of the Icelandic
sagas with some reservation, we learn that a wind-tossed vessel was
thrown upon a coast far away, which was called Iceland the Great.
Then, again, we read of a young Norwegian, Eric the Red, not
apparently averse to a brawl, who killed his man in Norway and fled to
Iceland, where he kept his dubious character; and again outraging the
laws, he was sent into temporary banishment--this time in a ship which
he fitted out for discovery; and so he sailed away in the direction of
Gunnbiorn's land, and found it. He whiled away three years on its
coast, and as soon as he was allowed, ventured back with the tidings.
While, to propitiate intending settlers, he said he had been to
Greenland, and so the land got a sunny name.
The next year, which seems to have been A.D. 985, he started on his
return with 35 ships, but only fourteen of them reached the land.
Whenever there was a habitable fiord, a settlement grew up, and the
stream of immigrants was for a while constant and considerable. Just
at the end