A Norse Saga

The Flateyjarbók
The Flateyjarbók

This is the Norse Saga of Erik the red written down between the years 1387-1394,The Flateyjarbók (The Flatley Book), it tells the story of the first Norse settlers in North America, including that of Freydis Eiriksdottir, the female Viking warrior, leader and colonist.

Erik the Red’s father was banished from Norway for the crime of manslaughter. He sailed West from Norway with his family and settled in Hornstrandir in northwestern Iceland.The Icelanders later sentenced Erik to exile for three years due to “some killings” he committed around the year 982.

After marrying Thjodhild (Þjóðhildr), he moved to Haukadal (Hawksdale) where he built a farm. The initial confrontation occurred when his thralls (slaves) started a landslide on the neighboring farm belonging to Valthjof (Valþjófr). Valthjof’s friend, Eyiolf the Foul (Eyjólfr saurr), killed the thralls. In retaliation, Erik killed Eyjiolf and Holmgang-Hrafn (Hólmgöngu-Hrafn). Eyiolf’s kinsmen demanded his banishment from Haukadal.

Erik then moved to the island of Öxney (Iceland). He asked Thorgest (Þórgestr) to keep hissetstokkr – inherited ornamented beams of significant mystical value, which his father had brought from Norway. When he had finished his new house, he went back to get them, but they “could not be obtained”. Erik then went to Breidabolstad and took them. These are likely to have been Thorgest’s setstokkr, although the sagas are unclear at this point.

Thorgest gave chase, and in the ensuing fight Erik slew both Thorgest’s sons and “a few other men”.


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