The True History of America in a Nutshell
It’s 984 AD, and man, those Thorvaldssons are a hoo-o-ot! First, Eric the Red gets his son, Lief, all excited about the new world. Eric, you see, told everybody, and that includes his excitable son, that Greenland was green! He talked about pastures and vines for wine and all sorts of easy living, and zingo bingo, there went Lief.
So Lief hops into one of his dragonships and heads off into the sunset. He sails night and day, cracking the whip, and telling his crew tales of how wine grows free for the plucking…uh, sipping. And, finally, he arrives at the fabled promised land.
Imagine Lief’s surprise when he arrived and found not a trace of vine, but rather ice, cold, and more ice! Not even a milking cow to be found, and if there was one, they had to slaughter it for food! But don’t worry, Lief will have his own reven…uh, joke.
Now, what do you do when you’ve bought a clunker? And the fellow who sold it to you is nowhere to be slaught…,uh, found? You simply move on and look for greener pastures.
So Lief sailed on. He followed the directions of Bjarni Herjulfsson (where do they get these names?) who got lost, bypassed Greenland, and said he found three other bits of land.
And here Lief struck it rich. He found the green pastures, the rivers filled with salmon, and you could even see the sun at both breakfast and dinner! And Lief, sated on free grapes (which, let’s face it, could be made into wine) christened the new land Vinland, or Vineland.
Of course, his mouth filled with purple grapes all mushed up, perhaps he made a mistake. Or, perhaps the people he told the name to, drunk on improperly aged wine, couldn’t really understand him. At any rate, Vinland came to be called Foundland…that’s right, Newfoundland, and the New World has officially been discovered!
Of course, there are those people out there who dismiss Lief’s accomplishment–we call them ‘sour grapes’ (heh heh, snort and chuffle…great pun, eh?–and say that some cruel Europeaner is the real discoverer of something that mammoth hunters discovered thousands of years ago. But that’s okay, we know the truth. Stay tuned for the next installment of Case Histories, there’s a lot more juicy stuff acomin’!