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.
The king said to Aslak, "May all ill luck attend thee for that stroke; for thou hast struck Norway out of my hands."
Aslak replied, "It is bad enough if that stroke displease thee, for I thought it was striking Norway into thy hands; and if I have given thee offence, sire, by this stroke, and have thy ill- will for it, it will go badly with me, for I will get so many men's ill-will and enmity for this deed that I would need all your protection and favour."