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Viktor Rydberg's Investigations into Germanic Mythology Volume II  : Part 2: Germanic Mythology
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The Discovery of Norway

The Discovery of Norway

Translated by Gavin Chappell
© 2004 Gavin Chappell

Chapter One

There was a king named Fornjot. He reigned over Gotland, which we now know as Finland and Kvenland. That was to the east of the gulf that lies across from the White Sea; we call that the Gulf of Bothnia. Fornjot had three sons. One was named Hler, who we call Ægir, the second Logi, and the third Kari. He was the father of Frosti, father of Snær the Old. Snær’s son was named Thorri. Thorri had two sons; the one named Nor, and the other Gor; his daughter was named Goi. Thorri was a great heathen priest. He held a sacrifice every year at midwinter; they called that Thorrablot. from that the month took its name.

It was the news one winter at Thorrablót that Goi had disappeared, and a search for her was begun, but she was not found. And when that month had passed, Thorri prepared a feast and sacrifice for this, that they should discover where Goi had gone; they called that Goiblot. But they discovered nothing more about her. Three winters later the brothers swore an oath that they would search for her. They arranged the search so that Nor would search for her on land, but Gor should search around the outlying reefs and islands, and he went by ship. Both the brothers were accompanied by many people. Gor led his ships out along the Gulf and so into the Aaland Sea. Afterwards he explored widely the Svia Skerries and all the islands that lie in the Baltic Sea, and then on to the Elfar Skerries and then to Denmark where he explored every island. There he found his kinsmen, who were descended from Hler the Old of Hlésey, and then he journeyed on, but he found nothing of his sister.

But Nor, his brother, waited until snow lay on the moors so he could travel on snow-shoes. He went out from Kvenland and skirted the Gulf, and came to that place inhabited by the men called Lapps; that is beyond Finnmark. But the Lapps wished to forbid their passage, and fought with them there, but such was the power and magic of Nor that their enemies turned mad with terror as soon as they heard the war-whoop and saw weapons drawn, and Nor’s folk put the Lapps to flight. But Nor went thence westward to the Kjolen Mountains and for a long time they knew nothing of men, but shot beasts and birds to feed to themselves, until they came to a place where the rivers flowed west of the mountains. Then they followed the water and came to the sea. There were great fjords ahead of them, as big as a gulf. There were large settlements, and great valleys coming up from the fjord. There they met a host of people who immediately fought with Nor, and it went as it had done before; all the people fell there or fled, but Nor and his men spread like weeds through a field. Nor went about all the fjords and conquered them and became king over the area east of the fjords. He dwelled there for the summer, until it began to snow on the moors. Then he went up along the valleys that run south of the fjord. That fjord is now called Trondheim. Some of his men he sent south through More. He conquered everywhere, wherever he went, and then he came over the mountain that was south of the head of the valley; he went south along the dale, and there he came to that great water that was called the Mjosen. Then he went west over the mountains, because he had heard that his men had been defeated by a king called Sokni, and they came to the district then called Valdres. From there they went to the beach and came to a long and narrow fjord, now named Sogn. There they met Sokni, and they had there a great fight, and Sokni was unaffected by their magic. Nor fought hard, and in the end he cut Sokni down. There fell Sokni and much of his army.

Chapter Two

Nor’s journey along Norway in the search for his sister.

Nor went along the fjord that branches to the north of Sogni. Sokni had ruled over there, it is now named Sokna Dale. Nor lived there a long time, and it is now named Norafjord. Gor, his brother, came to meet with him there, and he had had no word of Goi anywhere. Gor had conquered all outer lands as he came from the south, and the brothers divided the land between them. Nor had all the mainland, but Gor was to have all the islands where a ship with a fixed rudder could sail between them and the mainland. After that Nor went to Uppland and came to the place that is now named Heidmark. The king who reigned there was named Hrolf of Bjarg. He was the son of Svadi the giant, from Dovre Fell in the north. Hrolf had abducted Goi daughter of Thorri from Kvenland. He went immediately to meet with Nor and challenged him to single combat. They fought long, without either being wounded. Then they became reconciled, and Nor married Hrolf’s sister, but Hrolf married Goi. From there Nor went back north to the kingdom that he had conquered. He called that Norway. He ruled that kingdom while he lived, and his sons succeeded him, but they divided the land between them, and so the kingdom diminished as kings became numerous and divided it into districts.

Chapter Three

Beiti gains Norway.

Gor ruled the islands and was called a sea-king. His sons were Heiti and Beiti. They were sea-kings and greatly overbearing men. They often attacked the kingdom of Nor's son, and they fought many battles in which now one side won, now the other. Beiti sailed up Trondheim Fjord and harried there. He anchored at the place that is now named Beitisær or Beitistad. There he had his ship dragged inland out of Beitistad and north over Eiskrueid; there he went to Naumdal from the north. He sat in the after-deck and held the tiller and claimed all that land to larboard, where there were many settlements.

Heiti, Gor's son, was the father of Sveidi the sea-king, father of Halfdan the Old, father of Ivar Earl of Uppland, father of Eystein the Clatterer, father of the good adviser Earl Rögnvald the powerful.

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