A Course Book
Dr. Kyle Torke
ENGLISH 102 Dr. Torke Office: Thorson Hall 233 Office: 10:30-12, 1-3 TTh 11-12 MWF
email@example.com 515.641.8219 (office) 719.439.7732 (cell)
English 102 is a class for questions. Our thematic focus will center on the experience of rivers (and other bodies of water) in literature as they manifest throughout the Western tradition. We will explore broadly in multiple genres from poems to short stories, novels, plays, essays, and film and cover writers from the Greeks to modern Americans. We will learn to be active readers and precise writers while concentrating on the questions, large and small, most pertinent to the enjoyment and analysis of great texts. How do I read a poem? Is my reading different, better, dumber than someone else's? Is reading a short story the same as reading a poem or novel? Does the title "mean" something? How does a story begin to have meaning, what are those meanings, how can I be sure I've figured out the right meaning? When someone says a protagonist is a projection of the author’s hope for a new appreciation of human morality, what does she mean? How can we improve our ability to access, appreciate, and, more importantly, enjoy texts? What makes some works more valuable, or better, than others? As a community of interested and involved readers, we will approach these questions, and many others, when we begin to explore texts and the strategies that can help us shape the way we understand what we read. Though we will consider critical theories, our primary focus will always be to ask questions of the text that will help us to answer presiding questions: How is the text working? And why do I enjoy reading? Reading asks us to assess complex material, come to some conclusion, and support a position—a life skill you’ll use in every aspect of your life from planning a world-tour vacation to deciding which movie you’ll watch. The literature is unique; the skills we’ll develop our universal. Course Policies: Civility and respect for others and their ideas will guide our time together. Electronic devices, unless employed directly for class work, will be stowed. Formal papers require extensive drafting, revision, and polishing before you submit them for a grade. You will format all papers according to MLA. All out of class work will be typed, using Times New Roman 12pt font. Grades: The course, finally, is worth 100 points. Leadership Roles: 25% Academic Responses: 40% Quizzes: 35%
Required texts: Shakespeare, William: The Tempest. Dickey, James: Deliverance. Hemingway, Ernest: In Our Time. Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness. Atwood, Margaret: Surfacing. McClean, Norman: A River Runs Through It. Kate Chopin: The Awakening. Note: I will provide movies, individual poems, essays, and additional reading materials. Academic Response. Bring to class each day I’ve assigned a Response a 1-2 page, singlespaced, typed reply to the assigned reading. If there are multiple texts (poems, stories), you may select one or any combination for your consideration. Your general goal is to explore the piece fully, answering basic questions like, What have I noticed? What is its form? Who are the characters? What themes present themselves? More specifically, select a quotation or two to put at the beginning of your entry and reflect on that quotation’s value to the text—how does it help you unpack the text? Write about what you noticed: colors, objects, characters, scenes. Discuss the author’s use of devices like similes, metaphors, repetition, etc. I am interested in your personal response, but the journals provide you an opportunity to practice writing as a serious reader of literature: make connections; respond to the reading in an imaginative and thoughtful manner with clean, crisp prose. Enjoy responding both to the piece and to its architecture. Practice correct MLA in-text citation; integrate your quotations; proofread your work. The Responses provide you an opportunity to read, assess, form an opinion, and support your ideas.
Leadership. I will assign roles each week. You may be responsible for presenting to the class on the author, the work, or literary critics’ response to the work; you are responsible for teaching the class, for leading the class, on your discussion topic for 5 – 10 minutes. Points for creativity and engagement. Quizzes. I will provide short, 4 – 5 question, “reading” quizzes at the beginning of class that will concern the day’s text due—questions that should require simple answers if you’ve read. Notes: Attend class—much of your grade depends on attendance. Come prepared to class on time. Use the Writing Center. Talk to me about absences before they occur. Be academically honest; I impose harsh consequences for plagiarism, and all your work must be yours and original to our course. Present clean work to me on time; I impose penalties for late work. The schedule quite likely will change, and I may add or subtract assignments. I subscribe to and follow the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please use the following header (in the top, left hand corner, single spaced) for all work: Excellent A. Student (Your Name) English 102.02 (Class / Section) January 21, 2014 (Date) Academic Response 3 (Assignment Description) Why ‘American Dreams’ Fail
(Your Original Title Centered)
Outcomes. By the conclusion of the semester course, we should be able to • • • • • • •
Explore and appreciate various genres of imaginative writing; employ strategies for reading. Create fresh, clear sentences free of jargon, vague language, and passive construction. Collaborate with peers and instructors through discussion, peer critique, and writing conferences. Appreciate the value of drafting and process, of reading and re-reading. Investigate, collect, evaluate, and use quotations and other material from reputable outside sources to support, enhance, and launch original arguments. Effectively implement MLA guidelines to integrate quotations and other source material. Transform knowledge learned from reading and writing about texts to our own creative, personal, and academic goals.
Reading and Work Schedule Lesson 1 Jan 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Feb 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Date M 13 W 15 F 17 M 20 W 22 F 24 M 27 W 29 F 31 M3 W5 F7 M 10 W 12 F 14 M 17 W 19 F 21
Plans Introduction “Greasy Lake” Workshop Poems Poems Poems Into the Wild Into the Wild Poems “Once More to the Lake” “Handsomest Drowned Man” “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” The Tempest The Tempest The Tempest Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness
19 20 21 22 Mar 23 24
M 24 W 26 F 28 M3 W5 F7
Apocalypse Now Apocalypse Now Fall Break The Awakening The Awakening The Awakening
Quiz Academic Response
25 26 27 28 31
M 10 W 12 F 14 M 17 M 24
Castaway Castaway Poems Spring Break In Our Time
Quiz Discussion Discussion
In Our Time
In Our Time
34 35 Apr 36
M 31 W2 F4
A River Runs Through It A River Runs Through It A River Runs Through It
Quiz Quiz Academic Response
37 38 39 40 41 42 44 45
M7 W9 F 10 M 14 W 16 F 18 W 23 F 25
Poems Poems Surfacing Surfacing Surfacing Easter Break Deliverance Deliverance
Discussion Discussion Quiz Quiz Academic Response
Quiz Academic Response Discussion Discussion Discussion Quiz Quiz Quiz Quiz Quiz Quiz Academic Response Quiz Quiz Academic Response
Quiz Quiz Academic Response
Due AR 1 “Greasy Lake” AR 1 “Greasy Lake” Edited Paragraph Response Watch the Film AR 2 Into the Wild Due
Act 1 and 2 Act 3 and 4 Act 5 / AR Tempest Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 / AR Heart of Darkness Watch the Film AR Apocalypse Now Sections I-XVII Sections XVII-XXXIII Sections XXXII-End / AR Awake Watch the Film AR Castaway “Quai,” “Doctor,” “End,” “Three Day,” “Battler,” “Short,” inter. “Soldiers,” “Mr. and Mrs.,” “Cat,” “Cross Country,” inter. Big Two Hearted I and II, inter. / AR In Our Time pp. 1-50 pp. 50 -85 pp. 85- end / AR A River Runs… Section I Section II Section II / AR Surfacing Up to “September 15th” Up to “After”
End / AR Deliverance
T.C. BOYLE, “GREASY LAKE” FOR A TEXT COPY OF T.C. BOYLE’S SHORT STORY “GREASY LAKE,” PLEASE ACCESS: http://teacherweb.com/WA/CloverParkHighSchool/MsSelby/Greasy-Lake.pdf Some Interesting bits about the story:
The Virgin Spring tells the story, set in medieval Sweden, of a prosperous Christian whose daughter, Karin (Birgitta Pettersson) is appointed to bring candles to the church. Karin is accompanied by her pregnant foster sister, Ingeri (Gunnel Lindblom), who secretly worships the Norse deity Odin. Along their way through the forest on horseback, the two part, and Karin sets out on her own. Ingeri encounters a one-eyed man at a stream-side mill, converses briefly with him, and then flees in terror. Karin meets three herdsmen (two men and a boy), and invites them to eat her lunch with her. Eventually, the two older men rape and murder Karin (while Ingeri watches from a hidden distance). The trio then leave the scene with Karin's clothing. The herders then, unknowingly, seek shelter at the home of the murdered girl. Her parents, played by Max von Sydow and Birgitta Valberg, discover that the goat herders murdered their daughter when the goat herders offer to sell Karin's clothes to her mother. In a rage, the father locks the trio in the chamber and kills them. The next day, the parents set out to find their daughter's body, with the help of Ingeri. Her father vows that, although he cannot understand why God would allow such a thing to happen, he will build a church at the site of his daughter's death because his conscience is forcing him to atone. As her parents lift her head from the ground, a spring begins to flow from where she was lying. Her sister Ingeri then begins to wash herself with the water, and Karin's parents clean her muddied face. The Naked and the Dead is a 1948 novel by Norman Mailer. It was based on his limited experiences with the 112th Cavalry Regiment during the Philippines Campaign (1944–45) in World War II. It was later adapted into a film of the same name in 1958. Set on an island in the South Pacific where the American Army under General Cummings is trying to drive out the Japanese, The Naked and the Dead focuses on a single reconnaissance platoon. The novel is split between alternating chapters depicting ongoing action on the island and retrospective chapters focusing on a particular character's personality and past. The Naked and the Dead contains several combat scenes and a great deal of description of Army protocol as well as detailed descriptions of the many trials and agonies of the enlisted man. The novel deals with the difficulties of the campaign, the danger posed by the Japanese, the conflict between officers and regulars, each man's own internal conflicts and fears, and the aggression between squad members. Everyone, from the General down, has character flaws, and there are few depictions of lasting happy family life or of good male-female relations. Later in the book, a former
general's aide, Hearn, becomes the Lieutenant of the squad, to the ire of Croft, the ambitious Sergeant previously in command, and to the detriment of the men of the platoon. The novel questions the competence and motives of high-ranking officers as well as the integrity of each of the many men depicted. The men suffer physical hardship and even casualties, but there is little mourning or kindness. There is no mercy shown to the Japanese. Occasionally, individual soldiers show sparks of sensitivity or thoughtfulness.
The Rape of the Sabine Women is supposed to have occurred in the early history of Rome, shortly after its foundation by Romulus and his mostly male followers. Seeking wives to found families, the Romans negotiated unsuccessfully with the Sabines, who populated the area. Fearing the emergence of a rival society, the Sabines refused to allow their women to marry the Romans; consequently, the Romans planned to abduct Sabine women. Romulus devised a festival of Neptune Equester and proclaimed the festival amongst Rome's neighbors. According to Livy, many people from Rome's neighbors attended, including from the Caeninenses, Crustumini, and Antemnates, and many of the Sabines. At the festival Romulus gave a signal, at which the Romans grabbed the Sabine women and fought off the Sabine men. The indignant abductees were implored by Romulus to accept Roman husbands. Romulus offered them free choice and promised civic and property rights to women. According to Livy he spoke to them each in person, "and pointed out to them that it was all owing to the pride of their parents in denying the right of intermarriage to their neighbors. They would live in honorable wedlock, and share all their property and civil rights, and â€” dearest of all to human nature â€” would be the mothers of free men."
POEMS Dover Beach Mathew Arnold The sea is calm to-night. The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits; on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand; Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, Listen! you hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in. Sophocles long ago Heard it on the Agaean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern sea. The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled. But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world. Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.
The Dover Bitch Anthony Hecht A Criticism of Life: for Andrews Wanning So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them, And he said to her, 'Try to be true to me, And I'll do the same for you, for things are bad All over, etc., etc.' Well now, I knew this girl. It's true she had read Sophocles in a fairly good translation And caught that bitter allusion to the sea, But all the time he was talking she had in mind The notion of what his whiskers would feel like On the back of her neck. She told me later on That after a while she got to looking out At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad, Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds And blandishments in French and the perfumes. And then she got really angry. To have been brought All the way down from London, and then be addressed As a sort of mournful cosmic last resort Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty. Anyway, she watched him pace the room And finger his watch-chain and seem to sweat a bit, And then she said one or two unprintable things. But you mustn't judge her by that. What I mean to say is, She's really all right. I still see her once in a while And she always treats me right. We have a drink And I give her a good time, and perhaps it's a year Before I see her again, but there she is, Running to fat, but dependable as they come. And sometimes I bring her a bottle of Nuit d' Amour.
Summit Beach Rita Dove The Negro beach jumped to the twitch of an oil drum tattoo and a mandolin, sweaters flying off the finest brown shoulders this side of the world. She sat by the fire, shawl moored
by a single fake cameo. She was cold, thank you, she did not care to danceâ€” the scar on her knee winking with the evening chill. Papa had said don't be so fast, you're all you've got. So she refused to cut the wing, though she let the boys bring her sassafras tea and drank it down neat as a dropped hankie. Her knee itched in the cast till she grew mean from bravery. She could wait, she was gold. When the right man smiled it would be music skittering up her calf like a chuckle. She could feel the breeze in her ears like water, like the air as a child when she climbed Papa's shed and stepped off the tin roof into blue, with her parasol and invisible wings. The Negro Speaks of Rivers Langston Hughes I've known rivers: I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers. I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep. I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it. I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset. I've known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
Hard Rain Tony Hoagland After I heard It’s a Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall played softly by an accordion quartet through the ceiling speakers at the Springdale Shopping Mall, I understood: there’s nothing we can’t pluck the stinger from, nothing we can’t turn into a soft drink flavor or a t-shirt. Even serenity can become something horrible if you make a commercial about it using smiling, white-haired people quoting Thoreau to sell retirement homes in the Everglades, where the swamp has been drained and bulldozed into a nineteen hole golf course with electrified alligator barriers. You can’t keep beating yourself up, Billy I heard the therapist say on television to the teenage murderer, About all those people you killed— You just have to be the best person you can be, one day at a time— and everybody in the audience claps and weeps a little, because the level of deep feeling has been touched, and they want to believe that the power of Forgiveness is greater than the power of Consequence, or History. Dear Abby: My father is a businessman who travels. Each time he returns from one of his trips, his shoes and trousers are covered with blood— but he never forgets to bring me a nice present; Should I say something? Signed, America. I used to think I was not part of this, that I could mind my own business and get along, but that was just another song that had been taught to me since birth—
whose words I was humming under my breath, as I was walking through the Springdale Mall. Leda And The Swan William Butler Yeats A sudden blow: the great wings beating still Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill, He holds her helpless breast upon his breast. How can those terrified vague fingers push The feathered glory from her loosening thighs? And how can body, laid in that white rush, But feel the strange heart beating where it lies? A shudder in the loins engenders there The broken wall, the burning roof and tower And Agamemnon dead. Being so caught up, So mastered by the brute blood of the air, Did she put on his knowledge with his power Before the indifferent beak could let her drop? Images: http://xahlee.org/Periodic_dosage_dir/lacru/leda.html Among School Children William Butler Yeats I. I walk through the long schoolroom questioning; A kind old nun in a white hood replies; The children learn to cipher and to sing, To study reading-books and histories, To cut and sew, be neat in everything In the best modern way - the children's eyes In momentary wonder stare upon A sixty-year-old smiling public man. II. I dream of a Ledaean body, bent Above a sinking fire. a tale that she Told of a harsh reproof, or trivial event
That changed some childish day to tragedy Told, and it seemed that our two natures blent Into a sphere from youthful sympathy, Or else, to alter Plato's parable, Into the yolk and white of the one shell. III. And thinking of that fit of grief or rage I look upon one child or t'other there And wonder if she stood so at that age For even daughters of the swan can share Something of every paddler's heritage And had that colour upon cheek or hair, And thereupon my heart is driven wild: She stands before me as a living child. IV. Her present image floats into the mind Did Quattrocento finger fashion it Hollow of cheek as though it drank the wind And took a mess of shadows for its meat? And I though never of Ledaean kind Had pretty plumage once - enough of that, Better to smile on all that smile, and show There is a comfortable kind of old scarecrow. V. What youthful mother, a shape upon her lap Honey of generation had betrayed, And that must sleep, shriek, struggle to escape As recollection or the drug decide, Would think her Son, did she but see that shape With sixty or more winters on its head, A compensation for the pang of his birth, Or the uncertainty of his setting forth? VI. Plato thought nature but a spume that plays Upon a ghostly paradigm of things; Solider Aristotle played the taws Upon the bottom of a king of kings; World-famous golden-thighed Pythagoras Fingered upon a fiddle-stick or strings What a star sang and careless Muses heard: Old clothes upon old sticks to scare a bird.
VII. Both nuns and mothers worship images, But those the candles light are not as those That animate a mother's reveries, But keep a marble or a bronze repose. And yet they too break hearts - O Presences That passion, piety or affection knows, And that all heavenly glory symbolise O self-born mockers of man's enterprise; VIII. Labour is blossoming or dancing where The body is not bruised to pleasure soul. Nor beauty born out of its own despair, Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil. O chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer, Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole? O body swayed to music, O brightening glance, How can we know the dancer from the dance? Just Spring Tony Hoagland The teenage boys who broke into Our Lady of the Sacred Heart to graffiti their new vocabulary of swear words on the white white walls were attracted enough by the church, at least, to vandalize it. They broke the virgin's plaster nose with baseball bats and marked her private parts with orange spray paint because they loved their mothers so much it was killing them, but they left the gaunt, adolescent torso of Jesus hanging on the wall, untouched, because they didn't recognize themselves. Or maybe it's just Spring which drives more birds and flowers crazy. Desire, someone says, polishing his turbo-charged Camaro in the drive, running his hand over its curves, it's a bitch. The blurred blue letters of the name Dianne scorched into his forearm
record a season in his life he probably regrets, but desire, if you don't let it out, everybody knows backs up and poisons you inside like old sap clogged inside a tree or like the hard line of JoAnn's mouth when she said, speaking of her first and recently demolished marriage, Never Again, gripping the steering wheel with both hands and jamming the gas pedal down into the floor, though she probably still wants to be followed, pulled over, taken from her car and carried off into the heavenly tall grass of heterosexual imagination, then kissed all over her thirty-nine-year old body until, like Spring, she comes and comes and comes. Suffering Mother of God. Sweet Jesus. To His Coy Mistress Andrew Marvell Had we but world enough, and time, This coyness, lady, were no crime. We would sit down and think which way To walk, and pass our long love's day; Thou by the Indian Ganges' side Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide Of Humber would complain. I would Love you ten years before the Flood; And you should, if you please, refuse Till the conversion of the Jews. My vegetable love should grow Vaster than empires, and more slow. An hundred years should go to praise Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze; Two hundred to adore each breast, But thirty thousand to the rest; An age at least to every part, And the last age should show your heart. For, lady, you deserve this state, Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear Time's winged chariot hurrying near; And yonder all before us lie Deserts of vast eternity. Thy beauty shall no more be found, Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound My echoing song; then worms shall try That long preserv'd virginity, And your quaint honour turn to dust, And into ashes all my lust. The grave's a fine and private place, But none I think do there embrace. Now therefore, while the youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew, And while thy willing soul transpires At every pore with instant fires, Now let us sport us while we may; And now, like am'rous birds of prey, Rather at once our time devour, Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power. Let us roll all our strength, and all Our sweetness, up into one ball; And tear our pleasures with rough strife Thorough the iron gates of life. Thus, though we cannot make our sun Stand still, yet we will make him run. Ulysses Alfred Lord Tennyson It little profits that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race, That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me. I cannot rest from travel: I will drink Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades Vexed the dim sea: I am become a name; For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men And manners, climates, councils, governments, Myself not least, but honoured of them all; And drunk delight of battle with my peers; Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy. I am a part of all that I have met; Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades For ever and for ever when I move. How dull it is to pause, to make an end, To rust unburnished, not to shine in use! As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life Were all too little, and of one to me Little remains: but every hour is saved From that eternal silence, something more, A bringer of new things; and vile it were For some three suns to store and hoard myself, And this grey spirit yearning in desire To follow knowledge like a sinking star, Beyond the utmost bound of human thought. This is my son, mine own Telemachus, To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle â€” Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill This labour, by slow prudence to make mild A rugged people, and through soft degrees Subdue them to the useful and the good. Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere Of common duties, decent not to fail In offices of tenderness, and pay Meet adoration to my household gods, When I am gone. He works his work, I mine. There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail: There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners, Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me â€” That ever with a frolic welcome took The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed Free hearts, free foreheads â€” you and I are old; Old age hath yet his honour and his toil; Death closes all: but something ere the end, Some work of noble note, may yet be done, Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods. The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks: The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world. Push off, and sitting well in order smite The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths Of all the western stars, until I die. It may be that the gulfs will wash us down: It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, And see the great Achilles, whom we knew Tho' much is taken, much abides; and though We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. Personal Tony Hoagland Don’t take it personal, they said; but I did, I took it all quite personal— the breeze and the river and the color of the fields; the price of grapefruit and stamps, the wet hair of women in the rain— And I cursed what hurt me and I praised what gave me joy, the most simple-minded of possible responses. The government reminded me of my father, with its deafness and its laws, and the weather reminded me of my mom, with her tropical squalls. Enjoy it while you can, they said of Happiness Think first, they said of Talk Get over it, they said at the School of Broken Hearts but I couldn’t and I didn’t and I don’t believe in the clean break;
I believe in the compound fracture served with a sauce of dirty regret, I believe in saying it all and taking it all back and saying it again for good measure while the air fills up with Iâ€™m-Sorries like wheeling birds and the trees look seasick in the wind. Oh life! Can you blame me for making a scene? You were that yellow caboose, the moon disappearing over a ridge of cloud. I was the dog, chained in some foolâ€™s backyard; barking and barking: trying to convince everything else to take it personal too.
The Writer Richard Wilbur In her room at the prow of the house Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden, My daughter is writing a story. I pause in the stairwell, hearing From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys Like a chain hauled over a gunwale. Young as she is, the stuff Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy: I wish her a lucky passage. But now it is she who pauses, As if to reject my thought and its easy figure. A stillness greatens, in which
The whole house seems to be thinking, And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor Of strokes, and again is silent. I remember the dazed starling Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago; How we stole in, lifted a sash And retreated, not to affright it; And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door, We watched the sleek, wild, dark And iridescent creature Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove To the hard floor, or the desk-top, And wait then, humped and bloody, For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits Rose when, suddenly sure, It lifted off from a chair-back, Beating a smooth course for the right window And clearing the sill of the world. It is always a matter, my darling, Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish What I wished you before, but harder. The Lotus-Eaters Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) "Courage!" he said, and pointed toward the land, "This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon." In the afternoon they came unto a land In which it seemed always afternoon. All round the coast the languid air did swoon, Breathing like one that hath a weary dream. Full-faced above the valley stood the moon; And like a downward smoke, the slender stream Along the cliff to fall and pause and fall did seem. A land of streams! some, like a downward smoke, Slow-dropping veils of thinnest lawn, did go; And some thro' wavering lights and shadows broke, Rolling a slumbrous sheet of foam below. They saw the gleaming river seaward flow
From the inner land: far off, three mountain-tops, Three silent pinnacles of aged snow, Stood sunset-flush'd: and, dew'd with showery drops, Up-clomb the shadowy pine above the woven copse. The charmed sunset linger'd low adown In the red West: thro' mountain clefts the dale Was seen far inland, and the yellow down Border'd with palm, and many a winding vale And meadow, set with slender galingale; A land where all things always seem'd the same! And round about the keel with faces pale, Dark faces pale against that rosy flame, The mild-eyed melancholy Lotos-eaters came. Branches they bore of that enchanted stem, Laden with flower and fruit, whereof they gave To each, but whoso did receive of them, And taste, to him the gushing of the wave Far far away did seem to mourn and rave On alien shores; and if his fellow spake, His voice was thin, as voices from the grave; And deep-asleep he seem'd, yet all awake, And music in his ears his beating heart did make. They sat them down upon the yellow sand, Between the sun and moon upon the shore; And sweet it was to dream of Fatherland, Of child, and wife, and slave; but evermore Most weary seem'd the sea, weary the oar, Weary the wandering fields of barren foam. Then some one said, "We will return no more"; And all at once they sang, "Our island home Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam."
Cavalry Crossing a Ford Walt Whitman A line in long array where they wind betwixt green islands, They take a serpentine course, their arms flash in the sun--hark to the musical clank, Behold the silvery river, in it the splashing horses loitering stop to drink, Behold the brown-faced men, each group, each person a picture, the negligent rest on the saddles, Some emerge on the opposite bank, others are just entering the ford--while, Scarlet and blue and snowy white, The guidon flags flutter gayly in the wind.
Romantic Moment Tony Hoagland After the nature documentary we walk down into the plaza of art galleries and high end clothing stores where the mock orange is fragrant in the summer night and the smooth adobe walls glow flesh-like in the dark. It is just our second date, and we sit down on a rock, holding hands, not looking at each other, and if I were a bull penguin right now I would lean over and vomit softly into the mouth of my beloved, and if I were a peacock Iâ€™d flex my gluteal muscles to erect and spread the quills of my cinemax tail. If she were a female walking stick bug she might insert her hypodermic proboscis delicately into my neck and inject me with a rich hormonal sedative before attaching her egg sac to my thoracic undercarriage, and if I were a young chimpanzee I would break off a nearby tree limb and smash all the windows in the plaza jewelry stores. And if she was a Brazilian leopard frog she would wrap her impressive tongue three times around my right thigh and pummel me lightly against the surface of our pond, and I would know her feelings were sincere. Instead we sit awhile in silence until she remarks that in the relative context of tortoises and iguanas, human males seem to be actually rather expressive. And I say that female crocodiles really donâ€™t receive enough credit for their gentleness. Then she suggests that it is time for us to go to get some ice cream cones and eat them.
Neutral Tones Thomas Hardy We stood by a pond that winter day, And the sun was white, as though chidden of God, And a few leaves lay on the starving sod, --They had fallen from an ash, and were gray. Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove Over tedious riddles solved years ago; And some words played between us to and fro-On which lost the more by our love. The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing Alive enough to have strength to die; And a grin of bitterness swept thereby Like an ominous bird a-wing.... Since then, keen lessons that love deceives, And wrings with wrong, have shaped to me Your face, and the God-curst sun, and a tree, And a pond edged with grayish leaves. The Convergence of the Twain Thomas Hardy I In a solitude of the sea Deep from human vanity, And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she. II Steel chambers, late the pyres Of her salamandrine fires, Cold currents thrid, and turn to rhythmic tidal lyres. III Over the mirrors meant To glass the opulent The sea-worm crawls-grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent. IV Jewels in joy designed To ravish the sensuous mind Lie lightless, all their sparkles bleared and black and blind.
V Dim moon-eyed fishes near Gaze at the gilded gear And query: "What does this vaingloriousness down here?"... VI Well: while was fashioning This creature of cleaving wing, The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything VII Prepared a sinister mate For her - so gaily great A Shape of Ice, for the time far and dissociate. VIII And as the smart ship grew In stature, grace, and hue, In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too. IX Alien they seemed to be: No mortal eye could see The intimate welding of their later history, X Or sign that they were bent by paths coincident On being anon twin halves of one august event, XI Till the Spinner of the Years Said "Now!" And each one hears, And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres. The Circus Animalsâ€™ Desertion William Butler Yeats I I sought a theme and sought for it in vain, I sought it daily for six weeks or so. Maybe at last, being but a broken man, I must be satisfied with my heart, although Winter and summer till old age began My circus animals were all on show,
Those stilted boys, that burnished chariot, Lion and woman and the Lord knows what. II What can I but enumerate old themes? First that sea-rider Oisin led by the nose Through three enchanted islands, allegorical dreams, Vain gaiety, vain battle, vain repose, Themes of the embittered heart, or so it seems, That might adorn old songs or courtly shows; But what cared I that set him on to ride, I, starved for the bosom of his faery bride? And then a counter-truth filled out its play, ‘The Countess Cathleen’ was the name I gave it; She, pity-crazed, had given her soul away, But masterful Heaven had intervened to save it. I thought my dear must her own soul destroy, So did fanaticism and hate enslave it, And this brought forth a dream and soon enough This dream itself had all my thought and love. And when the Fool and Blind Man stole the bread Cuchulain fought the ungovernable sea; Heart-mysteries there, and yet when all is said It was the dream itself enchanted me: Character isolated by a deed To engross the present and dominate memory. players and painted stage took all my love, And not those things that they were emblems of. III Those masterful images because complete Grew in pure mind, but out of what began? A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street, Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can, Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder’s gone, I must lie down where all the ladders start In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.
Bright Star John Keats Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art-Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night And watching, with eternal lids apart, Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite, The moving waters at their priestlike task Of pure ablution round earth's human shores, Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask Of snow upon the mountains and the moors-No--yet still steadfast, still unchangeable, Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast, To feel for ever its soft fall and swell, Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, And so live ever--or else swoon to death. The World Is Too Much With Us William Wordsworth The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending , we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon; The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers; For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathĂ¨d horn. Upon Westminster Bridge William Wordsworth Earth has not anything to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in its majesty: This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning: silent, bare, Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie Open unto the fields, and to the sky, All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill; Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! The river glideth at his own sweet will: Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; And all that mighty heart is lying still! Samuel Taylor Coleridge Âť Kubla Khan
Sailing to Byzantium William Butler Yeats THAT is no country for old men. The young In one another's arms, birds in the trees - Those dying generations - at their song, The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas, Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long Whatever is begotten, born, and dies. Caught in that sensual music all neglect Monuments of unageing intellect. An aged man is but a paltry thing, A tattered coat upon a stick, unless Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing For every tatter in its mortal dress, Nor is there singing school but studying Monuments of its own magnificence; And therefore I have sailed the seas and come To the holy city of Byzantium. O sages standing in God's holy fire As in the gold mosaic of a wall, Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre, And be the singing-masters of my soul. Consume my heart away; sick with desire And fastened to a dying animal It knows not what it is; and gather me Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take My bodily form from any natural thing, But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make Of hammered gold and gold enamelling To keep a drowsy Emperor awake; Or set upon a golden bough to sing To lords and ladies of Byzantium Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
Kubla Khan Samuel Taylor Coleridge In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree: Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea. So twice five miles of fertile ground With walls and towers were girdled round: And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; And here were forests ancient as the hills, Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover! A savage place! as holy and enchanted As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted By woman wailing for her demon-lover! And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething, As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing, A mighty fountain momently was forced: Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail, Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail: And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever It flung up momently the sacred river. Five miles meandering with a mazy motion Through wood and dale the sacred river ran, Then reached the caverns measureless to man, And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean: And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure Floated midway on the waves; Where was heard the mingled measure From the fountain and the caves. It was a miracle of rare device, A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice! A damsel with a dulcimer In a vision once I saw: It was an Abyssinian maid, And on her dulcimer she played, Singing of Mount Abora. Could I revive within me Her symphony and song, To such a deep delight 'twould win me That with music loud and long I would build that dome in air, That sunny dome! those caves of ice! And all who heard should see them there, And all should cry, Beware! Beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair! Weave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread, For he on honey-dew hath fed And drunk the milk of Paradise.
Diving the Wreck Adrienne Rich First having read the book of myths, and loaded the camera, and checked the edge of the knife-blade, I put on the body-armor of black rubber the absurd flippers the grave and awkward mask. I am having to do this not like Cousteau with his assiduous team aboard the sun-flooded schooner but here alone. There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there hanging innocently close to the side of the schooner. We know what it is for, we who have used it. Otherwise it is a piece of maritime floss some sundry equipment. I go down. Rung after rung and still the oxygen immerses me the blue light the clear atoms of our human air. I go down. My flippers cripple me, I crawl like an insect down the ladder and there is no one to tell me when the ocean will begin. First the air is blue and then it is bluer and then green and then black I am blacking out and yet my mask is powerful it pumps my blood with power the sea is another story the sea is not a question of power I have to learn alone to turn my body without force in the deep element. And now: it is easy to forget what I came for among so many who have always lived here swaying their crenellated fans between the reefs and besides you breathe differently down here. I came to explore the wreck. The words are purposes. The words are maps. I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail. I stroke the beam of my lamp slowly along the flank of something more permanent than fish or weed the thing I came for: the wreck and not the story of the wreck the thing itself and not the myth the drowned face always staring toward the sun the evidence of damage worn by salt and away into this threadbare beauty the ribs of the disaster curving their assertion among the tentative haunters. This is the place. And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair streams black, the merman in his armored body. We circle silently about the wreck we dive into the hold. I am she: I am he whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes whose breasts still bear the stress whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies obscurely inside barrels half-wedged and left to rot we are the half-destroyed instruments that once held to a course the water-eaten log the fouled compass We are, I am, you are by cowardice or courage the one who find our way back to this scene carrying a knife, a camera a book of myths in which our names do not appear.
III. SEAN PENN, INTO THE WILD from: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0758758/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
Christopher McCandless: I read somewhere... how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong... but to feel strong. Christopher McCandless: I'm going to paraphrase Thoreau here... rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness... give me truth. Christopher McCandless: Some people feel like they don't deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces, trying to close the gaps of the past. Christopher McCandless: If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed. Christopher McCandless: The core of mans' spirit comes from new experiences. Christopher McCandless: What if I were smiling and running into your arms? Would you see then what I see now? Rainey: You're an industrious little fucker aren't cha? Ranger Steve Koehler: Next available is May 17, 2003. Christopher McCandless: 12 years? Twelve years - to paddle down a river? Ron Franz: I'm going to miss you when you go.
Christopher McCandless: I will miss you too, but you are wrong if you think that the joy of life comes principally from the joy of human relationships. God's place is all around us, it is in everything and in anything we can experience. People just need to change the way they look at things. Ron Franz: Yeah. I am going to take stock of that. You know I am. I want to tell you something. From bits and pieces of what you have told me about your family, your mother and your dad... And I know you have problems with the church too... But there is some kind of bigger thing that we can all appreciate and it sounds to me you don't mind calling it God. But when you forgive, you love. And when you love, God's light shines through you. Christopher McCandless: Holy shit! Christopher McCandless: Mr. Franz I think careers are a 20th century invention and I don't want one. Christopher McCandless: When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it. Christopher McCandless: If I wanted to paddle down the river, where's the best place to launch out of? Ranger Steve Koehler: To *launch* out of? Christopher McCandless: [written into book] Happiness only real when shared. Christopher McCandless: You are the apple of my eye. Wayne Westerberg: Outdoorsman. What's your fascination with all that stuff? Christopher McCandless: I'm going to Alaska. Wayne Westerberg: Alaska, Alaska? Or city Alaska? Because they do have markets in Alaska. The city of Alaska. Not in Alaska. In the city of Alaska, they have markets. Christopher McCandless: No, man. Alaska, Alaska. I'm gonna be all the way out there, all the way fucking out there. Just on my own. You know, no fucking watch, no map, no axe, no nothing. No nothing. Just be out there. Just be out there in it. You know, big mountains, rivers, sky, game. Just be out there in it, you know? In the wild. Wayne Westerberg: In the wild. Christopher McCandless: Just wild! Wayne Westerberg: Yeah. What are you doing when we're there? Now you're in the wild, what are we doing? Christopher McCandless: You're just living, man. You're just there, in that moment, in that special place and time. Maybe when I get back, I can write a book about my travels. Wayne Westerberg: Yeah. Why not? Christopher McCandless: You know, about getting out of this sick society. Society! Wayne Westerberg: [coughs] Society! Society! Christopher McCandless: Society, man! You know, society! Cause, you know what I don't understand? I don't understand why people, why every fucking person is so bad to each
other so fucking often. It doesn't make sense to me. Judgment. Control. All that, the whole spectrum. Well, it just... Wayne Westerberg: What "people" we talking about? Christopher McCandless: You know, parents, hypocrites, politicians, pricks. Wayne Westerberg: [taps Chris' head] This is a mistake. It's a mistake to get too deep into all that kind of stuff. Alex, you're a hell of a young guy, a hell of a young guy. But I promise you this. You're a young guy! Can't be juggling blood and fire all the time! [laughs] Christopher McCandless: You don't need human relationships to be happy, God has placed it all around us. Christopher McCandless: Two years he walks the earth. No phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road. Escaped from Atlanta. Thou shalt not return, 'cause "the West is the best." And now after two rambling years comes the final and greatest adventure. The climactic battle to kill the false being within and victoriously conclude the spiritual pilgrimage. Ten days and nights of freight trains and hitchhiking bring him to the Great White North. No longer to be poisoned by civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild. - Alexander Supertramp May 1992 Christopher McCandless: The sea's only gifts are harsh blows, and occasionally the chance to feel strong. Now I don't know much about the sea, but I do know that that's the way it is here. And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong. To measure yourself at least once. To find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions. Facing the blind deaf stone alone, with nothing to help you but your hands and your own head. Christopher McCandless: The freedom and simple beauty is too good to pass up... [first title card] Title Card: There is a pleasure in the pathless woods; / There is a rapture on the lonely shore; / There is society, where none intrudes, / By the deep sea, and music in its roar; / I love not man the less, but Nature more... / - Lord Byron [first lines] Christopher McCandless: Mom! Mom! Help me. [last lines] Christopher McCandless: What if I were smiling and running into your arms? Would you see then what I see now? [last title cards] Title Card: In memory / Christopher Johnson McCandless / February 12, 1968 - August 18, 1992 Title Card: Two weeks after Chris's death, moose hunters discovered his body in the bus.
