This signal was wantonly destroyed by a pirate, whose ship was afterwards wrecked at this very spot, the rover and his men being drowned.
Gairsay (33) was the residence of Sweyn Asleifson, the rover, celebrated in the Orkneyinga Saga for his exploits as a trencherman and his feats in battle.
In July 1779 he became commander, and was appointed to the "Rover" sloop; in June of the following year he attained the rank of post-captain.
Quitting America for Europe he published at Paris The Prairie (1826), the best of his books in nearly all respects, and The Red Rover, (1828), by no means his worst.
His next novel was The Crater, or Vulcan's Peak (1847), in which he attempted to introduce supernatural machinery with indifferent success; and this was succeeded by Oak Openings and Jack Tier (1848), the latter a curious rifacimento 'of' The Red Rover; by The Sea Lions (1849); and finally by The Ways of the Hour (1850), another novel with a purpose, and his last book.
The word " Viking," in the sense in which it is used to-day, is derived from the Icelandic (Old Norse) Vikingr (m.), signifying simply a sea-rover or pirate.