidence
Advances in Vínland studies: oral lore, L’Anse aux Meadows, and the independence of the saga accounts
- Our knowledge and understanding of oral tradition has increased enormously.
- One site has been found in North America where it has been shown beyond doubt that people from Greenland and Iceland once lived, albeit temporarily, around the time when the events in the sagas are supposed to have taken place.
- We now know that the two sagas were written independently of each other. Each of them is thus based on differing oral traditions that can reasonably be traced back to the same events and/or accounts. So, to extract any source value from the sagas, they need to be taken together, warts and all; they are both equally reliable and equally unreliable. There is no justification for accepting what one of them says and rejecting the other—that is, if we think that they have anything to say to us at all.
The main voyages in popular memory
|En þó halda þeir nú í haf, þegar þeir váru búnir, ok sigldu þrjá daga, þar til er landit var vatnat, en þá tók af byrina, ok lagði á norrœnur ok þokur, ok vissu þeir eigi, hvert at þeir fóru, ok skipti þat mǫrgum dœgrum.||But despite this they put out to sea when they were ready, and sailed for three days until they were out of sight of land, and then the wind dropped, and there came breezes from the north and fogs, and they had no idea where they were going, and this continued for many days.|
|Eftir þat sá þeir sól ok máttu þá deila ættir. Vinda nú segl ok sigla þetta dœgr, áðr þeir sá land, ok rœddu um með sér, hvat landi þetta mun vera, en Bjarni kvezk hyggja, at þat mundi eigi Grœnland.||After this they saw the sun and were able to get their bearings. They hoist sail and sail for that day until they saw land, and discussed among themselves what land this might be, but Bjarni says he doesn’t think this could be Greenland.|
|Þeir spyrja, hvárt hann vill sigla at þessu landi eða eigi.||They ask whether he wants to sail up to this land or not.|
|‘Þat er mitt ráð, at sigla í nánd við landit.’||‘It’s my advice that we sail close in to the land.’|
|Ok svá gera þeir ok sá þat brátt, at landit var ófjǫllótt ok skógi vaxit, ok smár hæðir á landinu, ok létu landit á bakborða ok létu skaut horfa á land.||This they do, and saw quickly that the land was low-lying and wooded, with small hills on shore, and they turned to keep the land to port and the sail-end facing toward the shore.|
|Síðan sigla þeir tvau dœgr, áðr þeir sá land annat.||Then they sail for two days before they saw another land.|
|Þeir spyrja, hvárt Bjarni ætlaði þat enn Grœnland.||They ask whether Bjarni supposes it is Greenland yet.|
|Hann kvazk eigi heldr ætla þetta Grœnland en it fyrra, ‘því at jǫklar eru mjǫk miklir sagðir á Grœnlandi.’||He said he didn’t think this was Greenland any more than the previous time, ‘because there are said to be very big glaciers in Greenland.’|
|Þeir nálguðusk brátt þetta land ok sá þat vera slétt land ok viði vaxið. Þá tók af byr fyrir þeim. Þá rœddu hásetar þat, at þeim þótti þat ráð, at taka þat land, en Bjarni vill þat eigi. Þeir þóttusk bæði þurfa við ok vatn.||They quickly came in closer to this land and saw it to be flat and even land and wooded. Then the wind dropped on them. The crew declared that they thought it would be a good idea to land there, but Bjarni doesn’t want to. They claimed they needed both timber and water.|
|‘At engu eruð þér því óbirgir,’ segir Bjarni, en þó fékk hann af því nǫkkut ámæli af hásetum sínum.||‘You’re not in short supply of any of that,’ says Bjarni, and for this he got a fair amount of complaints from his crew.|
