The author was an unnamed Austrian poet, but the story itself belongs to the cycle of sagas, which originated on the shores of the North Sea.
It was Ablabius, apparently, who had first used the Gothic sagas (prisca carmina); it was he who had constructed the stem of the Amals.
A list of its birds, with some notes, bibliographical and biological, has been given as an Appendix to Baring-Gould's Iceland, its Scenes and Sagas (8vo, 1862); and Shepherd's North-west Peninsula of Iceland (8vo, 1867) recounts a somewhat profitless expedition made thither expressly for ornithological objects.
The basis of this growth is partly the story-telling instinct innate in all men, which loves to heighten an effect, sharpen a point or increase a contrast - the instinct which breathes in Icelandic sagas like that of Burnt Njal; partly the instinct of idolization, if it may be so called, which leads to the perversion into impossible greatness of an approved character, and has created, in this instance, the legendary figures of Peter the Hermit and Godfrey of Bouillon (qq.v.); partly the religious impulse, which counted nothing wonderful in a holy war, and imported miraculous elements even into the sober pages of the Gesta.
When the Norsemen came to Greenland they found various remains indicating, as the old sagas say, that there had been people of a similar kind as those they met with in Vinland, in America, whom they called Skraeling (the meaning of the word is uncertain, it means possibly weak people); but the sagas do not report that they actually met the natives then.
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