"Is he a coward, or what does he lack?" "He is as dull as a wooden sword." Now whether or no all this coincided with the private opinion of Grettir the Fat, has nothing to do with the matter. Biorn Herjulfsson had been his chief. The sailor rose suddenly to his feet, with his hand on his knife and an angry look on his red face. "Biorn Herjulfsson is no coward!" he shouted fiercely.
Biorn said this had an inhospitable look, and he would not allow that we should land here either. But we sailed along the shore, and saw that it was an island. After this we had no more chances, for the fourth land we saw was Greenland." A buzz of comment rose from all sides. "Is that all that you made of such a chance as that?" "Certainly the gods waste their favors on such as Biorn Herjulfsson."
"Now it is related that Bjarni Herjulfsson came from Greenland to Eirek Jarl, who received him well. Bjarni described his voyage and the lands that he had seen. People thought he had shown a lack of interest as he had nothing to tell about them, and he was somewhat blamed for it.
"I myself have talked with one of the sailors who saw it," Sigurd explained. "He was Biorn's steersman. He saw it distinctly. He said that it looked like a fine country, with many trees." "If it was a real country and no witchcraft, it is strange that he contented himself with looking at it. Why did he not land and explore?" "Biorn Herjulfsson is a coward," Helga said contemptuously.
In the name of wonder, what had happened to them? "It is the strangest thing that ever occurred." "It is a miracle of God!" "Growing as thick as crow-berries." "Such juice will make the finest wine in the world!" "Biorn Herjulfsson will dash out his brains with envy." "Was ever such luck as the Lucky One's?" were the disjointed phrases that passed between them.
She put her hand over his mouth as he would have spoken. "No, listen to me before you say anything against it. Gilli will sail next week. At that time Leif will be absent on a visit to Biorn Herjulfsson, who has just returned to Greenland from Norway. With Leif, Kark will go, so that we shall not have his prying eyes to fear.
He brought with him three of the men of Biorn's old crew, and also the same stanch little trading-vessel in which Herjulfsson had made his journey. The ship-sheds upon the shore became at once the scene of endless overhauling and repairing. Thorhild's women laid aside their embroidering for the task of sail-making.
"Fix in your minds the shame that was spoken of Biorn Herjulfsson because of his lack of enterprise. The same shall not be said of us. Rolf Erlingsson and Ottar the Red and three others shall follow me; and we will walk inland until the light has entirely faded from the highest mountain peak yonder, and the next point below is yellow as a golden fir-cone.
She turned, laughing, to where young Haraldsson sat counting the wealth of his pouch and calculating how valuable could be the presents he could afford to bestow on his arrival. "Sigurd, do you remember that western land Biorn Herjulfsson saw? and how we were wont to plan to run away to it, when I grew tired of embroidering and Leif kept you overlong at your exercises?"
By the time they had him anchored behind an ale-horn on the bench in the hall, he held the household's undivided attention. Good-natured with feasting, and roused by the babel around him, he began yarn-spinning at the first hint. "The western shore? No man living can tell you more of the wonders of that than I, not Biorn Herjulfsson himself!" he declared.