|Hann bað þá vinda segl, ok svá var gǫrt, ok settu framstafn frá landi ok sigla í haf útsynnings byr þrjú dœgr ok sá þá land it þriðja. En þat land var hátt ok fjǫllótt ok jǫkull á.||He told them to raise the sail, and this was done, and they turned the prow away from land and sailed out to sea on a southwesterly wind for three days and then saw a third land. This land was high and mountainous, with a glacier on it.|
|Þeir spyrja þá, ef Bjarni vildi at landi láta þar, en hann kvazk eigi þat vilja, ‘því at mér lízk þetta land ógagnvænligt.’||They then ask if Bjarni wanted to make for land here but he said he didn’t want to, ‘because this land doesn’t look to me likely to be of any use.’|
|Nú lǫgðu þeir eigi segl sitt, halda með landinu fram ok sá, at þat var eyland; settu enn stafn við því landi ok heldu í haf inn sama byr. En veðr óx í hǫnd, ok bað Bjarni þá svipta ok eigi sigla meira en bæði dygði vel skipi þeira ok reiða. Sigldu nú fjǫgur dœgr.||This time they did not take down the sail and keep along the coast and saw that this was an island. They turned the stern back to land and held out to sea on the same breeze. Shortly afterwards the wind got up, and Bjarni told them to lower the sail and not sail harder than their ship and tackle could easily take. Now they sailed for four days.|
|Þá sá þeir land it fjórða. Þá spurðu þeir Bjarna, hvárt hann ætlaði þetta vera Grœnland eða eigi.||Then they saw a fourth land. Then they asked Bjarni whether he reckoned this was Greenland or not.|
|Bjarni svarar: ‘Þetta er líkast því, er mér er sagt frá Grœnlandi, ok hér munu vér at landi halda.’||Bjarni answers: ‘This is much more like what I’ve been told of Greenland, and we’ll make for land here.’|
|Nú bjuggu þeir skip sitt ok sigldu í haf, þá er þeir váru búnir, ok fundu þá þat land fyrst, er þeir Bjarni fundu síðast. Þar sigla þeir at landi ok kǫstuðu akkerum ok skutu báti ok fóru á land ok sá þar eigi gras. Jǫklar miklir váru allt it efra, en sem ein hella væri allt til jǫklanna frá sjónum, ok sýndisk þeim þat land vera gœðalaust.||Now they fitted out their ship and sailed out to sea when they were ready, and came first to the land that Bjarni and his men had found last. There they sail up to the land and drop the anchors and lowered a boat and went ashore and saw no grass there. Higher up it was all great glaciers, and as if it were all a single slab of flat rock right the way to the glaciers from the sea, and the land seemed to them devoid of any qualities.|
|Þá mælti Leifr: ‘Eigi er oss nú þat orðit um þetta land sem Bjarna, at vér hafim eigi komit á landit. Nú mun ek gefa nafn landinu ok kalla Helluland.’||Then Leifr said: ‘Things have turned out differently with this land for us than for Bjarni, not setting foot on it. Now I will give the land a name and call it Helluland.’|
|Síðan fóru þeir til skips. Eftir þetta sigla þeir í haf ok fundu land annat; sigla enn at landi ok kasta akkerum, skjóta síðan báti ok ganga á landit. Þat land var slétt ok skógi vaxið, ok sandar hvítir víða, þar sem þeir fóru, ok ósæbratt.||Then they returned to ship. After this they put out to sea and found a second land. Again they sail to the shore and drop anchor, then launch a boat and go ashore. This land was flat and even and wooded, with wide expanses of white sands where they found themselves, and shelving gently down to the sea.|
|Þá mælti Leifr: ‘Af kostum skal þessu landi nafn gefa ok kalla Markland.’||Then Leifr said: ‘I shall give this land a name according to its qualities and call it Markland.’|
|Fóru síðan ofan aptr til skips sem fljótast.||Then they went back down to the ship with all speed.|