[This self-portrait was found undeveloped in his camera] Title Card: On September 19, 1992, Carine McCandless flew with her brother's ashes from Alaska to the eastern seaboard. She carried them with her on the plane... in her backpack. Title Card: The filmmakers thank Jon Krakauer for his guidance and gratefully acknowledge Walt, Billie, Carine and the entire McCandless family for their brave support in the making of this film. Ron Franz: What does the "N" stand for? Christopher McCandless: North. Ron Franz: [sounding surprised and frustrated] Alaska? Rainey: That poor girl's about ready to vault herself onto a fencepost. Christopher McCandless: It should not be denied that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations. Absolute freedom. And the road has always led west. Christopher McCandless: You are really good. I mean, you're like, a hundred thousand times better than like any apple I've ever had. I'm not Superman, I'm Supertramp and you're super apple. You're so tasty, you're so organic, so natural. You are the apple of my eye, ha! Carine McCandless: [voice-over] The year Chris graduated high school, he bought the Datsun used and drove it cross-country. He stayed away most of the summer. As soon as I heard he was home, I ran into his room to talk to him. In California, he'd looked up some old family friends. He discovered that our parents' stories of how they fell in love and got married were calculated lies masking an ugly truth. When they met, Dad was already married. And even after Chris was born, Dad had had another son with his first wife, Marcia, to whom he was still legally married. This fact suddenly redefined Chris and me as bastard children. Dad's arrogance made him conveniently oblivious to the pain he caused. And Mom, in the shame and embarrassment of a young mistress, became his accomplice in deceit. The fragility of crystal is not a weakness but a fineness. My parents understood that a fine crystal glass had to be cared for or it may be shattered. But when it came to my brother, they did not seem to know or care that their course of secret action brought the kind of devastation that could cut them. Their fraudulent marriage and our father's denial of his other son was, for Chris, a murder of every day's truth. He felt his whole life turn, like a river suddenly reversing the direction of its flow, suddenly running uphill. These revelations struck at the core of Chris' sense of identity. They made his entire childhood seem like fiction. Chris never told them he knew and made me promise silence, as well. Carine McCandless: With almost a year having passed since Chris' disappearance my parents' anger had turned to desperation. Their guilt was giving way to pain. And pain seemed to bring them closer. Even their faces had changed. She convinces herself it's Chris, that's her son whenever she passes a stray. And I fear for the mother in her.
Instincts that seem to sense the threat of a loss so huge and irrevocable that the mind balks at taking its measure. I had begin to wonder if I can understand that Chris' saying any longer. But I catch myself and remember that these are not the parents I grew up with. That people softened by the forced reflection that comes with loss. Still everything Chris' saying has to be said. And I trust that everything he is doing, has to be done. This is our life.
HOW CHRIS MCCANDLESS DIED POSTED BY JON KRAKAUER 24
Twenty-one years ago this month, on September 6, 1992, the decomposed body of Christopher McCandless was discovered by moose hunters just outside the northern boundary of Denali National Park. He had died inside a rusting bus that served as a makeshift shelter for trappers, dog mushers, and other backcountry visitors. Taped to the door was a note scrawled on a page torn from a novel by Nikolai Gogol: ATTENTION POSSIBLE VISITORS. S.O.S. I NEED YOUR HELP. I AM INJURED, NEAR DEATH, AND TOO WEAK TO HIKE OUT OF HERE. I AM ALL ALONE, THIS IS NO JOKE. IN THE NAME OF GOD, PLEASE REMAIN TO SAVE ME. I AM OUT COLLECTING BERRIES CLOSE BY AND SHALL RETURN THIS EVENING. THANK YOU, CHRIS McCANDLESS AUGUST ?
From a cryptic diary found among his possessions, it appeared that McCandless had been dead for nineteen days. A driverâ€™s license issued eight months before he perished indicated that he was twenty-four years old and weighed a hundred and forty pounds. After his body was flown out of the wilderness, an autopsy determined that it weighed
sixty-seven pounds and lacked discernible subcutaneous fat. The probable cause of death, according to the coroner’s report, was starvation. In “Into the Wild,” the book I wrote about McCandless’s brief, confounding life, I came to a different conclusion. I speculated that he had inadvertently poisoned himself by eating seeds from a plant commonly called wild potato, known to botanists as Hedysarum alpinum. According to my hypothesis, a toxic alkaloid in the seeds weakened McCandless to such a degree that it became impossible for him to hike out to the highway or hunt effectively, leading to starvation. Because Hedysarum alpinum is described as a nontoxic species in both the scientific literature and in popular books about edible plants, my conjecture was met with no small amount of derision, especially in Alaska. I’ve received thousands of letters from people who admire McCandless for his rejection of conformity and materialism in order to discover what was authentic and what was not, to test himself, to experience the raw throb of life without a safety net. But I’ve also received plenty of mail from people who think he was an idiot who came to grief because he was arrogant, woefully unprepared, mentally unbalanced, and possibly suicidal. Most of these detractors believe my book glorifies a senseless death. As the columnist Craig Medred wrote in the Anchorage Daily News in 2007, “Into the Wild” is a misrepresentation, a sham, a fraud. There, I’ve finally said what somebody has needed to say for a long time …. Krakauer took a poor misfortunate prone to paranoia, someone who left a note talking about his desire to kill the “false being within,” someone who managed to starve to death in a deserted bus not far off the George Parks Highway, and made the guy into a celebrity. Why the author did that should be obvious. He wanted to write a story that would sell. The debate over why McCandless perished, and the related question of whether he is worthy of admiration, has been smoldering, and occasionally flaring, for more than two decades now. But last December, a writer named Ronald Hamilton posted a paper on the Internet that brings fascinating new facts to the discussion. Hamilton, it turns out, has discovered hitherto unknown evidence that appears to close the book on the cause of McCandless’s death. To appreciate the brilliance of Hamilton’s investigative work, some backstory is helpful. The diary and photographs recovered with McCandless’s body indicated that, beginning on June 24, 1992, the roots of the Hedysarum alpinum plant became a staple of his daily
diet. On July 14th, he started harvesting and eating Hedysarum alpinum seeds as well. One of his photos depicts a one-gallon Ziploc bag stuffed with these seeds. When I visited the bus in July, 1993, wild-potato plants were growing everywhere I looked in the surrounding taiga. I filled a one-gallon bag with more than a pound of seeds in less than thirty minutes. On July 30th, McCandless wrote in his journal, “EXTREMELY WEAK. FAULT OF POT[ATO] SEED. MUCH TROUBLE JUST TO STAND UP. STARVING. GREAT JEOPARDY.” Before
entry, there was nothing in the journal to suggest that he was in dire straits, although his photos show he’d grown alarmingly gaunt. After subsisting for three months on a marginal diet of squirrels, porcupines, small birds, mushrooms, roots, and berries, he’d run up a huge caloric deficit and was teetering on the brink. By adding potato seeds to the menu, he apparently made the mistake that took him down. After July 30th, his physical condition went to hell, and three weeks later he was dead. When McCandless’s body was found in the Alaskan bush, Outside magazine asked me to write about the puzzling circumstances of his demise. Working on a tight deadline, I researched and wrote an eighty-four-hundred-word piece, published in January, 1993. Because the wild potato was universally believed to be safe to eat, in this article I speculated that McCandless had mistakenly consumed the seeds of the wild sweet pea, Hedysarum mackenzii—a plant thought to be toxic, and which is hard to distinguish from Hedysarum alpinum. I attributed his death to this blunder. As I began expanding my article into a book and had more time to ponder the evidence, however, it struck me as extremely unlikely that he’d failed to tell the two species apart. He wrote his diary on blank pages in the back of an exhaustively researched field guide to the region’s edible plants, “Tanaina Plantlore / Dena’ina K’et’una: An Ethnobotany of the Dena’ina Indians of Southcentral Alaska,” by Priscilla Russell Kari. In the book, Kari explicitly warns that because wild sweet pea closely resembles wild potato, and “is reported to be poisonous, care should be taken to identify them accurately before attempting to use the wild potato as food.” And then she explains precisely how to distinguish the two plants from one another. It seemed more plausible that McCandless had indeed eaten the roots and seeds of the purportedly nontoxic wild potato rather than the wild sweet pea. So I sent some Hedysarum alpinum seeds I’d collected near the bus to Dr. Thomas Clausen, a
professor in the biochemistry department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, for analysis.
Shortly before my book was published, Clausen and one of his graduate students, Edward Treadwell, conducted a preliminary test that indicated the seeds contained an unidentified alkaloid. Making a rash intuitive leap, in the first edition of “Into the Wild,” published in January, 1996, I wrote that this alkaloid was perhaps swainsonine, a toxic agent known to inhibit glycoprotein metabolism in animals, leading to starvation. When Clausen and Treadwell completed their analysis of wild-potato seeds, though, they found no trace of swainsonine or any other alkaloids. “I tore that plant apart,” Dr. Clausen explained to Men’s Journal in 2007, after also testing the seeds for non-alkaloid compounds. “There were no toxins. No alkaloids. I’d eat it myself.” I was perplexed. Clausen was an esteemed organic chemist, and the results of his analysis seemed irrefutable. But McCandless’s July 30th journal entry couldn’t have been more explicit: “EXTREMELY WEAK. FAULT OF POT[ATO] SEED.” His certainty about the cause of his failing health gnawed at me. I began sifting through the scientific literature, searching for information that would allow me to reconcile McCandless’s adamantly unambiguous statement with Clausen’s equally unambiguous test results.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago, when I stumbled upon Ronald Hamilton’s paper “The Silent Fire: ODAP and the Death of Christopher McCandless,” which Hamilton had posted on a Web site that publishes essays and papers about McCandless. Hamilton’s essay offered persuasive new evidence that the wild-potato plant is highly toxic in and of itself, contrary to the assurances of Thomas Clausen and every other expert who has ever weighed in on the subject. The toxic agent in Hedysarum alpinum turns out not to be an alkaloid but, rather, an amino acid, and according to Hamilton it was the chief cause of McCandless’s death. His theory validates my conviction that McCandless wasn’t as clueless and incompetent as his detractors have made him out to be. Hamilton is neither a botanist nor a chemist; he’s a writer who until recently worked as a bookbinder at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania library. As Hamilton explains it, he became acquainted with the McCandless story in 2002, when he happened upon a copy of “Into the Wild,” flipped through its pages, and suddenly thought to himself, I know why this guy died. His hunch derived from his knowledge of Vapniarca, a little-known Second World War concentration camp in what was then German-occupied Ukraine. “I first learned about Vapniarca through a book whose title I’ve long forgotten,” Hamilton told me. “Only the barest account of Vapniarca appeared in one of its chapters …. But after reading ‘Into the Wild,’ I was able to track down a manuscript about Vapniarca that has been published online.” Later, in Romania, he located the son of a man who served as an administrative official at the camp, who sent Hamilton a trove of documents. In 1942, as a macabre experiment, an officer at Vapniarca started feeding the Jewish inmates bread made from seeds of the grass pea, Lathyrus sativus, a common legume that has been known since the time of Hippocrates to be toxic. “Very quickly,” Hamilton writes in “The Silent Fire,” a Jewish doctor and inmate at the camp, Dr. Arthur Kessler, understood what this implied, particularly when within months, hundreds of the young male inmates of the camp began limping, and had begun to use sticks as crutches to propel themselves about. In some cases inmates had been rapidly reduced to crawling on their backsides to make their ways through the compound …. Once the inmates had ingested enough of the culprit plant, it was as if a silent fire had been lit within their bodies. There was no turning back from this fire—once kindled, it would burn until the person who had eaten the grasspea would ultimately be crippled …. The more they’d eaten, the worse the consequences—but in any case, once the effects had begun, there was simply no way to reverse them …. The disease is called, simply, neurolathyrism, or more commonly, “lathyrism.”…
Kessler, who … initially recognized the sinister experiment that had been undertaken at Vapniarca, was one of those who escaped death during those terrible times. He retired to Israel once the war had ended and there established a clinic to care for, study, and attempt to treat the numerous victims of lathyrism from Vapniarca, many of whom had also relocated in Israel. It’s been estimated that, in the twentieth century, more than a hundred thousand people worldwide were permanently paralyzed from eating grass pea. The injurious substance in the plant turned out to be a neurotoxin, beta-N-oxalyl-L-alpha-beta diaminoproprionic acid, a compound commonly referred to as beta-ODAP or, more often, just ODAP. Curiously, Hamilton reports, ODAP affects different people, different sexes, and even different age groups in different ways. It even affects people within those age groups differently …. The one constant about ODAP poisoning, however, very simply put, is this: those who will be hit the hardest are always young men between the ages of 15 and 25 and who are essentially starving or ingesting very limited calories, who have been engaged in heavy physical activity, and who suffer trace-element shortages from meager, unvaried diets. ODAP
was identified in 1964. It brings about paralysis by over-stimulating nerve
receptors, causing them to die. As Hamilton explains, It isn’t clear why, but the most vulnerable neurons to this catastrophic breakdown are the ones that regulate leg movement…. And when sufficient neurons die, paralysis sets in…. [The condition] never gets better; it always gets worse. The signals get weaker and weaker until they simply cease altogether. The victim experiences “much trouble just to stand up.” Many become rapidly too weak to walk. The only thing left for them to do at that point is to crawl…. After Hamilton read “Into the Wild” and became convinced that ODAP was responsible for McCandless’s sad end, he approached Dr. Jonathan Southard, the assistant chair of the chemistry department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and persuaded Southard to have one of his students, Wendy Gruber, test the seeds of both Hedysarum alpinum and Hedysarum mackenzii for ODAP. Upon completion of her tests, in 2004, Gruber determined that ODAP appeared to be present in both species of Hedysarum, but her results were less than conclusive. “To be able to say that ODAP is definitely present in the seeds,” she reported, “we would need to use another dimension of analysis, probably by H.P.L.C.-M.S.”—high-pressure liquid chromatography. But Gruber possessed neither the expertise nor the resources to analyze the seeds with H.P.L.C., so Hamilton’s hypothesis remained unproven.
To establish once and for all whether Hedysarum alpinum is toxic, last month I sent a hundred and fifty grams of freshly collected wild-potato seeds to Avomeen Analytical Services, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for H.P.L.C. analysis. Dr. Craig Larner, the chemist who conducted the test, determined that the seeds contained .394 per cent beta-ODAP by weight, a concentration well within the levels known to cause lathyrism in humans. According to Dr. Fernand Lambein, a Belgian scientist who coördinates the Cassava Cyanide Diseases and Neurolathyrism Network, occasional consumption of foodstuffs containing ODAP“as one component of an otherwise balanced diet, bears not any risk of toxicity.” Lambein and other experts warn, however, that individuals suffering from malnutrition, stress, and acute hunger are especially sensitive to ODAP, and are thus highly susceptible to the incapacitating effects of lathyrism after ingesting the neurotoxin. Considering that potentially crippling levels of ODAP are found in wild-potato seeds, and given the symptoms McCandless described and attributed to the wild-potato seeds he ate, there is ample reason to believe that McCandless contracted lathyrism from eating those seeds. As Ronald Hamilton observed, McCandless exactly matched the profile of those most susceptible to ODAP poisoning: He was a young, thin man in his early 20s, experiencing an extremely meager diet; who was hunting, hiking, climbing, leading life at its physical extremes, and who had begun to eat massive amounts of seeds containing a toxic [amino acid]. A toxin that targets persons exhibiting and experiencing precisely those characteristics and conditions …. It might be said that Christopher McCandless did indeed starve to death in the Alaskan wild, but this only because he’d been poisoned, and the poison had rendered him too weak to move about, to hunt or forage, and, toward the end, “extremely weak,” “too weak to walk out,” and, having “much trouble just to stand up.” He wasn’t truly starving in the most technical sense of that condition. He’d simply become slowly paralyzed. And it wasn’t arrogance that had killed him, it was ignorance. Also, it was ignorance which must be forgiven, for the facts underlying his death were to remain unrecognized to all, scientists and lay people alike, literally for decades. Hamilton’s discovery that McCandless perished because he ate toxic seeds is unlikely to persuade many Alaskans to regard McCandless in a more sympathetic light, but it may prevent other backcountry foragers from accidentally poisoning themselves. Had McCandless’s guidebook to edible plants warned that Hedysarum alpinum seeds contain a neurotoxin that can cause paralysis, he probably would have walked out of the wild in late August with no more difficulty than when he walked into the wild in April, and he
would still be alive today. If that were the case, Chris McCandless would now be fortyfive years old. Jon Krakauer’s most recent books are “Three Cups of Deceit,” “Where Men Win Glory,” and “Under the Banner of Heaven.” Above: Chris McCandless’s final photo, a self-portrait holding his farewell note. Photographs courtesy the family of Chris McCandless.
IV. EB WHITE, â€œOnce More to the Lakeâ€? E.B. White Once More to the Lake (1941) One summer, along about 1904, my father rented a camp on a lake in Maine and took us all there for the month of August. We all got ringworm from some kittens and had to rub Pond's Extract on our arms and legs night and morning, and my father rolled over in a canoe with all his clothes on; but outside of that the vacation was a success and from then on none of us ever thought there was any place in the world like that lake in Maine. We returned summer after summer--always on August 1st for one month. I have since become a salt-water man, but sometimes in summer there are days when the restlessness of the tides and the fearful cold of the sea water and the incessant wind which blows across the afternoon and into the evening make me wish for the placidity of a lake in the woods. A few weeks ago this feeling got so strong I bought myself a couple of bass hooks and a spinner and returned to the lake where we used to go, for a week's fishing and to revisit old haunts. I took along my son, who had never had any fresh water up his nose and who had seen lily pads only from train windows. On the journey over to the lake I began to wonder what it would be like. I wondered how time would have marred this unique, this holy spot--the coves and streams, the hills that the sun set behind, the camps and the paths behind the camps. I was sure that the tarred road would have found it out and I wondered in what other ways it would be desolated. It is strange how much you can remember about places like that once you allow your mind to return into the grooves which lead back. You remember one thing, and that suddenly reminds you of another thing. I guess I remembered clearest of all the early mornings, when the lake was cool and motionless, remembered how the bedroom smelled of the lumber it was made of and of the wet woods whose scent entered through the screen. The partitions in the camp were thin and did not extend clear to the top of the rooms, and as I was always the first up I would dress softly so as not to wake the others, and sneak out into the sweet outdoors and start out in the canoe, keeping close along the shore in the long shadows of the pines. I remembered being very careful never to rub my paddle against the gunwale for fear of disturbing the stillness of the cathedral. The lake had never been what you would call a wild lake. There were cottages sprinkled around the shores, and it was in farming although the shores of the lake were quite heavily wooded. Some of the cottages were owned by nearby farmers, and you would live at the shore and eat your meals at the farmhouse. That's what our family did. But although it wasn't wild, it was a fairly large and undisturbed lake and there were places in it which, to a child at least, seemed infinitely remote and primeval. I was right about the tar: it led to within half a mile of the shore. But when I got back there, with my boy, and we settled into a camp near a farmhouse and into the kind of summertime I had known, I could tell that it was going to be pretty much the same as it had been before--I knew it, lying in bed the first morning, smelling the bedroom, and hearing the boy sneak quietly out and go off along the shore in a boat. I began to sustain
the illusion that he was I, and therefore, by simple transposition, that I was my father. This sensation persisted, kept cropping up all the time we were there. It was not an entirely new feeling, but in this setting it grew much stronger. I seemed to be living a dual existence. I would be in the middle of some simple act, I would be picking up a bait box or laying down a table fork, or I would be saying something, and suddenly it would be not I but my father who was saying the words or making the gesture. It gave me a creepy sensation. We went fishing the first morning. I felt the same damp moss covering the worms in the bait can, and saw the dragonfly alight on the tip of my rod as it hovered a few inches from the surface of the water. It was the arrival of this fly that convinced me beyond any doubt that everything was as it always had been that the years were a mirage and there had been no years. The small waves were the same, chucking the rowboat under the chin as we fished at anchor, and the boat was the same boat, the same color green and the ribs broken in the same places, and under the floor-boards the same freshwater leavings and debris--the dead hellgrammite, the wisps of moss, the rusty discarded fishhook, the dried blood from yesterday's catch. We stared silently at the tips of our rods, at the dragonflies that came and wells. I lowered the tip of mine into the water, tentatively, pensively dislodging the fly, which darted two feet away, poised, darted two feet back, and came to rest again a little farther up the rod. There had been no years between the ducking of this dragonfly and the other one--the one that was part of memory. I looked at the boy, who was silently watching his fly, and it was my hands that held his rod, my eyes watching. I felt dizzy and didn't know which rod I was at the end of. We caught two bass, hauling them in briskly as though they were mackerel, pulling them over the side of the boat in a businesslike manner without any landing net, and stunning them with a blow on the back of the head. When we got back for a swim before lunch, the lake was exactly where we had left it, the same number of inches from the dock, and there was only the merest suggestion of a breeze. This seemed an utterly enchanted sea, this lake you could leave to its own devices for a few hours and come back to, and find that it had not stirred, this constant and trustworthy body of water. In the shallows, the dark, water-soaked sticks and twigs smooth and old, were undulating in clusters on the bottom against the clean ribbed sand, and the track of the mussel was plain. A school of minnows swam by, each minnow with its small, individual shadow, doubling the attendance, so clear and sharp in the sunlight. Some of the other campers were in swimming, along the shore, one of them with a cake of soap, and the water felt thin and clear and insubstantial. Over the years there had been this person with the cake of soap, this cultist, and here he was. There had been no years. Up to the farmhouse to dinner through the teeming, dusty field, the road under our sneakers was only a two-track road. The middle track was missing, the one with the marks of the hooves and the splotches of dried, flaky manure. There had always been three tracks to choose from in choosing which track to walk in; now the choice was narrowed down to two. For a moment I missed terribly the middle alternative. But the way led past the tennis court, and something about the way it lay there in the sun reassured me; the tape had loosened along the backline, the alleys were green with plantains and other weeds, and the net (installed in June and removed in September) sagged in the dry noon, and the whole place steamed with midday heat and hunger and
emptiness. There was a choice of pie for dessert, and one was blueberry and one was apple, and the waitresses were the same country girls, there having been no passage of time, only the illusion of it as in a dropped curtain--the waitresses were still fifteen; their hair had been washed, that was the only difference--they had been to the movies and seen the pretty girls with the clean hair. Summertime, oh summertime, pattern of life indelible, the fade proof lake, the woods unshatterable, the pasture with the sweet fern and the juniper forever and ever, summer without end; this was the background, and the life along the shore was the design, the cottages with their innocent and tranquil design, their tiny docks with the flagpole and the American flag floating against the white clouds in the blue sky, the little paths over the roots of the trees leading from camp to camp and the paths leading back to the outhouses and the can of lime for sprinkling, and at the souvenir counters at the store the miniature birch-bark canoes and the post cards that showed things looking a little better than they looked. This was the American family at play, escaping the city heat, wondering whether the newcomers at the camp at the head of the cove were "common" or "nice," wondering whether it was true that the people who drove up for Sunday dinner at the farmhouse were turned away because there wasn't enough chicken. It seemed to me, as I kept remembering all this, that those times and those summers had been infinitely precious and worth saving. There had been jollity and peace and goodness. The arriving (at the beginning of August) had been so big a business in itself, at the railway station the farm wagon drawn up, the first smell of the pine-laden air, the first glimpse of the smiling farmer, and the great importance of the trunks and your father's enormous authority in such matters, and the feel of the wagon under you for the long ten-mile haul, and at the top of the last long hill catching the first view of the lake after eleven months of not seeing this cherished body of water. The shouts and cries of the other campers when they saw you, and the trunks to be unpacked, to give up their rich burden. (Arriving was less exciting nowadays, when you sneaked up in your car and parked it under a tree near the camp and took out the bags and in five minutes it was all over, no fuss, no loud wonderful fuss about trunks.) Peace and goodness and jollity. The only thing that was wrong now, really, was the sound of the place, an unfamiliar nervous sound of the outboard motors. This was the note that jarred, the one thing that would sometimes break the illusion and set the years moving. In those other summertimes, all motors were inboard; and when they were at a little distance, the noise they made was a sedative, an ingredient of summer sleep. They were one-cylinder and two-cylinder engines, and some were make-and-break and some were jump-spark, but they all made a sleepy sound across the lake. The one-lungers throbbed and fluttered, and the twin-cylinder ones purred and purred and that was a quiet sound too. But now the campers all had outboards. In the daytime, in the hot mornings, these motors made a petulant, irritable sound; at night, in the still evening when the afterglow lit the water, they whined about one's ears like mosquitoes. My boy loved our rented outboard, and his great desire was to achieve single-handed mastery over it, and authority, and he soon learned the trick of choking it a little (but not too much), and the adjustment of the needle valve. Watching him I would remember the things you could do with the old one-cylinder engine with the heavy flywheel, how you could have it eating out of your hand if you got really close to it spiritually. Motor boats in those days didn't have clutches, and you would make a landing by shutting off the motor at the proper time
and coasting in with a dead rudder. But there was a way of reversing them, if you learned the trick, by cutting the switch and putting it on again exactly on the final dying revolution of the flywheel, so that it would kick back against compression and begin reversing. Approaching a dock in a strong following breeze, it was difficult to slow up sufficiently by the ordinary coasting method, and if a boy felt he had complete mastery over his motor, he was tempted to keep it running beyond its time and then reverse it a few feet from the dock. It took a cool nerve, because if you threw the switch a twentieth of a second too soon you would catch the flywheel when it still had speed enough to go up past center, and the boat would leap ahead, charging bull-fashion at the dock. We had a good week at the camp. The bass were biting well and the sun shone endlessly, day after day. We would be tired at night and lie down in the accumulated heat of the little bedrooms after the long hot day and the breeze would stir almost imperceptibly outside and the smell of the swamp drift in through the rusty screens. Sleep would come easily and in the morning the red squirrel would be on the roof, tapping out his gay routine. I kept remembering everything, lying in bed in the mornings--the small steamboat that had a long rounded stern like the lip of a Ubangi, and how quietly she ran on the moonlight sails, when the older boys played their mandolins and the girls sang and we ate doughnuts dipped in sugar, and how sweet the music was on the water in the shining night, and what it had felt like to think about girls then. After breakfast we would go up to the store and the things were in the same place--the minnows in a bottle, the plugs and spinners disarranged and pawed over by the youngsters from the boys' camp, the fig newtons and the Beeman's gum. Outside, the road was tarred and cars stood in front of the store. Inside, all was just as it had always been, except there was more Coca Cola and not so much Moxie and root beer and birch beer and sarsaparilla. We would walk out with a bottle of pop apiece and sometimes the pop would backfire up our noses and hurt. We explored the streams, quietly, where the turtles slid off the sunny logs and dug their way into the soft bottom; and we lay on the town wharf and fed worms to the tame bass. Everywhere we went I had trouble making out which was I, the one walking at my side, the one walking in my pants. One afternoon while we were there at that lake a thunderstorm came up. It was like the revival of an old melodrama that I had seen long ago with childish awe. The second-act climax of the drama of the electrical disturbance over a lake in America had not changed in any important respect. This was the big scene, still the big scene. The whole thing was so familiar, the first feeling of oppression and heat and a general air around camp of not wanting to go very far away. In mid-afternoon (it was all the same) a curious darkening of the sky, and a lull in everything that had made life tick; and then the way the boats suddenly swung the other way at their moorings with the coming of a breeze out of the new quarter, and the premonitory rumble. Then the kettle drum, then the snare, then the bass drum and cymbals, then crackling light against the dark, and the gods grinning and licking their chops in the hills. Afterward the calm, the rain steadily rustling in the calm lake, the return of light and hope and spirits, and the campers running out in joy and relief to go swimming in the rain, their bright cries perpetuating the deathless joke about how they were getting simply drenched, and the children screaming with delight at the new sensation of bathing in the rain, and the joke about getting drenched linking the generations in a strong indestructible chain. And the comedian who waded in carrying an umbrella.
When the others went swimming my son said he was going in too. He pulled his dripping trunks from the line where they had hung all through the shower, and wrung them out. Languidly, and with no thought of going in, I watched him, his hard little body, skinny and bare, saw him wince slightly as he pulled up around his vitals the small, soggy, icy garment. As he buckled the swollen belt suddenly my groin felt the chill of death.
V. AMBROSE BIERCE, â€œAN OCCURRENCE AT OWL CREEK BRIDGEâ€?
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce A man stood upon a railroad bridge in northern Alabama, looking down into the swift water twenty feet below. The man's hands were behind his back, the wrists bound with a cord. A rope closely encircled his neck. It was attached to a stout cross-timber above his head and the slack fell to the level of his knees. Some loose boards laid upon the sleepers supporting the metals of the railway supplied a footing for him and his executioners--two private soldiers of the Federal army, directed by a sergeant who in civil life may have been a deputy sheriff. At a short remove upon the same temporary platform was an officer in the uniform of his rank, armed. He was a captain. A sentinel at each end of the bridge stood with his rifle in the position known as "support," that is to say, vertical in front of the left shoulder, the hammer resting on the forearm thrown straight across the chest--a formal and unnatural position, enforcing an erect carriage of the body. It did not appear to be the duty of these two men to know what was occurring at the center of the bridge; they merely blockaded the two ends of the foot planking that traversed it. Beyond one of the sentinels nobody was in sight; the railroad ran straight away into a forest for a hundred yards, then, curving, was lost to view. Doubtless there was an outpost farther along. The other bank of the stream was open ground--a gentle acclivity topped with a stockade of vertical tree trunks, loopholed for rifles, with a single embrasure through which protruded the muzzle of a brass cannon commanding the bridge. Midway of the slope between the bridge and fort were the spectators--a single company of infantry in line, at "parade rest," the butts of the rifles on the ground, the barrels inclining slightly backward against the right shoulder, the hands crossed upon the stock. A lieu tenant stood at the right of the line, the point of his sword upon the ground, his left hand resting upon his right. Excepting the group of four at the center of the bridge, not a man moved. The company faced the bridge, staring stonily, motionless. The sentinels, facing the banks of the stream, might have been statues to adorn the bridge. The captain stood with folded arms, silent, observing the work of his subordinates, but making no sign. Death is a dignitary who when he comes announced is to be received with formal manifestations of respect, even by those most familiar with him. In the code of military etiquette silence and fixity are forms of deference. The man who was engaged in being hanged was apparently about thirty-five years of age. He was a civilian, if one might judge from his habit, which was that of a planter. His features were good--a straight nose, firm mouth, broad forehead, from which his long, dark hair was combed straight back, falling behind his ears to the collar of his wellfitting frock coat. He wore a mustache and pointed beard, but no whiskers; his eyes were large and dark gray, and had a kindly expression which one would hardly have expected in one whose neck was in the hemp. Evidently this was no vulgar assassin. The liberal military code makes provision for hanging many kinds of persons, and gentlemen are not excluded.
The preparations being complete, the two private soldiers stepped aside and each drew away the plank upon which he had been standing. The sergeant turned to the captain, saluted and placed himself immediately behind that officer, who in turn moved apart one pace. These movements left the condemned man and the sergeant standing on the two ends of the same plank, which spanned three of the cross-ties of the bridge. The end upon which the civilian stood almost, but not quite, reached a fourth. This plank had been held in place by the weight of the captain; it was now held by that of the sergeant. At a signal from the former the latter would step aside, the plank would tilt and the condemned man go down between two ties. The arrangement commended itself to his judgment as simple and effective. His face had not been covered nor his eyes bandaged. He looked a moment at his "unsteadfast footing," then let his gaze wander to the swirling water of the stream racing madly beneath his feet. A piece of dancing driftwood caught his attention and his eyes followed it down the current. How slowly it appeared to move, What a sluggish stream! He closed his eyes in order to fix his last thoughts upon his wife and children. The water, touched to gold by the early sun, the brooding mists under the banks at some distance down the stream, the fort, the soldiers, the piece of drift--all had distracted him. And now he became conscious of a new disturbance. Striking through the thought of his dear ones was a sound which he could neither ignore nor understand, a sharp, distinct, metallic percussion like the stroke of a blacksmith's hammer upon the anvil; it had the same ringing quality. He wondered what it was, and whether immeasurably distant or near by--it seemed both. Its recurrence was regular, but as slow as the tolling of a death knell. He awaited each stroke with impatience and--he knew not why--apprehension. The intervals of silence grew progressively longer, the delays became maddening. With their greater infrequency the sounds increased in strength and sharpness. They hurt his ear like the thrust of a knife; he feared he would shriek. What he heard was the ticking of his watch. He unclosed his eyes and saw again the water below him. "If I could free my hands," he thought, "I might throw off the noose and spring into the stream. By diving I could evade the bullets and, swimming vigorously, reach the bank, take to the woods and get away home. My home, thank God, is as yet outside their lines; my wife and little ones are still beyond the invader's farthest advance." As these thoughts, which have here to be set down in words, were flashed into the doomed man's brain rather than evolved from it the captain nodded to the sergeant. The sergeant stepped aside.
II Peyton Farquhar was a well-to-do planter, of an old and highly respected Alabama family. Being a slave owner and like other slave owners a politician he was naturally an original secessionist and ardently devoted to the Southern cause. Circumstances of an imperious nature, which it is unnecessary to relate here, had prevented him from taking service with the gallant army that had fought the disastrous campaigns ending with the fall of Corinth, and he chafed under the inglorious restraint, longing for the release of his energies, the larger life of the soldier, the opportunity for distinction. That opportunity, he
felt, would come, as it comes to all in war time. Meanwhile he did what he could. No service was too humble for him to perform in aid of the South, no adventure too perilous for him to undertake if consistent with the character of a civilian who was at heart a soldier, and who in good faith and without too much qualification assented to at least a part of the frankly villainous dictum that all is fair in love and war. One evening while Farquhar and his wife were sitting on a rustic bench near the entrance to his grounds, a gray-clad soldier rode up to the gate and asked for a drink of water. Mrs. Farquhar was only toe, happy to serve him with her own white hands. While she was fetching the water her husband approached the dusty horseman and inquired eagerly for news from the front. "The Yanks are repairing the railroads," said the man, "and are getting ready for another advance. They have reached the Owl Creek bridge, put it in order and built a stockade on the north bank. The commandant has issued an order, which is posted everywhere, declaring that any civilian caught interfering with the railroad, its bridges, tunnels or trains will be summarily hanged. I saw the order." "How far is it to the Owl Creek bridge?" Farquhar asked. "About thirty miles." "Is there no force on this side the creek?" "Only a picket post half a mile out, on the railroad, and a single sentinel at this end of the bridge." "Suppose a man--a civilian and student of hanging--should elude the picket post and perhaps get the better of the sentinel," said Farquhar, smiling, "what could he accomplish?" The soldier reflected. "I was there a month ago," he replied. "I observed that the flood of last winter had lodged a great quantity of driftwood against the wooden pier at this end of the bridge. It is now dry and would burn like tow." The lady had now brought the water, which the soldier drank. He thanked her ceremoniously, bowed to her husband and rode away. An hour later, after nightfall, he repassed the plantation, going northward in the direction from which he had come. He was a Federal scout.
