Some people think that Leif went off course, got lost and found the new world by accident.
I stripped the bark to see how soft the outer layer of wood was just as we would inspect the wood on a ship to see how long it had been in the water. The wood was not very soft so it had only been wet a few weeks. I got excited. There was a branch about 2 inches (50 mm) across and four feet long so I broke it off the tree. It snapped hard so it had not been in the salt water long enough for the salt to break the tissues down and ruin the characteristics of the wood. It was such excellent wood that we could have made bows from it. To narrow down how long it had been in the water I had only to look closely at the end of the branch.
I got really excited because it was completely dry in the center. It takes about two weeks for the water to soak through an inch of that kind of wood so that had only been in the ocean less than two weeks! Two weeks at the speed of the ocean current had put that tree at our doorstep.
That meant sailing west at
the same speed as the oceans current for two weeks would put us into the
middle of a forest! We could cut the wood ourselves. Then we could just
drift and sleep and still get back home in about two weeks. That sure
sounded a lot better than rowing against the current fully laden for 1500
The people who knew me just
laughed their heads off about the whole thing.
*My father, Eric the Red, was a wonderful person until he had his attacks. If you made much noise when he had an attack it would avalanche his emotions and he would destroy what ever and who ever was in front of his eyes.
It was simple to avoid. When his body started to shake you simply did not get in front of his eyes.
An attack of illness would continue for four hours unless we gave him three glasses of wine which he rarely drank otherwise. The wine or mead would reduce the time of the seizure to about 30 minutes or stop it from occurring. Today he would take a seizure medicine like Dilantin and he would never have another attack but all we had was wine.
We children never had a problem because we were short and so we would take him to the tavern to get the drinks and then wait with him until it took to take effect.
Every so often some drunks would see him at that time kind of shaking and 'say look at how that man is shaking. He can barely hold it together. With his child here he won't fight us so lets go mess with his head.' That would last sometimes only about 10 seconds before my father would explode and occasionally he would kill someone and then the family would have to move to a new land.
Since we were in Greenland we had run out of places to move to and it made my father very glad to see me go find a new land in case we had to move again.
If he had been a real murderer he would have been treated like one and immediately been given a death sentence. Certainly the second time he killed he would have been given one. They knew it was a seizure and not his fault. So they did the right thing by exiling us to a place far from other people and that is how we ended up in Greenland and looking for more land in case we had to move again.
They doubted my father once when he injured some people so they went to the bar where he had just got the three glasses of wine. He had blown up and threw the stone table almost all the way through the sod roof. When they got there the judge and others tried to lift the table up and it took two of them to lift it. The table was stone and it weighed over 350 pounds and when my father blew up he threw the table up in the air and it bounced it off the ceiling and almost crushed to death some men but it came down in front of them and not on them. The trial was for trying to figure out how much to charge him for the roof but everybody in the village went because it was such an event that he threw that table partially through the roof.
Another thing that indicates that this was some kind of a seizure and not murder is that my father was an extremely productive person. He never had any kind of a destructive personality. While a bad person might do a few good things occasionally you don't get a lot of good from a bad person and he did a lot of good. Also, you don't get an Erik for a son unless you are a good honest, moral and honorable man.
Wait a second. Do you realize that I am still defending my father against detractors and he has been dead for a thousand years. So why am I so protective of this person as if he is still alive today? It's part of the Viking heritage to be true to your family.
I went back just now and read
what I have written and I'm not doing that bad a job of defending him,
am I? We were absolutely the most moral people at the time.
© 2003, 2020 John Pinil