The Northern Way

Landnámabók

Part 2

Page 4

 So men of lore say that that summer twenty-five ships went to Greenland from Broadfirth and Borgfirth, and that fourteen got through to the west, that certain of them were driven back, and some were lost. This took place fifteen years before Christian faith was made law in Iceland.

There was a man named Herjolf, the son of Bard, the son of Herjolf, the friend of Ingolf the Settler. Ingolf gave land to Herjolf and his between Vag and Reykjanes. Herjolf the younger went to Greenland, when Eirek the Red settled the land. With him in the ship was a man from the Hebrides, a Christian. He composed the poem called 'Hafgerdingadrapa' in which the following verse occurs:

 This the harm-free (52) monks' controller (53)

Pray I, that he speed my journey;

Let the Lord of earth's high hall-roof, (54)

Hold o'er me the stall of falcon! (55)

Herjolf settled Herjolfsfirth and dwelt at Herjolfness. He was a most noble man.

Eirek afterwards settled Eireksfirth and dwelt in Brattahlid, and Leif, his son after him. These men took land in Greenland who had gone out then with Eirek, namely, Herjolf, Herjolfsfirth: he dwelt at Herjolfsness; Ketil, Ketilsfirth: Hrafn, Hrafnfirth: Solvi, Solvisdale: Snorri, the son of Thorbrand, Swanfirth, Thorbjorn Glora, Siglufirth: Einar, Einarfirth: Hafgrim, Hafgrimsfirth and Vatnahverfi: Arnlaug, Arnlaugsfirth: but certain went to the western settlement.

There was a man named Thorkell Farserk, the sister son of Eirek the Red; he went to Greenland with Eirek, he settled Hvalseyfirth, and most places between Eireksfirth and Einarsfirth, and dwelt at Hvalseyfirth; from him the Hvalseyfirthers are descended. He was of exceeding strength. He swam out to Hvalsey = Whale Island, after an old ox, and brought it from the island on his back, when he wanted to give good cheer to his kinsman, Eirek, and there was not a seaworthy vessel at hand; that was a distance of half a sea knot or mile = vika. (56) Thorkell was interred in the (tun) enclosure at Hvalseyfirth, and his ghost has ever since haunted the place.

Olave the White King of Dublin marries Aud, daughter of Ketil Flatnose. Thorstein their son and Sigurd conquer more than half of Scotland. Thorstein falls in battle.

Chapter XV. Ingolf the strong settled land in from the Salmon river to Skraumuhlaups river, and dwelt at Holmlatr. His brother was Thorvald, the father of Thorleif, who dwelt there afterwards.

Oleif the White was the name of a war-lord, he was the son of King Ingald, the son of Helgi, the son of Olaf, the son of Gudraud, the son of Halfdan Whiteleg, the King of the Uplanders. Olave the White harried in the West-viking, (57) and conquered Dublin in Ireland, and Dublinshire, and was made King over it. He married Aud the Deep-minded, the daughter of Ketil Flatnose. Thorstein the Red was their son. Oleif fell in battle in Ireland, and Aud and Thorstein went thence to Sodor, or the Hebrides; there Thorstein married Thurid, the daughter of Eyvind the Easterner, and sister of Helgi the Lean; they had many children. Their son was named Olaf Feilan, and their daughters, Groa and Alof, Osk, and Thorhild, Thorgerd and Vigdis. Thorstein became a war-lord; he entered partnership with Sigurd the Mighty, the son of Eystein Glumra; they conquered Caithness, Sutherland, Ross and Murray, and more than half Scotland, and Thorstein became King thereover, until the Scots betrayed him, and he fell there in battle. Aud was then in Caithness, when she heard of the fall of Thorstein; she caused a merchant ship to be made in a wood, in secret, and when it was ready she held out to the Orkneys; there she gave in marriage Gro, the daughter of Thorstein the Red. She was the mother of Grelad, whom Thorfinn Skullcleaver had in marriage. After that Aud went to seek Iceland; she had with her in the ships twenty free men.

Queen Aud settles all the Dale-lands, A.D. 892.