III As Peyton Farquhar fell straight downward through the bridge he lost consciousness and was as one already dead. From this state he was awakened--ages later, it seemed to him--by the pain of a sharp pressure upon his throat, followed by a sense of suffocation. Keen, poignant agonies seemed to shoot from his neck downward through every fiber of his body and limbs. These pains appeared to flash along well-defined lines of ramification and to beat with an inconceivably rapid periodicity. They seemed like streams of pulsating fire heating him to an intolerable temperature. As to his head, he was conscious of nothing but a feeling of fullness--of congestion. These sensations were unaccompanied by thought. The intellectual part of his nature was already effaced; he had power only to feel, and feeling was torment. He was conscious of motion. Encompassed in a luminous cloud, of which he was now merely the fiery heart, without material substance, he swung through unthinkable arcs of oscillation, like a vast pendulum. Then all at once, with terrible suddenness, the light about him shot upward with the noise of a
loud splash; a frightful roaring was in his ears, and all was cold and dark. The power of thought was restored; he knew that the rope had broken and he had fallen into the stream. There was no additional strangulation; the noose about his neck was already suffocating him and kept the water from his lungs. To die of hanging at the bottom of a river!--the idea seemed to him ludicrous. He opened his eyes in the darkness and saw above him a gleam of light, but how distant, how inaccessible! He was still sinking, for the light became fainter and fainter until it was a mere glimmer. Then it began to grow and brighten, and he knew that he was rising toward the surface--knew it with reluctance, for he was now very comfortable. "To be hanged and drowned," he thought? "that is not so bad; but I do not wish to be shot. No; I will not be shot; that is not fair." He was not conscious of an effort, but a sharp pain in his wrist apprised him that he was trying to free his hands. He gave the struggle his attention, as an idler might observe the feat of a juggler, without interest in the outcome. What splendid effort!--what magnificent, what superhuman strength! Ah, that was a fine endeavor! Bravo! The cord fell away; his arms parted and floated upward, the hands dimly seen on each side in the growing light. He watched them with a new interest as first one and then the other pounced upon the noose at his neck. They tore it away and thrust it fiercely aside, its undulations resembling those of a water snake. "Put it back, put it back!" He thought he shouted these words to his hands, for the undoing of the noose had been succeeded by the direst pang that he had yet experienced. His neck ached horribly; his brain was on fire; his heart, which had been fluttering faintly, gave a great leap, trying to force itself out at his mouth. His whole body was racked and wrenched with an insupportable anguish! But his disobedient hands gave no heed to the command. They beat the water vigorously with quick, downward strokes, forcing him to the surface. He felt his head emerge; his eyes were blinded by the sunlight; his chest expanded convulsively, and with a supreme and crowning agony his lungs engulfed a great draught of air, which instantly he expelled in a shriek! He was now in full possession of his physical senses. They were, indeed, preternaturally keen and alert. Something in the awful disturbance of his organic system had so exalted and refined them that they made record of things never before perceived. He felt the ripples upon his face and heard their separate sounds as they struck. He looked at the forest on the bank of the stream, saw the individual trees, the leaves and the veining of each leaf--saw the very insects upon them: the locusts, the brilliant-bodied flies, the grey spiders stretching their webs from twig to twig. He noted the prismatic colors in all the dewdrops upon a million blades of grass. The humming of the gnats that danced above the eddies of the stream, the beating of the dragon flies' wings, the strokes of the water-spiders' legs, like oars which had lifted their boat--all these made audible music. A fish slid along beneath his eyes and he heard the rush of its body parting the water. He had come to the surface facing down the stream; in a moment the visible world seemed to wheel slowly round, himself the pivotal point, and he saw the bridge, the fort, the soldiers upon the bridge, the captain, the sergeant, the two privates, his executioners. They were in silhouette against the blue sky. They shouted and gesticulated, pointing at him. The captain had drawn his pistol, but did not fire; the others were unarmed. Their movements were grotesque and horrible, their forms gigantic. Suddenly he heard a sharp report and something struck the water smartly within a few inches of his head, spattering his face with spray. He heard a second report, and saw
one of the sentinels with his rifle at his shoulder, a light cloud of blue smoke rising from the muzzle. The man in the water saw the eye of the man on the bridge gazing into his own through the sights of the rifle. He observed that it was a grey eye and remembered having read that grey eyes were keenest, and that all famous marksmen had them. Nevertheless, this one had missed. A counter-swirl had caught Farquhar and turned him half round; he was again looking into the forest on the bank opposite the fort. The sound of a clear, high voice in a monotonous singsong now rang out behind him and came across the water with a distinctness that pierced and subdued all other sounds, even the beating of the ripples in his ears. Although no soldier, he had frequented camps enough to know the dread significance of that deliberate, drawling, aspirated chant; the lieu. tenant on shore was taking a part in the morning's work. How coldly and pitilessly--with what an even, calm intonation, presaging, and enforcing tranquility in the men--with what accurately measured intervals fell those cruel words: "Attention, company! . . Shoulder arms! . . . Ready! . . . Aim! . . . Fire!" Farquhar dived--dived as deeply as he could. The water roared in his ears like the voice of Niagara, yet he heard the dulled thunder of the volley and, rising again toward the surface, met shining bits of metal, singularly flattened, oscillating slowly downward. Some of them touched him on the face and hands, then fell away, continuing their descent. One lodged between his collar and neck; it was uncomfortably warm and he snatched it out. As he rose to the surface, gasping for breath, he saw that he had been a long time under water; he was perceptibly farther down stream nearer to safety. The soldiers had almost finished reloading; the metal ramrods flashed all at once in the sunshine as they were drawn from the barrels, turned in the air, and thrust into their sockets. The two sentinels fired again, independently and ineffectually. The hunted man saw all this over his shoulder; he was now swimming vigorously with the current. His brain was as energetic as his arms and legs; he thought with the rapidity of lightning. The officer," he reasoned, "will not make that martinet's error a second time. It is as easy to dodge a volley as a single shot. He has probably already given the command to fire at will. God help me, I cannot dodge them all!" An appalling plash within two yards of him was followed by a loud, rushing sound, diminuendo, which seemed to travel back through the air to the fort and died in an explosion which stirred the very river to its deeps! A rising sheet of water curved over him, fell down upon him, blinded him, strangled him! The cannon had taken a hand in the game. As he shook his head free from the commotion of the smitten water he heard the deflected shot humming through the air ahead, and in an instant it was cracking and smashing the branches in the forest beyond. "They will not do that again," he thought; "the next time they will use a charge of grape. I must keep my eye upon the gun; the smoke will apprise me--the report arrives too late; it lags behind the missile. That is a good gun." Suddenly he felt himself whirled round and round--spinning like a top. The water, the banks, the forests, the now distant bridge, fort and men--all were commingled and blurred. Objects were represented by their colors only; circular horizontal streaks of
color--that was all he saw. He had been caught in a vortex and was being whirled on with a velocity of advance and gyration that made him giddy and sick. In a few moments he was flung upon the gravel at the foot of the left bank of the stream--the southern bank-and behind a projecting point which concealed him from his enemies. The sudden arrest of his motion, the abrasion of one of his hands on the gravel, restored him, and he wept with delight. He dug his fingers into the sand, threw it over himself in handfuls and audibly blessed it. It looked like diamonds, rubies, emeralds; he could think of nothing beautiful which it did not resemble. The trees upon the bank were giant garden plants; he noted a definite order in their arrangement, inhaled the fragrance of their blooms. A strange, roseate light shone through the spaces among their trunks and the wind made in their branches the music of Ă†olian harps. He had no wish to perfect his escape--was content to remain in that enchanting spot until retaken. A whiz and rattle of grapeshot among the branches high above his head roused him from his dream. The baffled cannoneer had fired him a random farewell. He sprang to his feet, rushed up the sloping bank, and plunged into the forest. All that day he traveled, laying his course by the rounding sun. The forest seemed interminable; nowhere did he discover a break in it, not even a woodman's road. He had not known that he lived in so wild a region. There was something uncanny in the revelation. By nightfall he was fatigued, footsore, famishing. The thought of his wife and children urged him on. At last he found a road which led him in what he knew to be the right direction. It was as wide and straight as a city street, yet it seemed untraveled. No fields bordered it, no dwelling anywhere. Not so much as the barking of a dog suggested human habitation. The black bodies of the trees formed a straight wall on both sides, terminating on the horizon in a point, like a diagram in a lesson in perspective. Overhead, as he looked up through this rift in the wood, shone great garden stars looking unfamiliar and grouped in strange constellations. He was sure they were arranged in some order which had a secret and malign significance. The wood on either side was full of singular noises, among which--once, twice, and again--he distinctly heard whispers in an unknown tongue. His neck was in pain and lifting his hand to it found it horribly swollen. He knew that it had a circle of black where the rope had bruised it. His eyes felt congested; he could no longer close them. His tongue was swollen with thirst; he relieved its fever by thrusting it forward from between his teeth into the cold air. How softly the turf had carpeted the untraveled avenue--he could no longer feel the roadway beneath his feet! Doubtless, despite his suffering, he had fallen asleep while walking, for now he sees another scene--perhaps he has merely recovered from a delirium. He stands at the gate of his own home. All is as he left it, and all bright and beautiful in the morning sunshine. He must have traveled the entire night. As he pushes open the gate and passes up the wide white walk, he sees a flutter of female garments; his wife, looking fresh and cool and sweet, steps down from the veranda to meet him. At the bottom of the steps she stands waiting, with a smile of ineffable joy, an attitude of matchless grace and dignity. Ah, how beautiful she is! He springs forward with extended arms. As he is about to clasp her he feels a stunning blow upon the back of the neck; a blinding white light blazes all about him with a sound like the shock of a cannon--then all is darkness and silence!
Peyton Farquhar was dead; his body, with a broken neck, swung gently from side to side beneath the timbers of the Owl Creek bridge.
VI. GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ, â€œTHE HANDSOMEST DROWNED MAN IN THE WORLD.â€? The Handsomest Drowned Man In The World Gabriel Garcia Marquez THE FIRST CHILDREN who saw the dark and slinky bulge approaching through the sea let themselves think it was an enemy ship. Then they saw it had no flags or masts and they thought it was a whale. But when it washed up on the beach, they removed the clumps of seaweed, the jellyfish tentacles, and the remains of fish and flotsam, and only then did they see that it was a drowned man. They had been playing with him all afternoon, burying him in the sand and digging him up again, when someone chanced to see them and spread the alarm in the village. The men who carried him to the nearest house noticed that he weighed more than any dead man they had ever known, almost as much as a horse, and they said to each other that maybe he'd been floating too long and the water had got into his bones. When they laid him on the floor they said he'd been taller than all other men because there was barely enough room for him in the house, but they thought that maybe the ability to keep on growing after death was part of the nature of certain drowned men. He had the smell of the sea about him and only his shape gave one to suppose that it was the corpse of a human being, because the skin was covered with a crust of mud and scales. They did not even have to clean off his face to know that the dead man was a stranger. The village was made up of only twenty-odd wooden houses that had stone courtyards with no flowers and which were spread about on the end of a desert-like cape. There was so little land that mothers always went about with the fear that the wind would carry off their children and the few dead that the years had caused among them had to be thrown off the cliffs. But the sea was calm and bountiful and all the men fitted into seven boats. So when they found the drowned man they simply had to look at one another to see that they were all there. That night they did not go out to work at sea. While the men went to find out if anyone was missing in neighboring villages, the women stayed behind to care for the drowned man. They took the mud off with grass swabs, they removed the underwater stones entangled in his hair, and they scraped the crust off with tools used for scaling fish. As they were doing that they noticed that the vegetation on him came from faraway oceans and deep water and that his clothes were in tatters, as if he had sailed through labyrinths of coral. They noticed too that he bore his death with pride, for he did not have the lonely look of other drowned men who came out of the sea or that haggard, needy look of men who drowned in rivers. But only when they finished cleaning him off did they become aware of the kind of man he was and it left them breathless. Not only was he the tallest, strongest, most virile, and best built man they had ever seen, but even though they were looking at him there was no room for him in their imagination.
They could not find a bed in the village large enough to lay him on nor was there a table solid enough to use for his wake. The tallest men's holiday pants would not fit him, nor the fattest ones' Sunday shirts, nor the shoes of the one with the biggest feet. Fascinated by his huge size and his beauty, the women then decided to make him some pants from a large piece of sail and a shirt from some bridal brabant linen so that he could continue through his death with dignity. As they sewed, sitting in a circle and gazing at the corpse between stitches, it seemed to them that the wind had never been so steady nor the sea so restless as on that night and they supposed that the change had something to do with the dead man. They thought that if that magnificent man had lived in the village, his house would have had the widest doors, the highest ceiling, and the strongest floor, his bedstead would have been made from a midship frame held together by iron bolts, and his wife would have been the happiest woman. They thought that he would have had so much authority that he could have drawn fish out of the sea simply by calling their names and that he would have put so much work into his land that springs would have burst forth from among the rocks so that he would have been able to plant flowers on the cliffs. They secretly compared him to their own men, thinking that for all their lives theirs were incapable of doing what he could do in one night, and they ended up dismissing them deep in their hearts as the weakest, meanest and most useless creatures on earth. They were wandering through that maze of fantasy when the oldest woman, who as the oldest had looked upon the drowned man with more compassion than passion, sighed: 'He has the face of someone called Esteban.' It was true. Most of them had only to take another look at him to see that he could not have any other name. The more stubborn among them, who were the youngest, still lived for a few hours with the illusion that when they put his clothes on and he lay among the flowers in patent leather shoes his name might be Lautaro. But it was a vain illusion. There had not been enough canvas, the poorly cut and worse sewn pants were too tight, and the hidden strength of his heart popped the buttons on his shirt. After midnight the whistling of the wind died down and the sea fell into its Wednesday drowsiness. The silence put an end to any last doubts: he was Esteban. The women who had dressed him, who had combed his hair, had cut his nails and shaved him were unable to hold back a shudder of pity when they had to resign themselves to his being dragged along the ground. It was then that they understood how unhappy he must have been with that huge body since it bothered him even after death. They could see him in life, condemned to going through doors sideways, cracking his head on crossbeams, remaining on his feet during visits, not knowing what to do with his soft, pink, sea lion hands while the lady of the house looked for her most resistant chair and begged him, frightened to death, sit here, Esteban, please, and he, leaning against the wall, smiling, don't bother, ma'am, I'm fine where I am, his heels raw and his back roasted from having done the same thing so many times whenever he paid a visit, don't bother, ma'am, I'm fine where I am, just to avoid the embarrassment of breaking up the chair, and never knowing perhaps that the ones who said don't go, Esteban, at least wait till the coffee's ready, were the ones who later on would whisper the big boob finally left, how nice, the handsome fool has gone. That was what the women were thinking beside the body a little before dawn. Later, when they covered his face with a handkerchief so that the light would not bother him, he looked so forever dead, so defenseless, so much like their men that the first furrows of
tears opened in their hearts. It was one of the younger ones who began the weeping. The others, coming to, went from sighs to wails, and the more they sobbed the more they felt like weeping, because the drowned man was becoming all the more Esteban for them, and so they wept so much, for he was the more destitute, most peaceful, and most obliging man on earth, poor Esteban. So when the men returned with the news that the drowned man was not from the neighboring villages either, the women felt an opening of jubilation in the midst of their tears. 'Praise the Lord,' they sighed, 'he's ours!' The men thought the fuss was only womanish frivolity. Fatigued because of the difficult nighttime inquiries, all they wanted was to get rid of the bother of the newcomer once and for all before the sun grew strong on that arid, windless day. They improvised a litter with the remains of foremasts and gaffs, tying it together with rigging so that it would bear the weight of the body until they reached the cliffs. They wanted to tie the anchor from a cargo ship to him so that he would sink easily into the deepest waves, where fish are blind and divers die of nostalgia, and bad currents would not bring him back to shore, as had happened with other bodies. But the more they hurried, the more the women thought of ways to waste time. They walked about like startled hens, pecking with the sea charms on their breasts, some interfering on one side to put a scapular of the good wind on the drowned man, some on the other side to put a wrist compass on him , and after a great deal of get away from there, woman, stay out of the way, look, you almost made me fall on top of the dead man, the men began to feel mistrust in their livers and started grumbling about why so many main-altar decorations for a stranger, because no matter how many nails and holy-water jars he had on him, the sharks would chew him all the same, but the women kept piling on their junk relics, running back and forth, stumbling, while they released in sighs what they did not in tears, so that the men finally exploded with since when has there ever been such a fuss over a drifting corpse, a drowned nobody, a piece of cold Wednesday meat. One of the women, mortified by so much lack of care, then removed the handkerchief from the dead man's face and the men were left breathless too. He was Esteban. It was not necessary to repeat it for them to recognize him. If they had been told Sir Walter Raleigh, even they might have been impressed with his gringo accent, the macaw on his shoulder, his cannibal-killing blunderbuss, but there could be only one Esteban in the world and there he was, stretched out like a sperm whale, shoeless, wearing the pants of an undersized child, and with those stony nails that had to be cut with a knife. They only had to take the handkerchief off his face to see that he was ashamed, that it was not his fault that he was so big or so heavy or so handsome, and if he had known that this was going to happen, he would have looked for a more discreet place to drown in, seriously, I even would have tied the anchor off a galleon around my nick and staggered off a cliff like someone who doesn't like things in order not to be upsetting people now with this Wednesday dead body, as you people say, in order not to be bothering anyone with this filthy piece of cold meat that doesn't have anything to do with me. There was so much truth in his manner that even the most mistrustful men, the ones who felt the bitterness of endless nights at sea fearing that their women would tire of
dreaming about them and begin to dream of drowned men, even they and others who were harder still shuddered in the marrow of their bones at Esteban's sincerity. That was how they came to hold the most splendid funeral they could ever conceive of for an abandoned drowned man. Some women who had gone to get flowers in the neighboring villages returned with other women who could not believe what they had been told, and those women went back for more flowers when they saw the dead man, and they brought more and more until there were so many flowers and so many people that it was hard to walk about. At the final moment it pained them to return him to the waters as an orphan and they chose a father and mother from among the best people, and aunts and uncles and cousins, so that through him all the inhabitants of the village became kinsmen. Some sailors who heard the weeping from a distance went off course and people heard of one who had himself tied to the mainmast, remembering ancient fables about sirens. While they fought for the privilege of carrying him on their shoulders along the steep escarpment by the cliffs, men and women became aware for the first time of the desolation of their streets, the dryness of their courtyards, the narrowness of their dreams as they faced the splendor and beauty of their drowned man. They let him go without an anchor so that he could come back if he wished and whenever he wished, and they all held their breath for the fraction of centuries the body took to fall into the abyss. They did not need to look at one another to realize that they were no longer all present, that they would never be. But they also knew that everything would be different from then on, that their houses would have wider doors, higher ceilings, and stronger floors so that Esteban's memory could go everywhere without bumping into beams and so that no one in the future would dare whisper the big boob finally died, too bad, the handsome fool has finally died, because they were going to paint their house fronts gay colors to make Esteban's memory eternal and they were going to break their backs digging for springs among the stones and planting flowers on the cliffs so that in future years at dawn the passengers on great liners would awaken, suffocated by the smell of gardens on the high seas, and the captain would have to come down from the bridge in his dress uniform, with his astrolabe, his pole star, and his row of war medals and, pointing to the promontory of roses on the horizon, he would say in fourteen languages, look there, where the wind is so peaceful now that it's gone to sleep beneath the beds, over there, where the sun's so bright that the sunflowers don't know which way to turn, yes, over there, that's Esteban's village.
VII. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, THE TEMPEST OUTLINE I.i. Storm. Ship is lost. I.ii. Prospero educates Miranda. Prospero calls Ariel: gleeful. Prospero calls Caliban: spiteful. Ferdinand meets Miranda: wonderous people. II.i.
Sebastian and Antonio engage Alonzo in stinging puns. Gonzalo describes the commonwealth. Antonio offers to be Sebastianâ€™s servant and seduces Sebastian into treason: kill the king, usurp his power. Ariel foils the plan. Stephano and Trinculo come across Caliban carrying wood. Caliban offers to be their servant.
Ferdinand carries wood (trades places with Caliban). Ferdinand and Miranda exchange vows of obedience-duty. III.ii. Ariel confuses Stephano, Trinculo, and Caliban. Caliban seduces them into treason: kill Prospero, usurp his power. III.iii. Ariel and Prospero confuse Alonzo, Sebastian, Antonio, and Gonzalo with the wedding feast. IV.i.
Prospero gifts Miranda to Ferdinand with a warning about her virginity. Juno, Ceres, Iris, and other Roman Gods put on a Masque of fertility. Prospero remembers people are trying to kill him. Ariel drives Stephano and Trinculo into the horsepiss pond and tricks them with fancy garments. Caliban loses his ardor for the two fake gods. Prospero uses Ariel to punish the three: pinches, brambles.
Propsero in robes with Arielâ€”bringing everyone together. Propsero vows pity and charity. Gives up magic. Draws everyone into circle. Prospero promises not to tell on Antonio and Sebestain; forgives Antonio. Prospero requests his dukedom back. Prospero reveals Ferdinand and Miranda playing chess. The ship Boatswain comes in, amazed. Prospero sets Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo free. Caliban is sent to clean the cave; he becomes Ariel: perform duty before freedom.
Elizabeth as a widow, 1642 On 14 February 1613, she married Frederick V, then Elector of the Palatinate in Germany, and took up her place in the court at Heidelberg. Frederick was the leader of the association of Protestant princes in the Holy Roman Empire known as the Protestant Union, and Elizabeth was married to him in an effort to increase James's ties to these princes. Despite this, the two were considered to be genuinely in love, and remained a romantic couple throughout the course of their marriage. Elizabeth's new husband transformed his seat at Heidelberg, creating an 'English wing' for her, a monkey-house, a menagerie - and the beginnings of a new garden in the Italian Renaissance style popular in England at the time. The garden, the Hortus Palatinus was constructed by Elizabeth's former tutor, Salomon de Caus and was dubbed the 'Eighth Wonder of the World' by contemporaries. In 1619, Frederick was offered and accepted the crown of Bohemia. Elizabeth was crowned Queen of Bohemia on 7 November 1619, three days after her husband was crowned King of Bohemia. Frederick's rule was extremely brief, and thus Elizabeth became known as the "Winter Queen" (in Cesky). Driven into exile, the couple took up residence in The Hague, and Frederick died in 1632. Elizabeth remained in Holland even after her son, Charles I Louis, regained his father's electorship in 1648. Following the Restoration of the English and Scottish monarchies, she travelled to London to visit her nephew, Charles II, and died while there. Elizabeth's youngest daughter, Sophia of Hanover, had in 1658 married Ernest Augustus, the future Elector of Hanover. The Electress Sophia became the nearest Protestant relative to the English and Irish crowns (later British crown). Under the English Act of Settlement, the succession was settled on Sophia and her issue, so that all monarchs of Great Britain from George I are descendants of Elizabeth. Ancestry Of Elizabeth's sixteen great-great-grandparents, five were German, four were Scottish, two were English, two were French, two were Danish, and one was Polish, giving her a thoroughly cosmopolitan background which was typical of royals at that time due to constant intermarriage among the European royal families.
Ancestors of Elizabeth of Bohemia
16. John Stewart, 3rd Earl of Lennox
8. Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox
17. Elizabeth Stewart
4. Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
18. Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus
9. Margaret Douglas
19. Margaret Tudor
2. James I of England
20. James IV of Scotland
10. James V of Scotland
21. Margaret Tudor (= 19)
5. Mary, Queen of Scots
22. Claude, Duke of Guise
11. Mary of Guise
23. Antoinette de Bourbon
1. Elizabeth of Bohemia
24. Frederick I of Denmark
12. Christian III of Denmark
25. Anna of Brandenburg
6. Frederick II of Denmark
26. Magnus I, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg
13. Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg
27. Catherine of Braunschweig
3. Anne of Denmark
28. Albert VII, Duke of MecklenburgG端strow
14. Ulrich III of MecklenburgG端strow 29. Margravine Anna of Brandenburg (not 25) 7. Sophie of MecklenburgG端strow
30. Frederick I of Denmark (= 24)
15. Elizabeth of Denmark
31. Sophie of Pomerania
VIII. JOSEPH CONRAD, HEART OF DARKNESS
IX. APOCALYPSE NOW
If... Rudyard Kipling If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise: If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools: If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!' If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
The Hollow Men T. S. Eliot Mistah Kurtz—he dead. A penny for the Old Guy I We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rats’ feet over broken glass In our dry cellar Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion; Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom Remember us—if at all—not as lost Violent souls, but only As the hollow men The stuffed men. II Eyes I dare not meet in dreams In death’s dream kingdom These do not appear: There, the eyes are Sunlight on a broken column There, is a tree swinging And voices are In the wind’s singing More distant and more solemn Than a fading star. Let me be no nearer In death’s dream kingdom Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer— Not that final meeting In the twilight kingdom III This is the dead land This is cactus land Here the stone images Are raised, here they receive The supplication of a dead man’s hand Under the twinkle of a fading star. Is it like this In death’s other kingdom Waking alone At the hour when we are Trembling with tenderness Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone. IV The eyes are not here There are no eyes here In this valley of dying stars In this hollow valley This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms In this last of meeting places We grope together And avoid speech Gathered on this beach of the tumid river Sightless, unless The eyes reappear As the perpetual star Multifoliate rose Of death’s twilight kingdom The hope only Of empty men. V Here we go round the prickly pear Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear At five oâ€™clock in the morning. Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom Between the conception And the creation Between the emotion And the response Falls the Shadow Life is very long Between the desire And the spasm Between the potency And the existence Between the essence And the descent Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom For Thine is Life is For Thine is the This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.
X. KATE CHOPIN, THE AWAKENING I know Why the Caged Birds Sings / Maya Angelou The free bird leaps on the back of the win and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wings in the orange sun rays and dares to claim the sky. But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing. The caged bird sings with fearful trill of the things unknown but longed for still and is tune is heard on the distant hillfor the caged bird sings of freedom The free bird thinks of another breeze an the trade winds soft through the sighing trees and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own. But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.
THE LOVE SONG OF J. ALFRED PRUFROCK T.S. Eliot (1888–1965). Prufrock and Other Observations. 1917. S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse A persona che mai tornasse al mondo, Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse. Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero, Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo. LET us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherised upon a table; Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, The muttering retreats 5 Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells: Streets that follow like a tedious argument Of insidious intent To lead you to an overwhelming question … Oh, do not ask, “What is it?” Let us go and make our visit.
"If I believed that my reply were made To one who to the world would e'er return, This flame without more flickering would stand still; But inasmuch as never from this depth Did any one return, if I hear true, Without the fear of infamy I answer,..." From Dante's Inferno, Canto XXVII, lines 61-66
In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo. The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes, The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening, Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains, Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys, Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap, 20 And seeing that it was a soft October night, Curled once about the house, and fell asleep. And indeed there will be time For the yellow smoke that slides along the street, Rubbing its back upon the window-panes; 25 There will be time, there will be time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet; There will be time to murder and create, And time for all the works and days of hands That lift and drop a question on your plate; 30 Time for you and time for me, And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions, Before the taking of a toast and tea. In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo. And indeed there will be time To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?” Time to turn back and descend the stair, With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”] My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin, My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin— [They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”] Do I dare 45 Disturb the universe? In a minute there is time For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. For I have known them all already, known them all:— Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons; I know the voices dying with a dying fall Beneath the music from a farther room. So how should I presume? And I have known the eyes already, known them all— The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase, And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin, When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall, Then how should I begin To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways? And how should I presume? And I have known the arms already, known them all— Arms that are braceleted and white and bare [But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!] It is perfume from a dress 65 That makes me so digress? Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl. And should I then presume? And how should I begin? . . . . . Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…
I should have been a pair of ragged claws Scuttling across the floors of silent seas. . . . . . And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully! 75 Smoothed by long fingers, Asleep … tired … or it malingers, Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me. Should I, after tea and cakes and ices, Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis? 80 But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed, Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter, I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter; I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, 85 And in short, I was afraid.
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea, Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me, Would it have been worth while, 90 To have bitten off the matter with a smile, To have squeezed the universe into a ball To roll it toward some overwhelming question, To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead, Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”— If one, settling a pillow by her head, Should say: “That is not what I meant at all. That is not it, at all.”
And would it have been worth it, after all, Would it have been worth while, 100 After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets, After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor— And this, and so much more?— It is impossible to say just what I mean! But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen: 105 Would it have been worth while If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl, And turning toward the window, should say: “That is not it at all, That is not what I meant, at all.” . . . . . 110 No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; Am an attendant lord, one that will do To swell a progress, start a scene or two, Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool, Deferential, glad to be of use, 115 Politic, cautious, and meticulous; Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse; At times, indeed, almost ridiculous— Almost, at times, the Fool. I grow old … I grow old … 120 I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled. Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach? I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves Combing the white hair of the waves blown back When the wind blows the water white and black. We have lingered in the chambers of the sea By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
XI. ERNEST HEMINGWAY, IN OUR TIME
XII. NORMAN MACLEAN, A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT
Beauty Tony Hoagland When the medication she was taking caused tiny vessels in her face to break, leaving faint but permanent blue stitches in her cheeks, my sister said she knew she would never be beautiful again. After all those years of watching her reflection in the mirror, sucking in her stomach and standing straight, she said it was a relief, being done with beauty, but I could see her pause inside that moment as the knowledge spread across her face with a fine distress, sucking the peach out of her lips, making her cute nose seem, for the first time, a little knobby. I'm probably the only one in the whole world who actually remembers the year in high school she perfected the art of being a dumb blond, spending recess on the breezeway by the physics lab, tossing her hair and laughing that canary trill that was her specialty, while some football player named Johnny with a pained expression in his eyes wrapped his thick finger over and over again in the bedspring of one of those pale curls. Or how she spent the next decade of her life auditioning a series of tall men looking for just one with the kind of attention span she could count on. Then one day her time of prettiness was done, and all those other beautiful women in the magazines and on the streets just kept on being beautiful everywhere you looked, walking in that kind of elegant, disinterested trance in which you sense they always have one hand touching the secret place
that keeps their beauty safe, inhaling and exhaling the perfume of it. It was spring. Season when the young buttercups and daisies climb up on the mulched bodies of their forebears to wave their flags in the parade. My sister just stood still for thirty seconds, amazed about the way that things can go, then shrugged and tossed her shaggy head as if she was throwing something out, something she had carried a long ways but had no use for anymore, now that it had no use for her. That, too, was beautiful.
Beauty B. H. Fairchild Therefore, Their sons grow suicidally beautiful. . . -James Wright, "Autumn Begins in Martin's Ferry, Ohio" I. We are at the Bargello in Florence, and she says, what are you thinking? and I say, beauty, thinking of how very far we are now from the machine shop and the dry fields of Kansas, the treeless horizons of slate skies and the muted passions of roughnecks and scrabble farmers drunk and romantic enough to weep more or less silently at the darkened end of the bar out of, what else, loneliness, meaning the ache of thwarted desire, of, in a word, beauty, or rather its absence, and it occurs to me again that no male member of my family has ever used this word in my hearing or anyone else's except in reference, perhaps, to a new pickup or dead deer. This insight, this backward vision, first came to me as a young man as some weirdness of the air waves slipped through the static of our new Motorola with a discussion of beauty between Robert Penn Warren and Paul Weiss at Yale College. We were in Kansas eating barbecue-flavored potato chips and waiting for Father Knows Best to float up through the snow of rural TV in 1963. I felt transported, stunned.
