Far, far below Midgard - nine nights' ride across eleven rivers for the god Hermod astride Odin's great horse Sleipnir - lies cold and misty Niflheim. Here the dead dwell, ruled by Loki's half-rotted child Hel in her hall Eljudnir, beyond whose iron gates lies Nastrond, the shore of corpses. The gold-thatched bridge across the icebound deepest river, Gjoll, is guarded by the pale maiden Modgud.

The roots of Yggdrasil, the great World-Tree, touch Niflheim too, but here the ash endures its severest suffering; for at the Spring of Hvergelmir (the source of the eleven rivers) the dragon Nidhogg and other serpents gnaw insatiably upon it.


A Magnificent Apple Tree