Now, Whether This
Same Thule Was One Of The Shetland Islands, And The
Impassable Substance Merely A Fog, - Or Iceland,
barricade beyond, a wall of ice, it is impossible to say.
Probably Pythias did not get beyond the
gentleman not having a compass, (he lived about A.D.
864,) nor knowing exactly where the land lay, took on
board with him, at starting, three consecrated ravens - as
an M.P. would take three well-trained pointers to his
moor. Having sailed a certain distance, he let loose one,
which flew back: by this he judged he had not got half-way.
Proceeding onwards, he loosed the second, which, after
circling in the air for some minutes in apparent
uncertainty, also made off home, as though it still
remained a nice point which were the shorter course toward
terra firma. But the third, on obtaining his liberty a
few days later, flew forward, and by following the
direction in which he had disappeared, Rabna Floki, or
Floki of the Ravens, as he came to be called, triumphantly
made the land.
The real colonists did not arrive till some years later,
for I do not much believe a story they tell of Christian
relics, supposed to have been left by Irish fishermen,
found on the Westmann islands. A Scandinavian king, named
Harold Haarfager (a contemporary of our own King Alfred's),
having murdered, burnt, and otherwise exterminated all
his brother kings who at that time grew as thick as
blackberries in Norway, first consolidated their dominions
into one realm, as Edgar did the Heptarchy, and then
proceeded to invade the Udal rights of the landholders.
Some of them, animated with that love of liberty innate
in the race of the noble Northmen, rather than submit to
his oppressions, determined to look for a new home amid
the desolate regions of the icy sea.
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