"From Ymir's flesh
was the earth created,
from the bloody sweat, the sea,
cliffs from bones,
trees from hair,
and from the head, the heavens"
from "The Lay of Grimmir" quoted in "The deluding of Gylfi"
Many men and women, through centuries and civilisations, desire to know how the Universe was born, how it all came to be. A small number of those only, refuse to have their thirst for knowledge unquenched.
Gylfy, a King, was one such man, defying ignorance.
He tricked his way into the company of the great trinity of Gods, High, Just-as-High and Third. And then he asked them:
'Who is the highest or the oldest of all the Gods? Where is he, what is he capable of?'
High replied: "The wisest most powerful God, the All-Father, lives through all Ages and governs all things in his realm." Then Just-as-High said: "He made heaven, earth and the skies and everything in them." Then Third said "Most important, he created man and gave him a living spirit that will never die, even if the body rots to dust or burn to ashes."
'What was the beginning or how did things start? What was there before?'
Gangleri's quest for knowledge is rewarded with stories of Seeresses, Wizards, Sorcerers and Giants. "The old frost giant, him we call Ymir". As the icy rime melted it revealed a cow, which then nourished the 'evil' Ymir. And as the cow fed herself, licking salty blocks of ice, Buri, the first man, beautiful and strong, appeared from them. He had a son called Bor.
'The sons of Bor killed the giant Ymir.'
'They took Ymir and made from him the world. From his blood they made the sea and the lakes. The earth was fashioned from the flesh, and mountains from the bones. They made stones and gravel from the teeth, the molars, and those bones that were broken'.
Gangleri is well impressed:
'It seems to me that they accomplised great things when the earth and the sky were made, the sun and the moon set in their places and the days divided.'
"And from his eyelashes
the gentle gods made
Midgard for the sons of men;
and from his brains
all the oppressive
clouds were formed"
As recounted in Snorri Sturluson's The Prose Edda