The Dark Sister

The Dark Sister

The Dark Sister

The Dark Sister

Excerpt

A note to the reader is required, I think, because he probably will have some curiosity as to the 'truth' of The Dark Sister. The bare bones of my narrative are all in the ancient Greenland and Iceland sagas of the Viking voyages to Vinland. I have indulged in transposition of material and of course in a great deal of interpretative drama; but Freydis' principal acts, on which my narrative is based, are quite as they are said to have occurred nearly one thousand years ago.

I first read of Freydis in a long poem on American history by Edgar Lee Masters, The New World. Her story is also touched upon in William Carlos Williams' In the American Grain and in Sherwood Anderson A Story Teller's Story, but fifteen or more years ago when I first began to try to write this poem I had not read either the Williams or Anderson book. So it is the poet of Spoon River to whom I owe, as I am eager to acknowledge, my initial impulse. Although the Norse voyages to the American continent seem a perennial inspiration of new books -- from juveniles to novels to archaeological studies -- Freydis, so far as I am aware, has been left to darkness and to me; and this is curious, for her story, mad as it is, is yet deeply meaningful and symbolic. (It is curious too, by the way, that the three writers who have at least taken a fascinated glance at her story are those determined Americans, Masters, Williams, and Anderson.)

These are the books which have been my principal assistance: Paul du ChailluThe Viking Age, R. B. Anderson Norse Mythology, Edward Reman The Norse Discoveries and Explorations in America, . . .

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