English Harold replied, "A great man, and of stately
appearance is he; but I think his luck has left him."
And now twenty gallant English knights ride out of their
ranks to parley with the Northmen. One advances beyond
the rest and asks if Earl Toste, the brother of English
Harold (who has banded with his enemy against him), is
with the army.
The Earl himself proudly answers, "It is not to be denied
that you will find him here."
The Saxon says, "Thy brother, Harold, sends his salutation,
and offers thee the third part of his kingdom, if thou
wilt be reconciled and submit to him."
The Earl replies, at the suggestion of the Norse King,
"What will my brother the King give to Harald Hardrada
for his trouble?"
"He will give him," says the Knight, "SEVEN FEET OF
ENGLISH GROUND, OR AS MUCH MORE AS HE MAY BE TALLER THAN
"Then," says the Earl, "let the English King, my brother,
make ready for battle, for it never shall be said that
Earl Toste broke faith with his friends when they came
with him to fight west here in England."
When the knights rode off, King Harald Hardrada asked
the Earl, "Who was the man who spoke so well?"
The Earl replied, "That knight was Harold of England."
The stern Norwegian King regrets that his enemy had
escaped from his hands, owing to his ignorance of this
fact; but even in his first burst of disappointment, the
noble Norse nature speaks in generous admiration of his
foe, saying to the people about him, "That was but a
little man, yet he sat firmly in his stirrups."
The fierce, but unequal combat is soon at an end, and
when tardy succour arrives from the ships, Harald Hardrada
is lying on his face, with the deadly arrow in his throat,
never to see Nidaros again.