Chapter 1 – Grænlendinga saga

Find and build Greenland.


Grœnlendinga saga  modern Icelandic and translated into English as the Saga of the Greenlanders) is one of the sagas of Icelanders. Along with Saga of Erik the Red, it is one of the two main literary sources of information for the Norse exploration of North America. It relates the colonization of Greenland by Erik the Red and his followers. It then describes several expeditions further west led by Erik’s children and Þorfinnr “Karlsefni” Þórðarson.

The saga is preserved in the late 14th Century Flateyjarbók manuscript and is believed to have been first written sometime in the 13th Century[1]regarding events between around 970 to 1030. Parts of the saga are fanciful, but much is believed to be based on historical truth.


“There was a man named Thorvald, son of Asvald Ulf’s son, Axna-Thoris. Thorvaldur and Eric the Red, his son, departed from Jadir to Iceland for a fortune. Then Iceland was widely built. They first lived at Drangar in Hornstrandir. There Thorvald died.

Eiríkur then got Þjóðhildur, daughter of Jörundur Ulfsson and Thorbjorg Knarrarbring, whom then Thorbjorn had the hawkdish. Eiríkur rode northwards and lived at Eiríksstaðir near Vatnshorn. The son of Eiríkur and Þjóðhildur was named Leifur.

After Eyjolfur’s slaying and Hólmgång-Hrafn’s slaying, Eiríkur was removed from Haukadalur. He went west to Breiðafjörður and lived in Öxney at Eiríksstaðir.

He left Thorgesti at Breiðabólstaðir settlers and did not reach when he called. From there, disputes arose and fought with the Thorgest, who says in Eirik’s story. Styrr Thorgrímsson gave Eirik to matters, and Eyjolf from Svinney, and the sons of Thorbrands from Alftafirth and Thorbjorn Vífilsson. But Thorgestling gave the sons of Thord Gellis and Thorgeir of Hittardal.

Eiríkur became guilty at Þórsnessþing. Eiríkur then made his ship to sea in Eiríksvogur. But when he was ready, they followed him on the islands. Eric told them that he intended to search for that land, which Gunnbjorn, son of Ulf kráka, saw when he drove west over the sea when he found Gunnbjarnarsker. If he found the land again, he would return to his friends.

Eiríkur sailed off Snæfellsjökull. He found the land, and came outside of it, where he called Mid-glacier. The name is now Blaserkur. He then went from there south with the country to search, if there was a building land there.

He was the first winter in Eiríksey, closer to the middle of the eastern settlement. In the spring, he went to Eiríksfjörður and took his place there. He left that summer in the western uninhabited and gave many places of interest. He was the second winter in Holmar at Hvarfsgníp, but the third summer all went north to Snæfell and into Hrafnsfjörður. Then he said he had come to the bottom of Eiríksfjörður. He then disappeared again and was the third winter in Eiríksey at the mouth of Eiríksfjörður.

After the summer he went to Iceland and arrived in Breiðafjörður. He called the land that he had found, Greenland, for he said it would feast on people, if the land were well. Eric was in Iceland during the winter, but in the summer he began to build the land. He lived in Brattahlíð in Eiríksfjörður.

So the wise men say that in the same summer when Eric the Red began to build Greenland, half a third of ten ships went from Breiðafjörður and Borgarfjörður, but fourteen came out there. Some drove back, but some were lost. It was fifteen winters until Christianity was settled in Iceland. In the same summer, outside Bishop Fridrik and Þorvaldur Koðránsson left.

These men landed in Greenland, which then went out with Eric: Herjólfur Herjólfsfjörður, – he lived at Herjólfsnes, – Ketill Ketilsfjörður, Hrafn Hrafnsfjörður, Sölvi Sölvadal, Helgi Þorbrandsson Álftafjörður, Hafgrímur Hafgrímsfjörður and Vatnahverfi, Arnlaug Arnlaugsfjörður. 

But some went to the West ….”