The Online 
Medieval and Classical Library


Biorn Ketilson Comes West-Over-The-Sea,
But Will Not Abide There.

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #33

Now must we tell of Biorn, the son of Ketil Flatneb, that he sailed West-over-the-sea when he and Thorolf Most-beard sundered as is aforesaid.

He made for the South-isles; but when he came West-over-the-sea, then was Ketil Flatneb his father dead, but he found there Helgi his brother and his sisters, and they offered him good entertainment with them.

But Biorn saw that they had another troth, and nowise manly it seemed to him that they had cast off the faith that their kin had held; and he had no heart to dwell therein, and would not take up his abode there. Yet was he the winter through with Auth his sister and Thorstein her son.

But when they found that he would not be at one with his kindred, they called him Biorn the Easterner, (1) and deemed it ill that he would not abide there.

Go to Chapter VI

(1)  "They called him Biorn the Easterner."  We have rendered
     "hinn austraeni" by "easterner" as the nearest term we could
     think of.  But it does not express the full sense of
     "austraenn" here.  Biorn found fault with his kinsmen for
     having changed their old faith for Christianity, and was so
     disgusted therewith that he had no heart to abide among
     them.  This was the cause of their conferring on him the
     nickname, as the saga expressly states.  Vigfusson, in
     Timatal, 224; supposes the reason of the giving of the
     surname to have been, that he alone of his kindred was left
     for some time behind in Norway; but there is no need of that
     explanation in face of the clear record of the story.  The
     sense of "austraenn", therefore, is Easterner, in the sense
     of Eastern-minded, wilfully clinging to Eastern follies (of
     Paganism); -raenn, therefore, conveys in this name the same
     sense as -raenn in einraenn, self-willed, whimsical, in both
     ancient and modern use of the word.