The chronicles have been interpreted by Gisli Sigurdsson, a historian at Reykjavik University, who believes the sagas - part fiction, part fact - reveal how the ancient Norse were far from the fearless pirates of legend.
Sigurdsson said the tales were a warning to travellers that they would encounter a general foggy area, dangerous landings, hostile natives and language problems. They wrote that the people would probably attack you immediately.
A new historical study gleaned the information from stories that filtered back from travelling Vikings and were written on yellowed calf vellum eight centuries ago.
The stories paint a picture of a dangerous country but claim Orkney and Shetland offer a friendlier welcome.
'Icelanders who want to practise robbery are advised to go there,' says one saga. 'But it may cost them their life.'
Another tale tells the story of Icelandic merchants who sailed into a west coast sea loch where they met 13 ships bristling with angry natives.