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Starkathr came up, and begged him to leave the hold, and let him take his place. Thorgils did so, and seated himself near the opening to the hold, with Thorfin on his knee. At that moment, a huge green billow rolled over the vessel, threw Thorgils from his seat, and washed the little boy overboard.
Then Thorgils exclaimed: "Such a surge has swept over us that baling avails us no more!"
At the recoil of the wave, the child was brought back into the ship alive. The little fellow cried out—
"That is well over, papa!"
Up sprang Thorgils, shouting, "Bale he who can now!" The men worked with might and main, and cleared the ship of water.
Thorgils took the boy to bed as he had been completely drenched in the brine. He spat blood that evening, and, after lingering two days, died on a golden morning as the vessel sighted Hjorleif s Head.
The vessel ran into harbour and dropped anchor at Arnarbash, the "Eagles' haunt." The men wished to remove the body and bury it, but Thorgils would not suffer it to be taken from his lap. "We have been constant companions in hardship, night and day," said he; "and now we shall not be parted."
His friends consulted together what should be done, and at last hit upon a plan.
They went ashore and picked up a quarrel with a farmer named Sigmundr. Kolr then hastened to the vessel, and told Thorgils that there was a fight ashore, and that his son, Thorleif, wanted help.
The bonder started up, girded on his sword, laid the dead child gently on a bed, slung himself over the ship's side, and hastened to the scene of conflict.
He soon succeeded in patching up the quarrel, which was only a fictitious one; and then he returned to the vessel.
In the meantime Kolr had taken the corpse to a church and buried it. Thorgils was furious at what had been done, and was hardly restrained from slaying the faithful Kolr on the spot. When, however, the first burst of passion was over, the poor father regretted his violence, and going up to Kolr, he shook hands with him. For four days and nights he lay without eating or sleeping, and said that he could not blame women for so dearly loving the bairns which they have suckled themselves.
Thorgils then went home to Tratharholt, and wondered how he could ever have left it, so rich and fertile did the farm look after the icy terraces of Greenland.
He married a young wife soon after his return, and before his death saw seven children growing up around his knees. From him is descended the blessed Thorlack—Iceland’s greatest saint. This is what was signified by the golden flower in the bonder's dream.
I may inform those who are curious about the discovery of Greenland and America by the Icelanders, that there is a very accessible account of it in Mr. Blackwell's edition of Mallet's Northern Antiquities, published by Bohn, price five shillings.
Mallet's book is valueless, but the additions and notes of the editor are excellent.
For those who understand Danish, there is the work, Grönlands Historiske Mindesmaerker, 3 vols. 8vo. 1838-45, containing extracts of the Sagas relating to Greenland, and consisting of 2,538 pages.
Leave Geysir—Last View of Heckla—The rumoured Eruption of Skapta— Return to Thingvbllum—Latin Conversation—Seljadalr—The Plague of Flies—Halt at a Farm—A fair Haymaker—The Spell broken—Return to Reykjavik—Sale of Horses—Icelandic Ponies—Their strong and weak Points—Leave Iceland—The Captain's Joke—Reach England— Advice to Travellers.
We were sorry enough to leave Geysir where we had spent some joyous days, but the steamer waits for no man, and we were obliged to be back in Reykjavik some days before she sailed, so as to dispose of our horses by a public auction.
Farewell, Geysir! We took one last look into the calm steaming basin, tossed one final load of turf into Strokr and galloped off. We stopped at Uthlith to shake hands with the farmer and his wife. Really, their clean cheerful faces did one good!
They seemed to be quite pleased to see us again, and offered us bowls of milk which we emptied thirstily. In Iceland one learns to live and fatten upon milk. We took a parting glance over the tun wall at the glorious panorama of snow peaks beyond the plain of green morass. Heckla was snow-clad still, its ridge starting into three teeth, one of which is perfectly black. Far away to the south were the twin peaks of Tindfjalla, the tops sunlit, and the bases lost in swimming blue. More distant still rose Eyjafjalla, like a golden cloud on the horizon. Heckla is distant from Uthlith, as the crow man, about thirty-six miles; Tindfjalla, forty-five; and Eyja
fjalla, fifty-six miles.
