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FACT vs. FICTION

Can you tell which is which?


1. Newfoundland is called “The Rock”.

(Fact or Fiction)

2. Vikings had a settlement in Newfoundland.

(Fact or Fiction)

3. There is proof that St. Brendan arrived in Newfoundland.

(Fact or Fiction)


4. The Voyage of St. Brendan is a historical book.

(Fact or Fiction)

5. There is a stone High Cross at Cape Spear near St. John’s.

(Fact or Fiction)

6. Icebergs are visible from Newfoundland.

(Fact or Fiction)

7. The Hopper Trail really exists in Gros Morne National Park.

(Fact or Fiction)

8. The Book of Kells is a real book.

(Fact or Fiction)

9. The prayer of St. Brendan in the story is real.

(Fact or Fiction)

10. There are no Orthodox churches in Newfoundland.

(Fact or Fiction)

11. Leif Erikson was actually a Christian.

(Fact or Fiction)

12. Western Brook Pond really exists in Gros Morne.

(Fact or Fiction)

13. Tim Severin repeated the trip of St. Brendan.

(Fact or Fiction)

14. The manuscript poem is real.

(Fact or Fiction)

15. Vikings left Newfoundland suddenly never to return.

(Fact or Fiction)

SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR YOUR ANSWERS!

FACT vs. FICTION

ANSWERS:

1. Fact: The almost 10,000 kilometres of coastline consist of spectacular jagged, rock walls that rise dozens of metres out of the North Atlantic. One early visitor to Newfoundland called it, “a monstrous mass of rock and gravel, almost without soil, like a strange thing from the bottom of the great deep, lifted up, suddenly, into sunshine and storm...” “The Rock” is a truly fitting name for Newfoundland.


2. Fact: More than 1,200 years ago, Vikings from Norway set out on a series of daring voyages that would eventually result in settlements in the Shetland Islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and finally Newfoundland and Labrador.

L'Anse aux Meadows is the only authenticated Norse site in North America. It was first brought to worldwide attention in 1960 by Helge and Anne Ingstad, a Norwegian couple who had searched for years to solve the puzzle of the sagas.


3. Fiction: There is no physical evidence that proves St. Brendan arrived in North America. But many believe he did arrive in Newfoundland, especially after a person reads the Voyage of St. Brendan. We’re still waiting for someone to find solid proof.


4. Fact: It is a real book. A Latin chronicle, the Voyage of Brendan, recorded Brendan as the hero of a Christian adventure that included voyages to unknown lands far to the west of Ireland. The account indicates that Irish voyagers visited North America as early as the 6th century.


5. Fiction: There is no cross there, but I think a stone High Cross would be a great addition, don't you?


6. Fact: Icebergs are visible from Newfoundland, and they are impressive. They are a common sight along the coast of Newfoundland from March until July. They originate from the glaciers of West Greenland where 30,000-40,000 break off annually. Carried north around Baffin Bay they do not appear in Newfoundland waters until their second year at sea.


7. Fiction: There is no “Hopper Trail”—this was a creation for the story to help Martin and the others conveniently reach West Brook Pond via a cross-country hike. That said, the “Long Range Traverse” which is mentioned, is a real trail. It is a four or five-day backcountry trek for approximately 35 kilometers. But you need to be able to read a topographical map and to use a compass to guide you as there are no helpful signposts.


8. Fact: The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament. It is believed to have been created c.800 AD. The illustrations and ornamentation are extravagant and complex and are the greatest example of any Insular Gospel book in existence. You should look it up. The pictures are amazing.


9. Fact: This is a real prayer attributed to St. Brendan. I first heard it quoted by an Orthodox priest-monk in a talk he gave about Irish monks and journeys to North America.


10. Fiction: There is an Orthodox mission in St. John’s, Newfoundland, but it is the only one on the whole island of Newfoundland where there are over half a million people.


11. Fact: Around A.D. 1000, Erikson sailed to Norway where King Olaf I converted him to Christianity. He even got in trouble in Greenland for bringing a priest there with him.


12. Fact: It’s beautiful—trust me, I’ve been there. This spectacular fjord has dozens of thundering waterfalls cascading off its 2,000-foot high rock walls. Tour boats cruise the pristine lake from June to mid-October. You should consider a visit!


13. Fact: This is actually true! Convinced that the Voyage of St. Brendan was based on a historical journey, in 1976 Tim Severin built a replica of St. Brendan’s currach (boat). Between May 1976 and June 1977, Severin and his crew sailed 7,200 kilometers from Ireland to Newfoundland.


14. Fiction: This was made up for the story. But it would have been pretty cool if the manuscript poem was real.


15. Fact: Strange, but true. The Vinland sagas are clear that all Viking expeditions returned to Greenland after less than a decade. The L’Anse aux Meadows site was likewise abandoned. The only things left were broken and discarded items and the remains of the buildings.