Jennie Hall is most noted for her fascinating travel memoirs of the late eighteenth century. She produced vibrant narratives and brilliantly vivid descriptions that have made her popular among readers who wish to be transported into another area or time period. Her "Viking Tales" is an excellent example of that. The story follows the life of the Viking Harald from infancy to his crowning as King of Norway. It focuses on the Vikings' eagerness for adventure and new lands as they set forth from Norway and sail westward across the Atlantic, island-hopping on their way to America. The legends of these men were passed down through generations of families, while they sat around the fireside on bitterly cold winter nights playing harps and working with wool. This adventurous book will entertain young and old readers alike as they take a look at the lifestyle and world view of these mysterious people.… (more)
Nights were long in Iceland winters of long ago. A whole family sat for hours around the fire in the middle of the room. That fire gave the only light. Shadows flitted in the dark corners. Smoke curled along the high beams of the ceiling. The children sat on the dirt floor close by the fire. The grown people were on a long narrow bench that they had pulled up to the light and warmth. Everybody's hands were busy with wool. As the family worked in the red fire-light, the father told of the kings of Norway, of long voyages to strange lands, of good fights. And in farmhouses all through Iceland these old tales were told over and over until everybody knew them and loved them. Men who could sing and play the harp were called "skalds," and they called their songs "sagas." Eventually these stories were written down on sheepskin or vellum so that we can enjoy them today.