Paul Bunyan and Auðumbla the Big Blue Ox
There is a story from ancient Scandinavia about how the universe came to be. Not many people know it today. However, some of it may sound familiar.
This is the story as it was told to me:
In the beginning, there was only Cold and Darkness. These two swirled and stormed. This freezing hurricane was the entire universe. It was called Ginnungagap.
Where the Cold met the Darkness, there was an edge of frost that shifted and spun and was always changing. Auðumbla, an enormous cow, was born from this subtle pattern of shifting ice.
For a very long time, Auðumbla was alone in the chaos of Ginnungagap. For nourishment, she licked the frost from the edge of the whirling storm.
One day - if days can be measured in such a universe - Auðumbla found a hair poking out of the ice. She licked at the hair, and so the ice melted, and even more hairs sprouted. She kept at it and before long she had thawed out a whole bearded head. Then came shoulders, and a body, and the legs of an enormous giant named Ymir.
Ymir stretched out his limbs and Auðumbla warmed his fingers and toes on her belly. For nourishment, he drank her milk. Together, they wandered Ginnungagap.
Ymir grew so full from Auðumbla’s milk that three sons sprang from his body: Vé, Villi, and Odin. His sons were beautiful and proud, and nearly as strong as he himself.
They were family, and because they were family, they fought. Endlessly. The conflict became so violent that Ymir’s three sons killed him and chopped his body into pieces.
Vé, Villi, and Odin pushed Ymir’s bones into the hard ice of Ginnungagap. The bones became stones and mountains and metal.
Ymir’s sons spread his flesh across the cold emptiness to create the soil of the earth.
His sweat pooled into lakes and flowed into rivers.
Ymir was so enormous that each of his hairs bloomed into a tree.
Ymir’s skull was set above the new earth and became the dome of the sky. Ymir’s sons threw his eyes up into the new heavens and they became the sun and the moon. The light, gold and silver, shone on the earth.
That is how the world came to be.