In the Beginning . . .
In the beginning there was nothing.
Chaos swirled above the void and it became the Ginnungap, the rift where chaos fell into void. One side of the rift was a world of eternal fire, and it was known as Muspelheim. On the other side was a world of eternal ice, known as Niflheim. Where the frost and fire touched, it created steam and water. From this, the first and largest living thing was formed, Ymir, the primeval giant. After Ymir, the next living thing formed was Auðumbla, the great cosmic cow. Buri spent his time drinking milk from Auðumbla and sleeping. While he slept, one half of his body would mate with the other and his dreams would give his offspring shapes. First, from his armpits, came came the frost giants and then his left foot mated with his right and produced a 6-headed monster. Every time he slept, stranger creatures were formed. Auðumbla licked the rime-stones on the edge of the Ginnungap. Eventually she licked them into the shape of a man: the fist god, Buri. Since he did not have Idun’s golden apples to renew his youth, he eventually died of old age, but not before he had a son named Bor. Bor married married a frost giantess named Bestla. They had three sons, Odin, Hoenir, and Lodar. The brothers saw Ymir kept producing more Jotun and evil monsters and soon every place would be filled with them. They attack and killed Ymir in a great battle. The deluge of blood from Ymir drowned all the Jotunar but two. Those two washed atop a mountain in Jotunheim and repopulated the Jotun race.
The brothers dragged Ymir to Ginnungap and used his body to create the universe.
His bones became mountains.
His teeth became rocks.
His blood became oceans.
His skin became the land.
His brains became clouds.
His hair became trees.
The worms that ate Ymir’s dead flesh were transformed into the dwarves. They found homes in the cracks under the ground. The brothers had four of the dwarves hoist up Ymir’s skull on ropes to create the sky. The brothers caught the sparks from Muspelheim and set them in the sky to be stars. Odin took a branch from a tree and planted it. It grew instantly and became so large, its roots touched all the worlds. This is Yggdrasil, the great tree of creation. When the brothers walked through what they had created, they came to an ash tree beside an elm tree. Odin went to the trees and breathed life into them. Ve gave them shapes and senses. Vili granted them emotions and wills of their own. They were given the names Ask and Embla, the first humans. The brothers left Ask and Embla on Midgard, and ascended to Asgard via Bifrost, the rainbow bridge.
Thus, the universe was made.