|Nú sigla þeir þaðan í haf landnyrðingsveðr ok váru úti tvau dœgr, áðr þeir sá land, ok sigldu at landi ok kómu at ey einni, er lá norðr af landinu, ok gengu þar upp ok sásk um í góðu veðri ok fundu þat, at dǫgg var á grasinu, ok varð þeim þat fyrir, at þeir tóku hǫndum sínum í dǫggina ok brugðu í munn sér ok þóttusk ekki jafnsœtt kennt hafa, sem þat var.||Now they sail out into the ocean on a northeasterly wind, and were at sea for two days before they saw land, and sailed toward the shore and came to an island that lay north of the land, and landed there and had a look about them in good weather and found that there was dew on the grass, and by chance they put their hands in the dew and put it to their mouths and it seemed to them that they had never tasted anything as sweet as that was.|
|Síðan fóru þeir til skips síns ok sigldu í sund þat, er lá milli eyjarinnar ok ness þess, er norðr gekk af landinu; stefndu í vestrætt fyrir nesit. Þar var grunnsævi mikit at fjǫru sjávar, ok stóð þá uppi skip þeira; ok var þá langt til sjávar at sjá frá skipinu.||Then they went to their ship and sailed into the channel that lay between the island and a headland that extended north from the land. They headed in a westerly direction around the headland. At low tide there were extensive shallows and then their ship became beached, and from the ship the sea looked a long way off.|
|En þeim var svá mikil forvitni á at fara til landsins, at þeir nenntu eigi þess at bíða, at sjór felli undir skip þeira, ok runnu til lands, þar er á ein fell ór vatni einu. En þegar sjór fell undir skip þeira, þá tóku þeir bátinn ok reru til skipsins ok fluttu þat upp í ána, síðan í vatnit, ok kǫstuðu þar akkerum ok báru af skipi húðfǫt sín ok gerðu þar búðir; tóku þat ráð síðan, at búask þar um þann vetr, ok gerðu þar hús mikil.||But their curiosity was so great to go ashore that they could not be bothered to wait for the sea to rise under their ship, and they ran to land where a river flowed out from a certain lake. But when the sea lifted their ship again, they took the boat and rowed to the ship and moved it up into the river and so into the lake, and dropped anchor there and carried their sleeping bags from the ship and made camp there. Then they took the decision to arrange themselves at this place for the winter and put up some large buildings.|
|Hvárki skorti þar lax í ánni né í vatninu, ok stœrra lax en þeir hefði fyrr sét.||There was no shortage of salmon either in the river or in the lake, and bigger salmon than they had ever seen before.|
|Þar var svá góðr landskostr, at því er þeim sýndisk, at þar myndi engi fénaðr fóðr þurfa á vetrum. Þar kómu engi frost á vetrum, ok lítt rénuðu þar grǫs. Meira var þar jafndœgri en á Grœnlandi eða Íslandi. Sól hafði þar eyktarstað ok dagmálastað um skammdegi.||The land there was of such good quality, so far as they could see, that livestock would not need any fodder in winter. There were no frosts there in winter and the grass hardly withered at all. Day and night were more equal there than in Greenland or Iceland; in the depths of winter there the sun was in the sky at around 3 p.m. and 9 a.m.|
|Nú bjósk Þorvaldr til þeirar ferðar með þrjá tigu manna með umráði Leifs, bróður síns. Síðan bjuggu þeir skip sitt ok heldu í haf, ok er engi frásǫgn um ferð þeira, fyrr en þeir koma til Vínlands, til Leifsbúða, ok bjuggu þar um skip sitt ok sátu um kyrrt þann vetr ok veiddu fiska til matar sér.||Now Þorvaldr made ready for this voyage with thirty men with the advice of his brother Leifr. Then they fitted out their ship and put to sea, and there is no account of their journey until they get to Vínland, to Leifsbúðir, and saw to their ship and remained there through that winter and caught fish to feed themselves.|
|En um várið mælti Þorvaldr, at þeir skyldi búa skip sitt ok skyldi eftirbátr skipsins ok nǫkkurir menn með fara fyrir vestan landit ok kanna þar um sumarit. Þeim sýndisk landit fagrt ok skógótt, ok skammt milli skógar ok sjávar, ok hvítir sandar. Þar var eyjótt mjǫk ok grunnsævi mikið.||But in the spring Þorvaldr said that they should see to their ship, and the ship’s boat and some of the men with it should go west along the coast and explore there through the summer. The land seemed beautiful to them and well wooded, with woods coming down close to the shore, and white sands. There were many islands there and wide shallows.|