Chapter XVI. There was a man named Koll, the son of Vedrar (Wether) Grim, the son of Asi a hersir; he had the management of the affairs of Aud, and was most honoured by her. Koll married Thorgerd, daughter of Thorstein the Red. A freedman of Aud's was named Erp; he was the son of Melldun, an Earl in Scotland, even he who fell before Earl Sigurd the Mighty. The mother of Erp was Myrgjol, the daughter of Gljomal, King of the Irish. Earl Sigurd took them (Erp and Myrgjol), captives in war, and enslaved them. Myrgjol was the handmaid of the wife of the Earl, and served her faithfully; she was skilled in many arts; she took charge of a charmed child of the Earl's lady, whilst she was at the bath. After that Aud bought her for a great price, and promised her freedom if she would serve Thurid, the wife of Thorstein the Red, as she had served the Earl's lady. Myrgjol and Erp her son went to Iceland with Aud. Aud held first to the Faroe Islands (58) and there gave in marriage Alof, the daughter of Thorstein the Red; thence are the Gotuskeggjar = the Gatebeards descended. Afterwards she went to seek Iceland. She came to Veikarskeid, and there was shipwrecked. She went thence to Keelness to Helga Bjola, her brother, who offered her a lodging there with half of her companions, which she thinking a mean offer, said that he would always be a manikin. She then went west to Broadfirth, to her brother Bjorn, who, knowing the liberal and generous character of his sister, went to meet her, accompanied by all his domestics, and asked her to stay with him, and also offered to provide for all her retinue. She accepted his offer. Afterwards in spring Aud went to seek a settlement (landaleit) up the Broadfirth, accompanied by her liegemen. They ate their Dögurð (59) = day meal in the south of Broadfirth, at the place which is now called Dogurdarness = Daymeal ness; afterwards they passed through Eyjasund = Island sound. They came ashore at that ness where Aud lost her comb, which they called from that circumstance Kambness = Combe Ness. (60)

Queen Aud settled all the territory of the Dale lands to the inner firth from Daymeal-river to Skraumhlaups river. She dwelt at Hvamm, at the mouth of the Char river, there the place is called Aud's tofts. She had her prayer station at Cross-Knolls; there she caused them to raise crosses because she was baptized and was a true believer. Her kinsfolk had great faith in those Knolls. There they made a temple (61) and there they sacrificed, and it was the firm belief of them that they should die into that mound, and Thord the Yeller was led thither before he took over his lordship of a Godi, as is related in his saga.

Queen Aud gives lands for settlement to her shipmates and freedmen.

Chapter XVII. Aud gave lands to her shipmates and freed-men. Ketil was the name of the man to whom she gave land from Skraumuhlaups-river to Hord-dale river; he lived at Ketil-stead; he was the father of Vestlidi and Einar, the father of Kleppjarn and Thorbjorn, whom Styr slew, and of Thordis, the mother of Thorgest.

Hord was the name of a shipmate of Aud's, to whom she gave Hord-dale; his son was Asbjorn, who had for wife Thorbjorg, the daughter of Midfirth-Skeggi; their children were: Hnaki, who had for wife Thorgerd, the daughter of Thorgeir Cutcheek, and Ingibjorg, whom Illugi the Black had for wife.

Vivil was the name of a freed-man of Aud; he asked her why it was that she gave him no place of abidance, as she did to other men; she said it mattered not, he would be accounted a noble man wheresoever he came; but she gave to him Vivils-dale, and there he took up his abode, and had quarrels with Hord. The son of Vivil was Thorbjorn, the father of Gudrid, whom Thorstein, the son of Eirek the Red, had for wife, but later she was the wife of Thorfinn Karlsefni. From her and Thorfinn are come these bishops: Bjorn, Thorlak, Brand; another son of Vivil was Thorgeir, who had for wife Arnora, the daughter of Bath-brink-Einar (Laugar-brekku-Einarr), and their daughter was Yngvild, whom Thorstein, the son of Snorri the godi, had for wife.

Hundi was the name of a freed-man of Aud's, Scotch by kin, to whom she gave Hundi-dale, where he abode for a long time.

Sokkolf was yet a freed-man of Aud's; she gave to him Sokkolfs-dale, and he lived at Breidabol-stead, and from him many folk have sprung.

To Erp, the son of Earl Melldun, who has been mentioned before, Aud gave freedom and therewith the tland of Sheepfell; from him are sprung the Erplings. One son of Erp was called Orm; another, Gunnbjorn, the father of Arnora, whom Kolbein, the son of Thord, had for wife; a third son of his was Asgeir, father to Thorarna, whom Sumarlid, the son of Hrapp, had for wife; a daughter of Erp was Halldis, whom Alf o' Dales had for wife; one more son of Erp's was Dufnall, the father of Thorkel, the father of Hjalti, the father of Beinir; and still a son of Erp was Skati, the father of Thord, the father of Gisli, the father of Thorgerd.

