The World Ash-a gigantic ash tree that towers over all the world. One root reaches into the realm of Niflhiem, where the serpent Nidhogg feeds on dead corpses and upon the very root of Yggdrasill. The second root stretches to the realm of Asgard were the Norns dwell, three old women who rule the destinies of men. These women are known as Fate, Being, and Necessity, they keep the root alive by sprinkling it with pure water from the well of fate. The third root dwell in the realm of Jotunheim, the land of the giants. Beneath this root lies the well were the severed head of Mimir speaks harsh words.
It was on Yggdrasill that Odin the All-Father gained the magic runes in which men can record and understand their lives. Odin wished to learn the magic of the runes but first he had to endure terrible sacrifice, spiritual and physical torture. For nine long agonizing nights Odin hung from the tree over the bottomless abyss, pierced through with a spear, offering himself in sacrifice. Ratatosk, the squirrel , who carried insults from the eagle at the top of the tree to Nidhogg the serpent did not even give an offer of food. In the end Odin could take no more, he gave a mighty cry and seized the runes from the tree as he fell. When Odin arose from his death he knew the secrets hidden from man. He knew how to heal the sick, blunt an enemy's blade, and how to catch an arrow in flight.