|Þeir fundu hvergi manna vistir né dýra; en í eyju einni vestarliga fundu þeir kornhjálm af tré. Eigi fundu þeir fleiri mannaverk ok fóru aptr ok kómu til Leifsbúða at hausti.||They found no signs of human habitation or animals anywhere, but on one island toward the west they found a corn rick made of wood. They found nothing else made by humans and turned back and arrived at Leifsbúðir in the autumn.|
|En at sumri ǫðru fór Þorvaldr fyrir austan með kaupskipit ok it nyrðra fyrir landit. Þá gerði at þeim veðr hvasst fyrir andnesi einu, ok rak þá þar upp, ok brutu kjǫlinn undan skipinu ok hǫfðu þar langa dvǫl ok bœttu skip sitt.||The second summer Þorvaldr went east with the ship and further north around the coast. Then they ran into sharp weather off a certain headland and were blown onto the shore there, and broke the keel from under the ship and they had a long stay there while they repaired their ship.|
|Þá mælti Þorvaldr við fǫrunauta sína: ‘Nú vil ek, at vér reisim hér upp kjǫlinn á nesinu ok kallim Kjalarnes.’||Then Þorvaldr said to his companions: ‘Now I want us to put up the keel here on the headland and we’ll call it Kjalarnes.’|
|Ok svá gerðu þeir.||And this they did.|
|Síðan sigla þeir þaðan í braut ok austr fyrir landit ok inn í fjarðarkjapta þá, er þar váru næstir, ok at hǫfða þeim, er þar gekk fram. Hann var allr skógi vaxinn. Þá leggja þeir fram skip sitt í lægi ok skjóta bryggjum á land, ok gengr Þorvaldr þar á land upp með alla fǫrunauta sína.||Then they sail away from there and east along the coast and into the mouths of the bays that were closest at hand and to a cape that jutted out there. It was all covered with woods. Then they berth their ship in the roads and put out a gangplank and Þorvaldr goes up onto the shore with all his companions.|
|Hann mælti þá: ‘Hér er fagrt, ok hér vilda ek bœ minn reisa.’||He said: ‘It’s beautiful here, and this is where I would like to raise my farm.’|
|Ganga síðan til skips ok sjá á sandinum inn frá hǫfðanum þrjár hæðir ok fóru til þangat ok sjá þar húðkeipa þrjá ok þrjá menn undir hverjum. Þá skiptu þeir liði sínu ok hǫfðu hendr á þeim ǫllum, nema einn komsk í burt með keip sinn. Þeir drepa hina átta ok ganga síðan aptr á hǫfðann ok sjásk þar um ok sjá inn í fjǫrðinn hæðir nǫkkurar, ok ætluðu þeir þat vera byggðir.||They go back to the ship and see on the sand in from the cape three hills, and went toward them and see there three skin boats with three men under each of them. They split up and laid hands on them all, except that one got away in his boat. They kill the other eight and then walk back to the cape and look around the place and see some mounds further up the bay, which they took to be signs of settlement.|
|Eptir þat sló á þá hǫfga svá miklum, at þeir máttu eigi vǫku halda, ok sofna þeir allir. Þá kom kall yfir þá, svá at þeir vǫknuðu allir.||After this a heaviness came upon them so great that they could not keep themselves awake and they all fell asleep. Then a shout sounded over them, so that they all woke up.|
|Svá segir kallit: ‘Vaki þú, Þorvaldr, ok allt fǫruneyti þitt, ef þú vill líf þitt hafa, ok far þú á skip þitt ok allir menn þínir, ok farið frá landi sem skjótast.’||This is what the shout says: ‘Wake up, Þorvaldr, and all your companions, if you want to keep your life, and go to your ship and all your men, and get away from land as quick as you can.’|
|Þá fór innan eptir firðinum ótal húðkeipa, ok lǫgðu at þeim.||A countless number of skin boats were coming up the bay and making toward them.|
