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NORNS (O. Norse, Nornir), in Northern mythology, the female divinities of fate, somewhat similar to the Gr. Motpai and the Roman Parcae. Like them they are generally lepresented as three in number, and they are said to spin, or weave, the destiny of men. Their dwelling is beside the " Spring of fate," beneath the " world-tree," Yggdrasil's ash, which they water with draughts from the spring. In some cases the Norns are not easily to be distinguished from the Valkyries (q.v.). Sometimes again they appear as prophetesses (volur) at the birth of children, whose destiny they foretell. The most famous of these stories is contained in the Thdttr af Nornagesti, and has a curious resemblance to the Greek legend of Althaea and Meleager. Similar beings seem to have been known among other Teutonic peoples in early times. (See TEUTONIC PEOPLES, 7). (H. M. C.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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