A fifth new interpretation of “The Vinland Sagas – The Norse Discovery of America” – Magnusson and Palsson, 1965. Click on the links to see photos, etc. [ New interpretations are in square brackets ]
L’ANSE AUX MEADOWS, NEWFOUNDLAND – 1005 AD // They put out to sea and had favourable winds all the way until they sighted Greenland and its ice-capped mountains. Then one of the crew spoke up [ knowing something was not right ] and said to Leif, ‘Why are you steering the ship so close to the wind?’ [sailing north, directly into the prevailing winds blowing from the north) ]
‘I am keeping an eye on my steering,’ replied Leif, ‘but I am also keeping an eye on something else [ the Labrador coast on the left/eastern side of the ship ]. Don’t you see anything unusual? [ They are actually looking at the ‘ice-capped mountains’ of Labrador, not the ‘ice-capped mountains’ of Greenland – as they did not sail east across the Labrador Sea – but are instead sailing north, up the east coast of Labrador. ]
They said they could see nothing in particular [ an indication to all emigrants, that Labrador and its coastline is not worth exploring, nor settling ].
Now they caught sight of it [ Baffin Island’s Cape Mercy on the Cumberland Peninsula ], and said that it was a reef [ very low lying, flat and rocky ]. But Leif’s eyesight was so much keener than theirs [ only he had knowledge of the lost/shipwrecked Vikings on Baffin Island ] that he could now make out people on the reef [ a small Viking settlement on Baffin Island ].
‘I want to sail close into the wind in order to reach these people,’ he said. ‘If they need our help, it is our duty to give it; but if they are hostile [ Inuit peoples ], then the advantages are all on our side and none on theirs [ Viking weapons versus Inuit weapons ].
They approached the reef, lowered sail, anchored, and put out another small boat they had brought with them [ from Vinland – full of wood ]. Takir asked the men who their leader was. [ to protect the identity of Leif ]
The leader replied that his name was Thorir, and that he was a Norwegian by birth. ‘What is your name?’ he asked.
Leif named himself in return [ as it was now safe to come forward, and be identified as the crew’s commander ].
‘Are you the son of Eirik the Red of Brattahlid?’
Leif said that he was. ‘And now,’ he said, ‘I want to invite you all aboard my ship, with as much of your belongings as the ship will take.’
They accepted the offer, and they all sailed to Eiriksfjord thus laden [ across the Labrador Sea to Holsteinsborg, Greenland, and then south down the Greenland west coast ]. When they reached Brattahlid they unloaded the ship.
Leif invited Thorir and his wife Gudrid and three other men to stay with him and found lodgings for the rest of the ship’s company, both Thorir’s men and his own crew.
Leif rescued fifteen people in all from the reef [ those stranded on Baffin Island ]. From then on he was called Leif the Lucky. He gained in wealth and reputation.
A serious disease broke out amongst Thorir’s crew that winter and Thorir himself and many of his men died of it [ this is the oral history of why the settlers of Greenland and Baffin Island failed to colonize the region – a disease caught from the aboriginal peoples or disease brought on by famine ]. Eirik the Red also died that winter [ signifying the end of the Eirik the Red era in Scandinavia, and the eminent complete conversion of Scandinavians over to Christianity ].
Now there was much talk about Leif’s Vinland voyage, and his brother Thorvald thought that the country had not been explored explored extensively enough.
Leif said to Thorvald, ‘You can have my ship to go to Vinland, if you like; but first I want to send it to fetch the timber that Thorir left on the reef [ this is the final indication that there is little of value on Baffin Island to gather or settle – the Island’s worth is only a trip to get the timber brought there by Leif from Terrebonne, Quebec ].
This was done.
April 18, 2013
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The Vinland Sagas © Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Palsson, 1965
Lavalhallalujah © Wiedman Communications, 2013