|Þorvaldr mælti þá: ‘Vér skulum fœra út á borð vígfleka ok verjask sem bezt, en vega lítt í mót.’||Then Þorvaldr said: ‘We shall put up protective boards on the sides of the ship and defend ourselves as best we can, but do little about fighting back.’|
|Svá gera þeir, en Skrælingar skutu á þá um stund, en flýja síðan í burt sem ákafast, hverr sem mátti.||This they do, and the Skrælingar shoot at them for some time, but then flee away with all alacrity, any of them that could.|
|Þá spurði Þorvaldr menn sína, ef þeir væri nǫkkut sárir. Þeir kváðusk eigi sárir vera.||Then Þorvaldr asked his men if they were wounded in any way. They said they were not wounded.|
|‘Ek hefi fengit sár undir hendi,’ segir hann, ‘ok fló ǫr milli skipborðsins ok skjaldarins undir hǫnd mér, ok er hér ǫrin, en mun mik þetta til bana leiða. Nú ræð ek, at þér búið ferð yðra sem fljótast aptr á leið, en þér skuluð fœra mik á hǫfða þann, er mér þótti byggiligast vera. Má þat vera, at mér hafi satt á munn komit, at ek muni þar búa á um stund. Þar skuluð þér mik grafa ok setja krossa at hǫfði mér ok at fótum, ok kallið þat Krossanes jafnan síðan.’||‘I have a wound under my arm,’ he says, ‘and an arrow flew between the gunwale of the ship and the shield and in under my arm, and here is the arrow, and it will lead to my death. Now I advise you to make ready your journey back from here as quickly as you can, but you shall carry me onto that cape, the one I thought would be best to settle. It may be that my words have turned out true, that I would stay there for some time. There you shall bury me and put crosses at my head and feet, and call the place Krossanes for ever hereafter.’|
|a. skipvm þeira var fiorvtiggi manna annars hundrads. sigldv þeir vnndan sidan til uestri bygdar ok til biarmeyia.
(On their ships there were 160 people. Then they sailed on to the Western Settlement [of Greenland] and to the Bjarney Islands.)
|þeir hofþv allz .xl. manna ok .c. er þeir sigldv til vestri bygðar ok þaðan til bianeyiar
(They had altogether 160 people when they sailed to the Western Settlement and from there to Bjarney Island.)
|sigldu þeir þadan unndan biarneyium nordan uedr . uorv þeir uti tuau dægr
(From there they sailed by the Bjarney Islands on a northerly wind. They were at sea for two days (dgr).)
|þaðan siglðv þeir .íj. dœgr i svðr
(From there they sailed south for two days (dgr).)
|þa funndv þeir lannd ok rero firir . a baatvm ok kavnnavdu lanndit ok funndv þar hellr margar ok svo storar at tveir menn mattu vel spyrnazt i iliar.
(Then they found land and rowed along it in boats and explored the land and found many flat rocks there so big that two men might well lie end to end [on one].)
|þa sa þeir land ok skvtv bati ok konvðv landit ok fvnnv þar hellvr storar ok margar . xij. allna viðar
(Then they saw land and launched a boat and explored the land and found many big flat rocks there, twelve ells wide [about six meters].)
|melrackar voru þar margir
(There were many foxes there.)
|fiollði var þar melracka
(There were a great number of foxes there.)
|þeir gafv naf lanndinv ok kavllvdv hellv. lannd.
(They gave the land a name and called it Helluland.)
|þeir gafv þar nafn ok kollvðv hellvland
(They gave the place a name and called it Helluland.)
|þa sigldu þeir nordan uedr tvav dægr ok var þa lannd firir þeim ok var . aa skogr mikill ok dyr mavrg.
(Then they sailed on a northerly wind for two days and then there was a land before them on which there was a great forest and many animals.)
|Ðaþan sigldv þeir .ij. dœgr ok bra til landsvðrs or svðri ok fvndv land skogvaxit ok morg dýr a
(From there they sailed for two days and the wind shifted from south to southeast and they found a wooded land with many animals on it.)
|ey la i lannd svdr vnndan lanndinv ok funndv þeir þar biarn dyr ok kaullvdv biarn ey. Enn lanndit kavllvdv þeir marklannd þar er skogurinn.
