Plant Lore, Legends and Lyrics

Book Richard Folkard
RICHARD FOLKARD, JUN. Plant Lore, Legends and Lyrics. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington,
Crown Buildings, 188, Fleet Street, 1884.





The Norse World-Tree.

According to the Eddaic accounts, the Ash Yggdrasill is the greatest and best of all trees. One of its stems springs from the central primordial abyss—from the subterranean source of matter—runs up through the earth, which it supports, and issuing out of the celestial mountain in the world’s centre, called Asgard, spreads its branches over the entire universe. These wide-spread branches are the æthereal or celestial regions; their leaves, the clouds; their buds or fruits, the stars. Four harts run across the branches of the tree, and bite the buds: these are the four cardinal winds. Perched upon the top branches is an eagle, and between his eyes sits a hawk: the eagle symbolises the air, the hawk the wind-still æther. A squirrel runs up and down the Ash, and seeks to cause strife between the eagle and Nidhögg, a monster, which is constantly gnawing the roots: the squirrel signifies hail and other atmospherical phenomena; Nidhögg and the serpents that gnaw the roots of the mundane tree are the volcanic agencies which are constantly seeking to destroy earth’s foundations. Another stem springs in the warm south over the æthereal Urdar fountain, where the gods sit in judgment. In this fountain swim two swans, the progenitors of all that species: these swans are, by Finn Magnusen, supposed to typify the sun and moon. Near this fountain dwell three maidens, who fix the lifetime of all men, and are called Norns: every day they draw water from the spring, and with it sprinkle the Ash in order that its branches may not rot and wither away. This water is so holy, that everything placed in the spring becomes as white as the film within an egg-shell. The dew that falls from the tree on the earth men call honey-dew, and it is the food of the bees. The third stem of Yggdrasill takes its rise in the cold and cheerless regions of the north (the land of the Frost Giants), over the source of the ocean, typified by a spring called Mimir’s Well, in which wisdom and wit lie hidden. Mimir, the owner of this spring, is full of wisdom because he drinks of its waters. One day Odin came and begged a draught of water from the well, which he obtained, but was obliged to leave one of his eyes as a pledge for it. This myth Finn Magnusen thinks signifies the descent of the sun every evening into the sea (to learn wisdom from Mimir during the night); the mead quaffed by Mimir every morning being the ruddy dawn, that, spreading over the sky, exhilarates all nature.

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Sobre Silvia Pato

Autora de las novelas «Las nueve piedras» y «El Libro del Único Camino». Redactora de contenidos en diversos medios digitales.

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