CREATION OF THE WORLDS IN THE NORSE COSMOS
Before the beginning of times in the Norse cosmos, there were but two worlds and a yawning void in between. The world of ice, Niflheim, stretching to the North and the world of flame, Muspelheim, in the South which was guarded by the fire giant Surt with his flaming sword. These worlds were parted by a giant void called Ginnungagap. Twelve rivers that came from a cauldron called Hvergelmir were pouring down this slope into blackness. One day Surt was wielding his flaming sword and sparks of fire reached to Niflheim. The freezing cold and the sparks of his sword collided and exploded. Out of it came the primeval frost giant Ymir and with him a giant cow named Audhumla (the nourisher). Ymir was fed from her milk and out of his sweat emerged other giants – one of them Thrudgelmir. Audhumla fed herself by licking the salty ice of Niflheim. After some time, the shape of a man appeared through the ice where she licked. This man was the first one of the gods, Buri (the producer). He is the father of Bor. Bor took the giantess Bestla for his wife and fathered the first of the Æsir: Odin, Vili and Ve.
The ice giant Thrudgelmir, who has always been hateful towards the gods, evil in nature, fought a lengthy war with the three brothers. When they saw that none would win this war they sneaked up to the primeval Ymir and killed him in his sleep. His blood drowned all his kin but one couple of giants who then fled to Jotunheim, which can be translated to the home of the giants.
From Ymir’s body the gods then shaped the world of men – Midgard. His blood became the rivers and seas, his flesh the lands and soil, his bones were made the mountains and his skull the sky.
There are countless of versions to be found of the creation of the world of men in the Norse cosmos. For a long time, the Vikings did not have a literary tradition; the mythology has been carried on in their culture as songs and poems from generation to generation. Changes of form and content are therefore inevitable. The traditions of the old Norse myths have been written down much later even after Christianisation.