Midgards Serpent

Midgard's Serpent or the World-Serpent (Jormungand), is, in the mythology of the Norsemen, the great serpent which surrounds the world. As the offspring of Loki (q.v.), the principle of evil, the other gods feared the new-born, and determined to get early possession of, it and Fenrir, another of Loki's offspring, and, when secured, Midgard's Serpent was cast into the ocean, where it grew till it encircled the world, biting its own tail. At the end of the world, the world-serpent will fight among the enemies of the gods and be slain by Thor, who, however, will die immediately afterwards from the effect of its venom. The myth of the world-serpent is supposed to signify the deep or main ocean, which, excited by Loki (subterranean fire or earthquake), is thrown upon the land, thus proving scarcely less fatal to the works of man than the direct action of volcanic fire, represented under the form of Fenrir. For further particulars, see Thorpe's Northern Mythology, 1:80 sq., 161 sq.; Mallet's Northern Antiquities, volume 2, Fables 16:25, 26, 27; Keyser's Religion of the Northmen; Petersen's Nordisk Mythologi.

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