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Eirik the Red's Saga by Anonymous

Translated by the Rev. J. Sephton


Guide's note: The saga of Eirik the Red (or Erik the Red) was written c. 1265 by an unknown author.

Eirik the Red's Saga

A Translation
Read before the
Literary and Philosophical Society of Liverpool
January 12th, 1880
by the Rev. J. Sephton

Liverpool: D. Marples & Co. Limited, Melvill Chambers


1. How Vifil, Gudrid's grandfather, came to Iceland.

2. Of Eirik the Red, and his discovery of Greenland.

3. Gudrid's parentage, and the emigration of her father, Thorbjorn, and his family to Greenland.

4. Eirik's family, and his son Leif's discovery of Vinland.

5. Gudrid marries Thorstein, son of Eirik the Red. [Sickness and death of Thorstein.]

6. Gudrid marries Karlsefni.

7. Karlsefni's expedition to Vinland. The first winter is passed at Straumsfjordr.

8. Fate of Thorhall the Sportsman.

9. The second winter is passed at Hop.

10. Dealings with the Skrœlingar.

11. Fight with the Skrœlingar.

12. Return to Straumsfjordr.

13. The slaying of Thorvald by a One-footer. The colonists return to Greenland after passing the third winter at Straumsfjordr.

14. Heroic magnanimity and fate of Bjarni.

15. Gudrid's descendants.

(This translation is made from the version of the Saga printed in Dr. Gudbrand Vigfusson's Icelandic Prose Reader. The passages in square brackets are taken from the Hauks-bok version given in Antiquitates Americanæ. It may be mentioned here that Carl Christian Rafn and the other Danish scholars who edited this elaborate work have concluded that Kjalarnes is the modern Cape Cod, Straumsfjordr is Buzzard's Bay, Straumsey is Martha's Vineyard, and Hop is on the shores of Mount Haup Bay, into which the river Taunton flows.

English readers of Icelandic owe a large debt to Dr. Vigfusson for his labours in the cause of Icelandic literature. The great Dictionary, the Sturlunga Saga, and the Prose Reader, together make an undying claim on our gratitude; and yet they only show how very much more is still to be done. May we hope that Dr. Vigfusson will not cease from his labours until he has put forth a large instalment of the series which he has sketched in the able introduction to the Sturlunga, p. ccix.; and that the Delegates of the Clarendon Press will continue generously to appreciate his eager, scholarly, and laborious enthusiasm.)

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