National Geographic : 1907 Nov
A VISIT TO LONELY ICELAND BY PERLEY H. NOYES MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY ABOUT the year 86o A. D. a Nor wegian pirate named Naddodd, who had been forced to settle in the Faroe Islands on his return from an expedition against Norway, was driven by a storm far out of his course and sighted land considerably to the north, which, from the amount of snow on its mountains, he called Snaeland, or the Land of Snow. Four years later one Gardar Svafarson, a Swede, being simi larly driven northward against his in clination, sighted this same land, which he circumnavigated and discovered to be an island. On that account he called it Gardarsholm, or Gardar's Island, and, having spent a winter on its northern shore, at the site of the present little town of Iusavik, he returned in the spring to Norway. Gardar gave so favorable a report of the new country that the adventurous spirit of another Norwegian pirate, Floki, prompted him to go in search of it him self, with the idea of taking possession of it. He proceeded, accordingly, first to the Shetlands, and then to the Faroes, whence he sailed northward on his jour ney. The compass not then being known, Floki resorted to a novel method of ap prising himself of the proximity of land. He took with him three ravens, conse crated to the gods, to guide him on his way. The first of the birds he let loose after having lost sight of the Faroes, and it took its flight back thither; the second, which he loosed later, rose to a great height in the air, and, after hovering about for some time, returned to the ship; the third directed its course northward, and Floki shortly afterwards landed on the island which he sought. He appears to have spent too much of his time in fishing, neglecting the hay harvest, in consequence of which all the cattle he had brought with him died dur ing the winter. Greatly vexed at this loss, Floki determined to seek a more favorable climate, but before leaving the island he chanced to notice from the top of a mountain near the coast that one of the bays was completely filled with ice, and because of this he renamed the island Iceland, and this name it has ever since retained. In 870 Iceland was again visited by Norwegians, Hiorlief An Icelander Knitting Socks and Ingolf, and being well impressed with the country, after a winter's resi dence there, they returned to Norway to fit out an expedition which should make a permanent settlement on the island. This they did in 874, and fie Icelanders date the occupation of their ountry from that year.