National Geographic : 1940 Jul
Greenland from 1898 to Now The Danish Supply Ship Gustav Holm Brings Food, Clothing, and Lumber As the Morrissey approached Kejser Franz Josephs Fjord, east Greenland, in the summer of 1939, she spoke this heavily laden craft, which normally carries building materials and other necessaries to the Eskimos and returns to Denmark with sealskins, fish, oil, and furs. The walls of some of the ruins were four feet thick. One ruin had been, almost cer tainly, a round tower. Its diameter was 48 feet, by measurement of the ruler brought from the Morrissey. Last of all, we lingered over the old, gray, crumbling churchyard. Only one stone showed traces of its inscription. We tried hard to make out what was carved on that stone, but it defied even the bright eyes of my boys. However, an old book I once came across states that within recent years this inscrip tion was found on one stone: "Vigdis, daughter of M-, rests here. May God rejoice her soul." This, the books say, was carved in runic characters. It is just as well; for even had we made out that inscription, none of the boys, not even the lad from Dartmouth, could trans late runic. I put in this bit about the ruins for what it is worth. It may not be exploration ex actly-or, again, it may be. But if I had ever had more time to spare from the actual job of sailing the ship in my jaunts about Green land, I should have given those ruins around and about more thorough observation than I have yet managed. A Question Settles a Dispute Several years ago Norway and Denmark got into an argument about which country had the better claim to parts of eastern Greenland. I received a cable from The Hague asking me to come there to testify before the arbitration committee. I cabled back, "Impossible to come. Were modern Norwegians ever in Greenland?" This question on my part was merely a re quest for information; and I was astonished to receive in reply a letter from the authorities at The Hague thanking me for settling the question!