Here are two grown men discussing "beauty" seriously and with dignity as if they and the topic were as normal as normal topics of discussion between men such as soybean prices or why the commodities market was a sucker's game or Oklahoma football or Gimpy Neiderland almost dying from his hemorrhoid operation. They were discussing beauty and tossing around allusions to Plato and Aristotle and someone named Pater, and they might be homosexuals. That would be a natural conclusion, of course, since here were two grown men talking about "beauty" instead of scratching their crotches and cursing the goddamned government trying to run everybody's business. Not a beautiful thing, that. The government. Not beautiful, though a man would not use that word. One time my Uncle Ross from California called my mom's Sunday dinner centerpiece "lovely" and my father left the room, clearly troubled by the word "lovely" coupled probably with the very idea of California and the fact that my Uncle Ross liked to tap-dance. The light from the venetian blinds, the autumn, silver Kansas light laving the table that Sunday, is what I recall now because it was beautiful, though I of course would not have said so then, beautiful, as so many moments forgotten but later remembered come back to us in slants and pools and uprisings of light, beautiful in itself, but more beautiful mingled with memory, the light leaning across my mother's carefully set table, across the empty chair beside my Uncle Ross, the light filtering down from the green plastic slats in the roof of the machine shop where I worked with my father so many afternoons, standing or crouched in pools of light and sweat with men who knew the true meaning of labor and money and other hard, true things and did not, did not ever, use the word, beauty. II. Late November, shadows gather in the shop's north end, and I'm watching Bobby Sudduth do piece work on the Hobbs. He fouls another cut, motherfucker, fucking bitch machine, and starts over, sloppy, slow, about two joints away from being fired, but he just doesn't give a shit. He sets the bit again, white wrists flashing in the lamplight and showing botched, blurred tattoos, both from a night in Tijuana, and continues his sexual autobiography,
that's right, fucked my own sister, and I'll tell you, bud, it wasn't bad. Later, in the Philippines, the clap: as far as I'm concerned, any man who hasn't had V.D. just isn't a man. I walk away, knowing I have just heard the dumbest remark ever uttered by man or animal. The air around me hums in a dark metallic bass, light spilling like grails of milk as someone opens the mammoth shop door. A shrill, sullen truculence blows in like dust devils, the hot wind nagging my blousy overalls, and in the sideyard the winch truck backfires and stalls. The sky yellows. Barn sparrows cry in the rafters. That afternoon in Dallas Kennedy is shot. Two weeks later sitting around on rotary tables and traveling blocks whose bearings litter the shop floor like huge eggs, we close our lunch boxes and lean back with cigarettes and watch smoke and dust motes rise and drift into sunlight. All of us have seen the newscasts, photographs from Life, have sat there in our cavernous rooms, assassinations and crowds flickering over our faces, some of us have even dreamed it, sleeping through the TV's drone and flutter, seen her arm reaching across the lank body, black suits rushing in like moths, and the long snake of the motorcade come to rest, then the announcer's voice as we wake astonished in the dark. We think of it now, staring at the tin ceiling like a giant screen, what a strange goddamned country, as Bobby Sudduth arches a wadded Fritos bag at the time clock and says, Oswald, from that far, you got to admit, that shot was a beauty. III. The following summer. A black Corvette gleams like a slice of onyx in the sideyard, driven there by two young men who look like Marlon Brando and mention Hollywood when Bobby asks where they're from. The foreman, my father, has hired them because we're backed up with work, both shop and yard strewn with rig parts, flat-bed haulers rumbling in each day lugging damaged drawworks, and we are desperate. The noise is awful, a gang of roughnecks from a rig on down-time shouting orders, our floor hands knee-deep in the drawwork's gears heating the frozen sleeves and bushings with cutting torches until they can be hammered loose. The iron shell bangs back like a drum-head. Looking for some peace, I walk onto the pipe rack for a quick smoke, and this is the way it begins for me, this memory, this strangest of all memories of the shop and the men who worked there, because the silence has come upon me
like the shadow of cranes flying overhead as they would each autumn, like the quiet and imperceptible turning of a season, the shop has grown suddenly still here in the middle of the workday, and I turn to look through the tall doors where the machinist stand now with their backs to me, the lathes whining down together, and in the shop's center I see them standing in a square of light, the two men from California, as the welders lift their black masks, looking up, and I see their faces first, the expressions of children at a zoo, perhaps, or after a first snow, as the two men stand naked, their clothes in little piles on the floor as if they are about to go swimming, and I recall how fragile and pale their bodies seemed against the iron and steel of the drill presses and milling machines and lathes. I did not know the word, exhibitionist, then, and so for a moment it seemed only a problem of memory, that they had forgotten somehow where they were, that this was not the locker room after the game, that they were not taking a shower, that this was not the appropriate place, and they would then remember, and suddenly embarrassed, begin shyly to dress again. But they did not, and in memory they stand frozen and poised as two models in a drawing class, of whom the finished sketch might be said, though not by me nor any man I knew, to be beautiful, they stand there forever, with the time clock ticking behind them, time running on but not moving, like the white tunnel of silence between the snap of the ball and the thunderclap of shoulder pads that never seems to come and then there it is, and I hear a quick intake of breath on my right behind the Hobbs and it is Bobby Sudduth with what I think now was not just anger but a kind of terror on his face, an animal wildness in the eyes and the jaw tight, making ropes in his neck while in a long blur with his left hand raised and gripping an iron file he is moving toward the men who wait attentive and motionless as deer trembling in a clearing, and instantly there is my father between Bobby and the men as if he were waking them after a long sleep, reaching out to touch the shoulder of the blonde one as he says in a voice almost terrible in its gentleness, its discretion, you boys will have to leave now. He takes one look at Bobby who is shrinking back into the shadows of the Hobbs, then walks quickly back to his office at the front of the shop, and soon
the black Corvette with the orange California plates is squealing onto Highway 54 heading west into the sun. IV. So there they are, as I will always remember them, the men who were once fullbacks or tackles or guards in their three-point stances knuckling into the mud, hungry for high school glory and the pride of their fathers, eager to gallop terribly against each other's bodies, each man in his body looking out now at the nakedness of a body like his, men who each autumn had followed their fathers into the pheasant-rich fields of Kansas and as boys had climbed down from the Allis-Chalmers after plowing their first straight furrow, licking the dirt from their lips, the hand of the father resting lightly upon their shoulder, men who in the oven-warm winter kitchens of Baptist households saw after a bath the body of the father and felt diminished by it, who that same winter in the abandoned schoolyard felt the odd intimacy of their fist against the larger boy's cheekbone but kept hitting, ferociously, and walked away feeling for the first time the strength, the abundance, of their own bodies. And I imagine the men that evening after the strangest day of their lives, after they have left the shop without speaking and made the long drive home alone in their pickups, I see them in their little white frame houses on the edge of town adrift in the long silence of the evening turning finally to their wives, touching without speaking the hair which she has learned to let fall about her shoulders at this hour of the night, lifting the white nightgown from her body as she in turn unbuttons his work shirt heavy with the sweat and grease of the day's labor until they stand naked before each other and begin to touch in a slow choreography of familiar gestures their bodies, she touching his chest, his hand brushing her breasts, and he does not say the word "beautiful" because he cannot and never has, and she does not say it because it would embarrass him or any other man she has ever known, though it is precisely the word I am thinking now as I stand before Donatello's David with my wife touching my sleeve, what are you thinking? and I think of the letter from my father years ago describing the death of Bobby Sudduth, a single shot from a twelve-gauge which he held against his chest, the death of the heart, I suppose, a kind of terrible beauty,
as someone said of the death of Hart Crane, though that is surely a perverse use of the word, and I was stunned then, thinking of the damage men will visit upon their bodies, what are you thinking? she asks again, and so I begin to tell her about a strange afternoon in Kansas, about something I have never spoken of, and we walk to a window where the shifting light spreads a sheen along the casement, and looking out, we see the city blazing like miles of uncut wheat, the farthest buildings taken in their turn, and the great dome, the way the metal roof of the machine shop, I tell her, would break into flame late on an autumn day, with such beauty. -from The Art of the Lathe Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio James Wright In the Shreve High football stadium, I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville, And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood, And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel, Dreaming of heroes. All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home, Their women cluck like starved pullets, Dying for love. Therefore, Their sons grow suicidally beautiful At the beginning of October, And gallop terribly against each otherâ€™s bodies.
Ode on Melancholy John Keats. 1795â€“1821 NO, no! go not to Lethe, neither twist Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine; Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kist By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine; Make not your rosary of yew-berries, 5 Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl A partner in your sorrow's mysteries; For shade to shade will come too drowsily, And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul. 10
But when the melancholy fit shall fall Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud, That fosters the droop-headed flowers all, And hides the green hill in an April shroud; Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose, Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave, Or on the wealth of globĂ¨d peonies; Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows, Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave, And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.
She dwells with Beautyâ€”Beauty that must die; And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh, Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips: Ay, in the very temple of Delight 25 Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine, Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine; His soul shall taste the sadness of her might, And be among her cloudy trophies hung. 30 Ode to Autumn John Keats SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run; To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease; For Summer has o'erbrimm'd their clammy cells. Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep, Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers: And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep Steady thy laden head across a brook; Or by a cyder-press, with patient look, Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours. Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,— While barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn Among the river-sallows, borne aloft Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft; And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
The Fish Elizabeth Bishop I caught a tremendous fish and held him beside the boat half out of water, with my hook fast in a corner of his mouth. He didn't fight. He hadn't fought at all. He hung a grunting weight, battered and venerable and homely. Here and there his brown skin hung in strips like ancient wallpaper, and its pattern of darker brown was like wallpaper: shapes like full-blown roses stained and lost through age. He was speckled and barnacles, fine rosettes of lime, and infested with tiny white sea-lice, and underneath two or three rags of green weed hung down. While his gills were breathing in the terrible oxygen
--the frightening gills, fresh and crisp with blood, that can cut so badly-I thought of the coarse white flesh packed in like feathers, the big bones and the little bones, the dramatic reds and blacks of his shiny entrails, and the pink swim-bladder like a big peony. I looked into his eyes which were far larger than mine but shallower, and yellowed, the irises backed and packed with tarnished tinfoil seen through the lenses of old scratched isinglass. They shifted a little, but not to return my stare. --It was more like the tipping of an object toward the light. I admired his sullen face, the mechanism of his jaw, and then I saw that from his lower lip --if you could call it a lip grim, wet, and weaponlike, hung five old pieces of fish-line, or four and a wire leader with the swivel still attached, with all their five big hooks grown firmly in his mouth. A green line, frayed at the end where he broke it, two heavier lines, and a fine black thread still crimped from the strain and snap when it broke and he got away. Like medals with their ribbons frayed and wavering, a five-haired beard of wisdom trailing from his aching jaw. I stared and stared and victory filled up the little rented boat, from the pool of bilge where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine to the bailer rusted orange, the sun-cracked thwarts, the oarlocks on their strings, the gunnels--until everything was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow! And I let the fish go.
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant Emily Dickinson Tell all the Truth but tell it slant--Success in Circuit lies Too bright for our infirm Delight The Truth's superb surprise As Lightening to the Children eased With explanation kind The Truth must dazzle gradually Or every man be blind---
Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood William Wordsworth. 1770â€“1850 THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, The earth, and every common sight, To me did seem Apparell'd in celestial light, The glory and the freshness of a dream. 5 It is not now as it hath been of yore;â€” Turn wheresoe'er I may, By night or day, The things which I have seen I now can see no more. The rainbow comes and goes, 10 And lovely is the rose; The moon doth with delight Look round her when the heavens are bare; Waters on a starry night Are beautiful and fair; 15 The sunshine is a glorious birth; But yet I know, where'er I go, That there hath pass'd away a glory from the earth.
Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song, And while the young lambs bound 20 As to the tabor's sound, To me alone there came a thought of grief: A timely utterance gave that thought relief, And I again am strong: The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep; 25 No more shall grief of mine the season wrong; I hear the echoes through the mountains throng, The winds come to me from the fields of sleep, And all the earth is gay; Land and sea 30 Give themselves up to jollity, And with the heart of May Doth every beast keep holiday;— Thou Child of Joy, Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy 35 Shepherd-boy! Ye blessèd creatures, I have heard the call Ye to each other make; I see The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee; My heart is at your festival, My head hath its coronal, The fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all. O evil day! if I were sullen While Earth herself is adorning, This sweet May-morning, And the children are culling On every side, In a thousand valleys far and wide, Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm, And the babe leaps up on his mother's arm:— I hear, I hear, with joy I hear! —But there's a tree, of many, one, A single field which I have look'd upon, Both of them speak of something that is gone: The pansy at my feet 55 Doth the same tale repeat: Whither is fled the visionary gleam? Where is it now, the glory and the dream? Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home: Heaven lies about us in our infancy! Shades of the prison-house begin to close Upon the growing Boy, But he beholds the light, and whence it flows, He sees it in his joy; The Youth, who daily farther from the east Must travel, still is Nature's priest, And by the vision splendid Is on his way attended; At length the Man perceives it die away, And fade into the light of common day. Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own; Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind, And, even with something of a mother's mind, And no unworthy aim, The homely nurse doth all she can To make her foster-child, her Inmate Man, Forget the glories he hath known, And that imperial palace whence he came. Behold the Child among his new-born blisses, A six years' darling of a pigmy size! See, where 'mid work of his own hand he lies, Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses, With light upon him from his father's eyes! See, at his feet, some little plan or chart, Some fragment from his dream of human life, Shaped by himself with newly-learnĂ¨d art; A wedding or a festival, A mourning or a funeral; 95 And this hath now his heart, And unto this he frames his song: Then will he fit his tongue To dialogues of business, love, or strife; But it will not be long 100 Ere this be thrown aside, And with new joy and pride The little actor cons another part; Filling from time to time his 'humorous stage' With all the Persons, down to palsied Age, That Life brings with her in her equipage;
As if his whole vocation Were endless imitation. Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie Thy soul's immensity; 110 Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind, That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep, Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,— Mighty prophet! Seer blest! On whom those truths do rest, Which we are toiling all our lives to find, In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave; Thou, over whom thy Immortality Broods like the Day, a master o'er a slave, A presence which is not to be put by; To whom the grave Is but a lonely bed without the sense or sight Of day or the warm light, A place of thought where we in waiting lie; Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might Of heaven-born freedom on thy being's height, Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke The years to bring the inevitable yoke, Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife? Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight, And custom lie upon thee with a weight, Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!
O joy! that in our embers Is something that doth live, 135 That nature yet remembers What was so fugitive! The thought of our past years in me doth breed Perpetual benediction: not indeed For that which is most worthy to be blest— 140 Delight and liberty, the simple creed Of childhood, whether busy or at rest, With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:— Not for these I raise The song of thanks and praise; 145 But for those obstinate questionings Of sense and outward things, Fallings from us, vanishings; Blank misgivings of a Creature Moving about in worlds not realized, 150
High instincts before which our mortal Nature Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised: But for those first affections, Those shadowy recollections, Which, be they what they may, Are yet the fountain-light of all our day, Are yet a master-light of all our seeing; Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make Our noisy years seem moments in the being Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake, To perish never: Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour, Nor Man nor Boy, Nor all that is at enmity with joy, Can utterly abolish or destroy! Hence in a season of calm weather Though inland far we be, Our souls have sight of that immortal sea Which brought us hither, Can in a moment travel thither, And see the children sport upon the shore, And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.
Then sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song! And let the young lambs bound As to the tabor's sound! 175 We in thought will join your throng, Ye that pipe and ye that play, Ye that through your hearts to-day Feel the gladness of the May! What though the radiance which was once so bright 180 Be now for ever taken from my sight, Though nothing can bring back the hour Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower; We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind; 185 In the primal sympathy Which having been must ever be; In the soothing thoughts that spring Out of human suffering; In the faith that looks through death, 190 In years that bring the philosophic mind. And O ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves, Forebode not any severing of our loves! Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquish'd one delight 195 To live beneath your more habitual sway. I love the brooks which down their channels fret, Even more than when I tripp'd lightly as they; The innocent brightness of a new-born Day Is lovely yet; 200 The clouds that gather round the setting sun Do take a sober colouring from an eye That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality; Another race hath been, and other palms are won. Thanks to the human heart by which we live, Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears, To me the meanest flower that blows can give Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
First Fig Enda St. Vincent Milay My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friendsâ€” It gives a lovely light.
John 1 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. FROM: http://www.carm.org/kjv/John/john_1.htm
Rock Me to Sleep by Elizabeth Akers Allen Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight, Make me a child again just for tonight! Mother, come back from the echoless shore, Take me again to your heart as of yore; Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care, Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair; Over my slumbers your loving watch keep;— Rock me to sleep, mother, – rock me to sleep! Backward, flow backward, O tide of the years! I am so weary of toil and of tears,— Toil without recompense, tears all in vain,— Take them, and give me my childhood again! I have grown weary of dust and decay,— Weary of flinging my soul-wealth away; Weary of sowing for others to reap;— Rock me to sleep, mother – rock me to sleep! Tired of the hollow, the base, the untrue, Mother, O mother, my heart calls for you! Many a summer the grass has grown green, Blossomed and faded, our faces between: Yet, with strong yearning and passionate pain, Long I tonight for your presence again. Come from the silence so long and so deep;— Rock me to sleep, mother, – rock me to sleep! Over my heart, in the days that are flown, No love like mother-love ever has shone; No other worship abides and endures,— Faithful, unselfish, and patient like yours: None like a mother can charm away pain From the sick soul and the world-weary brain. Slumber’s soft calms o’er my heavy lids creep;— Rock me to sleep, mother, – rock me to sleep!
Come, let your brown hair, just lighted with gold, Fall on your shoulders again as of old; Let it drop over my forehead tonight, Shading my faint eyes away from the light; For with its sunny-edged shadows once more Haply will throng the sweet visions of yore; Lovingly, softly, its bright billows sweep;— Rock me to sleep, mother, – rock me to sleep! Mother, dear mother, the years have been long Since I last listened your lullaby song: Sing, then, and unto my soul it shall seem Womanhood’s years have been only a dream. Clasped to your heart in a loving embrace, With your light lashes just sweeping my face, Never hereafter to wake or to weep;— Rock me to sleep, mother, – rock me to sleep!
XIII. MARGARET ATWOOD, SURFACING
America Tony Hoagland Then one of the students with blue hair and a tongue stud Says America is for him a maximum security prison whose walls Are made of Radio Shacks and Burger Kings, and MTV episodes Where you can't tell the show from the commercials; And as I contemplate how full of shit I think he is, He says that even when he's driving to the mall in his Isuzu Trooper with a gang of his friends, letting rap music pour over them Like a boiling jacuzzi full of ballpeen hammers, even then he feels Buried alive, captured and suffocated in the folds Of the thick satin quilt of America. And I wonder if this is a legitimate category of pain, or whether he is just spin-doctoring a better grade, And then I remember that when I stabbed my father in the dream last night, It was not blood but money That gushed out of him, bright green hundred-dollar bills Spilling from his wounds, and, this is the funny part, He gasped, "Thank God--those Ben Franklins were Clogging up my heart-And so I perish happily, Freed from that which kept me from my liberty"-Which is when I knew it was a dream, since my dad Would never speak in rhymed couplets And I look at the student with his acne and cell phone and phony ghetto clothes And I think, "I am asleep in America too, And I don't know how to wake myself either" And I remember what Marx said near the end of his life:
"I was listening to the cries of the past, when I should have been listening to the cries of the future" But how could he have imagined 100 channels of 24-hour cable Or what kind of nightmare it might be When each day you watch rivers of bright merchandise run past you And you are floating in your pleasure boat upon this river Even while others are drowning underneath you And you see their faces twisting in the surface of the waters And yet it seems to be your own hand Which turns the volume higher?
High Windows Philip Larkin When I see a couple of kids And guess he's fucking her and she's Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm, I know this is paradise Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives-Bonds and gestures pushed to one side Like an outdated combine harvester, And everyone young going down the long slide To happiness, endlessly. I wonder if Anyone looked at me, forty years back, And thought, That'll be the life; No God any more, or sweating in the dark About hell and that, or having to hide What you think of the priest. He And his lot will all go down the long slide Like free bloody birds. And immediately Rather than words comes the thought of high windows: The sun-comprehending glass, And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.
Barbie Doll Marge Piercy This girlchild was born as usual and presented dolls that did pee-pee and miniature GE stoves and irons and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy. Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said: You have a great big nose and fat legs. She was healthy, tested intelligent, possessed strong arms and back, abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity. She went to and fro apologizing. Everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs. She was advised to play coy, exhorted to come on hearty, exercise, diet, smile and wheedle. Her good nature wore out like a fan belt. So she cut off her nose and her legs and offered them up. In the casket displayed on satin she lay with the undertaker's cosmetics painted on, a turned-up putty nose, dressed in a pink and white nightie. Doesn't she look pretty? everyone said. Consummation at last. To every woman a happy ending.
Marks Linda Pastan (1978) My husband gives me an A for last night's supper, an incomplete for my ironing, a B plus in bed. My son says I am average, an average mother, but if I put my mind to it
I could improve. My daughter believes in Pass/Fail and tells me I pass. Wait 'til they learn I'm dropping out.
Bored Margaret Atwood All those times I was bored out of my mind. Holding the log while he sawed it. Holding the string while he measured, boards, distances between things, or pounded stakes into the ground for rows and rows of lettuces and beets, which I then (bored) weeded. Or sat in the back of the car, or sat still in boats, sat, sat, while at the prow, stern, wheel he drove, steered, paddled. It wasn't even boredom, it was looking, looking hard and up close at the small details. Myopia. The worn gunwales, the intricate twill of the seat cover. The acid crumbs of loam, the granular pink rock, its igneous veins, the sea-fans of dry moss, the blackish and then the graying bristles on the back of his neck. Sometimes he would whistle, sometimes I would. The boring rhythm of doing things over and over, carrying the wood, drying the dishes. Such minutiae. It's what the animals spend most of their time at, ferrying the sand, grain by grain, from their tunnels, shuffling the leaves in their burrows. He pointed such things out, and I would look at the whorled texture of his square finger, earth under the nail. Why do I remember it as sunnier all the time then, although it more often rained, and more birdsong? I could hardly wait to get the hell out of there to anywhere else. Perhaps though
boredom is happier. It is for dogs or groundhogs. Now I wouldn't be bored. Now I would know too much. Now I would know.
The One Girl at the Boys Party Sharon Olds When I take my girl to the swimming party I set her down among the boys. They tower and bristle, she stands there smooth and sleek, her math scores unfolding in the air around her. They will strip to their suits, her body hard and indivisible as a prime number, they'll plunge in the deep end, she'll subtract her height from ten feet, divide it into hundreds of gallons of water, the numbers bouncing in her mind like molecules of chlorine in the bright blue pool. When they climb out, her ponytail will hang its pencil lead down her back, her narrow silk suit with hamburgers and french fries printed on it will glisten in the brilliant air, and they will see her sweet face, solemn and sealed, a factor of one, and she will see their eyes, two each, their legs, two each, and the curves of their sexes, one each, and in her head she'll be doing her wild multiplying, as the drops sparkle and fall to the power of a thousand from her body.
Commercial for a Summer Night Tony Hoagland That one night in the middle of the summer when people move their chairs outside and put their tvs on the porch so the dark is full of murmuring blue lights. We were drinking beer with the sound off, watching the figures on the screen-the bony blondes, the lean-jawed guys who decorate the perfume and the carsâ€”
the pretty ones the merchandise is wearing this year. Alex said, I wish they made a shooting gallery using people like that. Greg said, That woman has a PhD in face. Then we saw a preview for a movie about a movie star who is having a movie made about her, and Boz said, This country is getting stupider every year. Then Greg said that things were better in the Sixties and Rus said that Harold Bloom said that Nietzsche said Nostalgia was the blank check issued to a weak mind, and Greg said, They didn't have checks back then, stupid, and Susan said it's too bad you guys can't even get Spellcheck for your brains. Then Greg left and Margaret arrived, and a breeze carried honeysuckle fumes across the yard and Alex finished his quart of beer and Boz leaned back in his chair and the beautiful people on the tv screen moved back and forth and back looking very much now like shooting gallery ducks and we sat in quiet pleasure on the shore of night as a tide came in and turned and carried us, folding chairs and all far out from the coastline of America in a perfect commercial for our lives. Sex Without Love Sharon Olds How do they do it, the ones who make love without love? Beautiful as dancers, Gliding over each other like ice-skaters over the ice, fingers hooked inside each other's bodies, faces red as steak, wine, wet as the children at birth, whose mothers are going to give them away. How do they come to the come to the come to the God come to the still waters, and not love the one who came there with them, light rising slowly as steam off their joined skin? These are the true religious, the purists, the pros, the ones who will not
accept a false Messiah, love the priest instead of the God. They do not mistake the lover for their own pleasure, they are like great runners: they know they are alone with the road surface, the cold, the wind, the fit of their shoes, their over-all cardio vascular health--just factors, like the partner in the bed, and not the truth, which is the single body alone in the universe against its own best time. Lines On A Young Lady's Photograph Album Philip Larkin At last you yielded up the album, which Once open, sent me distracted. All your ages Matt and glossy on the thick black pages! Too much confectionery, too rich: I choke on such nutritious images. My swivel eye hungers from pose to pose -In pigtails, clutching a reluctant cat; Or furred yourself, a sweet girl-graduate; Or lifting a heavy-headed rose Beneath a trellis, or in a trilby-hat (Faintly disturbing, that, in several ways) -From every side you strike at my control, Not least through those these disquieting chaps who loll At ease about your earlier days: Not quite your class, I'd say, dear, on the whole. But o, photography! as no art is, Faithful and disappointing! that records Dull days as dull, and hold-it smiles as frauds, And will not censor blemishes Like washing-lines, and Hall's-Distemper boards, But shows a cat as disinclined, and shades A chin as doubled when it is, what grace Your candour thus confers upon her face! How overwhelmingly persuades That this is a real girl in a real place, In every sense empirically true! Or is it just the past? Those flowers, that gate,
These misty parks and motors, lacerate Simply by being you; you Contract my heart by looking out of date. Yes, true; but in the end, surely, we cry Not only at exclusion, but because It leaves us free to cry. We know what was Won't call on us to justify Our grief, however hard we yowl across The gap from eye to page. So I am left To mourn (without a chance of consequence) You, balanced on a bike against a fence; To wonder if you'd spot the theft Of this one of you bathing; to condense, In short, a past that no one now can share, No matter whose your future; calm and dry, It holds you like a heaven, and you lie Unvariably lovely there, Smaller and clearer as the years go by. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird Wallace Stevens I Among twenty snowy mountains, The only moving thing Was the eye of the blackbird. II I was of three minds, Like a tree In which there are three blackbirds. III The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds. It was a small part of the pantomime. IV A man and a woman Are one. A man and a woman and a blackbird Are one. V I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections Or the beauty of innuendoes, The blackbird whistling Or just after. VI Icicles filled the long window With barbaric glass. The shadow of the blackbird Crossed it, to and fro. The mood Traced in the shadow An indecipherable cause. VII O thin men of Haddam, Why do you imagine golden birds? Do you not see how the blackbird Walks around the feet Of the women about you? VIII I know noble accents And lucid, inescapable rhythms; But I know, too, That the blackbird is involved In what I know. IX When the blackbird flew out of sight, It marked the edge Of one of many circles. X At the sight of blackbirds Flying in a green light, Even the bawds of euphony Would cry out sharply. XI He rode over Connecticut In a glass coach. Once, a fear pierced him, In that he mistook The shadow of his equipage For blackbirds.
Sad Steps Philip Larkin Groping back to bed after a piss I part thick curtains, and am startled by The rapid clouds, the moon's cleanliness. Four o'clock: wedge-shadowed gardens lie Under a cavernous, a wind-picked sky. There's something laughable about this, The way the moon dashes through clouds that blow Loosely as cannon-smoke to stand apart (Stone-coloured light sharpening the roofs below) High and preposterous and separate Lozenge of love! Medallion of art! O wolves of memory! Immensements! No, One shivers slightly, looking up there. The hardness and the brightness and the plain Far-reaching singleness of that wide stare Is a reminder of the strength and pain Of being young; that it can't come again, But is for others undiminished somewhere. The Trees Philip Larkin The trees are coming into leaf Like something almost being said; The recent buds relax and spread, Their greenness is a kind of grief. Is it that they are born again And we grow old? No, they die too, Their yearly trick of looking new Is written down in rings of grain. Yet still the unresting castles thresh In fullgrown thickness every May. Last year is dead, they seem to say, Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
XII The river is moving. The blackbird must be flying. XIII It was evening all afternoon. It was snowing And it was going to snow. The blackbird sat In the cedar-limbs. Disaster Movie Tony Hoagland You were a jumbo jet, America, gone down in the jungle in my dream. It must have been Borneo, or someplace tropical like that, because vines had strangled the propellers into stillness, rust was already licking the battered silver wings. Monkeys had commandeered the cockpit and were getting drunk on the miniature bottles of vodka and Jack Daniels, wearing the orange safety vests backwards and spinning in the empty swivel chairs. In the first class cabin, the first class passengers had finished the last of the Chicken Kiev and were barricaded in, while outside the economy fliers had gathered by the defunct fuselage to take a vote on whether to wait for rescue or to try to rescue themselves. I couldnâ€™t believe that my twisted subconscious would wreck a whole nation to make a point; that my disgust with cell phones and beauty pageants would drive me to ram it headfirst into the side of a hill,--its wings snapped off, its captain decapitated, its dependence on foreign oil brought to a sudden conclusion.
And sure I knew that this apocalypse was a thin disguise for my pitiful fear of being no good at ordinary life. But what was sweet in the dream was the quiet resilience of those little people: someone using duct tape to make beds out of flotation cushions; the stewardess limping past on crutches, as night seeped in. The huge cracked tube of the plane laid out on the floor like a broken toy. An AA meeting in progress by one of the enormous, flattened tires. And a woman singing in the dusk, as she tended a fire fed with an endless supply of safety manuals and self-help books.
Water mythology Contact us Created by S.M. Enzler MSc
An assemblage of myths and legends on water and water creatures Creatures People Locations Gods Literature Old stories can be divided into history, myths and legends. History describes events we know actually happened, whereas myths and legends, though often repeated by generation after generation, were never actually proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. The difference between legends and myths is that legends, or saga, tell the stories of heroes and their heroic actions, whereas myths tell the stories of creatures, divine beings and gods and how they came to be. In this sense, myths are more like fairytales told to young children. Water plays an important role in many legends and myths. There are mythological water beings and gods, stories of heroes that have something to do with water, and even stories of isles and continents lost below the surface. This page contains a selection of the most commonly known legends and myths with regard to water. In the final section we recommend some literature for those who are interested.
1. Creatures Ashrays Scottish mythology tells us Ashrays, or Water Lovers, are completely translucent water creatures that are often mistaken for sea ghosts. They can be both male and female and can be found only under water. Being completely nocturnal, one would never come across such creatures during the day. When captured and exposed to sunlight ashrays supposedly melt and only a puddle of water remains. Bäckahästen Bäckahästen means brook horse; this was the name of a mythological horse in Scandinavian folklore. She would appear near rivers in foggy weather, and whoever decided to ride on her back was unable to get off again. The horse would than jump into the river, drowning the rider. Celtic folklore describes shape-shifting horses called kelpies, and it is thought Bäckahästen may be a kelpie. Blue men of the Minch These supernatural sea creatures were said to live in underwater caves in the Minch, a straight between Lewis, Long Island and the Shiant Islands near Scotland. The Blue Men looked like humans with blue skins. They where infamous for swimming alongside passing ships, and attempting to wreck them by conjuring storms and by luring sailors into the water. If a captain wanted to save his ship he had to finish their rhymes and solve their riddles, and always make sure he got the last word. The Blue men were actually hierarchical, as they were always ruled over by a chieftain. This led to the assumption they are somehow related to mermen. Some think the Blue Men may be Fallen Angels. Bunyip Bunyip literally means devil, or spirit. It is a mythological creature from Aboriginal Australia that was said to lurk in swamps, creeks, riverbeds and waterholes. Aborigines thought they could hear their cries at night. They believed Bunyip took humans as a food source when their stock was disturbed, preferably women, and they tended to blame the Bunyip for disease spread in the river area. Bunyip supposedly had flippers, a horse-like tail and walrus-like tusks. It is now said that Bunyip are a figment of Aborigine imagination, because the cries they heard actually belonged to possums, or koalas. The cries of women supposedly being captured may actually have been sounds of a barking owl. Ceto A daughter of Gaia and Pontus, Ceto was a hideous sea monster in Greek mythology. She was considered the personification of the dangers of the sea. Her husband was Phorcys, and their children were called the Phorcydes. These include the Hesperides (nymphs), the Graeae (archaic water goddesses), the gorgons (female monsters with sharp fangs and hair of venomous snakes, such as Medusa), sea monster Scylla, and other water nymphs and sea monsters. Ceto eventually became the name for any sea monster. Charon and the hellhound Charon was a mythological old ferryman that ferried the dead into the Underworld, crossing the river Acheron (river of woe). He only took the soles of those buried properly with a coin in their mouths. The river was guarded by a hellhound that allowed no soles ever to leave the realm of the dead. In Greek mythology this was a three-headed dog by the name of Cerberus. In Norse mythology, this was a blood-drenched hellhound with four eyes by the name of Garm.
Chessie A story is told about the Chesapeake Bay area between Virginia and Maryland being home to a sea monster, often referred to as Chessie. Some sightings were reported of a serpent-like creature with flippers and scales. No pictures have been taken so far, whereas there are some pictures supposedly of Nessie, the sea monster said to inhabit Scotlandâ€™s Loch Ness lake. Dragon Kings Dragon Kings were believed by the Chinese to consist of four separate dragons, each of which ruled over one of the four seas in the north, east, south and west. These Dragon Kings could shape-shift to human form, and lived in crystal palaces guarded by shrimps and crabs. Fosse grim According to Scandinavian mythology, Fosse grim was a water spirit that played enchanted songs on the violin, luring women and children to drown in lakes and streams. However, in some stories he is depicted as a harmless creature, simply entertaining men, women and children with his songs. According to myth Fosse grim even agreed to live with a human that fell in love with him, but he supposedly left after some time because he could not live away from a water source too long. Grindylows These water demons were first mentioned in British folktales in the county of Yorkshire. Parents told their children stories of grindylows to prevent them from getting in the cold water in the area. Grindylows supposedly had long fingers that would drag children into the deep. Jengu These were water spirits in mythology of the Sawa, an ethnic group in Cameroon. They supposedly resembled merpeople, but were thought to be gap-toothed and had long, woolly hair. The Sawa believed these spirits could act as an intermediate between the living and the spiritual world. Jengu were also thought to cure disease, and played an important role in some tribal rites, for example when a child entered adulthood. In West, Central and Southern Africa some other tribes believe in the Mami Wata, a water spirit thought to resemble the Jengu. Kappas Kappas are presumably intelligent water spirits in Japanese mythology. They are monkey-like creatures with saucer-shaped heads, long noses, and a yellowish-green skin. Kappas are said to lure children to the water and pull them under, feeding on their blood. Their main weakness is that their heads are filled with water, and when this is spilled they lose their powers. Kraken The Kraken is a legendary sea monster often mentioned in pirate myths. It was said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Iceland. People thought the monster to be some sort of giant squid, living in the deep of the ocean and surfacing from time to time to attack ships. Some claim that islands that were seen from time to time and subsequently vanished may actually have been Kraken sightings. It is stated that some traits of the Kraken resemble undersea volcanic activity in the Scandinavian region, including bubbles and currents. Lady of the Lake The Lady of the Lake is the name of a mythological aquatic spirit in several different legends, including the famous legend of King Arthur. She was said to have raised Sir Lancelot of the Lake, given Excalibur to King
Arthur, and brought the King to Avalon after his death. Evidently, Viviane was Lady of the Lake in the beginning of King Arthur’s life, and Nimue later succeeded her. As Lancelot was raised he received a ring from The Lady that would protect him from all magic. Nessie Nessie is a mysterious creature claimed to inhabit the Loch ness lake near Inverness, Scotland. The creature is often thought of as female, because of the female tone in its nickname. There are many reports of sightings and some people have even taken pictures they claim to be the monster, but none has been marked conclusive evidence so far. The creature is now thought to be a plesiosaur (a carnivorous aquatic animal from the dinosaur era). Many palaeontologists are against the theory, and claim that the water is to cold for a cold-blooded dinosaur to live in, and that the loch simply does not have enough food to preserve it. Additionally, the dinosaur would have to surface often to breathe, and therefore it would have been seen more often. Some palaeontologists claim it is impossible for an animal that went extinct millions of years ago to live in a lake that dates only 10,000 years back. But many people still believe, stating that animals can adapt to different conditions through time. Leviathan In biblical mythology Leviathan was a sea monster from ancient Canaan, associated with Satan. The monster was usually portrayed as a twining sea serpent, which was applied as a symbol for chaos. Other religions generally portrayed Leviathan as a whale demon with seven heads, and he was believed to be king of lies, or king of fish. In Modern Hebrew, Leviathan simply means whale. Loreley According to German myth the rock Loreley over the Rhine by St. Goar inhabited a beautiful virgin named Loreley. The river by the rock was very narrow, and hence it was a dangerous place for ships to sale. Myth tells us Loreley endangered shippers by singing, because they would look up and subsequently sale their ships onto the rocks. After the death of a nobleman’s son, soldiers were sent to take Loreley. She saw them and called upon the river to aid her. Consequently, the rocks flooded and Loreley was carried away overseas, never to be seen again. Melusine Melusine was a feminine spirit of freshwater in sacred springs and rivers in European mythology. She is usually depicted as a kind of mermaid, and may even have wings in some pictures. One story tells us she was born to the fay Pressyne and a common man, and taken to the isle of Avalon when she was little to grow up there. When she heard of her human father betraying her mother, she sought revenge on him. Her mother heard of this and cursed her to look like a serpent from the waste down. She supposedly got scaled arms and fins for hands, and could never change back to her old form. Merpeople Many a myth represented merpeople as creatures having the head and upper body of a human, and a fishtail instead of legs. Female merpeople are known as mermaids, and male merpeople are known as mermen. They usually had great beauty and charm, and thereby lured sailor men to their deaths. Some stories include mermaids altering their form to resemble humans. In the old Disney movie ‘The Little Mermaid’, Ariel assumes human form to gain the love of human prince Eric. Nereids In Greek mythology Nereids were the nymphs of the sea. They were daughters of Nereus the sea
god, and his wife Doris. Unlike sirens, Nereids were depicted friendly folk, always helping sailors through rough storms. They mainly lived in the Mediterranean Sea. Examples include Thetis and Amphrite (see 4). Panlong Dragons played an important role in Chinese mythology. They were often bound to the elements. Panlong were the water dragons, believed to inhabit the waters of the entire Orient (the Near, Middle and Far East). Rusalka Rusalka were female ghosts in Slavic mythology. They were thought to be souls of young women died in or near lakes that had usually been murdered. They were not violent, but mainly haunted lakes until their death was avenged. Some explained the Rusalka as women that died prematurely due to suicide or murder having to do with their loved ones had to live out their designated time on earth as a spirit. Other stated that water ghosts are unclean dead, such as unbaptized babies, and people that died from suicides. Selkies In Scottish mythology selkies were sea lions that could shed their skin and take human form. They were thought to live on the shores of Orkney and Shetland. When a female selkie shed her skin and a human captured it, she was forced to become his wife. If she were to ever find her skin again, she would return to sea, leaving her husband to pine and die. In Ireland these mythical creatures are called Roane. Sirens In Greek mythology Sirens were sea nymphs that lived on the island Sirenum scopuli, and were daughters of Ceto the sea monster and Phorcys the sea god. They drew sailors to the rocks by their enchanted singing, causing their ships to sink. It is uncertain how many sirens there would be, as different tales vary their number between two and five. Some claim the sirens where playmates of young Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter. As Persephone was abducted by Hades to become his queen of the Underworld, Demeter cursed the sirens to become monsters of lore. Sirens were often depicted as women with the legs and wings of birds, playing a great variety of musical instruments. However, they may also be depicted as half human, half fish (see picture). Consequently siren is often applied as a synonym for mermaid, because many believe sirens and mermaids are similar creatures. In German mythology, sirens were known as Nixes, and in Welsh and Breton mythology as Morgans. Tahoratakarar
In Polynesian mythology, a woman named Takua was once abducted by two evil spirits, and they stole the baby inside her. Than the sea rose, and the two spirits dissolved in a cloud. The boy, called Tahoratakarar, was raised by the sea itself. Other sea spirits built him a big boat that was tied to the Underworld. It sailed by night and stopped if someone died at sea, collecting his or her soul. The boat was known in myth as the Boat of Souls, or the Boat of the Dead. The myth resembles that of Charon in Greek mythology. Titans The Titans were twelve divine beings that ruled the earth in Greek mythology. They were associated with the primal concepts drawn from their names, such as ocean, moon and memory. Oceanus and Thetys, children of Uranus and Gaia, were the Titans that ruled over the sea. Oceanus was said to have the upper body of a man with a long beard and horns, and the lower body of a serpent. He ruled over the oceans. His sister Thetys ruled over the rivers, including the Nile and the Menderes. They married each other and had over 3000 children,
known as the Oceanids. After the Olympians, the younger siblings of the Titans, eventually overthrew them, Poseidon (Neptune) and his unwilling queen Amphitrite ruled over the waters. Uncegila Uncegila was a mighty water snake in Native American (Lakota) mythology. She polluted rivers and subsequently flooded the land with salt water so nothing could grow. According to myth twins that hit the only fragile spot on her body eventually killed her. As the sun scorched her flesh it dried up the soils, and it is said this led to the development of the Nebraska and Dakota Badlands; a large desert area in the USA. Vodianoi These were water spirits in Slavic mythology that supposedly lived in underwater palaces made from sunken ships. They were depicted old men with long green beards, covered in hairs, scales and slime. It was said the Vodianoi were offended by the boldness of humans, and would therefore cause swimmers to drown. They took the drowned down to their underwater dwellings to serve as slaves, with the exception of millers and fishermen, whom they might befriend. Vodianoi were often married to Rusalka and like Rusalka, they may have been the spirits of unclean dead. Some thought they were able to transform into fish. Water nymphs (Naiads) Nymphs are female nature entities that are bound to a particular location or land form. Naiads are water nymphs, and inhabit fountains, wells, springs, brooks, rivers, marshes, ponds and lagoons. The essence of a naiad was bound to the water body she inhabited. If a spring dried, the naiad within it died. In some stories naiads are depicted as dangerous creatures, because they could take men underwater when fascinated by their beauty, and these men were never to be seen again. Naiads were known by their jealous nature. A naiad that was once cheated by her husband is said to have blinded him in revenge. In Greek mythology naiads were friendly creatures that helped sailors fight perilous storms. They also had the power of foresight, and were said to make prophecies. The following species of naiad are distinguished: Crinaeae, which live in fountains Limnades, which live in lakes Pagaeae, which live in springs Potameides, which live in rivers Eleiomomae, which live in marshes Water sprites Water sprites were human females with skins the colour of the sea. They could breathe both water and air, and could therefore live in water and on land. They were thought to be harmless, if only people left them alone. 2. People Achilles In Greek legend Achilles was a hero of the Trojan War. He appeared to be invincible, and no man seemed to be able to defeat him. Legend tells us this was because his mother, sea nymph Thetis, had tried to make him immortal after birth by dipping him the River Styx. She only forgot to wet the heel by which she held him, which became his vulnerable spot. In the Trojan War Achilles killed Hector, and eventually Hector's younger brother Paris sought revenge upon him. As the fights continued, Paris killed Achilles by shooting an arrow through his heel.
