As soon as King Magnus heard that Svein with his troops had gone across to Fyen, he sailed after them; and when Svein heard this news he went on board ship and sailed to Scania, and from thence to Gautland, and at last to the Swedish King. King Magnus landed in Fyen, and plundered and burned over all; and all of Svein's men who came there fled far enough. Thiodolf speaks of it thus: --
"Fiona isle, once green and fair, Lies black and reeking through the air: The red fog rises, thick and hot, From burning farm and smouldering cot. The gaping thralls in terror gaze On the broad upward-spiring blaze, From thatched roofs and oak-built walls, Their murdered masters' stately halls.
"Svein's men, my girl, will not forget That thrice they have the Norsemen met, By sea, by land, with steel, with fire, Thrice have they felt the Norse king's ire. Fiona's maids are slim and fair, The lovely prizes, lads, we'll share: Some stand to arms in rank and row, Some seize, bring off, and fend with blow."
After this the people of Denmark submitted to King Magnus, and during the rest of the winter, there was peace. King Magnus then appointed some of his men to govern Denmark; and when spring was advanced he sailed northwards with his fleet to Norway, where he remained a great part of the summer.
Now, when Svein heard that King Magnus had gone to Norway he rode straight down, and had many people out of Svithjod with him. The people of Scania received him well, and he again collected an army, with which he first crossed over into Seeland and seized upon it and Fyen, and all the other isles. When King Magnus heard of this he gathered together men and ships, and sailed to Denmark; and as soon as he knew where Svein was lying with his ships King Magnus sailed to meet him. They met at a place called Helganes, and the battle began about the fall of day. King Magnus had fewer men, but larger and better equipt vessels. So says Arnor, the earls' skald: --
"At Helganes -- so goes the tale -- The brave wolf-feeder, under sail, Made many an ocean-elk (1) his prey, Seized many a ship ere break of day. When twilight fell he urged the fight, Close combat -- man to man all night; Through a long harvest night's dark hours, Down poured the battle's iron showers."
The battle was very hot, and as night advanced the fall of men was great. King Magnus, during the whole night, threw hand- spears. Thiodolf speaks of this: --
"And there at Helganes sunk down, Sore wounded, men of great renown; And Svein's retainers lost all heart, Ducking before the flying dart. The Norsemen's king let fly his spears, His death-wounds adding to their fears; For each spear-blade was wet all o'er, Up to the shaft in their life-gore."