(An island lay off the land to the southeast and there they found a bear and called [the place] Bjarney (‘Bear Island’). But the land they called Markland (‘Forest Land’) where the forest is.)
|ey la þar vndan i landsvðr þar drapv þeir ein biorn ok kollvðv þar siðan bianey en landit Markland
(An island lay offshore to the southeast. There they killed a bear and from this called the place Bjarney and the land Markland.)
|þa er lidin uorv tvau dægr sia þeir . lannd . ok þeir sigldu unndir lanndit . þar . var nes er þeir kvomu at þeir. beittu med lanndinu ok letv lanndit aa stiorn borda.
(When two days had passed they sighted land and they sailed along the coast. There was a promontory. When they got there they tacked along the coast, keeping the land to starboard.)
|þaþan sigldv þeir svðr með landinv langa stvnd ok komv at nesi einv la landit a stiorn
(From there they sailed south along the coast for a long time and came to a promontory. The land lay to starboard.)
|þar var avræfi ok strandir lanngar ok sanndar.
(There were wastes there and long, sandy beaches.)
|voro þar strandir langar ok sandar
(There were long, sandy beaches there.)
|fara þeir a . batum til lanndz ok fengu skiol af skipi ok kaulludu þar. kialar nes
(They go on boats to land and got shelter from a ship and called the place Kjalarnes (‘Keel Point’).)
|þeir rerv til lanz ok fvndv þar a nesinv kiol af skipi ok kollvðv þar kialarnes
(They rowed to land and found there on the headland a ship’s keel and called the place Kjalarnes.)
|þeir gafv ok nafn straunndunum ok kavlludu furdu stranndir . þviat langt var med at sigla.
(They also gave the coasts a name and called them Furustrandir (‘Wonder Beaches’) because it was a long way to sail down them.)
|þeir kollvðv ok strandirnar fvrðv strandir þvi at langt var með at sigla
(They also called the coasts Furðustrandir because it was a long way to sail down them.)
|þa giordiztt vog skorid lanndit ok helldu ok helldu þeir skipvnvm at vogvnvm
(Then the land became cut by bays and inlets and they steered [and they steered] the ships into the bays.)
|þa gerðiz landit vágskorið þeir helldv skipvnvm i ein vág
(Then the land became cut by bays and inlets. They steered the ships into a bay.)
|Tokv þeir þav a. skip sitt ok forv leidar sinnar þar til er vard . fiardskorid
(They took them [sc. Haki and Hekja, the pair of Scottish scouts] up onto their ship and went on their way until [the coast] became cut by a firth.)
|gengv þav a skip vt ok siglðv þeir siþan leiðar sinnar
(They went out onto a ship, and then they sailed on their way.)
|þeir lavgdv skipvnvm in a . fiordinn
(They steered the ships into the firth.)
|þeir siglðv in a fiorð eín
(They sailed into a certain firth.)
|þar var ey ein vvt firir ok uoru þar stravmar mikli ok vm eyna.
(There was an island outside the mouth and there were strong currents there and around the island.)
|þar la ein ey fyri vtan þar vm voro stravmar miklir
(There lay an island outside the mouth; around it there were strong currents.)
|þeir kaullvdu hana stravmsey.
(They called it Straumsey (‘Stream Island’).)
|þvi kollvðv þeir hana stravmey
(So they called it Straumey (‘Stream Island’).)
|fvgl var þar svo margr at travtt matti fæti nidr koma i milli eggianna.
(There were so many birds there that you could hardly put your foot down between the eggs.)
|sva var morg æðr i eyni at varla matti ganga fyri egivm
(There were so many eider ducks on the island that it was hardly possible to walk for eggs.)
|þeir helldv inn med firdinvm ok kavllvdv hann straums. fiavrd . ok barv farminn af skipvnvm. ok biuggvzt þar vm
(They continued in along the firth and called it Straumsfjrörður (‘Stream Firth’) and unloaded the cargo from the ships and struck camp.)
|þeir kollvðv þar stravmfiorð þeir baru þar farm af skipvm sinvm ok bioggvz þar vm
(They called the place Straumfjörðrur (‘Stream Firth’). They there unloaded cargo from their ships and struck camp.)
|þeir haufdv med ser allz konar fe ok leitudv ser þar lanndz nyttia.