Beowulf Beowulf was a hero in an old Anglo-Saxon poem. He defeated two monsters living in a lake in an underwater cave. The monster Grendel had been torturing the people in Danish mead-hall Heorot for many years, and he had taken many a brave soldier for his dinner. When Beowulf and his army came, the people of Heorot could not believe they were capable of taking on the monster, but wanted to give them a chance nevertheless. Beowulf and his army waited for the monster in the hall, long after the residents had gone to sleep. As Grendel came it seemed at first Beowulf's men would get the worst of it, because their swords did not have any effect upon the giant monster's thick skin. Than Beowulf grabbed Grendel's arm and would not let go. A long struggle followed, and eventually Beowulf managed to tear off the arm. Grendel returned to his mother, and bled to death. Next, Beowulf went to the underwater cave to kill the mother as well. He managed to do so with a sword present in the cave that had once belonged to Grendel. As his man stared into the water and saw blood flooding upwards, they thought their great leader had perished. But Beowulf swam up, greeted his men, and returned to Heorot a hero. Deucalion In Greek mythology, Deucalion was the son of Prometheus, the Greek Titan of fire. Zeus was angry of the Greek people for their holistic beliefs, and he ended the Bronze Age with a Great Flood. The sea rose and washed everything clean, but Deucalionâ€™s father had forewarned him of the flood. He built and provisioned an arc and consequently he and his wife Pyrrha were the sole survivors. As the flood ended they built an altar for Zeus and he changed rocks into children. The men were called Deucalions, and the women were called Pyrrhas. Daedalus and Icarus One Greek legend tells us the story of Daedalus and his son Icarus being locked up in the labyrinth of the Minotaur by king Minos. Daedalus had one day helped the queen to get together with a white bull she had fallen in love with, and thus the Minotaur was born. A fierce creature, the Minotaur needed to be fed with at least fourteen Athens every nine years, so Daedalus and Icarus spend their time waiting until the Minotaur would find them, and eat them. One day Daedalus had formulated an escape plan; he decided to fabricate massive wings from the wings of birds his son shot from time to time. He tied together the bird wings with wax. Eventually, the massive wings were ready and the two set out to escape. Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun, because the wax would melt and the wings would no longer work. However, Icarus was so stunned by the whole thing working so well he totally forgot his fatherâ€™s warning. He flew too close to the sun, the wax melted and his wings fell apart. Unable to help him, Daedalus watched helplessly as his only son fell down with amazing speed and landed in the sea. The blow as he hit the water was probably so fierce he died instantly. Lawrence In German mythology, Sir Lawrence was a very good-looking knight. One day water nymph Ondine came across him as he was on a quest, and she fell in love with him. As she pledged her love to him they were married. But as soon as a water nymph pledges herself to a human and bares his child, she will loose eternal life. After Ondine bore Lawrence a son, she began to age. Her changing appearance made Lawrence loose interest in his wife, and he soon started to see other women. One day, Ondine caught her husband with another woman in the stables, and she cursed him in revenge. He was to breathe as long as he was wake, but if he ever fell asleep he would die because his breathing would stop. Lelawala In Native American legend, Lelawala was a beautiful maiden that was married off by her father to a king.
However, she despised the king, and longed to be with her true love He-No. He was the god of thunder and lurked in a cave beneath the Horseshoe Falls, a part of the Niagara Falls by the Great Lakes of the United States. She decided she wanted to find He-No at all cost, and as she paddled a canoe onto the Niagara River she was swept off the Falls. Fortunately He-No had been watching and caught Lelawala while she fell. It is said they stayed together after that and their spirits still live in the caves beneath Niagara Falls to this day. Manu In Hindu mythology, Manu was a man that survived a great flood. One day as he washed his hands in the river, a fish swam into his hands and begged him to save his life. It was Matsya, an avatar (the bodily manifestation of a god). Manu put the fish in a jar, and as it grew bigger he subsequently placed in a tank, a river and than the ocean. Then, the fish warned him that soon a great flood would destroy all life. Manu built a boat and was towed onto a mountaintop by Matsya, thereby surviving the flood. Menelaus Menelaus was husband to Helena of Troy, before Paris came and took her away because he loved her. On his journey back from the Trojan War, he encountered Eudothea, daughter to the sea god Proteus. She confides in him and tells him that by capturing her father he could force him to reveal which of the gods Menelaus had offended, and how to satisfy them before returning home. Proteus usually slept on the beach among the whales, and there Menelaus captured him. Proteus, a shapeshifter in nature, turned into a lion, a snake, a pig, a tree, and some other things. However, Menelaus mentioned to hold him down and Proteus told him how to satisfy the gods. He also informed Menelaus that his brother Agamemnon was murdered, and that Odysseus stranded on the isle of Calypso on his way home from the Trojan War. Noah In the bible, Noah and his family are mentioned as the sole human survivors of the Great Flood. Noah was of the tenth generation after Adam, and all peoples of the world would descend from his sons Shem, Ham and Japheth. According to Legend Noah was told by God to build an Arc to save himself and his family from the flood that would destroy all mankind. He brought two of every kind of animal with him in the Arc, one male and one female. After one hundred and fifty days the water receded, and the Arc washed onto the mountains of Ararat. Noah built an altar there, and afterwards continued his life. It is said he lived to become 900 years old, and therewith was the last of the ancient peoples that were immensely long-lived. The story has many versions and in the flood myths of different Ancient Near-East countries, the flood survivor is given different names. Examples are Atrahasis, Ziusudra, and Utnapishtim in Sumerian mythology. The man in the Sumerian myth is saved from the flood by a warning of groundwater god Enki (see 4). This god was usually depicted covered with fish scales, with two streams of water originating from his shoulders, one being the Tigris, and the other the Euphrates. Another example of a different version of the legend of the Great Flood is that of Manu in Hindu mythology. Orpheus Orpheus was a man that fell deeply in love with river nymph (naiad) Eurydice. They lived a happy life together, and Orpheus sang many a song about Eurydice's beauty. One day however, Eurydice was bitten by a snake while walking the fields, and she died instantly without being able to say goodbye to Orpheus. Orpheus, saddened by the loss of his loved one, decided to journey to the Underworld to try and get her back. He met up with Hades and Persephone, and sang to convince them of his love for the naiad. They were deeply moved, and told him he could take Eurydice back to the surface. However, he was to walk many paces ahead of her, and if he were to look back she would have to stay in the Underworld without him, forever. After some time Orpheus no longer heard Eurydice's paces behind him, and he started to doubt whether she kept up with him as he
hastily tried to leave the Underworld. Eventually, he looked around at her. There she was, but he only looked into her eyes for a brief moment before she vanished into the Underworld forever. Orpheus attempted to find her again, but Hades would no longer allow him access. He returned to the surface alone, a broken man, and sang songs of Eurydice's beauty until the day he died. Perseus As Perseus, a hero of Greek mythology, passed the cliffs of Ethiopia, he noticed a beautiful woman tied to the rocks. She appeared to be the Ethiopian princess Andromeda, and she was to be offered to a sea monster that was sent to the country by a sea god her mother had aggravated. Perseus felt sorry for Andromeda and used his sickle to kill the monster. Together, Perseus and Andromeda returned to Andromeda's home. Her parents were very happy to see her again alive, and decided to approve of a marriage between their daughter and Perseus.
Tristan and Isolde Tristan was a knight in the court of King Marc of Wales. One day he was summoned to bring the princess of England, Isolde, to king Marc's court. The king of England had promised her to the king to be his wife. While on their way to Whales, a fortunate accident caused both Tristan and Isolde to drink the love potion aboard their ship that was meant for Isolde and king Marc. They fell in love with each other, and started meeting in secret after Isolde's wedding to the king. However, they were caught by a dwarf and king Marc was warned. To save Isolde's honour, Tristan dressed as a pilgrim, and as Isolde passed she asked the pilgrim to carry her across the river. After the pilgrim had done so, she swore to king Marc that none but him and this pilgrim had ever held her in his arms. King Marc, unaware of the fact that the pilgrim was actually Tristan in disguise, believed her and reinstated her as his wife. 3. Locations Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea, according to legend, was named after king Aegeus of Greece. An oracle predicted that some day Aegeusâ€™s son would be the death of him. Nevertheless, the king entered a secret marriage, and Theseus was born. The boy however was not raised in Athens, and was allowed to go there only after he was able to lift a rock under which a sword and sandals were hidden. Theseus became a great adventurer during his travels, and even managed to defeat the half-man, half-bull Minotaur in the labyrinth of king Minos. As he finally sailed back to Athens, he forgot to replace his black sails with white ones, and consequently his father was under the impression Theseus was dead. In an act of desperation Aegeus proved the oracle right as he threw himself off a cliff into the sea. This sea was named the Aegean Sea, after king Aegeus. Atlantis The Greek philosopher Plato first mentioned Atlantis as an island that once existed. He stated this island was a naval power that had conquered parts of Western Europe and Africa. Some 9,000 years before Platoâ€™s time a natural disaster caused Atlantis to sink into the sea. It is thought to have been located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and America. Throughout the centuries the theory of Atlantis was mostly rejected, and often parodied. During the Middle Ages the theory was forgotten, but it was rediscovered in modern times. Some philosophers think that Atlantis existed, and its peoples were highly culturally developed. They were even named predecessors of the modern Aryan race by some. It was thought they possessed aircraft and ships powered by some form of energy crystal. Modern theory sometimes states that some modern Islands are parts of Atlantis that rose from the ocean. Avalon Avalon was a magical island that is said to have existed off the coast of Britain, and supposedly vanquished after some time. It was famous for its beautiful apples. Avalon is part of many stories and legends. It is said to be the island where Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea visited Britain, and consequently it is placed near Glastonbury and the church present there. Arthurian legend states the Lady of the Lake lived in Avalon. It is said that this is the island where they buried King Arthur after the fight with his son Mordred cost him his life. Another supposedly sunken island near the coast of Britain, called Lyonesse, is often associated with Avalon. It is said to be the birthplace of the legendary Tristan, from the legend of Tristan and Isolde. Bermuda In the Atlantic Ocean a triangle-shaped area between Bermuda, Puerto Rico and Fort Lauderdale, Florida is known as the Bermuda Triangle. The area is nearly a million square miles wide, and extends from the Gulf of
Mexico to the Caribbean Sea. A series of mysterious disappearances of ships and planes has surrounded this location with insinuation and myth. People claim that in this area the laws of physics are violated, and it was even suggested there is extraterrestrial activity there. Sceptics state that the disappearances where not that many, and most happened earlier before the proper equipment to track every lost ship or plane down was even invented, including the radar and satellite. They also claim the number of disappearances is relatively insignificant compared to the number of ships and planes that do pass through the area safely. The current within the Triangle is associated with heavy weather, which would be a logical cause for any of the disappearances. Some state that the triangle has opposite magnetism, which interferes with GPS equipment and causes ships and planes to crash in reefs. Another possible explanation includes methane hydrate bubbles as a cause of rapid sinking of ships in the Triangle by water density alterations. An example of a flight that supposedly disappeared in this area was Flight 19 of a naval air force squadron. It was reported that the weather was calm that day, and circumstances surrounding the disappearance where suspicious. However, it was later reported that the plane actually met heavy weather, and that the naval leader of the aircraft sounded disoriented on the radio. This last claim led to suggestions that the flight may not actually have been anywhere near the Bermuda Triangle. This might be the actual reason the plane was never recovered. However, for the disappearance of some other flights, notably the Star Tiger and the Star Ariel, no such explanation was possible and it still remains unclear why the wrecks of these planes were never recovered. It was however certain the planes flew near Bermuda at the time of their last radio transmission. Today, most agree that approximately 170 ships and planes have gone missing without a trace in the Bermuda Triangle area. Other areas that are surrounded by myth because of the many shipwrecks and disappearances include the Marysburgh Vortex in lake Ontario, and the Formosa Triangle near Taiwan. Formosa A five million square kilometre region in the Pacific Ocean where ships frequently disappear under mysterious conditions, the Formosa Triangle is believed to have many similarities to the Bermuda Triangle. It is located between Taiwan, Wake Island and the Gilbert Islands on the west coast of the United States. Fortunate Isles The Fortunate Isles, or the Isles of the Blessed, were thought to be locations where heroes of Greek mythology entered a divine paradise. The islands were supposedly located in the Atlantic Ocean, near the Canary Islands. It is stated that Macaronesia may be what is left of these islands today. Lemuria Lemuria is a hypothetical lost continent that was located either in the Indian or Pacific Ocean. Its existence has been thoroughly researched, because many Darwinian scientists believed it to contain the missing link fossil records on the origin of the human species. At present scientists have rendered the existence of Lemuria unlikely by researching plate tectonics. However, occult writers and some ancient peoples have accepted its existence as a valid theory. They believe the continent existed long ago, and sank beneath the ocean because of geological changes. Helena Blavatsky claimed in her book in the 1880â€™s that the human population on Lemuria turned to black magic, causing the continent to sink and the gods to create a new race on Atlantis. Mu
Mu was a continent once located in the Pacific Ocean that is believed to have sunk into the depths of the sea. Monsieur A. Le Plongeon derived the idea of Mu as a continent from ancient Mayan writings. Modern plate tectonics rules out the existence of a lost continent, because there is no evidence of aluminium-silicon alloys (SiAl) on the ocean floor, which would mark continental masses. Some people now believe Mu and Lemuria are actually the same continent. Underworld The Underworld is a mythological realm of the god or goddess of the dead, where the spirits of the deceased stay. It is known in many different languages under different names, such as Naraka (India), Helheim (Scandinavia and Germany) and Uca Pucha (Incas). The Underworld was separated from the worlds of the living by five rivers, namely Acheron (river of woe), Cocytus (river of lamentation), Phlehethon (river of fire), Lethe (river of forgetfulness), and Styx (river of hate). The latter was famous because Zeus forced gods to drink the entire river Styx if they had forsaken an oath. The water was said to be so foul that the god in question would lose his or her voice for nine years. Additionally, Achilles was dipped in the River Styx by his mother to make him immortal. Ys Myth tells us in Brittany a city called Ys once existed, which was built by a Briton king for his daughter Dahut. The city was built below sea level, and was protected by a dam to which only one man had the keys. But one day supposedly Dahut tricked the man into giving her the keys, and she opened the door in the dam to let her lover in. Consequently Ys was flooded and disappeared below sea level. Not all stories blame the flooding on Dahut. According to some gods destroyed the dam to punish the city. Ys was said to be so beautiful that the city of Lutèce was renamed Paris, which means similar to Ys. 4. Gods In the old days, any tribe had its own religion, and different religions described many gods. Here is are some examples of these divinities. Keep in mind that some may overlap. Abzu - water lord in Sumerian mythology that threatens to take back the creation of men by a universal flood, but is imprisoned beneath the earth by Enki (Mesopotamia) Alignak – god of tides in Inuit mythology (Siberia, Greenland and Alaska) Arnemetia – water goddess in British mythology Asopus - river god in Greek mythology, and father to river nymph Aegina Atl – god of water in Aztec mythology (Central Mexico) Atlaua – god of fishermen in Aztec mythology Boann – goddess of the River Boyne in Irish mythology Chalchiuhtlatonal – god of water in Aztec mythology Doris – goddess of the Mediterranean Sea, wife of Nereus and mother of the Nereids in Greek mythology Duberdicus – god of water in Lusitanian mythology (Portugal) Dylan Eil Ton – sea god in Welsh mythology (pre-Christian Britons) Enki - god of the freshwater ocean of groundwater under the earth in Sumerian mythology (also referred to as Ea) Hydros – god of freshwater in Greek mythology Manannán mac Lir – sea and weather god in Irish mythology Neptune/ Poseidon – god of the sea in Roman and Greek mythology
Nereus – god of the Mediterranean Sea, shape-shifter, fortune-teller, and son of Gaia and Pontus in Greek mythology Nethuns – god of wells in Etruscan mythology (Italy) Ninhursag - goddess of the waters and consort of Enki in Sumerian mythology Pontus – pre-Olympian sea god in Greek mythology, and son of Gaia (earth) and Aether (air) Proteus – early sea god in Greek mythology, he may be either a son of Poseidon, or of Oceanus and a Naiad Rodon – god of the sea in Illyrian mythology (Balkans) Saraswati – goddess of knowledge in Hinduism, originally a river goddess (the Saraswati River was named after her) Tootega – goddess that walked on water in Inuit mythology Trition - god of the sea and messenger of the deep in Greek mythology, son of Poseidon and Amphrite, and though to be a merman Untunktahe – water god with great magical powers in Native America (Lakota) mythology Varun - god of rain and the celestial ocean (above heaven and below the Underworld) in Hinduism Yah - god of the waters in Canaanite mythology (Canaan) Yami - goddess of rivers, sister to the Hindu god of death and daughter of the Sun god 5. Literature If you are interested in reading about any of the creatures, heroes, gods or locations mentioned above, try the following books where some make an appearance (sometimes briefly), or any other books on mythology of a country or peoples. Bacon, Francis – The New Atlantis Blavatsky, Helena – The Secret Doctrine, the Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy (Lemuria) Berlitz, Charles – The Bermuda Triangle Churchward, James – The Lost Continent Mu Homerus – the Illiad and the Odyssey (Greek gods and creatures) Kusche, L.D. – The Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved Lang, Andrew – The Brown Fairy Book (Bunyip) Miéville, China – The Scar (Grindylows) Rowling, J.K – Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire (Grindylows) For more information, you may also visit the online Encyclopedia Mythica, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Wikipedia. pictures from Mardi Byrd www.elfwood.com NEW! Visit out water astrology page
Chapter 6: 5 And Yahweh saw that man's wickedness was great over the face of the earth, and that all day the thoughts in his heart formed nothing but wickedness. 6 And Yahweh regretted having made man on the face of the earth, and his heart grieved. 7 And Yahweh said, "I will wipe man from the face of the earth, man, my own creation and also the animals of the field, and the creatures that crawl on the ground, and the birds of the air; for I regret having made them." 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of Yahweh. 9 These are the lines of Noah: Noah was a righteous man, he was blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah fathered three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. 11 Now the earth was corrupt in the face of God, and the earth was full of violence. 12 And God saw the earth and see! it was corrupt, for every one had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, "The end of every person is coming before me, for the earth is filled with their violence, so now I am destroying them along with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of cypress wood! Make rooms in the ark and coat it inside and out with pitch. 15 And this is how you will build [it]: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, her width fifty cubits, her height thirty cubits. 16 Make a roof for the ark and finish her within a cubit from above, 1 and put the door of the ark on the side, and make a lower, a second and a third deck. 17 And now I am bringing a flood of waters over the earth, to destroy every creature that has the breath of life, everything under the heavens and on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my Covenant with you, and you will enter the ark, you, your sons, your wife, your sons' wives with you. 19 From all living things, of every creature, you will bring two, male and female, into the ark to stay alive with you. 20 Of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal according to its kind, and of every kind of creature that crawls on the ground according to its kind, two from all these will go with you to stay alive. 21 And take every kind of food that is eaten and store it for yourself and for them as food." 22 So Noah did all that God commanded him [to do]. Chapter 7: 1 Then Yahweh said to Noah, "Go! You and all of yours go into the ark, for I found you righteous before me among this generation. 2 From every kind of clean animal take with you seven, both male and their mates; from every kind of animal that is not clean take two, a male and his mate, 3 also from the birds of the air, seven, both male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of the earth. 4 For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe away from the face of the earth every creature that I made." 5 And Noah did all that Yahweh commanded. 6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters [appeared] on the earth.
7 Noah with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives entered the ark [to escape] the face of the waters of the flood. 8 From the clean animals and from the animals that are not clean, and from the birds and all that crawls on the ground, 9 in pairs they came to Noah and the ark, male and a female, just as God had commanded. 10 And after seven days the waters of the flood appeared on the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, and on the seventeenth day of that month, that very day all the springs of the great deep broke through, and the floodgates of the heavens opened. 12 And the rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. 13 That very day Noah and Noah's sons Shem, Ham and Japheth, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons boarded the ark, 14 and with every animal of its kind, all cattle of its kind, every creature that crawls on the ground, and every kind of bird of its kind, every bird, and everything with wings. 15 One pair of every creature that had the breath of life in them came to Noah into the ark; 16 and the ones going in were male and a female of every creature, just as God had commanded him. Then Yahweh closed the door behind him. 17 And the flood came for forty days on the earth, and the waters increased, and the ark rose from the earth. 18 And the waters rose and the waters increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the waters. 19 And the waters rose very greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heaven were covered. 20 The waters rose fifteen cubits 2 higher, and the mountains were covered. 21 And every creature crawling on the earth, with the birds, and with the cattle, and with the animals, and with everything that swarms on the earth, and all mankind perished. 22 Everything that has the breath of life in its nostrils, everything on the land died. 23 And everything living thing on the face of the earth, from man to animals to crawlers, and the birds of the air, were wiped out. And they were wiped out from the earth, and only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. 24 And the waters flooded the earth for one hundred and fifty days. Chapter 8: 1 But God remembered Noah, and all the wild animals and all the cattle with him in the ark, and God sent a wind across the earth and the waters receded. 2 And the springs of the deep and the floodgates of heaven were closed, and the rain ceased [to fall] from heaven, 3 and the waters continued to recede from the earth, and receded, and the end of one hundred and fifty days the waters went down, 4 and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of that month, the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat. 5 And the waters continued to recede until the mountain tops became visible in the tenth month, on the first day of that month. 6 And at the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made. . 7 Then he sent out the raven, and it went out, and returned, until the waters dried from the earth.
8 Then he sent out the dove, to see if the waters had receded from the surface of the earth. 9 But she did not find a place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him in the ark, for the waters were over the whole surface of the earth. And he reached out his hand, and he took her, and he brought her back to himself in the ark. 10 And he waited seven more days and he again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, see!, a freshly-picked olive leaf in her beak! Then Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. 12 And he waited seven more days, and he sent out the dove, and she did not again return to him. 13 And he was in the six hundredth and first year of his life, on the first day of the first month of that year; the waters dried up from the earth and Noah removed the covering from the ark and looked out: see! the surfaces of the ground were dry! 14 And by the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of that month, the earth was dry. 15 Then God said to Noah, 16 "Come out of the ark, you, your wife, and your sons, and the wives of your sons. 17 Bring out with every living thing, every creature, with the birds, and the animals, and with all the creatures that crawl on the ground, so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase upon the earth." 18 So Noah, and his sons, and his wife, and the wives of his sons came out. 19 Every animal, every crawler, and every bird, everything that moved on the earth came out from the ark. 20 Then Noah built an altar to Yahweh and he took from every kind of clean animal and from every kind of clean bird, and he sacrificed burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And Yahweh smelled the pleasant aroma, and Yahweh said in his heart, "I will not again curse the ground because of man, even though the inclination of the heart of man [is] evil from childhood. And I will not again destroy every living thing as I just did. 22 During all the days of the earth, seed time and harvest and cold and heat and summer and winter and day and night will never cease. Chapter 9: 1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, and he said to them, "Be fruitful and increase and fill the earth, 2 and the fear of you and the dread of you will be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the air, on everything that moves on the ground and on all the fishes of the sea. Into your hands are they given. 3 Everything that moves will be food for you, just as I gave you green plants [for food]. 4 But you must not eat meat with the lifeblood [in it]. 5 And surely for your life blood I will demand an accounting, and from every animal I will demand an accounting, and from every man I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. 6
The one who sheds the blood of a man by man his blood will be shed. For in the image of God he made man. 7 And you: Be fruitful and increase. Multiply on the earth and increase [your number] on her. 8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons, 9 "See! I am now establishing my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature with you: with the birds, with the cattle, and with every animal of the earth with you, with all those coming out of the ark, with every living creature of the earth, 11 and I establish my covenant with you, and life will never again be cut off by the waters of the flood, and the earth will never again be destroyed. 12 And God said, "This is the sign of this covenant that I am making for generations to come between me and you and every living creature that is with you: 13 I set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth, 14 and when I send clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and every living creature of every kind, and the waters of the flood will not again destroy all life. 16 When the rainbow is in the cloud and I see it, I will remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of every kind on the earth. 17 So God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant that I established between me and all life on earth." Translated from the Hebrew by Richard Hooker (ÂŠ1994)
ENDNOTES 1 Meaning: "leave an opening between the ark and the roof one cubit (about half a meter or sixteen inches) wide" 2 About twenty feet (6.9 meters). FROM: http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/HEBREWS/GENFLOOD.HTM
Flood Stories from Around the World by Mark Isaak. Copyright © 1996-2002 [Last Revision: September 2, 2002] Mirrored from http://home.earthlink.net/~misaak/floods.htm
Introduction The stories below are flood stories from the world's folklore. I have included stories here if (1) they are stories; (2) they are folklore, not historical accounts or fiction by a known author; and (3) they involve a flood. In most borderline cases, I included the story here anyway. For example, one story (Hopi) tells of a flood which was avoided and never occurred. My method for collecting these stories is simply to collect every flood story I find. I have omitted a few extremely fragmentary accounts, such as sources that say "These people have a legend of a flood in which most people were killed" and little or nothing more. The stories are summarized both to save space and to avoid copyright infringements, but I have attempted to preserve all the motifs and all the names that were given in the cited account. However, where the story gives intricate account of events before and/or after the flood (such as in the Zhuang story of Bubo vs. the Thunder God), some of the details peripheral to the flood itself may have been summarized out of existence. In a few cases, two or more overlapping and non-contradictory fragments from the same culture were combined into one summary. Complete references are given at the end; consult them for more details. Within each continent or region, stories are grouped by language family. See Language Grouping for Flood Stories for elaboration of the language groups which, as best I can determine, the stories belong to. I am sure there are many more flood stories which could be included here. As I find them, I will add them. I welcome feedback, especially new flood stories, from others.
