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

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