"Skjalg's brave son no mercy craves, -- The battle's fury still he braves; The spear-storm, through the air sharp singing, Against his shield was ever ringing. So Erling stood; but fate had willed His life off Bokn should be spilled. No braver man has, since his day, Past Bokn fjord ta'en his way."
When Olaf went back a little upon the fore-deck he saw Erling's behaviour; and the king accosted him thus: -- "Thou hast turned against me to-day, Erling."
He replies, "The eagle turns his claws in defence when torn asunder." Sigvat the skald tells thus of these words of Erling: --
"Erling. our best defence of old, -- Erling the brave, the brisk, the bold, -- Stood to his arms, gaily crying, `Eagles should show their claws, though dying:' The very words which once before To Olaf he had said on shore, At Utstein when they both prepared To meet the foe, and danger shared."
Then said the king, "Wilt thou enter into my service, Erling?"
"That I will," said he; took the helmet off his head, laid down his sword and shield, and went forward to the forecastle deck.
The king struck him in the chin with the sharp point of his battle-axe, and said, "I shall mark thee as a traitor to thy sovereign."
Then Aslak Fitiaskalle rose up, and struck Erling in the head with an axe, so that it stood fast in his brain, and was instantly his death-wound. Thus Erling lost his life.