There was a man named Thorbjorn, who lived at Vatn (water) in Hawkdale; he had for wife ______ , and their daughter was Hallfrid, whom Hoskuld, in Salmonriverdale, had for wife; they had many children; Bard was a son of theirs, and Thorleik, the father of Bolli, who had for wife Gudrun, the daughter of Osvif; their sons were: Thorleik and Hoskuld, Surt and Bolli; their daughters: Herdis and Thorgerd. Before being the wife of Bolli, Gudrun had been the wife of Thord, the son of Ingun, and their children were Thord Cat and Arnkatla. The last, who had Gudrun for wife, was Thorkel, the son of Eyolf, and their children were: Gellir and Rjupa. Bard, the son of Hoskuld, was father of Hallbjorg, whom Hall, the son of Fight-Styr, had for wife; the daughters of Hoskuld were: Hallgerd Turn-breeks, Thorgerd and Thurid.

Other settlements made by Queen Aud's followers.

Chapter XVIII. Koll took to himself the whole of Salmonriver-dale, all unto Hawkdale-river; he was called Koll o' Dales; he had for wife Thorgerd, the daughter of Thorstein the Red; their children were Hoskuld and Groa, whom Veleif the Old had for wife; also Thorkatla, whom Thorgeir the godi had for wife. Hoskuld had for wife Hallfrid, the daughter of Thorbjorn, from Vatn; their son was Thorleik, who had for wife Thurid, the daughter of Arnbjorn, the son of 'Sléttu'-Bjorn; their son was Bolli.

Hoskuld bought Melkorka, the daughter of Myrkjartan, a king of the Irish; their sons were Olaf Peacock and Helgi; but the daughters of Hoskuld were Thurid and Thorgerd, and Halgerd Turn-breeks. Olaf had for wife Thorgerd, the daughter of Egil Skallagrim's son; their sons were: Kjartan and Halldor, Steinthor and Thorberg; the daughters of Olaf: Thurid, Thorbjorg the Big and Bergthora. Kjartan had for wife Hrefna, the daughter of Asgeir Madpate; their sons: Asgeir and Skum.

Herjolf, the son of Eyvind 'Eld,' was the second husband of Thorgerd, the daughter of Thorstein the Red; their son was Hrut, to whom Hoskuld paid into his mother's inheritance the land of Combeness between Hawkdale-river and that ridge which there runs down from the mountains into the sea. Hrut abode at Hrutstead; he had for wife Hallveig, who was the daughter of Thorgrim of Thickshaw, and a sister of Armod the Old. They had many children. Their son was Thorhall, the father of Haldora, who was the mother of Gudlaug, the father of Thordis, who was the mother of Thord, the father of Sturla, of Hvamm. Grim, also, was a son of Hrut, as well as these: Mar, Endridi and Stein, Thorljot and Jorund, Thorkel, Steingrim, Thorberg, Atli, Arnor, Ivar, Kar, Kugaldi; and these were his daughters: Bergthora, Steinun, Rjupa, Finna, Astrid.

Aud gave Thorhild, the daughter of Thorstein the Red, in marriage to Eystein 'Meinfret,' the son of Alf, in Osta; their son was Thord, the father of Kolbein, the father of Thord the Skald; also Alf o' Dales, who had for wife Halldis, the daughter of Erp, whose son was Snorri, the father of Thorgils, the son of Halla. The daughters of Alf o' Dales were these: Thorgerd, whom Ari, the son of Mar, had for wife, and Thorelf, whom Havar, the son of Einar, the son of Klepp, had for wife; their son was Thorgeir. Thorolf Fox was also a son of Eystein's; he fell at Thingness-Thing, out of the band of Thord the Yeller, when he and Tongue-Odd fought. Hrapp was the name of a fourth son of Eystein's.

Aud gave Osk, the daughter of Thorstein the Red, in marriage to Hallstein the godi; their son was Thorstein the Swart. Vigdis, the daughter of Thorstein the Red Aud gave away to Kamp-Grim; their daughter was Arnbjorg, whom Asolf 'Flosi', of Head (-land), had for wife; their children were Odd and Vigdis, whom Thorgeir, son of Kadal, had for wife.

Death of Queen Aud. Her Arval Feast and Burial within the Sea Shore.

Chapter XIX. Aud brought up Olaf Feilan, the son of Thorstein the Red; he got for wife Alfais, of Barra, the daughter of Konal, the son of Steinmod, the son of Olvir Bairn-carle. The son of Konal was Steinmod, the father of Halldora, whom Eilif, the son of Ketil the Onehanded, had for wife. The children of Olaf Feiland and Alfdis were Thord the Yeller and Thora, the mother of Thorgrim, the father of Snorri godi. Thora was also mother of Bork the Stout, and of Mar, the son of Hallward. Ingjald and Grani were sons of Olaf Feilan, and Vigdis was the name of a daughter of Olaf Feilan. A third daughter of Olaf Feilan was called Helga, whom Gunnar, the son of Hlifar, had for wife; their daughter was Jofrid, whom Thorodd, the son of Tongue Odd, had for wife first, and who afterwards was the wife of Thorstein, the son of Egil. Another daughter of Gunnar was Thorun, whom Herstein, the son of Blund-Ketil, had for wife; Raud and Hoggvandil were the sons of Gunnar. A fourth daughter of Olaf Feilan was called Thordis, whom Thorarin 'Ragis-brother' had for wife; their daughter was Vigdis, whom Stein, of Redmell, the son of Thorfinn, had for wife.

