The Founding of Norway

1. THERE was a king named Fornjot (1), he ruled over those lands which are called Finland and Kvenland; that is to the east of that bight of the sea which goes north- ward to meet Gandvik; that we call the Helsingbight. Fornjot had three sons; one was named Hler, whom we call Aegir, the second Logi, the third Kari; he was the father of Frost, the father of Snow the old, his son's name was Thorri; he (Thorri) had two sons, one was named Norr and the other Gorr; his daughter's name was Goi. Thorri (2) was a great sacrificer, he had a sacrifice every year at midwinter; that they called Thorri's sacrifice; from that the month took its name. One winter there were these tidings at Thorri's sacrifice, that Goi was lost and gone, and they set out to search for her, but she was not found. And when that month passed away Thorri made them take to sacrifice, and sacrifice for this, that they might know surely where Goi was hidden away. That they called Goi's sacrifice, but for all that they could hear nothing of her. Four winters after those brothers vowed a vow that they would search for her; and so share the search between them, that Norr should search on land, but Gorr should search the outscars and islands, and he went on board ship. Each of those brothers had many men with him. Gorr held on with his ships out along the sea-bight, and so into Alland's (3) sea; after that he views the Swedish scars far and wide, and all the isles that lie in the East salt sea; after that to the Gothland scars, and thence to Denmark, and views there all the isles; he found there his kinsmen, they who were come from Hler the old out of Hler's isle (4) and he held on then still with his voyage and hears nothing of his sister. But Norr his brother bided till snow lay on the heaths, and it was good going on snow-shoes. After that he fared forth from Kvenland and inside the sea-bight, and they came thither where those men were who are called Lapps, that is at the back of Fin mark. But the Lapps wished to forbid them a passage, and there arose a battle; and that might and magic followed Norr and his men; that their foes became as swine, (5) as soon as they heard the war-cry and saw weapons drawn, and the Lapps betook them- selves to flight. But Norr fared thence west on the Keel, (6) and was long out, so that they knew nothing of men, and shot beasts and birds for meat for themselves; they fared on till they came where the waters turned to the westward from the fells. Then they fared along with the waters, and came to a sea; there before them was a firth as big as it were a sea-bight; there were fickle tilts, and great dales came down to the firth. There was a gathering of folk against them, and they straightway made ready to battle with Norr, and their quarrel fared as was to be looked for. All that folk either fell or fled, but Norr and his men overcame them as weeds over cornfields. Norr fared round all the firth and laid it under him, and made him- self king over those districts that lay there inside the firth. Norr tarried there the summer over till it snowed upon the heaths; then he shaped his course up along the dale which goes south from the firth; that firth is now called Trondheim. Some of his men he lets fare the coast way round Maureen; he laid under him all whithersoever he came. And when he comes south over the fell that lay to the south of the dale bight, he went on still south along the dales, until he came to a great water which they called Myosin. Then he turns west again on to the fell, because it had been told him that his men had come off worsted before that king whose name was Skin. Then they came into that district which they called Alders. Thence they fared to the sea, and came into a long firth and a narrow, which is now called Song; there was their meeting with Skin, and they had there a fickle battle, because their witchcraft had no hold on Skin. Norr went hard forward, and he and Skin came to hand- strokes. There fell Skin and many of his folk.

(1)  Mythical: Fornjot, king of Finland

(2) Mythical: Thorri, king of Finland

(3) The sea in which are the Alan Isles in the Gulf of Bosnia

(4) Now Lasso in the Gateau

(5) That is, where panic-stricken and rushed wildly about

(6) Keel: The ridge of mountains, which forms the watershed, back- bone, or keel, between Sweden and Norway

2. After that Norr fared on into the firth that goes north from Song. There Skin had ruled before in what is now called Skin's dale. There Norr tarried a long time, and that is now called Nora firth. There came to meet him Gorr his brother, and neither of them had then heard anything of Goi. Gorr too had laid under him all the outer land as he had fared from the south, and then those brothers shared the lands between them. Norr had all the mainland, but Gorr shall have all those isles between which and the mainland he passes in a ship with a fixed rudder. And after that Norr fares to the Uplands, and came to what is now called Headwork (1); there that king ruled whose name was Rolf of the Hill; he was the son of Skadi the giant from north of the Dovrefell. Hrolf had taken away from Kvenland Goi, Thorri's daughter; he went at once to meet Norr, and offered him single combat; they fought long together and neither was wounded. After that they made their quarrel up, and Norr got Hrolf's sister, but Hrolf got Goi to wife. Thence Norr turned back to the realm which he had laid under him, that he called Norway; he ruled that realm while he lived, and his sons after him, and they shared the land amongst them, and so the realms began to get smaller and smaller as the kings got more and more numerous, and so they were divided into provinces.    

(1) Now Hedemark

3. Gorr had the isles, and for that he was called a sea-king; his sons were Heiti and Beiti, they were sea-kings and mighty overbearing men. They made many inroads on the realm of Norr's sons, and they had many battles, and now one, now the other won the day. Beiti ran into Drontheim and warred there; he lay where it is now called Beitsea and Beitstede; thence he made them drag his ship from the innermost bight of Beitstede, and so north over Elduneck, that is where the Naumdales come down from the north. He sat himself on the poop and held the tiller in his hand, and claimed for his own all that land that then lay on the larboard, and that is many tilths and much land. Heiti, Gorr's son, was father of Sveidi the sea- king, the father of Halfdan the old, the father of Ivar the Uplanders' earl, the father of Eystein the noisy, the father of earl Rognvald the mighty and the wise in council. (1)

(1)  "He was called Rognvald the mighty and wise in council, and men say both were true names."

4. Earl Rognvald joined Harold fair-hair (1) when he seized the land, but he (Harold) gave him lordship over both the Maeren and Romsdale (2); he had to wife Ragnhilda the daughter of Hrolf nosy; their son was Hrolf who won Normandy, he was so tall that horses could not carry him; for that he was called Ganging-Hrolf; from him are come the Rouen Jarls and the English Kings...

(1)  Harold, fair-hair king of Norway, A.D. 868-931

(2) "Both the Maeren" are North and South Maeren, which are divided the one from the other by the Romsdale firth. They stretch north-eastward along the coast from Stadt to Naumdale."

Source: ICELANDIC SAGAS, and other historical documents relating to the settlements and descents of the northmen on THE BRITISH ISLES, VOL III: THE ORKNEYINGERS' SAGA, with appendices; translated by Sir G. W. Dasent, printed for Her Majesty's stationery office, London, 1894