Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/47

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37
THE GLACIAL MAN IN AMERICA.

the south like a rushing torrent, all the poles turned from the sun, and they all yelled very loud." Karlsefne saluted them with his red shield, the sign of war, "and after this they went against each other and fought. There was a hot shower of missiles, because the Skrællings had slings." At the outset, Karlsefne was forced to retreat, but a rally was made, and the Skrællings retreated. It is also said that "two men fell on Karlsefne's side, but a number of Skrællings." The Saga states that Karlsefne was overmatched, so many natives appearing that it was difficult to believe that they were real men, but rather optical illusions. In connection with the fight an incident occurred which seems to show that the Skrællings belonged to a people of the stone age; for one of them found an axe and cut a piece of wood with it, and thought it was a "fine thing." But when he tried to cut a stone it broke. Then "they thought it was of no use, because it would not cut stone, and they threw it away." It would appear from this that stone was their standard.

Afterward, during a short expedition northward, the Northmen found "five Skrællings clad in skins, asleep near the shore. They had with them vessels containing animal marrow mixed with blood." These were killed. Soon after they fancied that they saw men with one leg called "Unipeds," and for this piece of imagination the narrative has been objected to as unreal, the objector forgetting that the Uniped is a very ancient institution frequently mentioned by sailors. Charlevoix reports a St. Malo captain, who, when in America, saw men with "one leg and thigh." A young Labrador girl captured in 1717 told of those her countrymen who had only one leg.

Finally, Karlsefne decided not to expose his little colony, and prepared to sail for Greenland. On the voyage home they landed in Markland, supposed to be Nova Scotia, and "found there five Skrællings, and one was bearded, two were females and two boys; they took the boys, but the others escaped, and the Skrællings sank down into the ground"; that is, disappeared among the hillocks or slipped into their subterranean dens. The Saga says that the boys were taught Icelandic and were baptized. They called their mother Vathelldi, and their father Uvæge. They also said that two kings ruled over the Skrællings, one being named Avalldania and the other Valldida. These boys also reported that they had no houses in Markland, but that the people lived in "caves or holes."

The second narrative of Karlsefne treats the subject of the Skrællings in the same way, except that these people were of "small stature." The third narrative states that, when the bull (one of the small Icelandic species) began to bellow, the Skrællings "made off with their bundles, and these were of furs, and sables, and all sorts of skins; and they turned and wanted to go into the houses, but Karlsefne defended the doors." Also, before the fight commenced there was more trading, and the women brought out "milk and dairy products," which pleased