A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 647 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 01.

SECTION IV.

Voyage of Wulfstan in the Baltic as related to Alfred[1].

Wulfstan said that he sailed from Haethum to Truso[2] in seven days and nights, the ship being under sail all the time.  Weonothland[3] was on his right; but Langaland, Laeland, Falster, and Sconeg, were on the left, all of which belong to Dene-mearkan[4].  Burgendaland[5] also, which has a king of its own, was on the left.  After leaving Burgendaland, the islands of Becinga-eg, Meore, Eowland, and Gotland, were on the left, all of which belong to Sueon[6], and Weonodland[7] was all the way on the right to the mouth of the Wisle[8].  This is a very large river, and near it Witland[9], and Weonodland are situated; the former of which belongs to Estum, and the Wisle does not run through Weonodland, but through Estmere[10], which lake is fifteen miles broad.  Then runs the Ilfing[11] from the eastwards into Est-mere, on the banks of which is Truso.  The Ilfing flows from Est-land into the Est-mere from the east, and the Wisle through Weonodland from the south.  The Ilfing, having joined the Wisle, takes its name, and runs to the west of Estmere, and northward into the sea, where it is called Wisle-mouth[12].

Est-land is a large track of country, having many towns, in each of which there is a king.  It produces a great quantity of honey, and has abundance of fish.  The kings, and other rich men, drink mares milk, while the poor people and slaves use only mead[13].  They have many contests among themselves; and the people of Estum brew no ale, as they have mead in profusion[14].  There is also a particular custom observed by this nation; that, when any one dies, the body remains unburnt, with the relations and friends, for a month or two; and the bodies of kings and nobles remain longer, according to their respective wealth, sometimes for half a year, during all which time it is kept in the house, and drinking and sports continue until the body is consumed[15].  When the body is carried to the funeral pile, the substance of the deceased, which yet remains, after the sports and drinking bouts, is divided into five or six heaps, or more, according to its value.  These heaps are placed at the distance of a mile from each other; the largest heap at the greatest distance from the town, and the lesser heaps gradually diminishing, so that the smallest heap is nearest to the town where the dead body lies.  Then all are summoned who have fleet horses, within the distance of five or six miles around, and they all strive for the substance of the dead person.  He who has the swiftest horse, gains the most distant and largest heap, and the others, in just proportion, till the whole is won; then every one takes away his share, as his own property:  and owing to this custom, swift horses are in great request, and extremely dear.  When the wealth of the deceased has been thus exhausted, the body is taken from the house and burnt, together with the

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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