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The Norns (
Beside these three famous Norns, there are many others who appear at a person's birth in order to determine his or her future.  In the pre-Christian Norse societies, Norns were thought to have visited newborn children.  There were both malevolent and benevolent Norns: the former caused all the malevolent and tragic events in the world while the latter were kind and protective goddesses. 
The origin of the name norn is uncertain, it may derive from a word meaning "to twine" and which would refer to their twining the thread of fate.  Bek-Pedersen suggests that the word norn has relation to the Swedish dialect word norna (nyrna), a verb that means "secretly communicate". This relates to the perception of norns as shadowy, background figures who only really ever reveal their fateful secrets to men as their fates come to pass.