This is my attempt to modernize the Norse Creation Myth. It is also written in a way that I feel would be accessible to children. I read, somewhere, that if you can’t explain something to a six year old, you have no business trying to do so.
And stories are supposed to be alive. They are meant to be spoken. They are meant to be told. I think, sometimes, that people forget that, and put too much emphasis on telling ancient stories in ancient ways.
But it is my sincere belief that stories, like people, are meant to grow and evolve into new shapes and forms. It is, in this way, that we keep the Gods alive. By bringing them from the past into the present by using the forms of the present to access the past. A little like the working of wyrd, interestingly enough.
Anyway, on to the story!
In the beginning, there were three worlds. The first of those worlds was the world of the void. In this world, nothing existed. There was no life of any sort and everything was still. Not even the wind blew within its borders.
On its northern border there was the second world, the world of ice. In its midst lay the Roaring Kettle. From the Kettle all the rivers of life poured forth, slowly making their way southward into the world of the void. The water from the rivers were empty of life. The temperature in the world of ice was too low for any life form to survive.
On the southern border of the world of the void lay the third world, the world of fire. The temperature of the world of fire was so great that only those born natively into the world could bear its heat and live. Due to the immense heat it gave off, it began to warm the southern part of the world of the void that lay beyond its borders.
The rivers from the world of ice slowly trickled into the world of the void. Where the rivers stopped, they froze into blocks of ice and rime, a type of poison.
As eons passed, the heat from the world of fire slowly reached the blocks of ice that had formed in the middle of the world of the void. Where the heat reached the ice, the world of the void became moderate in temperature. It was not too hot or too cold. The warm temperature made it possible for life to emerge.
The heat from the world of fire slowly began to melt the blocks of ice. As it did so, the first frost giant, Ymir, came into being. Ymir was unique, because he was able to produce children through his sweat glands. While he slept, two more giants came into existence, formed from the sweat under his arms. Their names were Mimir and Bestla. It is from them that the few good frost giants are descended.
Ymir had another son, created by the sweat produced when he rubbed his feet together. That son was born strange, with three heads, and the three-headed giant had another son named Bergelmir. It is from Bergelmir’s line that all the evil frost giants are descended.
Ymir, however, wasn’t the only life form to spring into being when the heat from the world of fire melted the ice in the middle of the world of the void.
From the second block of melted ice there came Audhumla, the great cow. From her udders flowed four rivers of milk which sustained the frost giants and allowed them to live, as the rime from the blocks of ice were like poison to them.
But for her, the rime from the ice was food. She licked the blocks of ice for sustenance. The first day that she did this, she discovered the hair of a man in the block of ice she’d chosen. By the end of the next day, she’d uncovered his entire head. She kept licking the ice the next day, and by the third day, she’d uncovered an entire man!
That man was Buri, and he was the first of the gods. Buri fed from the rivers of milk that Audhumla provided and that fertile milk gifted him with a son named Burr. Burr took Bestla, the frost giant, as his wife, and the two of them gave birth to Odin, Vili, and Ve.
Now, when life emerged in the world of the void, a new fountain sprang up. Mimir, the wisest of the wise, laid claim to it and, to this day, it bears his name. Mimir’s well is said to hold the water of wisdom, a place where all knowledge can be found.
It is into this well that a golden seed fell and from that seed, a great tree grew. That tree was Yggdrasil, the great World Tree. It has three great roots, one that can be found underneath Mimir’s well. Another can be found under the Roaring Kettle, where a dragon named Nidhogg does its best to gnaw through the great tree’s root. The third root of the great tree is found under the Well of Wyrd, where the Norns reside and preside over the fates of men and gods alike.
As the tree grew, more and more worlds came into being in its branches. The great tree serves as a great pillar, keeping the worlds from falling into the world of the void below.
Yggdrasil is a beautiful tree that cannot be seen by human eyes. Its trunk, branches, and roots are all silver-white, and its root-threads, foliage, and fruits are red-gold. It produces apples that the gods eat when they grow old in order to keep themselves young.
Despite its beauty, Yggdrasil suffers greatly from the creatures around it. The dragon that gnaws on one of its major roots is just one of the difficulties it faces. At the very top of it sits an eagle and a squirrel runs between the dragon and the eagle, carrying cruel messages between the two. When the dragon receives a message from the eagle, delivered by the squirrel, it becomes more vicious in its assault on the great tree’s root.
There are many serpents that gnaw on it, never seeming to tire in their pursuit of destruction of the great tree. Four harts run along its trunk, feeding off the foliage at the top of the tree. For all the destruction caused by the animals, there is another difficulty-the trunk of the great tree is slowly rotting. It is said that eventually the dragon that gnaws on its root will be successful at cutting through it and that the great tree will become unbalanced.
But no one knows what will cause the great tree to fall. It cannot be felled by either fire or iron and, while the dragon will someday unbalance it, there is no way to know for sure if that will make the great tree fall.