This page contains a text in Old English with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Old English Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Old English language and its speakers' culture.
Hé sæde ðæt Norðmanna land wære swýþe lang and swýðe smæl. Eal þæt his man áþer oððe ettan oððe erian mæg, þæt líð wið ðá sæ; and þæt is þéah on sumum stówum swýðe clúdig; and licgað wilde móras wið éastan and wið uppon emnlange þæm býnum lande. On þæm mórum eardiað Finnas. And þæt býne land is éasteweard brádost, and symle swá norðor swá smælre. Éastewerd hit mæg bíon syxtig míla brád, oþþe hwéne brádre; and middeweard þrítig oððe brádre; and norðeweard hé cwæð, þær hit smalost wære, þæt hit mihte béon þréora míla brád tó þæm móre; and se mór syðþan, on sumum stówum, swá brád swá man mæg on twám wucum oferféran; and on sumum stówum swá brád swá man mæg on syx dagum oferféran.
Ðonne is tóemnes þæm lande súðeweardum, on óðre healfe þæs móres, Swéoland, oþ þæt land norðeweard; and tóemnes þæm lande norðeweardum, Cwéna land. Þá Cwénas hergiað hwílum on ðá Norðmen ofer ðone mór, hwílum þá Norðmen on hý. And þær sint swíðe micle meras fersce geond þá móras; and berað þá Cwénas hyra scypu ofer land on ðá meras, and þanon hergiað on þá Norðmen; hý habbað swýðe lýtle scypa and swýðe léohte.
Óhthere sæde þæt sío scír hátte Hálgoland þe hé on búde. Hé cwæð þæt nán man ne búde be norðan him. Þonne is án port on súðeweardum þæm lande, þone man hæt Scíringes héal. Þyder hé cwæð þæt man ne mihte geseglian on ánum mónðe, gyf man on niht wícode, and ælce dæge hæfde ambyrne wind; and ealle ðá hwíle hé sceal seglian be lande. And on þæt stéorbord him bið ærest Íraland, and þonne ðá ígland þe synd betux Íralande and þissum lande. Þonne is þis land oð hé cymð tó Scírincges héale, and ealne weg on þæt bæcbord Norðweg. Wið súðan þone Scíringes héal fylð swýðe mycel sæ úp in on ðæt lond; séo is brádre þonne ænig man ofer séon mæge. And is Gotland on óðre healfe ongéan, and siððan Sillende. Séo sæ líð mænig hund míla úp in on þæt land.
He said that the land of the Norwegians was very long and very narrow. All that a man can either graze or plough extends alongside the sea; but it is however in certain places very rocky; and wild moors lie to the east and above, beside the inhabited land. On the moors live Finns. The inhabited land is broadest to the east, and ever narrower further north. To the east it may be sixty miles wide, or somewhat more; and towards the middle, thirty or more. To the north, he said, there it was narrowest, so that it might be three miles wide towards the moor; the moor afterwards, in some places, (is) as wide as one might cross in two weeks; and in some places as wide as one might cross in six days.
Then alongside that land on the south, on the other side of the moors, is Sweden, as far as that land to the north; and alongside that land on the north, the land of the Cwena people. The Cwenas sometimes conduct raids against the Norwegians across the moor, sometimes the Norwegians against them. There are very large fresh-water lakes throughout the moors; the Cwenas carry their ships over the land onto the lakes, and from there raid the Norwegians; they have very small and very light ships.
Ohthere said that the district is called Helgeland, which he lived in. He said that no one lived north of him. There is a port in the south of that land, which one calls Skiringssal. He said that one could not sail there in a month, if one anchored at night, and each day had a favorable wind; and all the while he shall sail near land. To the starboard of him is first Ireland, and then the islands that are between Ireland and this land. Then this land continues until one comes to Skiringssal, and all the way on the port side (is) Norway. To the south of the Skiringssal a very large sea flows up into that land; it is wider than any man is able to see across. Jutland is on the other side, opposite, and thereafter Zealand. The sea extends many hundreds of miles up into that land.