Do you wonder where the gods come from? It is a long story, and it does no credit to anyone: there is murder in it, and trickery, lies and foolishness, seduction and pursuit. Listen.
Before the beginning there was nothing, no earth, no heavens, no stars, no sky: only the mist world, formless and shapeless, and the fire world, always burning.
To the north was Niflheim, the dark world. Here eleven poisonous rivers cut through the mist, each springing from the same well at the center of it all, the roaring maelstrom called Hvergelmir.
Niflheim was colder than cold, and the murky mist that cloaked everything hung heavily. The skies were hidden by mist and the ground was clouded by the chilly fog.
To the south was Muspell. Muspell was fire. Everything there glowed and burned.
The ash tree Yggdrasil is a mighty ash tree, the most perfect and beautiful of all trees: also the largest. It grows between the nine worlds and joins them, each to each.
It is the biggest of all the trees there are, and the finest. The tops of its branches are above the sky.
It is so large that the roots of the ash are in three worlds, and it is fed by three wells.
In Jotunheim, the home of the giants, is Mimir’s well. It bubbles up from deep in the ground, and it feeds Yggdrasil, the world-tree.
Mimir, the wise one, the guardian of memory, knows many things. His well is wisdom, and when the world was young he would drink every morning from the well, by dipping the horn known as the Gjallerhorn into the water and draining it.
Long, long ago, when the worlds were young, Odin put on his long cloak and his hat, and in the guise of a wanderer he traveled through the land of the giants, risking his life to get to Mimir, to seek wisdom.
Thor’s wife was the beautiful Sif. She was of the Aesir. Thor loved her for herself, and for her blue eyes and her pale skin, her red lips and her smile, and he loved her long, long hair, the color of a field of barley at the end of summer.
Loki was handsome, and he knew it. People wanted to like him, they wanted to believe him, but he was undependable and self-centered at best, mischievous or evil at worst.
He married a woman named Sigyn, who had been happy and beautiful when Loki courted and married her but now always looked like she was expecting bad news. She bore him a son, Narfi, and shortly afterward another son, Vali.
Sometimes Loki would vanish for long periods and not return, and then Sigyn would look like she was expecting the very worst news of all, but always Loki would come back to her, looking shifty and guilty and also as if he were very proud of himself indeed.
Thor, god of thunder, was the mightiest of all the Aesir, the strongest, the bravest, the most valiant in battle,
Thor’s hammer was called Mjollnir. It had been made for Thor by the dwarfs Brokk and Eitri. It was one of the treasures of the gods. If Thor hit anything with it, that thing would be destroyed. If he threw the hammer at something, the hammer would never miss its target, and would always fly back through the air and return to his hand.
He could shrink the hammer down and hide it inside his shirt, and he could make it grow again. It was a perfect hammer in all things except one: it was slightly too short in the handle, which meant that Thor had to swing it one-handed.
The hammer kept the gods of Asgard safe from all the dangers that menaced them and the world. Frost giants and ogres, trolls and monsters of every kind, all were frightened of Thor’s hammer.
Frey, the brother of Freya, was the mightiest of the Vanir. He was handsome and noble, a warrior and a lover.
The mortals of Midgard revered Frey. He made the seasons, they said. Frey made the fields fertile and brought forth life from the dead ground. The people worshipped Frey and they loved him,
He had a sword so powerful and remarkable that it fought by itself. He had Gullinbursti, the boar with the golden bristles, created by the dwarf Brokk and his brother, Eitri.
Gullinbursti pulled Frey’s chariot. It could run through the air and over the water, run faster than any horse, and run even in the darkest night, for its golden bristles shone so brightly.
He had Skidbladnir, a boat made for him by the three dwarfs known as the sons of Ivaldi. It was not the biggest ship there was (that was Naglfar, the Death Ship, made from the untrimmed fingernails of the dead), but there was room for all of the Aesir on board. When the sails of Skidbladnir were set, the winds were always fair.
Balder’s face shone like the sun: he was so beautiful that he illuminated any place he entered. Balder was Odin’s second son, and he was loved by his father, and by all things. He was the wisest, the mildest, the most eloquent of all the Aesir.
He would pronounce judgment and all would be impressed by his wisdom and his fairness. His home, the hall called Breidablik, was a place of joy and music and knowledge.
Balder’s wife was Nanna, and he loved her and only her. Their son, Forsete, was growing to become as wise a judge as his father. There was nothing wrong with Bal-der’s life or his world, save only one thing.
Balder had bad dreams.
He dreamed of worlds ending, and of the sun and the moon being eaten by a wolf. He dreamed of pain and death without end. He dreamed of darkness, of being trapped. Brothers slew brothers in his dreams, and nobody could trust anyone else. In his dreams, a new age would come upon the world, an age of storm and of murder. Balder would wake from these dreams in tears,
Until now I have told you of things that have happened in the past, things that happened a long time ago.
Now I shall tell you of the days to come. I shall tell you how it will end, and then how it will begin once more. These are dark days I will tell you of, dark days and hidden things, concerning the ends of the earth and the death of the gods. Listen, and you will learn.
It will begin with the winter.heir turn.
This will be the age of cruel winds, the age of people who become as wolves, who preyupon each other, who are no better than wild beasts.
Twilight will come to the world, and the places where the humans live will fall into ruins, flaming briefly, then crashing down and crumbling into ash and devastation.
This will not be a normal winter. The winter will begin, and it will continue, winter following winter. There will be no spring, no warmth.
People will be hungry and they will be cold and they will be angry. Great battles will take place, all across the world.
Brothers will fight brothers, fathers will kill sons. Mothers and daughters will be set against each other. Sisters will fall in battle with sisters, and will watchtheir children murder each other in.
"Norse Mythology", que ha sido publicado por la editorial W. W. Norton & Company, tiene 304 páginas y puede ser adquirido por un precio de 25,95 dólares.