Norse god Odin formed the earth and its surrounding sea from parts of the evil giant Ymir he had killed. And so, the World Tree, the Mighty Ash Yggdrasill, grew up to hold earth in place. Or so the beliefs of the northern Germanic people held.
Along its branches roamed four stags—Dain, Dvalin, Duneyr, and Dyrathror—constantly feeding on the foliage. The mischievous red squirrel Ratataoskr was to be found running backwards and forwards, delivering insulting messages from the hawk Ve≈ërf√∂lnir perched at the top of Yggdrasill to the evil dragon N√≠≈ëh√∂ggr, ‘Malice Striker,’ down in the three roots that supported the Tree of Life and on which it constantly gnawed.
Also, down there, in a handsome hall, dwelt the Norns, three seers who predicted √∏rl∆°g, the destinies, of men. Uror, Veroando and Skuld were also charged with watering the mighty roots of Yggdrasill. Daily they drew water from the well of Urd, the spring of Hvergelmir, and the well M√≠misbrunnr to which the roots grew.
For in those for off times, neither ash blight nor emerald ash borer were to be found . . .
Wes Porter is a horticultural consultant and writer based in Toronto. Wes has over 40 years of experience in both temperate and tropical horticulture from three continents.
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