Index by Region •
Greek, Arcadian, Samothrace Roman o Scandinavian, German o Celtic, Welsh o Lithuanian, Transylvanian Gypsy o Turkey Near East o o
o o o •
Africa Cameroon o Masai (East Africa), Komililo Nandi, Kwaya (Lake Victoria) o Southwest Tanzania, Pygmy, Ababua (northern Zaire), Kikuyu (Kenya), Bakongo (west Zaire), Bachokwe? (southern Zaire), Lower Congo, Basonge, Bena-Lulua (Congo River, southeast Zaire) o Yoruba (southwest Nigeria), Efik-Ibibio (Nigeria), Ekoi (Nigeria) o Mandingo (Ivory Coast) Asia o Vogul o Samoyed (north Siberia) o Yenisey-Ostyak (north central Siberia), Kamchadale (northeast Siberia) o Altaic (central Asia), Tuvinian (Soyot) (north of Mongolia) o Mongolia, Buryat (eastern Siberia) o Sagaiye (eastern Siberia) o Russian o Hindu, Bhil (central India), Kamar (Raipur District, Central India), Assam o Tamil (southern India) o Lepcha (Sikkim), Tibet, Singpho (Assam), Lushai (Assam), Lisu (northwest Yunnan, China), Lolo (southwestern China), Jino (southern Yunnan, China), Karen (Burma), Chingpaw (Upper Burma) o China o Korea o Munda (north-central India), Santal (Bengal), Ho (southwestern Bengal) o Bahnar (Cochin China), Kammu (northern Thailand) o Andaman Islands (Bay of Bengal) o Zhuang (China), Sui (southern Guizhou, China), Shan (Burma) o Tsuwo (Formosa interior), Bunun (Formosa interior), Ami (eastern Taiwan) o Benua-Jakun (Malay Peninsula), Kelantan (Malay Peninsula), Ifugao (Philippines), Kiangan Ifugao, Atá (Philippines), Mandaya (Philippines), Tinguian (Luzon, Philippines) o Batak (Sumatra), Nias (an island west of Sumatra), Engano (another island west of Sumatra), Dusun (British North Borneo), Dyak (Borneo), Ot-Danom (Dutch Borneo), Toradja (central Celebes), Alfoor (between Celebes and New Guinea), Rotti (southwest of Timor), Nage (Flores) o
Sumerian Egypt, Babylonian, Assyrian, Chaldean, Hebrew, Islamic Persian, Zoroastrian
Australia o Arnhem Land (northern Northern Territory) o Maung (Goulburn Islands, Arnhem Land), Gunwinggu (northern Arnhem Land) o Gumaidj (Arnhem Land) o Manger (Arnhem Land) o Fitzroy River area (Western Australia) o Australian, Mount Elliot (coastal Queensland), Western Australia, Andingari (South Australia), Wiranggu (South Australia), Narrinyeri (South Australia), Victoria, Lake Tyres (Victoria), Kurnai (Gippsland, Victoria), southeast Australian o Maori (New Zealand) Pacific Islands o Kabadi (New Guinea), Valman (northern New Guinea), Mamberao River (Irian Jaya), Samo-Kubo (western Papua New Guinea), Papua New Guinea o Palau Islands (Micronesia), western Carolines o New Hebrides, Lifou (one of the Loyalty Islands), Fiji o Samoa, Nanumanga (Tuvalu, South Pacific), Mangaia (Cook Islands), Rakaanga (Cook Islands), Raiatea (Leeward Group, French Polynesia), Tahiti, Hawaii North America o Innuit, Eskimo (Orowignarak, Alaska), Norton Sound Eskimo, Central Eskimo, Tchiglit Eskimo (Arctic Ocean), Herschel Island Eskimo, Netsilik Eskimo, Greenlander o Tlingit (southern Alaska coast), Hareskin (Alaska), Tinneh (Alaska and south), Loucheux (Dindjie) (Alaska), Dogrib and Slave (Tinneh tribes), Kaska (northern inland British Columbia), Thompson Indians (British Columbia), Sarcee (Alberta), Tsetsaut o Haida (Queen Charlotte Is., British Columbia), Tsimshian (British Columbia) o Kwakiutl (British Columbia) o Kootenay (southeast British Columbia), Squamish (British Columbia), Bella Coola (British Columbia), Lillooet (Green River, British Columbia), Makah (Cape Flattery, Washington), Klallam (northwest Washington), Skokomish (Washington), Skagit (Washington), Quillayute (Washington), Nisqually (Washington), Twana (Puget Sound, Washington), Kathlamet o Cascade Mountains o Spokana, Nez Perce, Cayuse (eastern Washington), Yakima (Washington), Warm Springs (Oregon), Joshua (southern Oregon), Smith River (northern California coast), Wintu (north central California), Maidu (central California), Northern Miwok (central California), Tuleyome
Miwok (near Clear Lake, California), Olamentko Miwok (Bodega Bay, California) Ohlone (San Francisco to Monterey, California) o Kato (Mendocino County, California) o Shasta (northern California interior), Pomo (north central California), Salinan (California), Yuma (western Arizona, southern California), Havasupai (lower Colorado River) o Ashochimi (California) o Yurok (north California coast), Blackfoot (Alberta and Montana), Cree (Canada), Timagami Ojibway (Canada), Chippewa (Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin), Ottawa, Menomini (Wisconsin-Michigan border), Cheyenne (Minnesota), Yellowstone, Montagnais (northern Gulf of St. Lawrence), Micmac (eastern Maritime Canada), Algonquin (upper Ottowa River), Lenape (Delaware) (Delaware to New York) o Cherokee (Great Lakes area; eastern Tennessee) o Mandan (North Dakota), Lakota o Choctaw (Mississippi), Natchez (Lower Mississippi) o Chitimacha (Southern Louisiana) o Caddo (Oklahoma, Arkansas), Pawnee (Nebraska) o Navajo (Four Corners area), Jicarilla Apache (northeastern New Mexico) o Sia (northeast Arizona) o Acagchemem (near San Juan Capistrano, California), Luiseño (Southern California), Pima (southwest Arizona), Papago (Arizona), Hopi (northeast Arizona), Zuni (New Mexico) Central America o Tarascan (northern Michoacan, Mexico), Michoacan (Mexico) o Yaqui (Sonoran, Northern Mexico), Tarahumara (Northern Mexico), Huichol (western Mexico), Cora (east of the Huichols), Tepecano (southeast of the Huichols), Tepehua (eastern Mexico), Toltec (Mexico), Nahua (central Mexico), Tlaxcalan (central Mexico) o Tlapanec (south central Mexico), Mixtec (northern Oaxaca, Mexico), Zapotec (Oaxaca, southern Mexico), Trique (Oaxaca, southern Mexico) o Totonac (eastern Mexico) o Chol (southern Mexico), Tzeltal (Chiapas, southern Mexico), Quiché (Guatemala), Maya (southern Mexico and Guatemala) o Popoluca (Veracruz, Mexico) o Nicaragua, Panama o Carib (Antilles) South America o Acawai (Orinoco), Arekuna (Guyana), Makiritare (Venezuela), Macusi (British Guyana) o Muysca (Colombia), Yaruro (southern Venezuela)
Yanomamö (southern Venezuela) o Tamanaque (Orinoco), Arawak (Guyana), Pamary, Abedery, and Kataushy (Purus R., Brazil), Ipurina (Upper Amazon) o Jivaro (eastern Ecuador), Shuar (Andes) o Murato (eastern Ecuador) o Cañari (Quito, Ecuador) o Guanca and Chiquito (Peru) o Ancasmarca (near Cuzco, Peru), Canelos Quechua, Quechua, Inca (Peru), Colla (high Andes) o Chiriguano (southeast Bolivia) o Chorote (Eastern Paraguay) o Eastern Brazil (Rio de Janiero region), Eastern Brazil (Cape Frio region), Caraya (Araguaia River, central Brazil), Coroado (south Brazil) o Araucania (coastal Chile) o Toba (northern Argentina) o Selk'nam (southern tip of Argentina) o Yamana (Tierra del Fuego) References o
Europe Greek: Zeus sent a flood to destroy the men of the Bronze Age. Prometheus advised his son Deucalion to build a chest. All other men perished except for a few who escaped to high mountains. The mountains in Thessaly were parted, and all the world beyond the Isthmus and Peloponnese was overwhelmed. Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha (daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora), after floating in the chest for nine days and nights, landed on Parnassus. When the rains ceased, he sacrificed to Zeus, the God of Escape. At the bidding of Zeus, he threw stones over his head; they became men, and the stones which Pyrrha threw became women. That is why people are called laoi, from laas, "a stone." [Apollodorus, 1.7.2] The first race of people was completely destroyed because they were exceedingly wicked. The fountains of the deep opened, the rain fell in torrents, and the rivers and seas rose to cover the earth, killing all of them. Deucalion survived due to his prudence and piety and linked the first and second race of men. Onto a great ark he loaded his wives and children and all animals. The animals came to him, and by God's help, remained friendly for the duration of the flood. The flood waters escaped down a chasm opened in Hierapolis. [Frazer, pp. 153-154] An older version of the story told by Hellanicus has Deucalion's ark landing on Mount Othrys in Thessaly. Another account has him landing on a peak, probably Phouka, in Argolis, later called Nemea. [Gaster, p. 85] The Megarians told that Megarus, son of Zeus, escaped Deucalion's flood by swimming to the top of Mount Gerania, guided by the cries of cranes. [Gaster, p. 85-86]
An earlier flood was reported to have occurred in the time of Ogyges, founder and king of Thebes. The flood covered the whole world and was so devastating that the country remained without kings until the reign of Cecrops. [Gaster, p. 87] Nannacus, king of Phrygia, lived before the time of Deucalion and foresaw that he and all people would perish in a coming flood. He and the Phrygians lamented bitterly, hence the old proverb about "weeping like (or for) Nannacus." After the deluge had destroyed all humanity, Zeus commanded Prometheus and Athena to fashion mud images, and Zeus summoned winds to breathe life into them. The place where they were made is called Iconium after these images. [Frazer, p. 155] "Many great deluges have taken place during the nine thousand years" since Athens and Atlantis were preeminent. Destruction by fire and other catastrophes was also common. In these floods, water rose from below, destroying city dwellers but not mountain people. The floods, especially the third great flood before Deucalion, washed away most of Athens' fertile soil. [Plato, "Timaeus" 22, "Critias" 111-112] Arcadian: Dardanus, first king of Arcadia, was driven from his land by a great flood which submerged the lowlands, rendering them unfit for cultivation. The people retreated to the mountains, but they soon decided that the land left was not enough to support them all. Some stayed with Dimas, son of Dardanus, as their king; Dardanus led the rest to the island of Samothrace. [Frazer, p. 163] Samothrace: The sea rose when the barriers dividing the Black Sea from the Mediterranean burst, releasing waters from the Black Sea in a great torrent that washed over part of the coast of Asia and the lowlands of Samothrace. The survivors on Samothrace retreated to the mountains and prayed for deliverance. On being saved, they set up monuments to the event and built alters on which to continue sacrifices through the ages. Fishermen still occasionally draw up parts of stone columns in their nets, signs of cities drowned in the sea. [Frazer, pp. 167-168] Roman: Jupiter, angered at the evil ways of humanity, resolved to destroy it. He was about to set the earth to burning, but considered that that might set heaven itself afire, so he decided to flood the earth instead. With Neptune's help, he caused storm and earthquake to flood everything but the summit of Parnassus, where Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha came by boat and found refuge. Recognizing their piety, Jupiter let them live and withdrew the flood. Deucalion and Pyrrha, at the advice of an oracle, repopulated the world by throwing "your mother's bones" (stones) behind them; each stone became a person. [Ovid, book 1] Jupiter and Mercury, traveling incognito in Phrygia, begged for food and shelter, but found all doors closed to them until they received hospitality from Philemon and Baucis. The gods revealed their identity, led the couple up the mountains, and showed them the whole valley flooded, destroying all homes but the couple's, which was transformed into a marble temple. Given a wish, the couple asked to be priest and priestess of the temple, and to die together. In their extreme old age, they changed into an oak and lime tree. [Ovid, book 8]
One of the kings of Alba (named Romulus, Remulus, or Amulius Silvius), set himself up as a god equal to or superior to Jupiter. He made machines to mimic thunder and lightning, and he ordered his soldiers to drown out real thunder by beating on their shields. For his impiety, he and his house were destroyed by a thunderbolt in a fierce storm. The Alban lake rose and drowned his palace. You may still see the ruins when the lake is clear and calm. [Frazer 1993, p. 149] Scandinavian: Oden, Vili, and Ve fought and slew the great ice giant Ymir, and icy water from his wounds drowned most of the Rime Giants. The giant Bergelmir escaped, with his wife and children, on a boat made from a hollowed tree trunk. From them rose the race of frost ogres. Ymir's body became the world we live on. His blood became the oceans. [Sturluson, p. 35] German: A louse and a flea were brewing beer in an eggshell. The louse fell in and burnt herself. This made the flea weep, which made the door creak, which made the broom sweep, which made the cart run, which made the ash-heap burn, which made the tree shake itself, which made the girl break her water-pitcher, which made the spring begin to flow. And in the spring's water everything was drowned. [Grimm 30] Celtic: Heaven and Earth were great giants, and Heaven lay upon the Earth so that their children were crowded between them, and the children and their mother were unhappy in the darkness. The boldest of the sons led his brothers in cutting up Heaven into many pieces. From his skull they made the firmament. His spilling blood caused a great flood which killed all humans except a single pair, who were saved in a ship made by a beneficent Titan. The waters settled in hollows to become the oceans. The son who led in the mutilation of Heaven was a Titan and became their king, but the Titans and gods hated each other, and the king titan was driven from his throne by his son, who was born a god. That Titan at last went to the land of the departed. The Titan who built the ship, whom some consider to be the same as the king Titan, went there also. [Sproul, pp. 172-173] Welsh: The lake of Llion burst, flooding all lands. Dwyfan and Dwyfach escaped in a mastless ship with pairs of every sort of living creature. They landed in Prydain (Britain) and repopulated the world. [Gaster, pp. 92-93] Lithuanian: From his heavenly window, the supreme god Pramzimas saw nothing but war and injustice among mankind. He sent two giants, Wandu and Wejas (water and wind), to destroy earth. After twenty days and nights, little was left. Pramzimas looked to see the progress. He happened to be eating nuts at the time, and he threw down the shells. One happened to land on the peak of the tallest mountain, where some people and animals had sought refuge. Everybody climbed in and survived the flood floating in the nutshell. God's wrath abated, he ordered the wind and water to abate. The people dispersed, except for one elderly couple who stayed where they landed. To comfort them, God sent the rainbow and advised
them to jump over the bones of the earth nine times. They did so, and up sprang nine other couples, from which the nine Lithuanian tribes descended. [Gaster, p. 93] Transylvanian Gypsy: Men once lived forever and knew no troubles. The earth brought forth fine fruits, flesh grew on trees, and milk and wine flowed in many rivers. One day, and old man came to the country and asked for a night's lodging, which a couple gave him in their cottage. When he departed the next day, he said he would return in nine days. He gave his host a small fish in a vessel and said he would reward the host if he did not eat the fish but returned it then. The wife thought the fish must be exceptionally good to eat, but the husband said he had promised the old man to keep it and made the woman swear not to eat it. After two days of thinking about it, though, the wife yielded to temptation and threw the fish on the hot coals. Immediately, she was struck dead by lightning, and it began to rain. The rivers started overflowing the country. On the ninth day, the old man returned and told his host that all living things would be drowned, but since he had kept his oath, he would be saved. The old man told the host to take a wife, gather his kinfolk, and build a boat on which to save them, animals, and seeds of trees and herbs. The man did all this. It rained a year, and the waters covered everything. After a year, the waters sank, and the people and animals disembarked. They now had to labor to gain a living, and sickness and death came also. They multiplied slowly so that many thousands of years passed before people were again as numerous as they were before the flood. [Frazer, pp. 177-178] Turkey: Iskender-Iulcarni (Alexander the Great), in the course of his conquests, demanded tribute from Katife, Queen of Smyrna. She refused insultingly and threatened to drown the king if he persisted. Enraged at her insolence, the conqueror determined to punish the queen by drowning her in a great flood. He employed Moslem and infidel workmen to make a strait of the Bosphorus, paying the infidel workmen one-fifth as much as the Moslems got. When the canal was nearly completed, he reversed the pay arrangements, giving the Moslems only one-fifth as much as the infidels. The Moslems quit in disgust and left the infidels to finish the canal. The Black Sea swept away the last dike and drowned the workmen. The flood spread over Queen Katife's country (drowning her) and several cities in Africa. The whole world would have been engulfed, but Iskender-Iulcarni was prevailed upon to open the Strait of Gibraltar, letting the Mediterranean escape into the ocean. Evidence of the flood can still be seen in the form of drowned cities on the coast of Africa and ship moorings high above the coast of the Black Sea. [Gaster, pp. 91-92]
Near East Sumerian: The gods had decided to destroy mankind. The god Enlil warned the priest-king Ziusudra ("Long of Life") of the coming flood by speaking to a wall while Ziusudra listened at the side. He was instructed to build a great ship and carry beasts and birds upon it. Violent winds came, and a flood of rain covered the earth
for seven days and nights. Then Ziusudra opened a window in the large boat, allowing sunlight to enter, and he prostrated himself before the sun-god Utu. After landing, he sacrificed a sheep and an ox and bowed before Anu and Enlil. For protecting the animals and the seed of mankind, he was granted eternal life and taken to the country of Dilmun, where the sun rises. [Hammerly-Dupuy, p. 56; Heidel, pp. 102-106] Egypt: People have become rebellious. Atum said he will destroy all he made and return the earth to the Primordial Water which was its original state. Atum will remain, in the form of a serpent, with Osiris. [Faulkner, plate 30] (Unfortunately the version of the papyrus with the flood story is damaged and unclear. See also Budge, p. ccii.) Babylonian: Three times (every 1200 years), the gods were distressed by the disturbance from human overpopulation. The gods dealt with the problem first by plague, then by famine. Both times, the god Enki advised men to bribe the god causing the problem. The third time, Enlil advised the gods to destroy all humans with a flood, but Enki had Atrahasis build an ark and so escape. Also on the boat were cattle, wild animals and birds, and Atrahasis' family. When the storm came, Atrahasis sealed the door with bitumen and cut the boat's rope. The storm god Adad raged, turning the day black. After the seven-day flood, the gods regretted their action. Atrahasis made an offering to them, at which the gods gathered like flies, and Enki established barren women and stillbirth to avoid the problem in the future. [Dalley, pp. 23-35] Assyrian: The gods, led by Enlil, agreed to cleanse the earth of an overpopulated humanity, but Utnapishtim was warned by the god Ea in a dream. He and some craftsmen built a large boat (one acre in area, seven decks) in a week. He then loaded it with his family, the craftsmen, and "the seed of all living creatures." The waters of the abyss rose up, and it stormed for six days. Even the gods were frightened by the flood's fury. Upon seeing all the people killed, the gods repented and wept. The waters covered everything but the top of the mountain Nisur, where the boat landed. Seven days later, Utnapishtim released a dove, but it returned finding nowhere else to land. He next returned a sparrow, which also returned, and then a raven, which did not return. Thus he knew the waters had receded enough for the people to emerge. Utnapishtim made a sacrifice to the gods. He and his wife were given immortality and lived at the end of the earth. [Sandars, chpt. 5] Sharur destroyed Asag, demon of sickness and disease, by flooding his abode. In the process, "The primeval waters of Kur rose to the surface, and as a result of their violence no fresh waters could reach the fields and gardens." [Kramer, p. 105] Chaldean: The god Chronos in a vision warned Xisuthrus, the tenth king of Babylon, of a flood coming on the fifteenth day of the month of Daesius. The god ordered him to write a history and bury it in Sippara, and told him to build and provision a vessel (5 stadia by 2 stadia) for himself, his friends and relations, and all kinds of
animals. Xisuthrus asked where he should sail, and Chronos answered, "to the gods, but first pray for all good things to men." Xisuthrus built a ship five furlongs by two furlongs and loaded it as ordered. After the flood had come and abated somewhat, he sent out some birds, which returned. Later, he tried again, and the birds returned with mud on their feet. On the third trial, the birds didn't return. He saw that land had appeared above the waters, so he parted some seams of his ship, saw the shore, and drove his ship aground in the Corcyraean mountains in Armenia. He disembarked with his wife, daughter, and pilot, and offered sacrifices to the gods. Those four were translated to live with the gods. The others at first were grieved when they could not find the four, but they heard Xisuthrus' voice in the air telling them to be pious and to seek his writings at Sippara. Part of the ship remains to this day, and some people make charms from its bitumen. [Frazer, pp. 108-110; G. Smith, pp. 42-43] According to accounts attributed to Berosus, the antediluvians were giants who became impious and depraved, except one among them that reverenced the gods and was wise and prudent. His name was Noa, and he dwelt in Syria with his three sons Sem, Japet, Chem, and their wives Tidea, Pandora, Noela, and Noegla. From the stars, he foresaw destruction, and he began building an ark. 78 years after he began building, the oceans, inland seas, and rivers burst forth from beneath, attended by many days of violent rain. The waters overflowed all the mountains, and the human race was drowned except Noa and his family who survived on his ship. The ship came to rest at last on the top of the Gendyae or Mountain. Parts of it still remain, which men take bitumen from to make charms against evil. [H. Miller, pp. 291-292] Hebrew: God, upset at mankind's wickedness, resolved to destroy it, but Noah was righteous and found favor with Him. God told Noah to build an ark, 450 x 75 x 45 feet, with three decks. Noah did so, and took aboard his family (8 people in all) and pairs of all kinds of animals (7 of the clean ones). For 40 days and nights, floodwaters came from the heavens and from the deeps, until the highest mountains were covered. The waters flooded the earth for 150 days; then God sent a wind and the waters receded, and the ark came to rest in Ararat. After 40 days, Noah sent out a raven, which kept flying until the waters had dried up. He next sent out a dove, which returned without finding a perch. A week later he set out the dove again, and it returned with an olive leaf. The next week, the dove didn't return. After a year and 10 days from the start of the flood, everyone and everything emerged from the ark. Noah sacrificed some clean animals and birds to God, and God, pleased with this, promised never again to destroy all living creatures with a flood, giving the rainbow as a sign of this covenant. Animals became wild and became suitable food, and Noah and his family were told to repopulate the earth. Noah planted a vineyard and one day got drunk. His son Ham saw him lying naked in his tent and told his brothers Shem and Japheth, who came and covered Noah with their faces turned. When Noah awoke, he cursed Ham and his descendants and blessed his other sons. [Genesis 6-9] Men lived at ease before the flood; a single harvest provided for forty years, children were born after only a few days instead of nine months and could walk
and talk immediately, and people could command the sun and moon. This indolence led men astray, especially to the sins of wantonness and rapacity. God determined to destroy the sinners, but in mercy he instructed Noah to warn them of the threat of a flood and to preach to them to mend their ways. Noah did this for 120 years. God gave mankind a final week of grace during which the sun reversed course, but the wicked men did not repent; they only mocked Noah for building the ark. Noah learned how to make the ark from a book, given to Adam by the angel Raziel, which contained all knowledge. This book was made of sapphires, and Noah put it in a golden casket and, during the flood, used it to tell day from night, for the sun and moon did not shine at that time. The flood was caused by male waters from the sky meeting the female waters from the ground. God made holes in the sky for the waters to issue from by removing two stars from the Pleiades. He later closed the hole by borrowing two stars from the Bear. That is why the Bear always runs after the Pleiades. The animals came to the ark in such numbers that Noah could not take them all; he had them sit by the door of the ark, and he took in the animals which lay down at the door. 365 species of reptiles and 32 species of bird were taken. Since seven pairs of each kind of clean animal were taken, the clean animals outnumbered the unclean after the flood. One creatures, the reem was so big it had to be tethered outside the ark and follow behind. The giant Og, king of Bashan, was also too big and escaped the flood sitting atop the ark. In addition to Noah, his wife Naamah, and their sons and sons' wives, Falsehood and Misfortune also took refuge on the ark. Falsehood was initially turned away when he presented himself without a mate, so he induced Misfortune to join him and returned. When the flood began, the sinners gathered around it and rushed the door, but the wild beasts aboard the ark guarded the door and set upon them. Those which escaped the beasts drowned in the flood. The ark, and the animals in it, were tossed around on the waters for a year, but Noah's greatest difficulty was feeding all the animals, for he had to work day and night to feed both the diurnal and nocturnal animals. When Noah once tarried in feeding the lion, the lion gave him a blow which made him lame for the rest of his life and prevented him from serving as a priest. On the tenth day of the month of Tammuz, Noah sent forth a raven, but the raven found a corpse to devour and did not return. A week later Noah sent out a dove, and on its third flight it returned with an olive leaf plucked from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, for the Holy Land had not suffered from the flood. Noah wept at the devastation when he left the ark, and Shem offered a thank-offering; Noah could not officiate due to his encounter with the lion. [Ginzberg, pp. 319-335; see also Frazer, pp. 143-145] Aprocryphal scripture tells that Adam directed that his body, together with gold, incense, and myrrh, should be taken aboard the Ark and, after the flood, should be laid in the middle of the earth. God would come from thence and save mankind. [Platt, p. 66, 80 (2 Adam 8:9-18, 21:7-11)] A woman "clothed with the sun" gave birth to a man child who was taken up by God. The woman then lived in the wilderness, where the Devil-dragon, cast down to earth, persecuted her. At one time he cast a flood of water from his mouth trying to wash her away, but the earth helped the woman and swallowed the flood. [Revelation 12]
Islamic: Allah sent Noah to warn the people to serve none but Allah, but most of them would not listen. They challenged Noah to make good his threats and mocked him when, under Allah's inspiration, he built a ship. Allah told Noah not to speak to Him on behalf of wrongdoers; they would be drowned. In time, water gushed from underground and fell from the sky. Noah loaded onto his ship pairs of all kinds, his household, and those few who believed. One of Noah's sons didn't believe and said he would seek safety in the mountains. He was among the drowned. The ship sailed amid great waves. Allah commanded the earth to swallow the water and the sky to clear, and the ship came to rest on Al-Judi. Noah complained to Allah for taking his son. Allah admonished that the son was an evildoer and not of Noah's household, and Noah prayed for forgiveness. Allah told Noah to go with blessings on him and on some nations that will arise from those with him. [Koran 11:25-48] Persian: In early times, the earth was full of malign creatures fashioned by the evil Ahriman. The angel Tistar (the star Sirius) descended three times, in the form of man, horse, and bull respectively, causing ten days and nights of rain each time. Each rain drop became as big as a bowl, and the water rose the height of a man over the whole earth. The first flood drowned the creatures, but the dead noxious creatures went into holes in the earth. Before returning to cause the second flood, Tistar, in the form of a white horse, battled the demon Apaosha, who took the form of a black horse. Ormuzd blasted the demon with lightning, making the demon give a cry which can still be heard in thunderstorms, and Tistar prevailed and caused rivers to flow. The poison washed from the land by the second flood made the seas salty. The waters were driven to the ends of the earth by a great wind and became the sea Vourukasha ("Wide-Gulfed"). [Carnoy, p. 270; Vitaliano, pp. 161-162; H. Miller, p. 288] Zoroastrian: Yima, under divine superintendence, reigned over the world for 900 years. As there was no disease or death, the population increased so that it was necessary to enlarge the earth after 300 years; Yima accomplished this with the help of a gold ring and gold-inlaid dagger he had received from Ahura Mazda, the Creator. Enlargement of the earth was necessary again after 600 years. When the population became too great after 900 years, Ahura Mazda warned Yima that destruction was coming in the form of winter, frost, and subsequent melting of the snow. He instructed Yima to build a vara, a large square enclosure, in which to keep specimens of small and large cattle, human beings, dogs, birds, red flaming fires, plants and foodstuffs, two of every kind. The men and cattle he brought in were to be the finest on earth. Within the enclosure, men passed the happiest of lives, with each year seeming like a day. [Frazer, pp. 180-182; Dresden, p. 344]
Africa Cameroon: As a girl was grinding flour, a goat came to lick it. She first drove it away, but when it came back, she allowed it to lick as much as it could. In return for the
kindness, the goat told her there will be a flood that day and advised her and her brother to run elsewhere immediately. They escaped with a few belongings and looked back to see water covering their village. After the flood, they lived on their own for many years, unable to find mates. The goat reappeared and said they could marry themselves, but they would have to put a hoe-handle and a clay pot with a broken bottom on their roof to signify that they are relatives. [KahlerMeyer, pp. 251-252] Masai (East Africa): Tumbainot, a righteous man, had a wife named Naipande and three sons, Oshomo, Bartimaro, and Barmao. When his brother Lengerni died, Tumbainot, according to custom, married the widow Nahaba-logunja, who bore him three more sons, but they argued about her refusal to give him a drink of milk in the evening, and she set up her own homestead. The world was heavily populated in those days, but the people were sinful and not mindful of God. However, they refrained from murder, until at last a man named Nambija hit another named Suage on the head. At this, God resolved to destroy mankind, except Tumbainot found grace in His eyes. God commanded Tumbainot to build an ark of wood and enter it with his two wives, six sons and their wives, and some of animals of every sort. When they were all aboard and provisioned, God caused a great long rain which caused a flood, and all other men and beasts drowned. The ark drifted for a long time, and provisions began to run low. The rain finally stopped, and Tumbainot let loose a dove to ascertain the state of the flood. The dove returned tired, so Tumbainot knew it had found no place to rest. Several days later, he loosed a vulture, but first he attached an arrow to one of its tail feathers so that, if the bird landed, the arrow would hook on something and be lost. The vulture returned that evening without the arrow, so Tumbainot reasoned that it must have landed on carrion, and that the flood was receding. When the water ran away, the ark grounded on the steppe, and its occupants disembarked. Tumbainot saw four rainbows, one in each quarter of the sky, signifying that God's wrath was over. [Frazer, pp. 330-331] Komililo Nandi: Ilet, the spirit of lightning, came to live, in human form, in a cave high on the mountain named Tinderet. When he did so, it rained incessantly and killed most of the hunters living in the forest below. Some hunters, searching for the cause of the rain, found him and wounded him with poison arrows. Ilet fled and died in a neighboring country. When he died, the rain stopped. [Kelsen, p. 137] Kwaya (Lake Victoria): The ocean was once enclosed in a small pot kept by a man and his wife under the roof of their hut to fill their larger pots. The man told his daughter-in-law never to touch it because it contained their sacred ancestors. But she grew curious and touched it. It shattered, and the resulting flood drowned everything. [KahlerMeyer, pp. 253-254] Southwest Tanzania (Rukwa Region): The rivers began flooding. God told two men to go into a ship, taking with them all sorts of seed and animals. The flood rose, covering the mountains. Later, to check whether the waters had dried up, the man sent out a dove, and it came back
to the ship. He waited and sent out a hawk, which did not return because the waters had dried. The men then disembarked with the animals and seeds. [Gaster, pp. 120-121] Pygmy: Chameleon heard a strange noise, like water running, in a tree, but at that time there was no water in the world. He cut open the trunk, and water came out in a great flood that spread all over the earth. The first human couple emerged with the water. [Parrinder, pp. 46-47] Ababua (northern Congo): An old woman hoarded water and killed men who sought it. The hero Mba succeeded in killing the woman. Upon her death, the water flowed in such quantities that it flooded everything. Mba was washed away and landed in the top of a tree. [Kelsen, p. 136] Kikuyu (Kenya): A beautiful but mysterious woman agreed to marry a man on the condition that he never ask about her family. He agreed, and they lived happily together until it was time for their oldest son's circumcision, and the man asked his wife why her family couldn't attend the ceremony. With that, the wife bounced into the air and made a hole seven miles deep when she landed. She called upon her ancestors, who came as spirits from Mt. Kenya. The spirits raised a thunder and hailstorm as they came. They brought food, goats, cattle, and beer with them and, while the people took shelter in caves, flooded the countryside with beer, turning it into a lake. When the spirits left, they took the couple and their children with them into Mt. Kenya. [Abrahams, pp. 336-338] Bakongo (west Zaire): An old lady, weary and covered with sores, arrived in a town called Sonanzenzi and sought hospitality, which was denied her at all homes but the last she came to. When she was well and ready to depart, she told her friends to pack up and leave with her, as the place was accursed and would be destroyed by Nzambi. The night after they had left, heavy rains came and turned the valley into a lake, drowning all the inhabitants of the town. The sticks of the houses can still be seen deep in the lake. [Feldmann, p. 50; Kelsen, p. 137] Bachokwe? (southern Zaire): A chieftainess named Moena Monenga sought food and shelter in a village. She was refused, and when she reproached the villagers for their selfishness, they said, in effect, "What can you do about it"? So she began a slow incantation, and on the last long note, the whole village sank into the ground, and water flowed into the depression, forming what is now Lake Dilolo. When the village's chieftain returned from the hunt and saw what had happened to his family, he drowned himself in the lake. [Vitaliano, pp. 164-165; Kelsen, p. 136] Lower Congo: The sun once met the moon and threw mud at it, making it dimmer. There was a flood when this happened. Men put their milk stick behind them and were turned into monkeys. The present race of men is a recent creation. [Fauconnet, p. 481; Kelsen, p. 136]
Basonge: Several animals wooed Ngolle Kakesse, granddaughter of God, but only Zebra was accepted. But Zebra broke his promise not to allow her to work. From her stretched-out legs ran water which flooded the land, and Ngolle herself drowned. [Kelsen, p. 135] Bena-Lulua (Congo River, southeast Zaire): The old water woman only gave water to him who sucks her sores. One man did so, and water flowed and drowned almost everybody. He continued his disgusting task, and the water stopped flowing. [Kelsen, p. 136] Yoruba (southwest Nigeria): A god, Ifa, tired of living on earth and went to dwell in the firmament with Obatala. Without his assistance, mankind couldn't interpret the desires of the gods, and one god, Olokun, in a fit of rage, destroyed nearly everybody in a great flood. [Kelsen, p. 135] Efik-Ibibio (Nigeria): The sun and moon are man and wife, and their best friend was flood, whom they often visited. They often invited flood to visit them, but he demurred, saying their house was too small. Sun and moon built a much larger house, and flood could no longer refuse their invitation. He arrived and asked, "Shall I come in?" and was invited in. When flood was knee-deep in the house, he asked if he should continue coming and was again invited to do so. The flood brought many relatives, including fish and sea beasts. Soon he rose to the ceiling of the house, and the sun and moon went onto the roof. The flood kept rising, submerging the house entirely, and the sun and moon made a new home in the sky. [Eliot, pp. 47-48] Ekoi (Nigeria): The first people Etim 'Ne (Old Person) and his wife Ejaw came to earth from the sky. At first, there was no water on earth, so Etim 'Ne asked the god Obassi Osaw for water, and he was given a calabash with seven clear stones. When Etim 'Ne put a stone in a small hole in the ground, water welled out and became a broad lake. Later, seven sons and seven daughters were born to the couple. After the sons and daughters married and had children of their own, Etim 'Ne gave each household a river or lake of its own. He took away the rivers of three sons who were poor hunters and didn't share their meat, but he restored them when the sons begged him to. When the grandchildren had grown and established new homes, Etim 'Ne sent for all the children and told them each to take seven stones from the streams of their parents, and to plant them at intervals to create new streams. All did so except one son who collected a basketful and emptied all his stones in one place. Waters came, covered his farm, and threatened to cover the whole earth. Everyone ran to Etim 'Ne, fleeing the flood. Etim 'Ne prayed to Obassi, who stopped the flood but let a lake remain covering the farm of the bad son. Etim 'Ne told the others the names of the rivers and streams which remained and told them to remember him as the bringer of water to the world. Two days later he died. [Courlander, pp. 267-269] Mandingo (Ivory Coast):
A charitable man gave away everything he had to the animals. His family deserted him, but when he gave his last meal to the (unrecognized) god Ouende, Ouende rewarded him with three handfuls of flour which renewed itself and produced even greater riches. Then Ouende advised him to leave the area, and sent six months of rain to destroy his selfish neighbors. The descendants of the rich man became the present human race. [Kelsen, pp. 135-136]
