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nization of Iceland, as given by the most
respectable historians of the country, must
be looked woon as a fable.
Following, therefore, the native writers of Iceland, its earliest discoverer upon record was a famous pirate of the name of Naddoc, a Norwegian by birth, who, in the year 861, was driven thither by a tempest, while on a voyage from his native country to the Ferroe Islands; and, on account of the vast quantity of snow, with which he observed the mountains to be covered, named it Snoeland. Not alarmed, however, by this chilling prospect, such was the account of the country he gave on his return home, that others were induced to go in search of it. The first of these, Gardar Suaversen, a native of Sweden, set sail in the year 864, and, after approaching the eastern coast, proceeded round the island to a harbor in the north, where he came to an anchor, and passed the winter at a place which has since borne the appellation of Skialfiord: in order to immortalize himself for this bold exploit, he altered the name of the island to Gardarsholme. The next
adventurer was Floco; who, as the compass was not yet discovered, to remedy this deficiency, took in his vessel some ravens, the sacred bird of the north; one of which, at the time when he supposed he was drawing towards the termination of his voyage, he suffered to escape, hoping, by its course, to be more surely directed towards the country of which he was in search ; the bird, however, turned his flight towards Haitland, the port whence they had set out, and satisfied Floco that he was still at a less distance from Norway than from Gardarsholme, Pursuing his voyage, therefore, for some time longer, he at length liberated another raven, who, finding “no rest for the sole of his feet,” returned, and took refuge in the vessel. In a few days a third raven was suffered to leave the ship, and this, more fortunate, pursued its course towards the longexpected shore. Floco, in like manner as his predecessors had done, first touched at the eastern coast, whence, steering his course round the southern part of the island, he entered the great gulf (now called Faxafiord) between the two promontories that
have since been distinguished by the names of Snoefel-nes and Reikanes; but, afterwards, proceeding northward, he harbored for the winter at Watnsfiordur, in the gulf of Breidafiord. So great was the quantity of ice which, in the spring of the following year, entered the harbor, that Floco was tempted, in consequence of it, once more to change the name of the island, and give it that which it has ever since retained. He.passed another winter in the southern part of the country previously to his return to Norway, where, on account of the use he had made of the ravens, he obtained the appellation of Rafnafloke.
Induced by the relation given by Floco of the condition of the new country, Ingulf, a Norwegian, of noble birth and great opulence, having fallen under the displeasure of the tyrant, Harald Hafalgar, conceived, together with his friend, Hiorleif, the project of establishing themselves in Iceland: in pursuance of this plan, the former sailed, in 870, for the purpose of exploring its shores; but no settlement was made till the year 874, when they both emigrated, accompanied by their respective families and numerous followers. In compliance with a custom among the Norwegians, that was sanctioned by the religion of those days, Ingulf, on his approach to the coast, cast the door-posts of the house which he had left into the sea, that wheresoever they were thrown on shore he might establish his infant colony; but, being himself driven in a different direction from them, he was reduced to the necessity of landing on a promontory, which to this day bears the name of Ingulfshofde, in the south-eastern part of the island; and it was not till after a period of three years that the posts were found on the shore of the bay where Reikevig now stands, to which spot Ingulf, with his family, immediately repaired, and built their habitation. Hiorleif, regardless of heathenish superstitions, fixed his abode at a place called Hiorleifshofde, and employed himself and his attendants in the cultivation of the soil. A termination was soon put to his improvement and his life by some Irish servants, whom he had brought with him from Norway, and who afterwards fled to the scarcely accessible rocks of the Westmann's Isles, where Ingulf* pursued and slew them.
Iceland is said to have been so entirely overgrown with thick forests of birch, that whenever the settlers had occasion to make excursions into the country, they were forced
* The spot where Ingulfs remains were interred is pointed out to this day, and is known by the name of Ingulfshaugur: "Ce tombeau, qui consiste en une grande butte, peut être vu distinctement du canton j il a deux cents toises de circonférence, et paraît comme un tertre naturel formé de gravier, de pierres, et en partie de la roche même. Il n'est point invraisemblable que cet Ingulf soit enterré ici, la raison qu' on en donne, toute singulière qu' elle 'est, le confirme; Ingulf a ordonné, dit on, qu' on le fit enterrer au sommet de cette montagne, afin de pouvoir dans l'autre vie, promener librement ses regards sur une vaste étendue du pays qu' il avait conquis; ce qui s'accorde fort bien avec les idées superstitieuses des payens du mord. L'évêque Brynjulf Svendsen, qui aimait beaucoup les monumens antiques, se transporta sur cette montagne, accompagné d'un des meilleurs poètes de l'islande, qui, sur la demande de l'évêque, composa sur le lieu un chant en honneur d'Ingulf; l'évêque et sa société y élevèrent en même temps, de leurs propres mains, des pierres qu' ils y trouvèrent, une pyramide, à la mémoire d'Ingulf.