The only record of the voyage
There’s just one source for this saga
The Groenlendinga saga (or the Saga of the Greenlanders) comes down to us in a single manuscript written in the late 14th century called the Flateyjarbók. A fire, flood or the nibbling of rats might have deprived us of one of the only written sources that describes the Norse exploration of North America. Most experts place the composition of the saga in the 12th or 13th century, at least a century after the events described, but much of it has proved historically reliable, if liberally sprinkled with fabulous inventions.
The Flateyjarbók was written for Jón Hákonarson, a wealthy farmer in Iceland with an interest in literature. Thanks to an introduction, we know that it was written by two priests – Jón Þórðarson and Magnús Þórhallsson – which may explain the favourable depiction of Christianity in the text.
Made from 225 fine vellum leaves, the writing in the Flateyjarbók contains many sagas of the kings of Norway and poems. Some of these are found elsewhere, but the Groenlendinga saga is found nowhere else but the Flateyjarbók.
The manuscript remained on the island of Flatey for centuries. In 1651, King Frederick III of Denmark sent out a request for all old manuscripts in his kingdom to be added to the royal library. The
Flateyjarbók left its home and would not be returned to Iceland until 1971, where it is now considered to be one of the national treasures of the country.
The Flateyjarbók is the only source for the Groenlendinga saga and other valuable information regarding the Norse in North America