"In haste the men of Thyland fly From the great monarch's threat'ning eye; At the stern Harald's angry look The boldest hearts in Denmark shook."
They went forward all the way south to Heidaby, took the merchant town and burnt it. Then one of Harald's men made the following verses: --
"All Heidaby is burned down! Strangers will ask where stood the town. In our wild humour up it blazed, And Svein looks round him all amazed. All Heidaby is burned down! From a far corner of the town I saw, before the peep of morning, Roofs, walls, and all in flame high burning."
To this also Thorleik alludes in his verses, when he heard there had been no battle at the Gaut river: --
"The stranger-warrior may inquire Of Harald's men, why in his ire On Heidaby his wrath he turns, And the fair town to ashes burns? Would that the day had never come When Harald's ships returned home From the East Sea, since now the town, Without his gain, is burned down!"
35. HARALD'S ESCAPE INTO THE JUTLAND SEA.
Then King Harald sailed north and had sixty ships and the most of them large and heavily laden with the booty taken in summer; and as they sailed north past Thioda King Svein came down from the land with a great force and he challenged King Harald to land and fight. King Harald had little more than half the force of King Svein and therefore he challenged Svein to fight at sea. So says Thorleik the Fair: --
"Svein, who of all men under heaven Has had the luckiest birth-hour given, Invites his foemen to the field, There to contest with blood-stained shield. The king, impatient of delay, Harald, will with his sea-hawks stay; On board will fight, and fate decide If Svein shall by his land abide."