  (62) Aud was a great lady of state; when she was weary with old age, she asked to her kinsmen and affinity, and arrayed a most stately feast; and whenas the feast had stood for three nights, she bestowed gifts upon her friends, and gave them wholesome counsels, saying, even then, that the feast should stand on for still another three nights, and giving to understand that this would be her arval-feast (funeral feast). The next night she died, and was buried on the shore, between high and low water mark, even as she herself had ordered, for this reason, that she would not lie in unhallowed earth, being baptized. After that the belief of her kindred grew corrupt. (63)

Note on the Arval Feast of Queen Aud.

In the original Icelandic of the above passage there are so many words bearing such a strong affinity to our Cumberland and Westmorland dialect, that I have thought it well to subjoin it in full:

Auðr var vegskona mikil; þá er húm var ellimód, bauð hún til sím frændum sinum ok mágun ok bjó dyalega veizlu; en er þrjar Nætr hafdi veizlan staðit, þá valdi hún gjafir vinum sínum ok réð þeim heilrædi; sagdi hún at þá skyldi standi veizlan enn iij Nætr; hún kvad þat vera skyldu erfi sitt; þá nótt eptir anðaðist hún, ok var grafin í flæðarmáli, sem hún hafði fyrir sagt, þvíat hún vildi eigi liggja í óvígðri moldu, er hún var skírð.

I may here add the following note on Arvals and Arval in their Cumberland acceptation (Ice erfi). It is given also in my volume on "Lakeland and Iceland," published by the English Dialect Society. "Arvals is used of meat and drink supplied at funerals. Arval is anything connected with heirship or inheritance; used chiefly in reference to funerals. The friends and neighbours of the family of deceased were invited to dinner on the day of the interment, and this was called the Arval dinner, a solemn festival to exculpate the heir and those entitled to the possessions of deceased from the mulets or fines to the lord of the manor, and from all accusation of having used violence. In later times the word acquired a wider application, and was used to designate the meals provided at funerals generally."

Notes:

52. Good, full of mercy. [Back]

53. Christ, as head of his Church. [Back]

54. Lord of Heaven, God. [Back]

55. The falcon's stall, or the perch whereon it sits. [Back]

56. Vika. This word meant a sea knot or mile, or what would now be called a geographical mile, and corresponded to a röst on land. The term seems to have been derived from vik, a small bay, denoting the distance from ness to ness, and referring to a time when ships coasted along the sea shore. The word is still in almost exclusive use in Iceland. [Back]

57. Viking raids on Western or British Islands. [Back]

58. Faroe Islands, literally Sheep Islands. A Danish group of Islands, twenty-two in number, of which 17 are uninhabited, lying between the Shetlands and Iceland, 200 miles north-west of the Shetlands, from 61 25º to 62 25º north-east, and 6 19º to 7 40º west long. Area 513 square miles. Population in 1880 was 11,220. They are volcanic, rocky mountains attaining the maximum height of 2,502 feet and 2895 feet. Currents amongst the islands, strong and stormy, and whirlwinds frequent. The largest islands are Strömö, 28 miles long by 8 broad. Österö, Sandö, and Suderö. Capital, Thorshaven, in Strömö, with 984 inhabitants. The inhabitants are of Norse descent, and speak an old Norse dialect. [Back]

59. The Dögurd or Daymeal was the chief meal of the old Scandinavians, and was taken in the forenoon, corresponding with breakfast, and was so distinguished from the night meal or other principal meal of which they partook. [Back]

60. Compare Black Combe in the south-west of Cumberland. [Back]

61. The word for temple here is Hörg = a heathen temple, as distinguished from Hof, the Christian temple. The use of Hörg in this passage is very significant as showing that the descendants of Aud were relapsing again into heathen worship. There is a very marked difference between the two. Hof was a house of timber, while Hörg was an altar of stone erected on high places, or a sacrificial cairn. It is retained in Icelandic Place Names in Landnama and elsewhere as Hörg-á and Högar-dalr; in the north, Hörga-eyrr; in the west, Hörgs-hylr. [Back]

62. This passage is given in original on next page. [Back]

63. See Part V., 15. [Back]

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