(They had with them all kinds of livestock and made a survey of the land’s resources.)
|þeir hofþv með ser allzkonar fenað
(They had with them all kinds of livestock.)
|fiaull voru þar ok fagurt var þar um at litazt
(There were mountains there and it was beautiful to look around them.)
|þar var fagrt lanzleg
(There was beautiful country there.)
|þeir gaadv einskis nema at kanna lanndit . þar voru gravs mikil
(They paid heed to nothing except exploring the land. There were extensive grasslands.)
|þeir gaðv enkis vtan at kanna landit
(They paid heed to nothing except exploring the land.)
|Vill . þorhallr veidi madr fara nordr um furdu stranndir ok firir kialar nes ok leita svo uindlanndz. enn . karl uill fara sudr firir . lannd ok firir austan ok . þickir lannd þui mera . sem svdr er meir ok þickir havnum þat raadligra at kanna hvartvegia.
(rhallr veiimar (‘the Hunter’) wants to go north by way of Furðustrandir and around Kjalarnes and look for Vín[d]land again. Karl[sefni] wants to go south along the land on the eastern side, thinking that there will be more (fairer?) land the farther south it is; it makes more sense to him to explore both.)
|Sva er sagt at þorhallr vill fara norðr fyri fvrðvstrandir at leita vínlandz en karlsefni vill fara svðr fyri landit
(It is said that rhallr wants to go north by way of Furðustrandir and search for Vnland, but Karlsefni wants to go south along the land.)
|Sidan skildu þeir ok sigldv nordr firer furdu stranndir ok kialar nes ok uilldu beita þar firir vestan
(Then they parted and [sc. Þórhallr and his men] sailed north past Furðustrandir and Kjalarnes and wanted to tack there westward.)
|Siþan siglðv þeir norðr fyri fvrðv strandir ok kialar nes ok villdv beita vestr fyri
(Then they sailed north past Fuðrustrandir and Kjalarnes and wanted to tack on westward.)
|kom þa uedr. a moti þeim ok rak þa upp uid. irlannd ok vorv. þar miok þiadir ok bardir. þa let. þorhallr lif sitt.
(Then a wind came up against them and they were cast ashore in Ireland and were tortured badly and beaten there. Þórhallr lost his life.)
|þa kom mote þeim vestan veðr ok rak þa vpp a irlandi ok voro þeir þar barðir ok þiaðir ok let þorhallr þar lif sitt eftirþvi sem kavpmenn hafa sagt
(Then a wind came up against them from the west and they were cast ashore in Ireland and they were beaten and tortured there and Þórhallr lost his life, according to what traders have reported.)
|karls efni for sudr firir lannd ok Snorri ok biarni ok annat lid þeira
(Karlsefni went south along the land with Snorri and Bjarni and the rest of their party.)
|Nv er segia af karlsefni at hann for svðr fyri landit ok snorri ok biarnni með sinv folki
(It is now said of Karlsefni that he went south along the land and Snorri and Bjarni with their people.)
|þeir foru leingi ok til þess er þeir kuomu at aa þeiri er fell af lanndi ofan ok i vatn ok svo til siofar.
(They traveled a long time, until they came to a river that flowed down from the land and into a lake and so to the sea.)
|þeir forv lengi ok allt þar til er þeir komv at a einni er fell af landi ofan ok i vatn eitt til siofar
(They traveled a long time, all the way until they came to a river that flowed down from the land and into a certain lake to the sea.)
|eyiar uorv þar miklar firir aarosinvm ok matti eigi komazt inn. i ana nema at ha flædvm
(There were big islands outside the mouth of the river and you could not get into the river except at high tide.)
|eyrar voro þar miklar ok matti eigi komaz i ana vtan at haflœðvm
(There were big islands there and you could not get into the river except at high tide.)
|sigldu þeir. karl þa til aar osins ok kaullvdv i hopi lanndit
(Then Karl[sefni] and his men sailed to the mouth of the river and named the place Hóp (‘Lagoon,’ ‘Tidal Pool’).)
|þeir karlsefni sigldv í ósin ok kollvðv i hópi
(Karlsefni and his men sailed into the estuary and named it Hóp.)
|karl for aa einv skipi at leita. þorhallz. enn lidit uar eptir ok foru þeir nordr firir kialar nes ok ber þa firer vestan fram ok var lanndit a bak borda þeim
(Karl[sefni] went on one ship to search for Þórhallr but the group stayed behind and they went north around Kjalarnes and are borne forward along the western side, with the land on their port side.)
|karlsefni for þa einu skípí at leita þorhalls veidimanz en annat lidit uar eptir. ok foru þeir nordr fyri kialarnes ok berr þa fyri uestan fram. ok uar landit a bakborda þeim.