My intention had been to have gone on to the Skaptar Jokoll, but I found now that the romoors of its being in eruption were without foundation. At Haukadalr, a farm near Geynir, we were told that the eruption was supposed to be taking place at Krafla, near Myvatn, whence we had come! On further inquiry it proved that only one man pretended to have seen any signs of it, and he had come from the Lomargnupr, in the south. He did not, however, assert that he had noticed anything except rising columns like smoke—in fact, the sand clouds which we had observed. At Thingvellum we hoped to obtain further information, but we were disappointed. The people said that there might be an eruption somewhere, an there was so much sand in the air, but they could give us no account of the outbreak. One thing they all were agreed in, that Skapta was quiescent; so that there Wuh no advantage in my journeying thither.
On my arrival at Reykjavik I made further inquiries, and learned that the postman from Eyrarbakki declared that he had seen flames in the direction of Trolladyngja. This mountain is just 140 miles from Eyrarbakki, as the crow flies, and the lofty Tungnaffllls Jokull intervenes. I think, therefore, that the statement of the postman is questionable. It is possible that Tfolladyngja may have erupted, but, if so, the outburst must have been very slight, or we should have heard some account of it from the Mothrudalr men, whom we met at Myvatn.
The Jokulsfi. has two sources; one of these is at the foot of Trolladyngja, and if the volcano had been active it would have melted the snows on its head, and the river would have boon very full and discoloured. This was not the case; I found the Jiikulsft lower than it is in general, on account of the coldness of the summer; and the water was milky, with partially dissolved snow, like all rivers rising among Jiiknlla.
At Thingvalla parsonage we again pitched our tents near the church, and retired late to bed, after having paid a farewell visit to the Logberg, or Hill of Laws.
Next morning I was roused by the sound of voices outside the tent; and on putting my head out I observed Mr. Briggs and the pastor of Thingvalla engaged in an animated Latin conversation.
"Salve, Domine, Dii tibi benefaciant!" began my fat friend. "Diluculo surgere saluberrimum est! Haud nitet sol, hodie, serenus!"
"Nunc quidem adstitit imber, non tam en longa est mora quin nubes fugentur," replied the parson.
To which Mr. Briggs replied, with promptitude, "Quocunque aspicias, niliil est nisi pontus et aer, nubibus hie tumidus, fluctibus ille minax. An voles gustare Brandseum nostrum Gallicum?"
"Paululum sine me bibere."
Mr. Briggs then poured out a bumper, and handed it to the priest, who took a draught, but did not finish the tumbler. He put it down, shaking his head, and saying that the brandy was too hot for him.
"JEstuosus nonne?" 'quoth my portly friend. "Aqua Brandseum emollit, nee sinit esse ferox. Dignissime pastor! Nunc est bibendum, mine pede libero pulsanda tellus."
Then offering brandy with one hand and whiskey with the other, he said, " Utrum horum mavis accipe!"
"Gratias tibi, jam satis est potatum."
"Jam artist." exclaimed Mr. Briggs. "An placeat cum nobis illud modicum prandium, Anglice breakfastum, sumere? Sis exorabilis, Domine! habeo quse tibi offeram: frigidam bulletam, carnem vervecinam, caseum Stiltonseum, Fortnumi Masonique jusculum ex caudis boum extractum, succi plenum. Siste, reverendissime pater! sume, gusta nostra vegetabilia, pastinacas fabas, potatosque, in parva stannea arcula compressa. Hsec omnia in lebete decocta cupedias faciunt in Magna Britannia hodgepodge dictas, sed Grace lepadotemacho-selacho-galeo-kranio-leipsano, et quse prseterea sciunt Diabolus, Liddelheus Scottusque."