The Norse envisioned the end of the world as a titanic battle between Gods and the forces of Surtr, which included giants, rival gods, and various other fell beings such as the giant wolf Fenrir.
Sailing against the gods is the ship Naglfar, captained by the trickster god Loki and made entirely from the fingernails and toenails of dead men. It's a vast ship carrying hordes of warriors. In this apocalyptic battle many of the gods are killed, the world is consumed by fire and then flooded, and then rises from the waves fresh and new. Some gods remain to rule over this new land.
Only two humans are going to survive that particular era in human history, a sort of Norse Adam and Eve who will repopulate the land. The Prose Edda warns us to make sure to trim the nails of the dead to keep the enemies of the gods from completing Naglfar, but since it's all fated to happen anyway, I don't see how we can stop it!
Below is a shot of the Tullstorp Runestone from Sweden, showing the wolf Fenrir and the ship Naglfar.
|Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.|