The Account Given By Ohthere (in Old English)


Ōhthere sǣde his hlāforde, Ælfrēde cyninge, ðæt hē ealra Norðmonna norþmest būde. Hē cwæð þæt hē būde on þǣm lande norþweardum wiþ þā Westsǣ. Hē sǣde þēah þæt þæt land sīe swīþe lang norþ þonan; ac hit is eal wēste, būton on fēawum stōwum styccemǣlum wīciað Finnas, on huntoðe on wintra, ond on sumera on fiscaþe be þǣre sǣ.

Hē sǣde þæt hē æt sumum cirre wolde fandian hū longe þæt land noþryhte lǣge, oþþe hwæðer ǣnig mon be norðan þǣm wēstenne būde. Þā fōr hē norþryhte be þǣm lande: lēt him ealne weg þæt wēste land on ðæt stēorbord, ond þā wīdsǣ on ðæt bæcbord þrīe dagas. Þā wæs hē swā feor norþ swā þā hwælhuntan firrest faraþ. Þā fōr hē þā giet norþryhte swā feor swā hē meahte on þǣm ōþrum þrīm dagum gesiglau. Þā bēag þæt land, þǣr ēastryhte, oþþe sēo sǣ in on ðæt lond, hē nysse hwæðer, būton hē wisse ðæt hē ðǣr bād westanwindes ond hwōn norþan, ond siglde ðā ēast be lande swā swā hē meahte on fēower dagum gesiglan. Þā sceolde hē ðǣr bīdan ryhtnorþanwindes, for ðǣm þæt land bēag þǣr sūþryhte, oþþe sēo sǣ in on ðæt land, hē nysse hwæþer. Þā siglde hē þonan sūðryhte be lande swā swā hē meahte on fīf dagum gesiglan. Ðā læg þǣr ān micel ēa ūp on þæt land. Ðā cirdon hīe ūp in on ðā ēa for þǣm hīe ne dorston forþ bī þǣre ēa siglan for unfriþe; for þǣm ðæt land wæs eall gebūn on ōþre healfe þǣre ēas. Ne mētte hē ǣr nān gebūn land, siþþan hē from his āgnum hām fōr; ac him wæs ealne weg wēste land on þæt stēorbord, būtan fiscerum ond fugelerum ond huntum, ond þæt wǣron eall Finnas; ond him wæs āwīdsǣ on þæt bæcbord. Þā Boermas heafdon sīþe wel gebūd hiraland: ac hīe ne dorston þǣr on cuman. Ac þāra Terfinna land wæs eal wēste, būton ðǣr huntan gewīcodon, oþþe fisceras, oþþe fugeleras.

Fela spella him sǣdon þā Beormas ǣgþer ge of hiera āgnum lande ge of þǣm landum þe ymb hīe ūtan wǣron; ac hē nyste hwæt þæs sōþes wæs, for þǣm hē hit self ne geseah. Þā Finnas, him þūhte, ond þā Beormas sprǣcon nēah ān geþēode. Swīþost hē fōr ðīder, tō ēacan þæs landes scēawunge, for þǣm horshwælum, for ðǣm hīe habbað swīþe æþele bān on hiora tōþum — þā tēð hīe brōhton sume þǣm cyninge — ond hiora hȳd bið swīðe gōd tō sciprāpum. Sē hwæl bið micle lǣssa þonne ōðre hwalas: ne bið hē lengra ðonne syfan elna lang; ac on his āgnum lande is sē betsta hwælhuntað; þā bēoð eahta and fēowertiges elna lange, and þā mǣstan fīftiges elna lange; þāra hē sǣde þæt hē syxa sum ofslōge syxtig on twām dagum.

