Faroe-Islander Saga

A New English Translation

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About the Book

This new English translation of the Faroe-Islander Saga (Faereyinga saga)—a great medieval Icelandic saga—tells the story of the first settlers on these wind-swept islands at the edge of the Scandinavian world. Written by an anonymous 13th-century Icelander, the saga centers on the enduring animosity between Sigmundur Brestirsson and Thrandur of Göta, rival chieftains whose bitter disagreements on the introduction of Christianity to the Faroe Islands set the stage for much violence and a feud which then unfolds over generations of their descendants. Making the saga accessible to a wider English readership, the translation is accompanied by a brief introduction, explanatory notes, genealogical and chronological tables, detailed maps and an excerpt from Jomsvikings’ Saga which informs missing passages from the Faroe-Islander Saga manuscripts.

About the Author(s)

Robert K. Painter has translated works from German and Old Icelandic into English for such journals of literary translation as Exchanges and Metamorphoses. He teaches linguistics at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Bibliographic Details

Robert K. Painter

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 176
Bibliographic Info: appendices, glossary, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6366-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2326-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 5
Note on the Translation 27
1. The First Settlers in the Faroe Islands 31
2. Thrandur of Göta 32
3. Thrandur Earns a Fortune 34
4. Brestir and Beinir of Skufey 36
5. The Incident on South Island 37
6. Hafgrimur Seeks Allies 39
7. Standoff at Little Dimun 41
8. Hrafn ­Holmgard-Traveler 43
9. The Boys Are Set Free 44
10. Shelter from the Storm 45
11. Ulfur the Farmer 47
12. Sigmundur Comes of Age 48
13. Departure from the Farm 50
14. Ulfur’s Story 51
15. Thorkell and Ragnhild 52
16. Thorkell in Exile 53
17. Earl Hakon’s Court 55
18. Sigmundur in Denmark 56
19. Sigmundur in Sweden 59
20. Sigmundur’s Reputation Grows 61
21. Haraldur ­Iron-Skull 62
22. Össur Hafgrimsson 65
23. Departure from Norway 67
24. Return to the Faroe Islands 68
25. Earl Hakon’s Settlement 72
26. Sigmundur and Thurid 73
27. The Jomsvikings 76
28. King Olaf Tryggvason 77
29. Sigmundur Converts to Christianity 78
30. Christianity Comes to the Faroe Islands 80
31. Thrandur Forced to Accept Christianity 82
32. King Olaf Turns on Thrandur 84
33. Sigmundur and King Olaf 85
34. Earl Eirikur and Earl Svein 86
35. The Earls Welcome Sigmundur 87
36. A Growing Feud 87
37. Hostilities Escalate 88
38. A Narrow Escape 90
39. A Partnership Comes to an End 93
40. Thora Sigmundursdottir 94
41. The Truth Comes Out 96
42. The End of the Feud 98
43. King Olafur Haraldursson 99
44. A Bad Omen 100
45. Trouble Brews Abroad 100
46. The King Broods 104
47. Karl-Maerskur 104
48. Thrandur’s Foster Sons Take Action 105
49. A Cunning Trap 109
50. Thorhallur the Wealthy 112
51. Unwelcome Guests Arrive 113
52. Gautur the Red on Sandey 115
53. Leifur Thorirsson 116
54. Death and an Omen 117
55. Another Narrow Escape 118
56. An Opportunity Arises 120
57. Flight from Austurey 121
58. The Vengeance of the ­Skuf-Islanders 123
59. The Saga Ends 126
Appendices
A: Excerpt of Jómsvíkinga saga, Chapters 31–33 129
B: Earl Hakon and Þorgerðr Horðabrúðr 135
C: Social Background and Technical Terms 137
D: Chronology 141
E: Genealogical Tables 143
References and Further Reading 145
Index of Proper Names 149
General Index 157