(Then Karlsefni went with one ship to search for Þórhallr veiðimaðr, leaving the rest of the group behind. They went north around Kjalarnes and are borne forward along the western side, with the land on their port side.)
|þar vorv eydi merkr einar ok er þeir haufdu leingi farit fellr af lanndi ofan vr austri ok i vestr
(There was nothing but forested wastes there, and when they had traveled a long time [a river] flows down off the land from the east toward the west.)
|þar uoro þa eydimerkr einar allt at sea fyri þeim ok npr huergi riodr .i. ok er þeir hafdu lengi farit fellr a af landi ofan or austri ok .i. uestr.
(Then there was nothing but forested wastes there as far as they could see in front of them, with hardly a clearing anywhere, and when they had traveled a long while a river flows down from the land from the east toward the west.)
|þeir lagu inn i arosinvm ok lagu vit hinn sydra backann.
(They stayed in the estuary and tied up on the south bank.)
|þeir logdu inn i arosinn. ok lagu uid hinn sydra bakkann
(They steered into the estuary and tied up on the south bank.)
|þeir foru þa i brutt ok nordr aptr ok þottuzt sia ein fætinga. lannd villdu þeir þa eigi leingr hætta lidi sinu
(They then went away back north and thought they saw Einfætingaland (‘Land of the One-Legged’). They were reluctant to put their people at risk any longer.)
|Þeir foru þa i brott ok nordr aptr ok þottust sia Einfætingaland. uilldu þeir þa eige hætta lidi sinu lengr.
(Then they went away back north and thought they saw Einfætingaland. They were reluctant to put their people at risk any longer.)
|þeir ætlvdu at kanna aull fiaull þav er i hopi vorv ok er þeir fvnndv.
(They intended to explore all the mountains that were at Hóp and that they found.)
|þeir etladu oll ein fioll þau er i hopi uoro ok þessi er nu funnu þeir. ok þat stedist miog sua a. ok væri iam langt or straumfirdi beggia uegna.
(They reckoned they were all the same mountains, the ones that were at Hóp and these that they found now, and that would have made good sense, [for] it was equidistant from Straumfjórður in both directions.)
Leifr’s Vínland: southwest of ‘Markland’ in the south of the Gulf of St. Lawrence: Prince Edward Island and the Miramichi Bay
Straum(s)fjörður and Hóp: south and east of Leifr’s Vínland: the Bay of Fundy and the coast of New England
|Leifr’s Vínland (‘Vineland,’ ‘Wineland’)||On or near an island that lies north of a shallow strait separating it from the mainland; two days’ (dœgr) sailing southwest of Markland; west of Kjalarnes|
|Leifsbúðir (‘Leifr’s Camp’)||On land with islands and shallows to the west; dangerous waters when sailing north around the coast and then south on the eastern side|
|Kjalarnes (‘Keel Point’)||On a headland projecting north, south of Leifsbúðir, east of Leifr’s Vínland and north of Straum(s)fjörður|
|Furðustrandir (‘Wonder Beaches’)||On the way from Kjalarnes to Straum(s)fjörður|
|Straum(s)fjörður (‘Stream Firth,’ ‘Bay of Currents’)||South of Kjalarnes and north of Hóp|
|Hóp (‘Lagoon,’ ‘Tidal Pool’)||South of Straum(s)fjörður|
|Einfœtingaland (‘Land of the One-Legged’)||Some distance west and south of Kjalarnes; to the west of the mountains that lie between here and Hóp|
The Limitations of Oral Evidence