Freydis Eiriksdottir was Freydis, “Erik’s daughter,” meaning Erik the Red. She was such a wicked lady! I was flipping through a history book once and found a story of the “first European woman on record in North America.” It was Freydis, and she’s remembered for her exploits in Vinland; for treachery, killing the women of a rival Viking clan with an axe after the men refused, and for scaring away attacking natives by bearing her breasts, beating them with a sword, and screamin’ like a maniac while the men of her party left her, pregnant, as they scampered to their ship.
I think that’s an awesome way to go down in history.
The sagas say…
“Freydis came out and saw how they were retreating. She called out, “Why run you away from such worthless creatures, stout men that ye are, when, as seems to me likely, you might slaughter them like so many cattle? Let me but have a weapon, I think I could fight better than any of you.” They gave no heed to what she said. Freydis endeavoured to accompany them, still she soon lagged behind, because she was not well [pregnant]; she went after them into the wood, and the Skrælingar directed their pursuit after her. She came upon a dead man; Thorbrand, Snorri’s son, with a flat stone fixed in his head; his sword lay beside him, so she took it up and prepared to defend herself therewith.
Then came the Skrælingjar upon her. She let down her sark and struck her breast with the sword. At this they were frightened, rushed off to their boats, and fled away. Karlsefni and the rest came up to her and praised her zeal.”
- The Saga of Erik the Red, Sephton’s trans.