Hē wæs swȳðe spēdig man on þǣm ǣhtum þe heora spēda on bēoð, þæt is, on wildrum. Hē hæfde þā gȳt, ðā hē þone cyningc sōhte, tamra dēora unbebohtra syx hund. Þā dēor hī hātað ‘hrānas’; þāra wǣron syx stælhrānas; ðā bēoð swȳðe dyre mid Finnum, for ðǣm hȳ fōð þā wildan hrānas mid. Hē wæs mid þǣm fyrstum mannum on þǣm lande: næfde hē þēah mā ðonne twēntig hrȳðera, and twentig scēapa, and twentig swȳna; and þæt lȳtle þæt hē erede, hē erede mid horsan. Ac hyra ār is mǣst on þǣm gafole þe ðā Finnas him gyldað. Þæt gafol bið on dēora fellum, and on fugela feðerum, and hwales bāne, and on þǣm sciprāpum, þe bēoð of hwæles hȳde geworht, and of sēoles. Ǣghwilc gylt be hys gebyrdum. Sē byrdesta sceall gyldan fīftȳne mearðes fell, and fīf hrānes, and ān beran fel, and tȳn ambra feðra, and berenne kyrtel oððe yterenne, and twegen sciprāpas; ǣgþer sȳ syxtig elna lang, ōþer sȳ of hwæles hȳde geworht, ōþer of sīoles.

Hē sǣde ðæt Norðmanna land wǣre swȳþe lang and swȳðe smæl. Eal þæt his man āþer oððe ettan oððe erian mæg, þæt līð wið ðā sǣ; and þæt is þēah on sumum stōwum swȳðe clūdig; and licgað wilde mōras wið ēastan and wið ūpp on emnlange þǣm bȳnum lande. On þǣm mōrum eardiað Finnas. And þæt bȳne land is ēasteweard brādost, and symle swā norðor swā smælre. Ēastewerd hit mæg bīon syxtig mīla brād, oþþe hwēne brǣdre; and middeweard þrītig oððe brādre; and norðeweard hē cwæð, þǣr hit smalost wǣre, þæt hit mihte bēon þrēora mīla brād tō þǣm mōre; and sē mōr syðþan, on sumum stōwum swā brād swā man mæg on twām wucum oferfēran; and on sumum stōwum swā brād swā man mæg on syx dagum oferfēran.

Þonne is tōemnes þǣm lande sūðeweardum, on ōðre healfe þæs mōres, Swēoland, oþ þæt land norðeweard; and tōemnes þǣm lande norðeweardum, Cwēna land. Þā Cwēnas hergiað hwīlum on ðā Norðmen ofer ðone mōr, hwīlum þā Norðmen on hȳ. And þǣr sint swīðe micle meras fersce geond þā mōras; and berað þā Cwēnas hyra scypu ofer land on ðā meras, and þanon hergiað on ðā Norðmen; hȳ habbað swȳðe lȳtle scypa and swȳðe leohte.

Ōhthere sǣde þæt sīo scīr hātte Hālgoland þe hē on būde. Hē cwæð þæt nān man ne būde be norðan him. Þonne is ān port on sūðeweardum þǣm lande, þone man hǣt Sciringeshēal. Þyder hē cwæð þæt man ne mihte geseglian on ānum mōnðe, gyf man on niht wīcode, and ǣlce dæge hæfde ambyrne wind; and ealle ðā hwīle hē sceal seglian be lande. And on þæt stēorbord him bið ǣrest Īraland, and þonne ðā īgland þe synd betux Īralande and þissum lande. Þone is þis land, oð hē cymð tō Scirincgeshēale, and ealne weg on þæt bæcbord Norðweg. Wið sūðan þone Sciringeshēal fylð swȳðe mycel sǣ ūp in on ðæt land; sēo is brādre þonne ǣnig man ofer sēon mæge. And is Gotland on ōðre healfe ongēan, and siððan Sillende. Sēo sǣ līð mænig hund mīla ūp in on þæt land.

And of Sciringeshēale hē cwæð þæt hē seglode on fīf dagan tō þǣm porte þe mon hǣt æt Hǣþum; sē stent betuh Winedum, and Seaxum, and Angle, and hȳrð in on Dene. Ðā hē þiderweard seglode fram Sciringeshēale, þā wæs him on þæt bæcbord Denamearc and on þæt stēorbord wīdsǣ þrȳ dagas; and þā, tweg_en dagas ǣr hē tō Hǣþum cōme, him wæs on þæt stēorbord Gotland, and Sillende, and īglanda fela. On þǣm landum eardodon Engle, ǣr hī hider on land cōman. And hym wæs ðā twēgen dagas on ðæt bæcbord þā īgland þe in [on] Denemearce hȳrað.