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absurd stories, that keep alive a love of the wonderful, and impress with superstitious notions the minds of almost all the lower class of people. In former times wrestling
and various feats of strength used to occupy their attention; chess was much practised; and cards, music, and dancing diversified their leisure hours; but all these are now scarcely heard of. Their attachment to their native land is very strong, and might be accounted truly wonderful, since the country seems entirely destitute of every thing which can add to the comforts of life, and nearly so of the means of procuring a necessary subsistence, were it not that, “ Providence,” as Von Troil well remarks, “ has wisely in“stilled into the human heart, the love of “that soil whereon a man is born; and, “probably with a view that those places “which are not favored by nature with her “ choicest blessings, may not be left without “ inhabitants, it may be affirmed with some “degree of certainty that the love of one's “native place increases in an inverse ratio “with its having received favors from na“ ture.” This is, indeed, most justly applicable to the patient and contented Icelander;
who, happy in the lot that Providence has assigned to him, is scarcely ever known to leave his cold and barren mpuntains for all that plenty and comfort can offer him in milder regions*. . . . . . . .
* The first settlers, however, who were famed for their maritime enterprizes, had more of a roving disposition. Torwald was induced to attempt the discovery of a coast to the north of Iceland, before seen by one Eric Rufus. In the year 928, he made good a landing, and, having surveyed it, he gave it the name of Greenland. After living there some years he returned to Iceland, and prevailed on several persons to go and settle in this new country. Two towns, Garde and Albe, were founded; a monastery was established and dedicated to St. Thomas, and all the inhabitants acknowledged the Kings of Norway for their sovereigns. This colony subsisted till the year 1848, when the dreadful pestilence, called the black death, committed its ravages, and from that time these settlements seem to have been wholly forgotten or neglected, though Egede, in his History of Greenland, offers proofs that the whole colony is not wholly extinct, and even proposes means of getting to it. it was in one of these voyages to Greenland that an (Icelander, named Biarn, driven to the southward in the year 1001 by tempestuous weather, discovered Hand, flatland; covered with wood, which it has since been supposed must have been either Labrador or Newfoundland; this was again visited by some of the inhabitants of Greenland, who, gave it the name of
The employments of each individual Icelander are necessarily various, since artists, mechanics, and people of different professions are almost unknown among them. *In the winter the care of the cattle is of the highest importance; the stoutest and most healthy of the men are then occupied in the preservation of those to which shelter and dry food cannot be afforded at this inclement season, and it is necessary to remove the snow as much as possible from the grass, that the beasts may be able to procure a subsistence, however scanty. Other men are employed in picking the coarse wool from the fine, and manufacturing it into ropes, bridles, stirrup-straps, and cushions, which are often used instead of saddles, . They ot. Winland, and established a small colony, whither many persons both Greenlanders and Icelanders resorted. But as a more detailed account of the discovery and settlements in these two places, although connected with Icelandic history, would carry me beyond the intended limits of this Introduction, I will beg leave to refer my readers to the first volume of Percy's
Northern Antiquities, for much more interesting information on this subject.
also prepare skins for their fishing-dresses, and tan others to make into saddles, as well as thongs to fasten burthens upon their horses, and they forge iron into scythes, horse-shoes, and different kinds of tools. The women find abundant occupation in washing the wool, and in picking, carding, and spinning it; as well as in knitting gloves and stockings, and in weaving or dying flannel and, stuffs for their various dresses, all which they make themselves, as they do their shoes of untanned skin. The fulling of the cloth falls to the lot of the men. ". . - i o
As early as the month of February or March, the fishing-season calls the men or at least the greater number of them to the coast: others only resort thither in the summer, when the fishing is nearly completed, and take with them their butter and wadmal to exchange for the fish, with which they return loaded. At that time of the year, also, the Danes are accustomed to arrive in the different ports, and an opportunity is thus afforded to the natives of carrying on a little trade with them. To the fishery succeeds the season for drying and securing the hay, and another migration takes place of the poorer inhabitants from various parts to assist the farmers. The salmon-fishery and the cutting and preserving of turf for winter fuel are at the same time attended to.
In the autumnal months the necessary repairs are done to the dwellings, the grassiland is manured, and the sheep are killed and cured either for winter store or for exTortation.
The more industrious exercise their ingenuity during their leisure hours in the manufactory of various articles in brass, 'silver, and wood, such as girdles, buttons, -clasps, ornaments for their saddles and “dresses, snuffboxes, &c.; in all of which they display an extraordinary neatness and ielegatice of workmanship. Some of them, too, fare excellent boat-builders. The womenem#broider-their garments with figures of flowers ‘and animals of various forms and colors.
The principal articles of food among the Icelanders are fish and butter; the farmer innostly eaten in a dry state and uncooked;