I asked Loki, in his guise of Lodurr, about the day that the gods made humans. He indulged me, and he told me the following story.
Note: This is 100% my own personal gnosis, so please take it as you will.
Walking along the coast one day, Odin, Hoenir, and Lodurr came across two pieces of driftwood moored upon the sand. The shape of the wood reminded Odin of the monkeys he had just seen while visiting Tehuti in Egypt. “Perhaps we should create a being to inhabit our world the way the Egyptians have,” he said.
“We cannot recreate the monkeys from Egypt,” Hoenir said, ever practical. “They would not survive the harsh winters of our world.”
Lodurr, always keen to solve problems when they presented themselves, offered a suggestion. “Perhaps instead of recreating the monkeys, we can combine the idea of them with the trees the wood came from. That way, they will not struggle with the climate here.”
“If we do that, we will have trees that look like monkeys stuck forever in one place. What kind of life would that be to give them?” Hoenir asked.
“Then let us give them the ability to move, so that they are not rooted,” Lodurr said.
“It would be good to have intelligent life in our world,” Odin said. “I think Lodurr is right. We should combine the two. By doing that, they will be as mobile as monkeys but as adaptable to the climate as the trees are.”
Saying that, he pulled the pieces of driftwood from their moorings and set about shaping the wood. Lodurr and Hoenir helped and, soon, they had crafted two remarkable beings that looked similar to the monkeys Odin had referenced. Because those monkeys had two sexes, the gods crafted the driftwood into two distinct sexes. If life were to flourish, then the beings would need a way to procreate so that the gods did not have to continuously shape new pieces of driftwood they stumbled across.
Once the beings were crafted, Odin laid his hands on each of their shoulders in turn and blew a note that turned into breath and entered the creatures. Soon, both of them began breathing on their own. Next, Hoenir stepped forward and laid a finger on each head. He traced an ancient symbol across their foreheads and pushed the capacity to think into their heads.
Once that was done, Lodurr placed his palm over each creature’s heart. He sent fire racing down his arms, igniting passion in the hearts that beat within each breath. Inadvertently, however, he also singed away half of the hair that had covered the creatures. Once he had burnt something, it could not be recovered, so the creatures were stuck with a fine layer of hair rather than the coarse layer the gods had originally intended. In apology for destroying the work of the other gods, Lodurr blew color into their cheeks, giving them a rosy hue. He also set blood flowing in their limbs, giving them strength to move on their own.
Hoenir noticed that, when Lodurr had singed the hair off the creatures, he had completely removed it from their palms and the soles of their feet. That uncovered the lines of the wood that the gods had worked so hard to remove. Hoenir started to smooth out the flesh there, but Odin stopped him.
“Let the lines stay,” Odin said. “It will serve as a reminder for them that they came from the trees. As long as it remains with them, this knowledge will keep them in awe of the trees and prevent them from burning down the forest. They have minds of their own, free will, and the ability to use tools. We do not know what they will do, so let us give them as much knowledge as is safe to provide.”
Hoenir, unhappy that he could not ply his craft to the extent that he wanted, removed his hands from the creatures and walked away from the other gods.
Lodurr and Odin stood in silence until Lodurr spoke. “Did you mean that?” he asked. “About providing them knowledge?”
“They will grow to hate us,” Lodurr said. “They will know that they were a curiosity we made on a whim. That doesn’t distress you?”
“No,” Odin said. “Because even though many of them may grow to hate us, some will grow to love us without measure. It is that love that will sustain us, as we sustain them.”
Lodurr snorted. “Now you sound like Freyja.”
“She is wiser than you give her credit for,” Odin said. “Without her teachings, I could not have done what I did today. She is the one who taught me how to use the breath of life and how to both give and take it away.”
“I know she is wise,” Lodurr said. “It is her wisdom that makes it difficult for me to be who I am. She too often looks through me.”
Odin looked at the humans they had just crafted. “Perhaps you should focus on making friends elsewhere,” he said.
“Amongst the humans?” Lodurr asked, surprised by the suggestion.
“You hold more knowledge than the other gods give you credit for, old friend,” Odin said. “It is you who can teach them how to survive in this world. I know of no one better suited.”
Lodurr smiled. “Thank you, brother. I may just do that.”