Norse Creation Myths Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein According to H. A. Guerber’s Myths of the Norsemen: From the Eddas and Sagas (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1992), the Norse people had creation myths that follow some of the patterns of those of the Romans and the Greeks. Their creation myth begins with a race of giants who preceded man. The Giants In Norse mythology there were originally two lands, the icy Niflheim in the north, and the fiery Muspell in the south, and where the two met, the fire of Muspell began to thaw the ice of Niflheim, and the ice took the shape of a giant, Ymir. As he lay sweating, the sweat beneath his left arm formed two more giants, one male and one female. Then another male giant formed from beneath his legs. These were the first generation of frost giants, who made war with the gods. Holy Cow The cow Audhumla was the second creature to come into being as Muspell thawed the ice of Niflheim. Her udders gave off four streams of milk, and these gave nourishment to Ymir. Audhumla herself licked the ice at her feet to get the salt from it, and as she did so, she revealed a man’s head. After licking for three days, she freed a whole man, whose name was Buri. His son, called Bor, married Besla, one of the daughters of the frost giants. The First Gods The children of Bor and Besla were the first race of gods: Odin, Vili, and Ve. The three creator gods fought the giant Ymir and killed him. From his flesh, they created earth; from his teeth and bones they made rocks; from his blood rivers and the ocean around earth; his skull became the vault of heaven, and his brains became the clouds. They made Midgard, the earthly realm, out of his eyebrows. Then they gathered sparks from Muspell and threw them into the sky as the sun, moon, and stars. They killed all the giants but Bergelmir and his wife, who escaped and became the parents of the next generation of giants, who would fight forever with the gods. The ruler of Muspell, the fire giant Surt, was ignored by the gods, but he would rise again to fight the gods in the last battle, Ragnarok. The First Humans From two logs they found on the shore of the sea, the creator gods made the first man, Ask, and the first woman, Embla, and set them in Midgard as their home. They became the parents of the human race. Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily