Askr and Embla

According to Völuspá, Askr ("Ash") and Embla ("Elm") were two beings found by Odin and his companions Hœnir and Lóðurr. They were without fate and empty of might; they had no soul and no sense; heat nor motion, nor goodly hue; and so the gods gave them the various qualities they needed to live. Odin gave them breath or spirit, Hœnir gave them mental faculties or voice, and Lóðurr gave blood and ruddiness or vital warmth and good coloring.

Snorri Sturluson tells a somewhat different story in Gylfaginning. According to him, the sons of Borr were walking along the seashore when they found two trees. They took up the trees and shaped men of them: the first brother gave them spirit and life; the second, wit and feeling; and the third, form, speech, hearing, and sight. They also provided the newly formed humans with clothing and gave them names.

Askr and Embla became the ancestors of all the races of mankind, which received a dwelling-place under Miðgarðr.



  • Gylfaginning, 9.
  • Völuspá, 17-18.