Online Encyclopedia

YGGDRASIL

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 921 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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YGGDRASIL, in Scandinavian mythology, the mystical ash tree which symbolizes existence, and binds together earth,. heaven and hell. It is the tree of life, of knowledge, of fate, of time and of space. Its three roots go down into the three great realms—(I) of death, where, in the well Hvergelmer, the dragon Nidhug (Nibhoggr) and his brood are ever gnawing it; (2) of the giants, where, in the fountain of Mimer, is the source of wisdom; (3) of the gods, Asgard, where, at the sacred fountain of Urd, is the divine tribunal, and the dwelling of the Fates. The stem of Yggdrasil upholds the earth, while its branches overshadow the world and reach up beyond the heavens. On its topmost bough sits an eagle, between whom and Nidhug the squirrel Ratatoskx runs to and fro trying to provoke strife. Honey-dew falls from the tree, and on it Odin hung nine nights, offering himself to himself. G. Vigfusson and York Powell (Corpus Poelicum Boreale, Oxford, 1883) see in Yggdrasil not a primitive Norse idea, but one due to early contact with Christianity, and a fanciful adaptation of the cross. YO-CHOW FU, a prefectural city in the Chinese province of Hu-nan, standing on high ground E. of the outlet of Tungt'ing Lake, in 29° 18' N., 113° 2' E. Pop. about 20,000. It was opened to foreign trade in 1899. The actual settlement is at Chinling-ki, a village 51 M. below Yo-chow and half a mile from the Yangtsze. From Yo-chow the cities of Chang sha and Chang to are accessible for steam vessels drawing 4 to 5 ft. of water by means of the Tung-t'ing Lake and its affluents, the Siang and Yuen rivers. The district in which Yo-chow Fu stands is the ancient habitat of the aboriginal San Miao tribes, who were deported into S.W. China, and who, judging from some non-Chinese festival customs of the people, would appear to have left traditions behind them. The present city, which was built in 1371, is about 3 m. in circumference and is entered by four gates. The walls are high and well built, but failed to keep out the T'aip'ing rebels in 18J3, Situated between Tung-t'ing Lake and the Yangtsze-kiang, Yo-chow Fu forms a depot for native products destined for export, and for foreign goods on their way inland. The net value of the total trade of the port in 1906 was 747,000 taels.
End of Article: YGGDRASIL
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