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Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic

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Author Topic: Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic  (Read 3242 times)
Lisa Wolfe
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« Reply #90 on: January 27, 2009, 11:41:22 pm »

but to the new western world, the Wonderstrands which Leif had sought and had left without sufficient exploration. First, however, he was to call at Greenland, which his father had first discovered. It was the custom of the Viking explorers, when they reached a new country, to throw overboard their "seat posts," or setstokka,--the curved part of their doorways,--and then to land where they floated ashore. But Erik the Red had lent his to a friend and could not get them back, so that he sailed in search of them, and came to a new land which he called Greenland, because, as he said, people would be attracted thither if it had a good name. Then he established a colony there, and then Leif the Lucky, as he was called, sailed still farther, and came to the Wonderstrand, or Magic Shores. These he called Vinland or Wine-land, and now a rich man named Karlsefne was to send a colony thither from Greenland, and the young Harald was to go with it and take command of it.

Now as Harald was to be presented to the rich Karlsefne, he thought he must be gorgeously arrayed. So he wore a helmet on his head, a red

p. 176

shield richly inlaid with gold and iron, and a sharp sword with an ivory handle wound with golden thread. He had also a short spear, and wore over his coat a red silk short cloak on which was embroidered, both before and behind, a yellow lion. We may well believe that the sixty men and five women who composed the expedition were ready to look on him with admiration, especially as one of the women was his own sister, Freydis, now left to his peculiar care, since Erik the Red had died. The sturdy old hero had died still a heathen, and it was only just after his death that Christianity was introduced into Greenland, and those numerous churches were built there whose ruins yet remain, even in regions from which all population has gone.

So the party of colonists sailed for Vinland, and Freydis, with the four older women, came in Harald's boat, and Freydis took easily the lead among them for strength, though not always, it must be admitted, for amiability.

The boats of the expedition having left Greenland soon after the year 1000, coasted the shore as far as they could, rarely venturing into open

p. 177

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