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The Creation of Mankind

Both Völuspá (The Prophecy of the Seeress) in the Poetic Edda and the Gylfaginning (The Deluding of Gylfi) in the Prose Edda relate how the first two humans, Askr and Embla were created two driftwood trees by the gods: Othin, Hönir and Lothur, who are described as the sons of Bor.

Völuspá

17. Unz þrír kvámu ór því liði
öflgir ok ástkir æsir at húsi,
fundu á landi lítt megandi
Ask ok Emblu örlöglausa.

18. Önd þau ne áttu, óð þau ne höfðu,
lá né læti né litu góða;
önd gaf Óðinn, óð gaf Hœnir,
lá gaf Lóðurr ok litu góða.

The Prophecy of the Seeress

17. Then from the throng did three come forth,
From the home of the gods, the mighty and gracious;
Two without fate on the land they found,
Ask and Embla, empty of might.

18. Soul they had not, sense they had not,
Heat nor motion, nor goodly hue;
Soul gave Othin, sense gave Hönir,
Heat gave Lothur and goodly hue.

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Gylfaginning,

9. Borssynir skópu Ask ok Emblu

Þá er þeir gengu með sævarströndu Borssynir, fundu þeir tré tvau ok tóku upp trén ok sköpuðu af menn. Gaf inn fyrsti önd ok líf, annarr vit ok hræring, þriði ásjónu, mál ok heyrn ok sjón, gáfu þeim klæði ok nöfn. Hét karlmaðrinn Askr, en konan Embla, ok ólst þaðan af mannkindin, sú er byggðin var gefinn undir Miðgarði

Gylfaginning,

9. The Sons of Bor created Askr and Embla

When the sons of Borr were walking along the sea-strand, they found two trees, and took up the trees and shaped men of them: the first gave them spirit and life; the second, wit and feeling; the third, form, speech, hearing, and sight. They gave them clothing and names: the male was called Askr, and the female Embla, and of them was mankind begotten, which received a dwelling-place under Midgard.

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The sculpture “Ask och Embla” (Ask and Embla) by Stig Blomberg 1948, Sölvesborg, Sweden
image: Wikimedia Commons
(click on the image to enlarge)