Asia Vogul: After seven years of drought, the Great Woman said to the Great Man that rains had come elsewhere; how should they save themselves. The Great Man counseled the other giants to make boats from cut poplars, anchor them with ropes of willow roots 500 fathoms long, and provide them with seven days of food and with pots of melted butter to grease the ropes. Those who did not make all the preparations perished when the waters came. After seven days, the waters sank. But all plants and animals had perished, even the fish. The survivors, on the brink of starvation, prayed to the great god Numi-tĂ˘rom, who recreated living things. [Gaster, pp. 9394] Samoyed (north Siberia): Seven people were saved in a boat from a flood. A terrible draught followed the flood, but the people were saved by digging a deep hole in which water formed. However, all but one young man and woman died of hunger. These two saved themselves by eating the mice which came out of the ground. The human race is descended from this couple. [Holmberg, pp. 367-368] Yenisey-Ostyak (north central Siberia): Flood waters rose for seven days. Some people and animals were saved by climbing on floating logs and rafters. A strong north wind blew for seven days and scattered the people, which is why there are now different peoples speaking different languages. [Holmberg, p. 367] Kamchadale (northeast Siberia): A flood covered the whole land in the early days of the world. A few people saved themselves on rafts made from bound-together tree trunks. They carried their property and provisions and used stones tied to straps as anchors to prevent being swept out to sea. They were left stranded on mountains when the waters receded. [Holmberg, p. 368; Gaster, p. 100] Altaic (central Asia): Tengys (Sea) was once lord over the earth. Nama, a good man, lived during his rule with three sons, Sozun-uul, Sar-uul, and Balyks. Ăœlgen commanded Nama to build an ark (kerep), but Nama's sight was failing, so he left the building to his sons. The ark was built on a mountain, and from it were hung eight 80-fathom cables with which to gauge water depth. Nama entered the ark with his family and the various animals and birds which had been driven there by the rising waters. Seven days later, the cables gave way from the earth, showing that the flood had risen 80 fathoms. Seven days later, Nama told his eldest son to open the window and look around, and the son saw only the summits of mountains. His father ordered him to look again later, and he saw only water and sky. At last the ark
stopped in a group of eight mountains. On successive days, Nama released a raven, a crow, and a rook, none of which returned. On the fourth day, he sent out a dove, which returned with a birch twig and told why the other birds hadn't returned; they had found carcasses of a deer, dog, and horse respectively, and had stayed to feed on them. In anger, Nama cursed them to behave thus to the end of the world. When Nama became very old, his wife exhorted him to kill all the men and animals he had saved so that they, transferred to the other world, would be under his power. Nama didn't know what to do. Sozun-uul, who didn't dare to oppose his mother openly, told his father a story about seeing a blue-black cow devouring a human so only the legs were visible. Nama understood the fable and cleft his wife in two with his sword. Finally, Nama went to heaven, taking with him Sozun-uul and changing him into a constellation of five stars. [Holmberg, pp. 364-365] Tuvinian (Soyot) (north of Mongolia): The giant frog (or turtle) which supported the earth moved, which caused the cosmic ocean to begin flooding the earth. An old man who had guessed something like this would happen built an iron-reinforced raft, boarded it with his family, and was saved. When the waters receded, the raft was left on a high wooded mountain, where, it is said, it remains today. After the flood, Kezer-TshingisKaira-Khan created everything around us. Among other things, he taught people how to make strong liquor. [Holmberg, p. 366] Mongolia: Hailibu, a kind and generous hunter, saved a white snake from a crane which attacked it. Next day, he met the same snake with a retinue of other snakes. The snake told him that she was the Dragon King's daughter, and the Dragon King wished to reward him. She advised Hailibu to ask for the precious stone that the Dragon King keeps in his mouth. With that stone, she told him, he could understand the language of animals, but he would turn to stone if he ever divulged its secret to anyone else. Hailibu went to the Dragon King, turned down his many other treasures, and was given the stone. Years later, Hailibu heard some birds saying that the next day the mountains would erupt and flood the land. He went back home to warn his neighbors, but they didn't believe him. To convince them, he told them how he had learned of the coming flood and told them the full story of the precious stone. When he finished his story, he turned to stone. The villagers, seeing this happen, fled. It rained all the next night, and the mountains erupted, belching forth a great flood of water. When the people returned, they found the stone which Hailibu had turned into and placed it at the top of the mountain. For generations, they have offered sacrifices to the stone in honor of Hailibu's sacrifice. [Elder & Wong, pp. 75-77] Buryat (eastern Siberia): The god Burkhan advised a man to build a great ship, and the man worked on it in the forest for many long days, keeping his intention secret from his wife by telling her he was chopping wood. The devil, Shitkur, told the wife that her husband was building a boat and that it would be ready soon. He further told her to refuse to board and, when her husband strikes her in anger, to say, "Why do you strike me, Shitkur?" Because the woman followed this advise, the devil was able to
accompany her when she boarded the boat. With the help of Burkhan, the man gathered specimens of all animals except Argalan-Zan, the Prince of animals (some say it was a mammoth), which considered itself too large to drown. The flood destroyed all animals left on earth, including the Prince of animals, whose bones can still be found. Once on the boat, the devil changed himself into a mouse and began gnawing holes in the hull, until Burkhan created a cat to catch it. [Holmberg, pp. 361-362] Sagaiye (eastern Siberia): God told Noj to build a ship. The devil tempted his wife to find out what he was building in the forest. When the devil found out, he destroyed by night what Noj built by day, so the boat was not completed when the flood came. God was forced to send down an iron vessel in which Noj, his wife and family, and all kinds of animals were saved. [Holmberg, p. 362] Russian: To find out why Noah was building an ark, the devil told Noah's wife to prepare a strong drink. Noah, drunk from this drink, told the secret God entrusted him with. The devil hindered Noah's work, and when the ship was finished, sneaked into it in the company of the wife, who had tempted her husband into saying the devil's name. Once in the ark, he assumed the form of a mouse and gnawed holes in the bottom of the ark. [Holmberg, p. 363] Hindu: Manu, the first human, found a small fish in his washwater. The fish begged protection from the larger fishes, in return for which it would save Manu. Manu kept the fish safe, transferring it to larger and larger reservoirs as it grew, eventually taking it to the ocean. The fish warned Manu of a coming deluge and told him to build a ship. When the flood rose, the fish came, and Manu tied the craft to its horn. The fish led him to a northern mountain and told Manu to tie the ship's rope to a tree to prevent it from drifting. Manu, alone of all creatures, survived. He made offerings of clarified butter, sour milk, whey, and curds. From these, a woman arose, calling herself Manu's daughter. Whatever blessings he invoked through her were granted him. Through her, he generated this race. [Gaster, pp. 94-95; Kelsen, p. 128; Brinton, pp. 227-228] The great sage Manu, son of Vivasvat, practiced austere fervor. He stood on one leg with upraised arm, looking down unblinkingly, for 10,000 years. While so engaged on the banks of the Chirini, a fish came to him and asked to be saved from larger fish. Manu took the fish to a jar and, as the fish grew, from thence to a large pond, then to the river Ganga, then to the ocean. Though large, the fish was pleasant and easy to carry. Upon being released into the ocean, the fish told Manu that soon all terrestrial objects would be dissolved in the time of the purification. It told him to build a strong ship with a cable attached and to embark with the seven sages (rishis) and certain seeds, and to then watch for the fish, since the waters could not be crossed without it. Manu embarked as enjoined and thought on the fish. The fish, knowing his desire, came, and Manu fastened the ship's cable to its horn. The fish dragged the ship through roiling waters for many years, at last bringing it to the highest peak of Himavat, which is still known as Naubandhana ("the Binding of the Ship"). The fish then revealed itself as
Parjapati Brahma and said Manu shall create all living things and all things moving and fixed. Manu performed a great act of austere fervor to clear his uncertainty and then began calling things into existence. [Frazer, pp. 185-187] The heroic king Manu, son of the Sun, practiced austere fervor in Malaya and attained transcendent union with the Deity. After a million years, Brahma bestowed on Manu a boon and asked him to choose it. Manu asked for the power to preserve all existing things upon the dissolution of the universe. Later, while offering oblations in his hermitage, a carp fell in his hands, which Manu preserved. The fish grew and cried to Manu to preserve it, and Manu moved it to progressively larger vessels, eventually moving it to the river Ganga and then to the ocean. When it filled the ocean, Manu recognized it as the god Janardana, or Brahma. It told Manu that the end of the yuga was approaching, and soon all would be covered with water. He was to preserve all creatures and plants aboard a ship which had been prepared. It said that a hundred years of drought and famine would begin this day, which would be followed by fires from the sun and from underground that would consume the earth and the ether, destroying this world, the gods, and the planets. Seven clouds from the steam of the fire will inundate the earth, and the three worlds will be reduced to one ocean. Manu's ship alone will remain, fastened by a rope to the great fish's horn. Having announced all this, the great being vanished. The deluge occurred as stated; Janardana appeared in the form of a horned fish, and the serpent Ananta came in the form of a rope. Manu, by contemplation, drew all creatures towards him and stowed them in the ship and, after making obeisance to Janardana, attached the ship to the fish's horn with the serpent-rope. [Frazer, pp. 188-190] At the end of the past kalpa, the demon Hayagriva stole the sacred books from Brahma, and the whole human race became corrupt except the seven Nishis, and especially Satyavrata, the prince of a maritime region. One day when he was bathing in a river, he was visited by a fish which craved protection and which he transferred to successively larger vessels as it grew. At last Satyavrata recognized it as the god Vishnu, "The Lord of the Universe." Vishnu told him that in seven days all the corrupt creatures will be destroyed by a deluge, but Satyavrata would be saved in a large vessel. He was told to take aboard the miraculous vessel all kinds of medicinal herbs, food esculant grains, the seven Nishis and their wives, and pairs of brute animals. After seven days, the oceans began to overflow the coasts and constant rain began flooding the earth. A large vessel floated in on the rising waters, and Satyavrata and the Nishis entered with their wives and cargo. During the deluge, Vishnu preserved the ark by again taking the form of a giant fish and tying the ark to himself with a huge sea serpent. When the waters subsided, he slew the demon who had stolen the holy books and communicated their contents to Satyavrata. [H. Miller, pp. 289-290; Howey, pp. 389-390; Frazer, pp. 191-193] One windy day, the sea flooded the port city of Dwaravati. All its occupants perished except Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, and his brother Balarama, who were walking in the forests of Raivataka Hill. Krishna left his brother alone. Sesha, the serpent who supports the world, withdrew his energy from Balarama; in a jet of light, Balarama's spirit entered the sea, and his body fell over. Krishna decided
that tomorrow he would destroy the world for all its evils, and he went to sleep. Jara the hunter passed by, mistook Krishna's foot for the face of a stag, and shot it. The wound to Krishna's foot was slight, but Jara found Krishna dead. He had saffron robes, four arms, and a jewel on his breast. The waters still rose and soon lapped at Jara's feet. Jara felt ashamed but helpless; he left deciding never to speak of the incident. [Buck, pp. 408-409] Bhil (central India): Out of gratitude for the dhobi feeding it, a fish told a dhobi (a pious man) that a great deluge was coming. The man prepared a large box in which he embarked with his sister and a cock. After the flood, a messenger of Rama sent to find the state of affairs discovered the box by the cock's crowing. Rama had the box brought to him and questioned the man. Facing north, east, and west, the man swore that the woman was his sister; facing south, the man said she was his wife. Told that the fish gave the warning, Rama had the fish's tongue removed, and fish have been tongueless since. Rama ordered the man to repopulate the world, so he married his sister, and they had seven daughters and seven sons. The firstborn received a horse as a gift from Rama, but, being unable to ride, he instead went into the forest to cut wood, and so his descendants have been woodcutters to this day. [Gaster, pp. 95-96] Kamar (Raipur District, Central India): A boy and girl were born to the first man and woman. God sent a deluge to destroy a jackal which had angered him. The man and woman heard it coming, so they shut their children in a hollow piece of wood with provisions to last until the flood subsides. The deluge came, and everything on earth was drowned. After twelve years, God created two birds and sent them to see if the jackal had been drowned. They saw nothing but a floating log and, landing on it, heard the children inside, who were saying to each other that they had only three days of provisions left. The birds told God, who caused the flood to subside, took the children from the log, and heard their story. In due time they were married. God gave each of their children the name of a different caste, and all people are descended from them. [Gaster, p. 96] Assam (northeastern India): A flood once covered the whole world and drowned everyone except for one couple, who climbed up a tree on the highest peak of the Leng hill. In the morning, they discovered that they had been changed into a tiger and tigress. Seeing the sad state of the world, Pathian, the creator, sent a man and a woman from a cave on the hill. But as they emerged from the cave, they were terrified by the sight of the tigers. They prayed to the Creator for strength and killed the beasts. After that, they lived happily and repopulated the world. [Gaster, p. 97] Tamil (southern India): Half of the land mass Kumari Kandam, which was south of India, sank in a great flood, destroying the first Tamil Sangam (literary academy). The people moved to the other half and established the second Tamil Sangam there, but the rest of Kumari too sank beneath the sea. The lone survivor was a Tamil prince named Thirumaaran, who managed to rescue some Tamil literary classics and swim with
them to present-day Tamil Nadu. [Sundar Narayan, personal communication, citing Appadurai; see also Adigal, p. 70 (11:20-21)] Lepcha (Sikkim): A couple escaped a great flood on the top of a mountain called Tendong, near Darjeeling. [Gaster, p. 96] Tibet: Tibet was almost totally inundated, until the god Gya took compassion on the survivors, drew off the waters through Bengal, and sent teachers to civilize the people, who until then had been little better than monkeys. Those people repopulated the land. [Gaster, p. 97] Singpho (Assam): Mankind was once destroyed because they had neglected the proper sacrifices as the slaughter of buffaloes and pigs. Two men, Khun litang and Chu liyang, survived with their wives and, dwelling on Singrabhum hill, became humanity's ancestors. [Gaster, p. 97] Lushai (Assam): The king of the water demons fell in love with the woman Ngai-ti (Loved One). She rejected him and ran away. He pursued and surrounded the whole human race with water on the hill Phun-lu-buk, said to be in the far northeast. Threatended by waters which continued to rise, the people threw Ngai-ti into the flood, which then receded. The receding water carved great valleys; until then, the earth had been level. [Gaster, p. 97] Lisu (northwest Yunnan, China, and neighboring areas): After death came into the world as a result of a macaque's curse, sky and earth longed for human souls and bones. That is how the flood began. An orphaned brother and sister lived in squalor in a village. A pair of golden birds flew down to them one day, warned them that a huge wave would flood the earth, and told them to take shelter in a gourd and not to come out until they heard the birds again. The two children warned their neighbors, but the people didn't believe them. The children sawed off the top of a gourd and went inside. For ninety-nine days, there was no wind or rain, and the earth became parched. Then torrents of rain fell, and the resulting flood washed everything away. The brother and sister occasionally could hear the gourd bump against the bottom of heaven. After long waiting, they heard the birds calling, left the gourd, and found they had landed atop a mountain, and the flood had receded. But now there were nine suns and seven moons in the sky, and they scorched the earth during the day. The two golden birds returned with a golden hammer and silver tongs and instructed the children how to use them to get the dragon king's bow and arrows. Brother and sister went to the dragon pond and struck the reef-home of the dragon king with the hammer. This raised such a racket that the dragon king sent his servants (various fish) to investigate. The children grabbed the fish with the tongs and threw them on the bank. At last, the dragon king himself came to investigate and had to give his bow and arrows when he was likewise caught. With these, brother and sister shot down all but the brightest sun and moon. Brother and sister then went in search of other people, exploring north and south respectively. They found nobody else, and the
golden birds appeared again and urged them to marry. They refused, but the birds told them it was the will of heaven. After divinations in the form of several improbable events (tortoise shells landing a certain way, a broken millstone came together, and the brother shooting an arrow through a needle's eye--all happening three times), they consented. They had six sons and six daughters which traveled different directions and became the ancestors of different races. [L. Miller, pp. 7884] Lolo (southwestern China): In primeval times, men were wicked. The patriarch Tse-gu-dzih sent a messenger down to earth, asking for some flesh and blood from a mortal. Only one man, Dumu, complied. In wrath, Tse-gu-dzih locked the rain-gates, and the waters mounted to the sky. Du-mu was saved in a log hollowed out of a Pieris tree, together with his four sons and otters, wild ducks, and lampreys. The civilized peoples who can write are descended from the sons; the ignorant races are descendants of wooden figures whom Du-mu constructed after the deluge. [Gaster, pp. 99-100] Jino (southern Yunnan, China, near Mekong R.): From the time of creation, people's lives were happy and peaceful, but one year a great flood came. The parents of Mahei and Maniu, twin brother and sister, felled a big tree, hollowed it out, and covered both ends with cowhide. They attached brass bells to the outside, and inside they put grain and seed, the two children, and a knife and cake of beeswax. They instructed the children not to come out until the flood had gone down. The flood came, and the children floated for an undeterminable period. Mahei got impatient and cut a small hole with the knife. He saw muddy waves surging and dead bodies everywhere, and he closed the hole with wax. Later, Maniu cut a hole and saw nothing but water; she likewise filled the hole. Finally, they heard the bells ringing, indicating they had touched ground, and they left the drum. They were the only survivors. When they got old, they realized that there would be no people left if they died. Mahei suggested marriage, but his sister was ashamed to marry her brother. Mahei suggested she consult the magic tree. Maniu went there, but Mahei took a shortcut and hid behind the tree. Disguising his voice, he answered Maniu that she should marry her brother. They did so, but by then they were too old to have children. The sole gourd seed they had carried in the wooden drum had grown profusely, and although most of the fruits dried and rotted, one stayed ripe. They had hung it in their shed. One day, they heard faint voices coming from the gourd. They heated their fire tongs red hot to burn a hole in the gourd, but each time they tried, a voice said "Don't burn me!" Finally, one voice, calling herself Grandma Apierer, said to burn her or none could get out. They burnt a hole in the navel on the gourd's bottom. First out was Apo, ancestor of the Konge people; his skin was darkened by the soot around the hole. The next out, in order, were Han, Dai, and last of all Jino (which literally means "last squeeze"); they became ancestors of their people. Since then, rice offerings have been made to Apierer, who gave her life so that the Jino might live. [L. Miller, pp. 68-73] Karen (Burma):
Two brothers survived a world-wide deluge on a raft. The waters rose until they reached to heaven. A mango tree grew from the celestial vault, and the younger brother climbed up to eat its fruit. But the flood suddenly subsided, stranding him there. (The story breaks off here.) [Frazer, p. 208] Chingpaw (Upper Burma): When the deluge came, Pawpaw Nan-chaung and his sister Chang-hko saved themselves in a large boat. They took with them nine cocks and nine needles. When the storm and rain had passed, they each day threw out one cock and one needle to see whether the waters were falling. On the ninth day, they finally heard the cock crow and the needle strike bottom. They left their boat, wandered about, and came to a cave home of two nats or elves. The elves bade them stay and make themselves useful, which they did. Soon the sister gave birth, and the old elfin woman minded the baby while its parents were away at work. The old woman, who was a witch, disliked the infant's squalling, and one day took it to a place where nine roads met, cut it to pieces, and scattered its blood and body about. She carried some of the tidbits back to the cave, made it into a curry, and tricked the mother into eating it. When the mother learned this, she fled to the crossroads and cried to the Great Spirit to return her child and avenge its death. The Great Spirit told her he couldn't restore her baby, but he would make her mother of all nations of men. Then, from each road, people of different nations sprang up from the fragments of the murdered babe. [Gaster, pp. 97-98] China: The Supreme Sovereign ordered the water god Gong Gong to create a flood as punishment and warning for human misbehavior. Gong Gong extended the flood for 22 years, and people had to live in high mountain caves and in trees, fighting with wild animals for scarce resources. Unable to persuade the Supreme Sovereign to stop the flood, and told by an owl and a turkey about _Xirang_ or Growing Soil, the supernatural hero Gun stole Growing Soil from heaven to dam the waters. Before Gun was finished, however, the Supreme Sovereign sent the fire god Zhu Rong to execute him for his theft. The Growing Soil was taken back to heaven, and the floods continued. However, Gun's body didn't decay, and when it was cut apart three years later, his son Yu emerged in the form of a horned dragon. Gun's body also transformed into a dragon at that time and thenceforth lived quietly in the deeps. The Supreme Sovereign was fearful of Yu's power, so he cooperated and gave Yu the Growing Soil and the use of the dragon Ying. Yu led other gods to drive away Gong Gong, distributed the Growing Soil to remove most of the flood, and led the people to fashion rivers from Ying's tracks and thus channel the remaining floodwaters to the sea. [Walls, pp. 94-100] The goddess Nu Kua fought and defeated the chief of a neighboring tribe, driving him up a mountain. The chief, chagrined at being defeated by a woman, beat his head against the Heavenly Bamboo with the aim of wreaking vengeance on his enemies and killing himself. He knocked it down, tearing a hole in the sky. Floods poured out, inundating the world and killing everyone but Nu Kua and her army; her divinity made her and her followers safe from it. Nu Kua patched the hole with a plaster made from stones of five different colors, and the floods ceased. [Werner, p. 225; Vitaliano, p. 163]
Korea: A son was borne to a fairy and a laurel tree; the fairy returned to heaven when the boy was seven years old. One day, rains came and lasted for many months, flooding the earth with a raging sea. The laurel, in danger of falling, told his son to ride him when it came uprooted by the waves. The boy did so, floating on the tree for many days. One day a crowd of ants floated by and cried out to be saved. After asking the tree for permission, the boy gave them refuge on the branches of the laurel. Later, a group of mosquitoes flew by and also asked to be saved. Again, the boy asked the tree for permission, was granted it, and gave the mosquitoes rest. Then another boy floated by and asked to be saved. This time the tree refused permission when its son asked. The son asked twice more, and after the third time the tree said, "Do what you like," and the son rescued the other boy. At last the tree came to rest on the summit of a mountain. The insects expressed their gratitude and left. The two boys, being very hungry, went and found a house where an old woman lived with her own daughter and a foster-daughter. As everyone else in the world had perished and the subsiding waters allowed farming again, the woman decided to marry her daughters to the boys, her own going to the cleverer boy. The second boy maliciously told the woman that the other boy could quickly gather millet grains scattered on sand. The woman tested this claim, and the first boy despaired of ever succeeding, when the ants came to his aid, filling the grain bag in a few minutes. The other boy had watched, and he told the woman that the task hadn't been done by the first boy himself, so the woman still couldn't decide which daughter to marry to which boy. She decided to let the boys decide by chance, going to one room or another in total darkness. A mosquito came and told the Son of the Tree which room the old woman's daughter was in, so those two were married, and the second boy married the foster-daughter. The human race is descended from those two couples. [Zong, pp. 16-18] Young Gim's father was killed by robbers, and Gim set out to track them and get revenge. On the way, he met another bereaved boy hunting the same robbers. They became sworn brothers, but they were separated when a storm upset their ferry as they were crossing a river. Gim was rescued by another boy who had been orphaned by the same robbers. They too swore to be brothers but were separated when their ferry sank in a storm. Gim was rescued and hidden by an old woman; he was on the island of the robbers but was helpless from his injuries. One day a mysterious man came by and asked Gim to go with him. Gim lived with the man in the mountains studying magic until he was sixteen, whereupon the man told him to go and rescue the king from the robbers, and that he would meet Gim again in three years exactly. Gim set out, finding a magic horse, arms, and armor along the way, and arrived at the king's castle when it was on the point of surrender. In the enemy camp, he found a black face belching fire at the castle, a genii studying astrology, a rat whose swinging tail produced a flood which threatened the castle, and a giant who hurled flames at the King's camp. Gim fought them with his magic but was overwhelmed by their numbers. He fled with the king to an island, but the rat tried to submerge it with an even greater flood from its tail. A butterfly led Gim to a cavern in a distant mountain, where he met the first boy he had encountered. They went back to fight together, but the other
boy was killed and the island submerged, and Gim and the King retreated to a second island. Gim was led by a crow to another cavern in the mountains where he met his other friend. They returned to fight, but again the friend was killed, the island submerged, and Gim and the King had to retreat. When a third island was threatened with the flood, they took refuge on a ship. Gim's mentor then came (three years having elapsed) and with his magic called down thunderbolts which destroyed all of the enemy. Gim went to the enemy island, found his mother, and married the sister of his second friend. [Zong, pp. 62-66] The River Dedong flooded the countryside. An old man in Pyongyang, rowing about in a boat, found and rescued a deer, a snake, and a boy from the waters. He carried them to shore and released them, but the boy had lost his parents in the flood and so became the man's adopted son. One day the deer came and led the man to a buried treasure of gold and silver, and the man became rich. The fosterson became reckless with the money, and he and his father argued. The boy accused the man of theft, and the man was imprisoned. The snake came to him in his cell and bit his arm, which then swelled painfully. But then the snake returned with a small bottle. The man applied the medicine to his arm, which cured it at once. In the morning, he heard that the magistrate's wife was dying of a snakebite, so he sent word that he could cure her. This he did with the snake's ointment. He was released, and the foster-son was arrested and punished. [Zong, pp. 94-95] A foundling infant grew up incredibly fast and soon showed signs of fantastic strength. He earned the name "Iron-shoes" from the footwear he needed. He set out on a journey and met with and joined three other extraordinary men--"Nosewind", who had extraordinarily powerful breath; "Long-rake", who crumbled mountains with his rake, and "Waterfall", who made rivers by pissing. They went to an old woman's home and were invited to spend the night, but the woman locked them in, and the men realized that she and her four sons were tigers in disguise. The tigers tried to kill them by roasting the room, but Nose-wind kept it cool by his blowing. The next day, the woman challenged them to a contest of gathering pine trees while her sons stacked them. When it became clear that the four brothers ripped up the trees faster than the tigers could stack them, the woman set fire to the logs. Waterfall, though, made water which not only put out the fire, but created a flood that nearly drowned the tigers. Nose-wind blew on the water and froze it. Iron-shoes skated out and kicked the heads off the tigers, and Long-rake broke up the ice and threw it far and wide, eliminating any trace of the flood. [Zong, pp. 162-166] Munda (north-central India): Sing Bonga created man from the dust of the ground, but they soon grew wicked and lazy, would not wash, and spent all their time dancing and singing. Sing Bonga regretted creating them and resolved to destroy them by flood. He sent a stream of fire-water (Sengle-Daa) from heaven, and all people died save a brother and sister who had hidden beneath a tiril tree (hence tiril wood is black and charred today). God thought better of his deed and created the snake Lurbing to stop the fiery rain. This snake held up the showers by puffing up its soul into the shape of a rainbow. Now Mundas associate the rainbow with Lurbing destroying the rain. [Frazer, p. 196]
Santal (Bengal): When Pilchu Haram and Pilchu Budhi, the first man and woman, reached adolescence, fire-rain fell for seven days. They took refuge in a stone cave and emerged unharmed when the flood was over. Jaher-era asked them where they had been, and they replied that they had been under a rock. [Frazer, p. 197] When social distinctions were assigned to the various tribes, the Marndis were overlooked. Ambir Singh and Bir Singh, two members of that tribe from Mount Here, were incensed at this slight, and they prayed for fire from heaven to destroy the other tribes. Fire fell and devastated the country, destroying half the population. The home of Ambir Singh and Bir Singh was stone, so they escaped unhurt. Kisku Raj heard what had happened and was told that Ambir Singh and Bir Singh were responsible. He ordered them to explain themselves, and they told of their being overlooked in the distribution of distinctions. Kisku Raj told them not to act thus, and they would receive an office. They stopped the fire-rain, and the Marndi were appointed stewards over the property of kings and nobles and over all rice. [Frazer, pp. 197-198] While people were at Khojkaman, their misdeeds became so great that the creator Thakur Jiu sent a fire-rain to punish them. Only two people escaped, in a cave on Mount Haradata. [Frazer, p. 198] Ho (southwestern Bengal): The first people became incestuous and unheedful of God or their betters. Sirma Thakoor, or Sing Bonga, the creator, destroyed them, some say by water and others say by fire. He spared sixteen people. [Gaster, p. 96] Bahnar (Cochin China): A kite once quarrelled with the crab and pecked a hole in its skull (which can still be seen today). In revenge, the crab caused the sea and rivers to swell until the waters reached the sky. The only survivors were a brother and sister who took a pair of all kinds of animals with them in a huge chest. They floated for seven days and nights. Then the brother heard a cock crowing outside, sent by the spirits to signal that the flood had abated. All disembarked, birds first, then the animals, then the two people. The brother and sister did not know how they would live, for they had eaten all the rice that was stored in the chest. However, a black ant brought two grains of rice. The brother planted them, and the plain was covered with a rice crop the next morning. [Gaster, p. 98] Kammu (northern Thailand): A brother and sister tried to dig out a bamboo rat, but it told them it was digging to escape a coming flood and instructed them to seal themselves inside a drum to save themselves. They did so. Some richer people took refuge on rafts, but the rafts overturned when the waters receded, and those people died. The brother and sister made a hole, saw water, sealed the drum again, and waited longer. The second time they made a hole, they saw dry land and emerged. (In another version, they took along a needle and knew the flood was over when no water leaked in the hole they poked.) They looked far and wide for mates, but they were the only survivors. A malcoha cuckoo sang to them, "brother and sister should embrace one another." They slept together. After seven years, the child was born as a gourd. They put it behind their house and went about their work. Later,
hearing noises from the gourd, they burnt a hole in its shell, and people of the different races came out, first Rumeet, then Kammu, Thai, Westerner, and Chinese. The Rumeet are darker because they rubbed off charcoal around the hole. At first, none of those people could speak. They sat down in a row on a tree trunk, it broke, and they all cried out, and with that they were able to speak. Later, the different people all learned different ways of writing. [Lindell et. al., pp. 268278] Andaman Islands (Bay of Bengal): Some time after their creation, men grew disobedient. In anger, Puluga, the Creator, sent a flood which covered the whole land, except perhaps Saddle Peak where Puluga himself resided. Of all creatures, the only survivors were two men and two women who had the fortune to be in a canoe when the flood came. The waters sank and they landed, but they found themselves in a sad plight. Puluga recreated birds and animals for their use, but the world was still damp and without fire. The ghost of one of the peoples' friends took the form of a kingfisher and tried to steal a brand from Puluga's fire, but he accidentally dropped it on the Creator. Incensed, Puluga hurled the brand at the bird, but it missed and landed where the four flood survivors were seated. After the people had warmed themselves and had leisure to reflect, they began to murmur against the Creator and even plotted to murder him. However, the Creator warned them away from such rash action, explained that men had brought the flood on themselves by their disobedience, and that another such offense would likewise be met with punishment. That was the last time the Creator spoke with men face to face. [Gaster, pp. 104-105] Zhuang (China): Thunder God demanded half of Bubo's crops, but Bubo tricked him into taking the tops of taro and the roots of rice. Thunder God retaliated by withdrawing rain from the earth. Bubo led his people to open the copper sluice gate of the heavenly river a crack, but Thunder God closed it tight and lifted heaven higher so the people couldn't come again. Bubo went to the Dragon King to demand water of him. Dragon King refused, but he was forced to release his stream when Bubo held him tight and the people plucked out almost all his beard. By the third year, this stream dried up. Bubo climbed the sun-moon tree on Mount Bachi to heaven to fight Thunder God. Qigao, one of the thunder soldiers, told Bubo that Thunder God was determined to kill people with drought and pointed out his location. Bubo caught him and made him promise to send rain in three days, but Thunder God went back on his promise. Qigao brought world that Thunder God was grinding his axe. Bubo put a slippery surface on his roof and instructed his wife and children to stand ready with clubs and a net. Thunder God came in a rainstorm and tried to land on Bubo's house but slipped off and was captured. Bubo imprisoned Thunder God in a granary, warning his family not to give him an ax or any water, but his children, Fuyi and his sister, were enticed to give him some indigo ink, and the moisture gave Thunder God the strength to escape. The children were angry that he had tricked them, but Thunder God promised that he would repay them by saving them from the flood that he would bring in a few days. He gave them one of his teeth and told them to plant it. They did so, and it
grew into a vine with a giant gourd fruit. Fuyi and his sister scooped out the pith and entered it. Thunder God breached the dike holding back the river of heaven, and Dragon King, in revenge against Bubo's plucking his beard, released his lake water, too. The water rose over the mountains as high as heaven's ceiling. Bubo, though, rode the waves floating on an inverted umbrella. He made for the gate of heaven and attacked Thunder God, chopping off his feet. (Thunder God later replaced them with chicken feet.) Thunder God, with the help of Dragon King, rapidly made the water subside so Bubo could not reach him. Bubo and his umbrella dropped from the sky and were smashed. Bubo's heart was thrown onto the ceiling of heaven and remains there as the planet Venus. Fuyi and his sister landed safely in the soft gourd. They wandered the earth but found nobody else. They came across a turtle which said the two of them should marry. Fuyi and his sister said, "How can a brother and sister marry?" and said if the turtle can come back to life after they beat it death, they would marry. They beat it to death, whereupon it laughed and crawled away. A bamboo also told them to marry; they cut it down, and it came back to life and laughed as they left. Venus spoke to them, told them to build fires on two different mountains, and if the smoke columns joined, they could marry. They did so, the smoke columns came together, Venus laughed, and the brother and sister married. They gave birth to a fleshball. Not knowing what to do with it, they minced it up and scattered the pieces, and the pieces became men and women. Qigao became a worm, which Thunder God attacks when he comes to the surface. [L. Miller, pp. 137-150] Sui (southern Guizhou, China, along Long and Duliu rivers): Grandpa Xiang and his wife Ya lived at the food of Sun mountain, barely getting by. One day, there was a beautiful rainbow after a downpour, and Xiang followed it as he picked bamboo shoots. He saw an eagle clutch a tiny red snake. In pity for the snake, Xiang yelled and threw his basket at the eagle, which dropped the snake and flew away. Xiang saw the snake disappear in a flash of light, and a column of smoke drifted up the mountain. That night he dreamed that a golden dragon thanked him for saving the life of the dragon's daughter and told him to visit. Grandma Ya had the same dream, so they set out, with their grandchildren, across three mountain passes and up a long slope, as the dream had directed. A beautiful girl came and told them that she had gone out earlier, entranced by the rainbow, and Xiang had rescued her. She led them to an idyllic pond and invited them to settle there. They did, and they grew younger and stronger from eating the fish of the pool. After a year, Xiang went back to his village and invited the people to live up on Sun Mountain with him. They did so and lived happily for some time. But an evil man wasted fish, polluted the pond, and finally poisoned all the fish. One dying fish told Xiang to make it a corn-flour body, feed it for 81 days on dew, and make a wooden house for himself. He did so, and all the people except the evil man made wooden houses. After 81 days, a fierce gale came, while the sky darkened and lightning flashed. The fish shook itself and turned into a girl and then into the red snake, which flew off to join the golden dragon Xiang had seen in his dreams. It told him to take his things into his wooden house and stay there. Pelting rain then fell from the sky, and soon there was a vast flood. The evil man was helpless in his stone house, but the wooden houses of the others floated.
