Before Odin the all-Father there was the vast emptiness of Ginnungagap. Ginnungagap was so vast that it extended forever in every direction. There was nothing within the yawning void of Ginnungagap that any human thought could comprehend. Only the Gods knew the secret of Ginnungagap- it was not empty.
After the beginning there came into being two regions, Muspellhiem and Nuflheim.
Muspellhiem was a region of fire in the South, it means "Home of the destroyers of the world." for later the fire giants would make it their home. The heat and flame from that region was so intense that even from a million miles away it scorched and shriveled everything. Surt, the fiercest of all giants, stood guard at Muspelhiem's borders barring any intruders, even the Gods. It is prophesized that at the end of the world he would fling flame and smoke over all the universe and burn everything into a blackened ash.
Niflheim was the second of the great regions in the northern part of Ginnungagap. Niflheim was a region of ice and snow and in its centre was the mighty fountain of all waters called Vergelmir, the roaring cauldron. It was said that all rivers came from Vergelmir. There was another vast fountain called Evilgar which had come forth since time immemorial. Some even said that Vegalmir and Elivagar were only different names for the same great fountain.
As it came to pass Elivagar's mountains of ice expanded and exploded and spread layer upon layer of ice over the whole of the Northern quarter of Ginnungagap, and with it came frenzied winds of hail, blizzards and vast torrents of frozen rain. But perhaps most importantly there came from the bowls of the Elivagar a poisonous scum, which hardened into black ice. When this mass stopped it hung suspended, forming huge colossal icebergs one on top of the other. That is how the Northern quarter of Ginnungagap was filled with ice and snow whereas the Southern region of Muspelhiem gushed forth its sparks and molten gases.
Inevitably after aeons the regions of fire and ice met, there was a tremendous explosion. The venomous scum from Elivagar was fused into life by the intense heat of the fire. And across the yawning void of Ginnungagap there formed the body of an evil giant. This giant was shaped like a man: boiling mud and ice formed his head, arms torso and legs. He was called Ymir. For many aeons Ymir lay asleep in his bath of poisonous mud and ice. At last he became solid and began to sweat. Under his armpit sprang new life, a male and female and from the mating of his feet came a six headed son. From them came the first frost giants.
However not all of the ice of Niflheim was poisoned, and in a place where it remained pure but was still melted by the fires of Muspellhiem there formed a cow named Audhumla meaning "The great nurse" for from her great udder there flowed four rivers of milk and it was in this milk that the evil Ymir found his nourishment. But Audhumla needed nourishment as well so she licked the the salty continents of ice and something new began to appear. On the first day she licked out the form of hair and on the second she formed the head of a man and by the third day she had licked out a complete man. He was Buri a great and mighty God, after some time he begot a son called Bor who married Bestla the daughter of one of the frost giants. They in turn had three sons: Odin, Vili and Ve.
Although Buri and his descendants were good Ymir and his were evil. Odin and his brothers hated the evil Ymir and they slew him. So much blood flowed from the slaughtered giant that it drowned all the frost giants except Bergelmir and his wife. Odin, Vili and Ve dragged Ymir's body into the middle of Ginnungagap so that the blood flowing from his body formed the sea. From his flesh they formed the Earth and from his shattered bones and teeth they made the rocks and stones. His blood circled the Earth as the sea and made the rivers and lakes. They set his skull in the sky secured by four dwarfs called North, South, East and West. They flung sparks of fire from Muspelhiem to make the Sun, Moon and stars. From his brains they made the clouds but still they had no wind so they placed one of Bergelmirs giant sons at the ends of the Earth in the from of an eagle so that he could flap his wings forever and make the wind.
Odin and his brothers then took a piece of land they named Jotunhiem and gave it to the giants. Then the young gods took Ymir's brows and with it made a circular stronghold around the Earth and they called this fortress Midgard, the middle enclosure.