Nornae or, as they are also termed, the Parcae of the Northern mythology, were three young women, by name Urd, Verdande, and Skuld, i.e. Past, Present, and Future. They sit by the Urdar-wells under the world tree Yggdrasil, and there determine the fate both of gods and men. Every day they draw water from the spring, and with it and the clay that lies around the wells sprinkle the ash-tree Yggdrasil, that its branches may not rot and wither away. Besides these three great norns, there are also many inferior ones, both good and bad; for, says the prose Edda, when a man is born there is a norn to determine his fate; and the same authority tells us that the unequal destinies of men in the world are attributable to the different dispositions of the norns. These lesser norns corresponded to the genii of classic mythology. Women who possessed the power of prediction of magic also bore this name. SEE NORSE MYTHOLOGY.

Definition of nor

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