The golden dragon shook his body, and the upper half of Sun Mountain erupted into the sky. The body of the evil man was buried by the falling stones. The others floated peacefully down the mountain and carved a giant stone fish where they settled. This statue and the lower part of Sun Mountain can be seen near the town of Shuilong. [L. Miller, pp. 107-112] Shan (Burma): Long ago, the middle world, of many worlds beneath the sky, had no race of kings (the Shan). Animals emerged from bamboos which cracked open and went to live in deep forests. Hpi-pok and Hpi-mot came from heaven to Mรถng-hi on the Cambodia river and became the ancestors of the Shan. But a time came when they offered no sacrifices to their gods. Ling-lawn, the storm god, sent large cranes to devour the people, but there were too many people to eat all of them. He sent lions, but they could not eat all of the people either. He send snakes, but the people attacked and killed them. A great drought came for the first four months of the new year, and many people died of thirst and famine. But the storm-god had not finished his battle. Sitting in his palace beneath a beautiful umbrella, he called his counsellors. Kaw-hpa, Hseng-kio, old Lao-hki, Tai-long, Bak-long, the smooth-talker Ya-hseng-hpa, and others came and bowed down to worship. Speaking in the language of men (Shan), they decided to destroy the human race. They sent for Hkang-hkak, god of streams and ponds, of alligators and water animals, and bade him descend with the clouds and report to the distinguished sage Lip-long. Lip-long had seen ill omens while auguring with chicken bones and knew a calamity was coming, so he was not surprised to hear the water-god tell him that Ling-lawn, the storm god, would soon flood the earth and destroy everything on it. Hkang-hkak told the sage to build a strong raft and take a cow on it, but not to warn anyone else, not even his wife or children. Lip-long sorrowfully bent to his task while even his family mocked his seemingly futile work. Fearing the gods, he heeded the order not to warn anyone. A few days after he finished the raft, the flood came, rushing violently. Only Lip-long and the cow survived on the waters. He grieved to see the bodies of his family. Thus the race of Shans perished. Their spirits went to the mansions of heaven, were refreshed by a meal of cold crab, and found the spirit land a festive and charming place. Meanwhile, the stench of corpses filled the earth. Ling-lawn sent serpents to devour them, but there were too many to eat. In anger he wanted to destroy the snakes, but they escaped into a cave. He sent 999,000 tigers, but they couldn't eat all the corpses, either. More angry now, he hurled thunderbolts at the tigers, but they too escaped into caves. Then he sent Hsen-htam and Hpa-hpai, the gods of fire, who descended on their horses to one of only three elevations of land. They sent a great conflagration of fire over the entire earth. When he saw the fire coming, Lip-long killed the cow with a stick, cut it open with his sword, and crawled in its belly. There he found a gourd seed. The fire swept over the cow, and Lip-long came out. He asked Hkang-hkak what to do, and the water god told him to plant the gourd seed on a level plot of ground. He did so. One gourd vine grew up a mountain and was scorched by the sun. One vine ran downward and rotted and died from soaking in the water from the flood. A third vine twined around bushes and trees. Ling-lawn sent his gardener to care for it, and it bore great fruit. Then
Ling-lawn sent Sao-pang, god of the clear sky, to prepare the earth for humans. Sao-pang dried what remained of the flood with waves of heat. Ling-lawn broke open a gourd with a thunderbolt, and people emerged from it to till the land. Another bolt broke open a gourd. The Shans therein asked god what to do, and he told them to go and rule many lands. Other gourds were broken open to release all kinds of animals, rivers, and plants. [Frazer, pp. 199-203] In another version of this legend, the survivors were the most righteous seven men and seven women, who crawled into the dry shell of a giant gourd and survived the flood floating in it. They emerged to replenish the drowned earth. [Frazer, pp. 203-204] Tsuwo (Formosa interior): When the Tsuwo ancestors were dispersed, a great flood came, and everyone was forced to flee to the top of Mount Niitaka-yama. In their haste, none had brought fire with them, and the people suffered cold. Someone saw a sparkle on the top of a neighboring mountain and asked who would go to bring fire back. A goat volunteered, swam to the other mountain, and brought back a burning cord between its horns, but it tired from the swim, and it drooped its head and extinguished the fire before it made it back to land. The people next sent out a taoron (?), which succeeded in the quest; the people gathered around the animal and patted it, which is why it has such shiny skin and small body today. The people were unsure how to lower the water. A wild pig offered to swim off and break a bank lower in the river, and it asked the people to care for its children if it drowned. The people agreed, the pig swam off, and soon the flood water sank. The people decided to make a new river, with the help of the animals, to prevent another great flood. A snake guided the people and hollowed out the bed of the stream. Thousands of birds paved the channel with pebbles. Other animals worked to fashion the river banks and valleys. Only the eagle didn't help, and in punishment, it is not allowed to drink from the river. The goddess Hipararasa came from the south and formed plains by crushing the mountains. At the central ranges, though, an angry bear protecting its homeland confronted her and bit and wounded her child, so the goddess desisted. The land hardened, so the mountains still stand today. The survivors from Mount Niitaka-yama, in groups, wandered their various ways. The idea of headhunting originated while they lived on that mountain. [Frazer, pp. 229-232] Bunun (Formosa interior): A heavy rain fell for many days, and a giant snake lay across the river, blocking it so that the whole land flooded. Many people drowned, and the few survivors fled to the highest mountain, but they still feared as the waters kept rising. A crab appeared and cut through the body of the snake, and the flood subsided. [Frazer, p. 232] A giant crab caught and tried to eat a large snake, but the snake managed to escape into the ocean. Immediately a great flood covered the world. The ancestors of the Bunun escaped to Mount Usabeya (Niitaka-yama) and Mount Shinkan, where they lived by hunting until the waters receded. They returned to find their fields washed away, but a stalk of millet remained. They planted its seeds and
subsisted on its produce. Before the flood, the land had been quite flat; many mountains and valleys were formed by it. [Frazer, pp. 232-233] Ami (eastern Taiwan): The god Kakumodan Sappatorroku and the goddess Budaihabu descended to a place called Taurayan with the boy Sura, the girl Nakao, a pig and a chicken. One day, two other gods, Kabitt and Aka, while hunting nearby, saw the pig and chicken and coveted them. They asked Kakumodan for them, but as they had nothing to trade, they were refused. This angered them, and they plotted to kill Kakumodan. They called upon the four sea gods, Mahahan, Mariyaru, Marimokoshi, and Kosomatora, who consented to help. They told Kabitt and Aka that in five days, when the moon was full, the sea will make a booming sound, and they should escape to a mountain where there are stars. On the fifth day, the two gods fled to a mountain, and when they reached the summit, the sea began booming and rising. Kakumodan's house was flooded, but he and his wife escaped by climbing a ladder to the sky. In their haste, though, they forgot the children, and upon reaching safety, they futilely called for them. Sura and Nakao, however, had climbed into a wooden mortar and had floated to safety to the Ragasan mountain. The brother and sister, now alone in the world, feared to offend the ancestral gods, but of necessity they became man and wife. To mitigate the wrath of the gods, they contacted each other as little as possible and interposed a mat between them in their bed. They had three sons and two daughters. During Nakao's first pregnancy, the first grain of millet was found in her ear, and in time the two learned the proper ritual for cultivating that grain. [Frazer, pp. 226-227] In an earthquake, mountains tumbled down, the earth gaped, and hot subterranean waters gushed out and flooded the whole earth. Two sisters and a brother escaped in a wooden mortar and floated south to Rarauran. They landed and climbed Mount Kaburugan to view the countryside; then the sisters searched south and the brother searched west for good land. Finding none, they returned and ascended to the mountain's summit again. But the older sister tired half way up, and when the other two returned for her, they found she had turned into a rock. The brother and sister wanted to return to their homeland, but the mortar was rotten and no longer sea-worthy. Wandering away on foot, they saw smoke in the distance and, fearing another eruption and flood, hastened away. But the sister collapsed in exhaustion, and they had to remain. Catastrophe ceased to threaten, and they decided to settle there. They were uncertain whether it would be proper for them to marry, so they asked the sun as it rose the next morning. The sun answered immediately that they may marry. A few months later, the wife conceived, but she delivered only two abortions. They threw these in the river. One went straight down and became the ancestor of fish, and the other swam across and gave rise to crabs. Next morning, the brother asked the moon why their offspring should be fish and crabs. The moon answered that marriage between brother and sister is strictly prohibited, but as they can find no other mates, they must place a mat between them in their marriage bed. They heeded this advice, and the wife soon gave birth to a stone. They were again distraught and were about to throw the stone in the river, but the moon told them they must care for it nevertheless. Later, they settled in a rich land called Arapanai, and in time the brother died. Pitying the woman's loneliness, the
moon told her that she would soon have companions. Just five days later, the stone swelled up and four children came from it, some shod and some barefoot. Those with shoes were probably the ancestors of the Chinese. [Frazer, pp. 227229] A brother and sister escaped a great deluge in a wooden mortar. They landed on a high mountain, married, had children, and founded the village of Popkok in a hollow of the hills, where they thought themselves safe from another deluge. [Gaster, p. 104] Benua-Jakun (Malay Peninsula): The ground we stand on is merely a skin covering an abyss of water. Long ago, Pirman, the deity, broke up this skin, flooding and destroying the world. However, Pirman had created a man and woman and placed them in a completely closed ship of pulai wood. When at last this ship came to rest, the couple nibbled their way out through its side, and they saw land stretching to the horizon in all directions. The sun had not yet been created, so it was dark; when it grew light, they saw seven small rhododendron shrubs and seven clumps of sambau grass. The couple bemoaned their lack of children, but in time the woman conceived in the calves of her legs, a male child coming from the right calf and a female from the left. That is why offspring from the same womb may not marry. All mankind are descended from that first pair. [Gaster, p. 99] Kelantan (Malay Peninsula): One day a feast was made for a circumcision, during which all manner of beasts were pitted to fight one another. The last fight was between dogs and cats. During this fight, a great flood came down from the mountains, drowning everyone except two or three menials who had been sent to the hills to gather firewood. Then the sun, moon, and stars were extinguished. When light returned, there was no land, and all the abodes of men had been overwhelmed. [Gaster, p. 99] Ifugao (Philippines): A great drought dried up all the rivers. The old men suggested digging in a river bed to find the soul of the river. After three days of digging, a great spring gushed forth rapidly enough to kill many of the diggers. While the Ifugaos celebrated the waters, a storm came, the river kept rising, and the elders advised people to run for the mountains, as the river gods were angry. Only two people made it to safety, a brother and sister, Wigan and Bugan, on the separate mountains Amuyao and Kalawitan. Both had enough food on the summits, but only Bugan had fire. After six months, the waters receded, creating the rugged terrain that exists today. Wigan traveled to his sister on Mt. Kalawitan, and they settled in the valley. The sister later found herself with child and ran away in shame, following the course of the river. The god Maknongan, appearing as an old man, assured her that her shame had no foundation, since she and her brother would repopulate the world. [Demetrio, p. 262; Dixon, pp. 179-180] Only a brother and sister named Wigam and Bugan survived a primeval flood, on Mount Amuyas. [Gaster, p. 104] Kiangan Ifugao:
Wigan's first son Kabigat went from Hudog (the Sky World) to Earth World to hunt with his dogs, but the earth was then entirely flat, causing no echoes by which he could hear his dogs barking. He mused a while, went to the Sky World, and came back with a large cloth with which he closed the exit of the rivers to the sea. He returned to Hudog and told Bongabong what he had done. Bongabong had Cloud and Fog go to the house of Baiyuhibi, and Baiyuhibi brought together his sons and bade them rain for three days, stopping finally when Bongabong commanded. Wigan told Kabigat to remove the stopper. When he did so, the waters which covered the earth formed mountains and valleys as they rushed out. Bongabong called on Mumba'an to dry the earth. [Dixon, pp. 178-179] Atรก (Philippines): Water covered the whole earth, and all the Atรกs drowned except two men and a woman who were carried far to sea. They would have perished, but a great eagle offered to carry them on its back to their homes. One man refused, but the other two people accepted and returned to Mapula. [Gaster, pp. 103-104] Mandaya (Philippines): A great flood once drowned all the world's inhabitants except one pregnant woman. She prayed that her child would be a boy, and it was. When he, Uacatan, grew up, he wed his mother, and all Mandayas are descended from them. [Frazer, p. 225] Tinguian (Luzon, Philippines): When the god Kaboniyan sent a flood to cover the earth, fire hid itself deep inside bamboo, stone, and iron. Men later learned how to retrieve it from these places. [Cole, p. 189; Eliot, pp. 223-224] Batak (Sumatra): The earth once rested on the three horns of the giant snake Naga Padoha, who grew tired of its burden and shook it off into the sea. The god Batara Guru, to recover it from the abyss, sent his daughter Puti-orla-bulan (who had requested the mission). She came down on a white owl and accompanied by a dog, but they found no place to rest. Batara Guru let Mount Bakarra fall from heaven for her abode; from it, the rest of the habitable earth gradually arose. Puti-orla-bulan had three sons and three daughters from whom the human race is descended. Later, the earth was replaced onto the head of the snake, and there has been a constant struggle between the snake, wanting to be free of its burden, and the deity. Batara Guru sent his son Layang-layang-mandi ("Diving Swallow") to bind Naga Padoha's hands and feet, but the serpent still struggles and causes earthquakes, and it will again throw the earth into the sea when it breaks its fetters. When this happens, men will either be transported to heaven or cast into a flaming cauldron; the sun will approach close to our world, and its flame will join with the cauldron's fire to consume the material universe. [Frazer, pp. 217-218; Kelsen, p. 133] Debata, the Creator, sent a flood to destroy every living thing when the earth grew old and dirty. The last pair of humans took refuge on the highest mountain, and the flood had already reached their knees, when Debata repented his decision to destroy mankind. He tied a clod of earth to a thread and lowered it. The last pair
stepped onto it and were saved. As the couple and their descendants multiplied, the clod increased in size, becoming the earth we inhabit today. [Gaster, p. 100] Nias (an island west of Sumatra): The mountains quarrelled over which of them was the highest. In vexation, their great ancestor Baluga Luomewona caused the oceans to rise by throwing into a sea a comb which became a giant crab which stopped up the ocean's outlet sluices. The water rose to cover all but the tops of two or three mountains. The people who had escaped to these mountains with their cattle survived. [Kelsen, p. 133, Gaster, p. 100; Dixon, pp. 181-182] Engano (another island west of Sumatra): The tide rose so high it overflowed the island. All drowned except one woman, who survived through the fortunate chance that her hair got caught in a thorny tree as she drifted along on the tide. When the flood sank, she came down from the tree and found herself alone. Hungry, she searched for food and finding none inland, went to the beach hoping to catch a fish. She found a fish, but it hid in one of the corpses left by the flood. She picked up stone and hit the corpse, but the fish escaped and headed inland. She followed, but soon met a living man. The man told her that he had to returned to life as a consequence of somebody knocking on his dead body. The woman told him her story, and they returned to the beach and restored the population by knocking on the drowned people. [Gaster, pp. 100-101] Dusun (British North Borneo): Some men of Kampong Tudu, looking for wood for a fence, came upon what seemed to be a great tree trunk lying on the ground. They began to cut it, but blood came from the cuts, and, following it to one end, they found it was a giant snake. They staked it to the ground, killed it, and skinned it. They went home, feasted on its flesh, and made a great drum from the skin, but the drum produced no sound. In the middle of the night, the drum began sounding "Duk Duk Kagu" on its own. Then a great hurricane came and swept away all the houses, with the people in them. Some were carried out to sea; others settled in various places and gave rise to present villages. [Dixon, p. 181] Dyak (Borneo): Some women gathered bamboo shoots, sat on a log, and began paring them. But they noticed the trunk exuded drops of blood with each cut of their knives. Some men came by and saw that the trunk was actually a giant, torporous boa constrictor. They killed it, cut it up, and took it home to eat. While they were frying the pieces, strange noises came from the frying pan and a torrential rain began. The rain continued until only the highest hill remained above water. Only a woman, dog, rat, and a few small creature survived. The woman noticed that the dog had found shelter from the rain under a creeper warmed by the rubbing between the creeper and a tree in the wind. She took the hint, rubbed the creeper against a piece of wood, and produced fire for the first time. The woman took the fire-drill for her mate and gave birth to a son called Simpang-impang. He was only half a man, with only one arm, one leg, etc. Some time later, the Spirit of the Wind carried off some rice which Simpang-impang had spread out to dry. Simpang-impang demanded compensation. The Spirit of the Wind refused but
was vanquished in a series of contests and restored Simpang-impang's missing parts. [Gaster, pp. 101-102] When the flood came, a man named Trow made a boat from a large wooden mortar previously used for pounding rice. He took with him his wife, a dog, pig, cat, fowl, and other animals, and rode out the flood. Afterwards, to repeople the earth, Trow fashioned additional wives out of a log, stone, and anything else handy. Soon he had a large family which became the ancestors of the various Dyak tribes. [Gaster, p. 102] Once, when much of a ripe harvest was found despoiled, a watch was kept, and a great serpent was seen to lower itself from the sky and feed on the rice. People rushed up and cut off its head, and one of the men fed on some of the flesh the following morning. No sooner had he done so, however, when a terrible storm arose, causing a flood which killed all but the few who escaped to the highest hills. [Dixon, pp. 180-181] Ot-Danom (Dutch Borneo): A great deluge once drowned many people. A few people survived by escaping in boats to the one mountain peak remaining above water. They dwelt there for three months until the flood subsided. [Gaster, p. 102] Toradja (central Celebes): A flood once covered everything but the summit of Mount Wawom Pebato (seashells on the hills are evidence). Only a pregnant woman and a pregnant mouse escaped in a pig's trough, paddling with a pot-ladle. After the waters had descended, the woman saw a sheaf of rice hanging from an uprooted tree which drifted ashore where she was standing. The mouse got it down for her, but demanded in recompense that mice should thereafter have the right to eat part of the harvest. The woman gave birth to a son, took him for her husband, and by him had a son and daughter who became mankind's ancestors. [Gaster, p. 102] Alfoor (Celam, between Celebes and New Guinea): As a great worldwide flood receded, the mountain Noesake emerged with its sides clothed with trees whose leaves were shaped like female genitalia. Only three people survived on the top of the mountain. The sea-eagle brought tidings of other mountains emerging from the waters, and the people went thither. By means of the remarkable leaves, they repopulated the world. [Gaster, p. 103] Rotti (southwest of Timor): In former times, the sea flooded the earth and destroyed all plants and animals; only the peak of Lakimola remained above water. A man, with his wife and children, took refuge there, but the tide kept slowly rising for some months. They prayed to the sea to return to its old bed. The sea answered, "I will do so, if you give me an animal whose hairs I cannot count." A pig, goat, dog, and hen failed this test, but when the man threw in a cat, the sea sank abashedly. An osprey appeared and sprinkled some dry earth on the waters, and the family descended to a new home. The Lord commanded that the osprey bring all kinds of seed to the man for him to cultivate. After harvests on Rotti, people still set up a sheaf of rice as an offering to Mount Lakimola. [Gaster, p. 103] Nage (Flores):
Dooy, the forefather of the Nages, was saved from a great flood in a ship. His grave occupies the center of the public square at Boa Wai, their capital, and is the center of their harvest festival. [Gaster, p. 103]
Australia Arnhem Land (northern Northern Territory): In one version of the myth of the Wawalik sisters, the sisters, with their two infant children, camped by the Mirrirmina waterhole. Some of the older sister's menstrual blood fell into the well. The rainbow serpent Yurlunggur smelled the blood and crawled out of his well. He spit some well water into the sky and hissed to call for rain. The rains came, and the well water started to rise. The women hurriedly built a house and went inside, but Yurlunggur caused them to sleep. He swallowed them and their sons. Then he stood very straight and tall, reaching as high as a cloud, and the flood waters came as high as he did. When he fell, the waters receded and there was dry ground. [Buchler, pp. 134-135] Two orphaned children were left in the care of a man called Wirili-up, who shirked the responsibility. The children, always hungry, cried so much that a ngaljod (rainbow serpent) rose from his waterhole and flooded the countryside. Wirili-up fled, but the children drowned. [Mountford, p. 74] Maung (Goulburn Islands, Arnhem Land): People dividing fish always gave the man Crow the poor quality ones. Crow cut down a big paperbark tree, which fell across a creek. Crow sat on the tree crying out, "Waag. . . Waag!" As he did, the creek grew wider and wider, dividing the island into two islands. Crow turned into a bird and flew over the people. The splash from the tree caused the water to rise, and the people, who were all on the bank of the creek, all drowned. On hearing what happened, Blanket Lizard swam towards South Goulburn Island in search of his wife, but halfway across he drowned and turned into a reef. [Berndt & Berndt, p. 40] Gunwinggu (northern Arnhem Land): The woman Gulbin traveled from the south, looking for a place to put herself as djang. At length, she killed a snake, began cooking it, and slept while it cooked. But the snake was the daughter of She who lives underground. That snake made water rise, threatening to drown the woman, and at last the Snake came up and ate her. Later the Snake vomited her bones, which became like rock. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 84-85] Two girls traveled, making places. With fires, they attracted two men to marry them. But one day the four of them killed the daughter of Ngalyod, the Rainbow Snake. The mother came looking for her child, and they saw storm and rushing water coming. They tried to escape by climbing rocks, but the water rose and drowned them. The Snake ate them, carried their bones for a long time, and vomited them out in the same place, named Malbaid. They became like rocks. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 279-280] The first people were living in what is now the middle of the sea. In ignorance, some of them knocked a maar rock, a dangerous Dreaming rock. After they went home, rain fell for a long time, and fresh water came running in search of them. In panic, the people swam around trying to get to dry land. There was no place they
could go except for the rock Aragaladi, but Aragaladi was not a real rock; Snake had made it rise up for them. Snake came looking for the people, urinating salt water. A man came from the mainland in a canoe, but he drowned in the middle of the sea. Snake came and swallowed the people and later vomited their bones. She made the place deep with sea water. Those first people became rocks. Nobody goes to Aragaladi now. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 88-89] An orphan boy was crying because the people in the community were preoccupied with a circumcision ritual and didn't feed him well. When his brother returned from hunting and saw how thin he was, he told the people, "I'm very sorry for my little brother. I'll finish all of you!" He took Rainbow eggs and broke them, and water "jumped out" and spread. The man took his brother up a hill, where he became a rock. He went further up and became a rock himself, along with his baskets. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 93-94] Some people came from north and danced the nyalaidj ceremony. While they danced, one girl climbed a pandanus palm and was calling out, and an orphan boy was crying. The people kept dancing. The crying and calling upset the place, and water came up from underneath. The people cried in fear, but they couldn't run away because the ground became soft, and the water covered them. Ngalyod the Rainbow Serpent ate them, first the people who were calling out and the orphan who was crying. The name of the place is Gaalbaraya; it is still a taboo place. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 96-97] All the honeycombs that a man cut out were no good. He went on and cut and ate a palm tree. He heard bees talking, saying "Gu-gu" ["water"]. He ran back to others and told them that he had unknowingly done wrong to a djang palm tree. They tried to burn the tree, but water came up from it. One girl ran up a hill calling out; the others climbed a manbaderi tree. The tree fell, and those in it drowned. The girl became a rock. The place is named Gudju-mandi; nobody goes there now. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 100-101] Two were traveling during the Dreamtime. One fell sick, and the Wuraal bird came up. The other heard it and said, "Maybe we're making ourselves wrong, coming into Dreaming." That night, the bird repeatedly struck the dying one with its claws, killing him. Water came up where it struck him. The other tried to outrun the rising water, but he fell in a hole, and all three went underwater and came into Dreaming. [Berndt & Berndt, p. 194] Gumaidj (Arnhem Land): When a storm came up, two sisters who were gathering shellfish swore at Namarangini, the spirit man who sang up the rain. He heard, grabbed the younger sister, and tried unsuccessfully to copulate with her while the older sister beat him with a branch. He took her to the hut at his camp, made a fire, and tried again, but he discovered there was a cycad nut grinding stone in her vagina. He removed it with her stick for beating cycad nuts, and then he copulated with her easily. When they had finished, she made herself into a fly and returned to her husband. Her husband discovered the stone was missing, and he killed her by pushing a heated stick through her vagina into her stomach. The next morning, the other sister discovered that she was dead and knew that her husband had killed her. The Fly and Sandfly women cried for their sister and beat her husband, driving him away.
He died and turned into a certain milkwood tree. When the women cried, rain fell heavily and continued falling for several weeks. They made bark rafts. A rush of water from inland washed them out to sea, to Elcho and other islands. At sea, you can still hear them crying. Women lost their grinding stones from their vagina when the flood washed them out to sea. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 287-289] Manger (Arnhem Land): Crow got into an argument with two other men because he accidentally let green ants contaminate their fish. They took back their fish, and Crow took back the goose eggs he had brought. They fought. Crow defeated them and left saying they'd fight again. Crow went to his mother's tribe. When the other two men appeared, the tribe put on a ceremony rather than quarrelling more. When everyone else had fallen asleep, Crow climbed a tree and chopped off a branch, which fell and killed the two men. Then he poured out a bag of honey which came down so heavily it flooded the area. All the people turned into birds. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 185-187] Fitzroy River area, Western Australian: During the Dreamtime flood, woramba, the Ark Gumana carrying Noah, Aborigines, and animals, drifted south and came to rest in the flood plain of Djilinbadu (about 70 km south of Noonkanbah Station, just south of the Barbwire Range and east of the Worral Range), where it can still be seen today. The white man's claim that it landed in the Middle East was a lie to keep Aborigines in subservience. [Kolig, pp. 242-245] Australian: Grumuduk, a medicine man who lived in the hills, had the power to bring rain and to make plants and animals plentiful. A plains tribe kidnapped him, wanting his power, but Grumuduk escaped and decreed that wherever he walked in the country of his enemies, salt water would rise in his footsteps. [Flood, p. 179] Mount Elliot (coastal Queensland): A great flood drowned most of the people. A few escaped to the top of the tall mountain Bibbiringda, which is inland of the northern bay of Cape Cleveland. [Frazer, p. 236] Western Australia: Long ago, two races, one white and one black, lived on opposite shores of a great river. At first they were on friendly terms, intermarrying, feasting together, etc. But the whites were more powerful and had better spears and boomerangs, so they came to feel superior and broke off relations. Some time later, it rained for several months. The river overflowed and forced the blacks to retreat into the hinterland. When the rains stopped and the waters receded, the blacks returned, to find that their neighbors had vanished under a wide sea. [Vitaliano, p. 166] Andingari (Southern Australia): Gabidji, Little Wallaby, traveled east carrying a full waterbag. Djunbunbin, Thunder or Storm man, followed him, angry because Gabidji had water. At Dagula, Djunbunbin's thunder chant grew stronger, and a deluge of rain swept away Gabidji's hut and some other Dreaming men who were with him. Their bones were found by later miners. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 42-43]
Yaul was thirsty, but his brother Marlgaru refused to let him have any water from his own full kangaroo-skin waterbag. While Marlgaru was out hunting, Yaul sought and found the bag. He jabbed it with a club, tearing it. Water poured out, drowning both brothers and forming the sea. It was spreading inland, too, but Bird Women came from the east and restrained the waters with a barrier of roots of the ngalda kurrajong tree. This is why ngalda roots contain fresh water. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 44-45] Djinta-djinta (Willy Wagtail) built a strong hut and weathered a heavy rain for many days, but at last a heavy deluge swept him and his hut into a waterhole, where he remains. [Berndt & Berndt, p. 188] Wiranggu (South Australia): Djunban, a rain-maker, was hunting kangaroo rat with his magic boomerang, but he hit his "sister" Mandjia instead and wounded her leg. She hid the boomerang in the sand so he couldn't find it. The people were on the move, so he carried Mandjia. Later, he gave her to a woman to carry so he could search for his boomerang, and eventually he found it. Some time later he taught his people how to make rain. The next day they all traveled further. Mandjia died from her injury and metamorphosed into a rock. After traveling the next day, Djunban performed the rain-making ceremony again, but he was grieving his sister and not concentrating on his task, and the rain came too heavily. He tried to warn his people, but the flood came and washed away all the people and their possessions, forming a hill of silt. Gold and bones found in that hill came from those people. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 297-300] Narrinyeri (South Australia): A man's two wives ran away from him. He pursued them to Encounter Bay, saw them at a distance, and angrily cried out for the waters to rise and drown them. A terrible flood washed over the hills and killed the two women. The waters rose so high that a man named Nepelle, who lived at Rauwoke, had to drag his canoe to the top of the hill now called Point Macleay. The dense part of the Milky Way shows his canoe floating in the sky. [Frazer, p. 236] Victoria: Bunjil, the creator, was angry with people because of the evil they did, so he caused the ocean to flood by urinating into it. All people were destroyed except those whom Bunjil loved and fixed as stars in the sky, and a man and a woman who climbed a tall tree on a mountain, and from whom the present human race is descended. [Gaster, p. 114] A man fishing in a lake caught a young bunyip, a fearsome water monster. His companions begged him to let it go lest he anger the water monsters by killing it, but he refused to listen and began carrying it away. The bunyip's mother, in a rage, caused the waters of the lake to follow the man who had taken her young. The waters rose higher and higher, covering all the country. The people fled to a high hill, but the flood rose, and when it touched their feet, they turned into black swans. [Dixon, p. 280] Lake Tyres (Victoria):
A giant frog once swallowed all the water, and no one else could get anything to drink. After many other animals failed, eel, with his remarkable contortions, made the frog laugh, releasing the water. Many were drowned in the flood. The whole of mankind would have perished if the pelican had not picked up survivors in his canoe. [Roheim, p. 156; Gaster, p. 114] Kurnai (Gippsland, Victoria): Long ago, a great flood covered the country. All drowned except a man and two or three women who took refuge on a mud island near Port Albert. Pelican came by in his canoe and went to help them. He fell in love with one of the women. He ferried the others to the mainland, but left her for last. Afraid of being alone with him, the woman dressed a log in her opossum rug so it looked like her, left it by the fire, and swam to the mainland. The pelican returned and flew into a passion when the log dressed as a woman wouldn't answer him. He kicked it, which only hurt his foot and made him angrier. He began to paint himself white so that he might fight the woman's husband. Another pelican came up when he was halfway through with these preparations, but not knowing what to make of the strange half black and half white creature, pecked him and killed him. That is why pelicans are now black and white. [Dixon, pp. 279-280; Gaster, pp. 113-114] southeast Australian: The animals, birds, and reptiles became overpopulated and held a conference to determine what to do. The kangaroo, eagle-hawk, and goanna were the chiefs of the three respective groups, and their advisors were koala, crow, and tiger-snake. They met on Blue Mountain. Tiger-snake spoke first and proposed that the animals and birds, who could travel more readily, should relocate to another country. Kangaroo rose to introduce platypus, whose family far outnumbered any others, but the meeting was then adjourned for the day. On the second day, while the conference proceeded with crow taunting koala for his inability to find a solution, the frilled lizards decided to act on their own. They possessed the knowledge of rain-making, and they spread the word to all of their family to perform the rain ceremony during the week before the new moon. Thus would they destroy the over-numerous platypus family. They did their ceremonies repeatedly, and a great storm came, flooding the land. The frilled lizards had made shelters on mountains, and some animals managed to make their way there, but nearly all life was destroyed in the great flood. When the flood ended and the sun shone again, the kangaroo called animals together to discover how the platypus family had fared. But they could not find a single living platypus. Three years later, the cormorant told emu that he had seen a platypus beak impression along a river, but never saw a platypus. Because of the flood, the platypuses had decided that the animals, birds, and reptiles were their enemies and only moved about at night. The animals organized a search party, and carpet-snake eventually found a platypus home and reported its location back to the others. Kangaroo summoned all the tribes together, even the insect tribe. Fringed lizard was ejected for doing mischief; he has turned ugly because of the hate he dwells upon. The animals and birds found they were both related to the platypus family; even the reptiles found some relationship; and everyone agreed that the platypuses were an old race. Carpet-snake went to the platypus home and invited them to the assembly. They
came and were met with great respect. Kangaroo offered platypus his choice of the daughter of any of them. Platypus learned that emu had changed its totem so that the platypus and emu families could marry. This made platypus decide it didn't want to be part of any of their families. Emu got angry, and kangaroo suggested the platypuses leave silently that night, which they did. They met bandicoot along the way, who invited the platypuses to live with them. The platypuses married the bandicoot daughters and lived happily. Water-rats got jealous and fought them but were defeated. Platypuses have tried to be seperate from the animal and bird tribes ever since, but not entirely successfully. [W. R. Smith, pp. 151-168] Maori (New Zealand): Long ago, there were a great many different tribes, and they quarrelled and made war on each other. The worship of Tane, the creator, was being neglected and his doctrines denied. Two prophets, Para-whenua-mea and Tupu-nui-a-uta, taught the true doctrine about the separation of heaven and earth, but others just mocked them, and they became angry. So they built a large raft at the source of the Tohinga River, built a house on it, and provisioned it with fern-root, sweet potatoes, and dogs. Then they prayed for abundant rain to convince men of the power of Tane. Two men named Tiu and Reti, a woman named Wai-puna-hau, and other women also boarded the raft. Tiu was the priest on the raft, and he recited the prayers and incantations for rain. It rained hard for four or five days, until Tiu prayed for the rain to stop. But though the rain stopped, the waters still rose and bore the raft down the Tohinga river and onto the sea. In the eighth month, the waters began to thin; Tiu knew this by the signs of his staff. At last they landed at Hawaiki. The earth had been much changed by the flood, and the people on the raft were the only survivors. They worshipped Tane, Rangi (Heaven), Rehua, and all the gods, each at a separate alter. After making fire by friction, they made thanks-offerings of seaweed for their rescue. Today, only the chief priest may go to those holy spots. [Gaster, pp. 110-112; Kelsen, p. 133] Two brothers-in-law of the hero Tawhaki attacked him and left him for dead. He recovered, and retired with his own warriors and their families to a high mountain, where he built a fortified village. Then he called to the gods, his ancestors, for revenge. The floods of heaven descended and killed everyone on earth. This event was called "The overwhelming of the Mataaho." [Gaster, p. 112] In another version of the story, Tawhaki, a man, put on a garment of lightning and was worshipped as a god. Once, in a fit of anger, he stamped on the floor of heaven, breaking it and releasing the celestial waters which flooded the earth. [Gaster, p. 112] In another version, the flood was caused by the copious weeping of Tawhaki's mother. [Gaster, p. 112]
Pacific Islands Kabadi (New Guinea): Lohero and his brother were angry with their neighbors, so they put a human bone into a small stream. Soon a great flood came forth, and the people had to retreat to
the highest peaks until the sea receded. Some people descended, and others made their homes on the ridges. [Gaster, p. 105; Kelsen, pp. 130-131] Valman (northern New Guinea): The wife of a very good man saw a very big fish. She called her husband, but he couldn't see it until he hid behind a banana tree and peeked through its leaves. When he finally saw it, he was horribly afraid and forbade his wife, son, and two daughters to catch and eat the fish. But other people caught the fish and, heedless of the man's warning, ate it. When the good man saw that, he hastily drove a pair of all kinds of animals into trees and climbed into a coconut tree with his family. As soon as the wicked men ate the fish, water violently burst from the ground and drowned everyone on it. As soon as the water reached the treetops, it sank rapidly, and the good man and his family came down and laid out new plantations. [Gaster, p. 105] Mamberao River (Irian Jaya): A rising river caused a flood which overwhelmed Mount Vanessa. Only a man and his wife, a pig, a cassowary, a kangaroo, and a pigeon escaped. These became the ancestors of humans and other species. The bones of the drowned animals can still be found on Mount Vanessa. [Gaster, pp. 105-106] Samo-Kubo (western Papua New Guinea): People made the lizards angry first by making a lot of noise and then by teasing them. Finally, the people incurred the wrath of the Lizard Man, who caused it to rain for days, and the water rose. People climbed to the highest mountain, but still the rain came and the water rose higher. People were drowning. Two brothers built a small raft and climbed aboard. Others tried to climb on with them, but the raft held only two. The two brothers floated off, and only they survived the flood. [LaHaye & Morris, p. 231] Papua New Guinea: A flood covered the whole world except for the summit of Mount Tauga. When the waves threatened to cover even that, the rockface cracked and the diamondstudded head of Radaulo, king of snakes, emerged. His fiery tongue licked out to taste the waves, and the water, hissing, retreated. Radaulo slowly uncoiled and pursued the water all the way back to the ocean bed. [Eliot, p. 224] Palau Islands (Micronesia): The stars are the shining eyes of the gods. A man once went into the sky and stole one of the eyes. (The Pelew Islanders' money is made from it.) The gods were angry at this and came to earth to punish the theft. They disguised themselves as ordinary men and went door-to-door begging for food and lodging. Only one old woman received them kindly. They told her to make a bamboo raft ready and, on the night of the next full moon, to lie down on it and sleep. This she did. A great storm came; the sea rose, flooded the islands, and destroyed everyone else. The woman, fast asleep, drifted until her hair caught on a tree on the top of Mount Armlimui. The gods came looking for her again after the flood ebbed, but they found her dead. So one of the women-folk from heaven entered the body and restored it to life. The gods begat five children by the old woman and then returned to heaven, as did the goddess who restored her to life. The present
inhabitants of the islands are descendants of those five children. [Gaster, pp. 112113; Dixon, p. 257] Before humans, one of the Kaliths (deities) named Athndokl visited an unfriendly village and was killed by its inhabitants. Seven friendly gods, who went searching for him, were met with unkindness except from the woman Milathk, who told them of the death. They resolved vengeance by flooding the village, and suggested Milathk save herself by preparing a raft tied to a tree by a rope. The flood came and covered the village at the next full moon. Milathk perished in the flood, but was recalled to life by the oldest Obakad god. He wanted to make her immortal but was stopped by another god, Tariit. Milathk became the mother of mankind. [Kelsen, p. 132] western Carolines: A man and his wife, who was of supernatural origin, could not satisfy the hunger of her father, named Insatiable, who was also of supernatural origin. He had grown so that he filled the entire council-house and had eaten all the coconuts on the island. The husband, Kitimil, saw one day that a mouse had been eating in his sugar-cane field. His wife, Magigi, told him that it must have been her father who had turned himself into a mouse. Kitimil thought this was impossible, though, so he set a trap which that night caught and killed the mouse. Magigi was terrified that he had killed her father, and told him to bring the mouse. Kitimil did so, and when he looked and saw that the council-house was empty, he believed his wife. The next morning, Magigi told Kitimil to take the mouse's blood and four of its teeth and bury the body. When he had done so, she said that a great flood will come and kill all the people of Yap, so they must climb the highest mountain and build a seven-story pile-dwelling there. They took some leaves and oil and the blood and teeth of the mouse and built the structure on the mountaintop. On the seventh day, a great storm came, and the sea covered all of Yap. As the water rose, Kitimil and Magigi climbed to higher stories of their house. The deluge still rose when they reached the top, so Magigi put some oil on a leaf and laid it on the water, and immediately the storm ceased and the water started abating. When the land was dry again, they found that one other man had survived by lashing himself to an outrigger anchored to a large stone. Magigi bore seven children, who scattered across the land. [Dixon, pp. 256-257] New Hebrides: Naareau the Elder created the earth, but the sky and the earth clove together with darkeness between them, for there was no separation. Naareau the Younger, walking on the overside of the sky, decided to go between, and with a spell, created a slight cleft; he tapped on the sky three times, and on the third tap it opened. He heard breathing within, created the First Creature, a bat, by rubbing his fingers together, and told it to look around. The Bat reported finding a Company of Fools and Deaf Mutes. At Naareau's direction, the Bat landed on their foreheads and told Naareau their names. Naareau crawled in the cleft and, with the Bat as his guide, went to the people. Naareau told them to push up, and the sky was lifted a little, but they could lift it only so high since the sky was rooted to the land. Naareau sent Naabawe, one of the people, to summon Riiki, the conger eel. Riiki was sleeping and bit Naabawe when he was called. Naareau
made a slip-noose and took two of Octopus's ten legs for bait (which is why octopuses have only eight legs today). With these, Naareau caught Riiki and told it to push up on the sky against the land. While Riiki pushed, Great Ray, Turtle, and Octopus tore at the roots of the sky while Naareau sang. The Company of Fools and Deaf Mutes stood by laughing. The roots of the sky were torn loose. The sky was pushed high and the land sank. But the sky had no sides, so Naareau sang and pulled down its sides so it was shaped like a bowl. The Company of Fools and Deaf Mutes were left swimming in the sea; they became the sea creatures. [von Franz, pp. 151-154, 170] Tilik and Tarai, who lived near a sacred spring where they were making the land, discovered by the taste of their cabbage that their mother had been urinating in their food. They exchanged the food and ate hers. In anger, she rolled away the stone which had confined the sea, and the sea poured out in a great flood. This was the origin of the sea. [Roheim, p. 152] The legendary hero Qat made a great canoe out of one of the largest trees in a dense forest at the center of the island of Gaua. While he worked on it, his brothers jeered at him for building a canoe so far from the sea. When the canoe was finished, he gathered into his canoe his family and some of all the living creatures, down to the smallest ant, and he fastened a cover over it. A great deluge of rain came; the hollow in the center of the island filled with water which broke through the hills where a great waterfall still descends. The water carried the canoe out to sea and out of sight. The natives say Qat took the best of everything with him and look forward to his return. [Gaster, p. 107] Lifou (one of the Loyalty Islands): The natives laughed at the old man Nol for making a canoe far inland, but he declared that he would need no help getting it to the sea; the sea would come to it. When he had finished, rain fell in torrents, flooding the island and drowning everybody. Nol's canoe was lifted by the water. It struck a rock that was still out of water and split the rock two. (These two rocks can still be seen.) The waters then rushed back into the sea, leaving Lifou dry. [Gaster, p. 107] Fiji: The great god Ndengei had a favorite bird, called Turukawa, which would wake him every morning. His two grandsons killed the bird and buried it to hide the crime. Ndengei sent his messenger Utu to find the bird. The first search proved fruitless, but a second search exposed the grandsons' guilt. Rather than apologizing, they fled to the mountains and took refuge with some carpenters, who built a strong stockade to keep Ndengei at bay. In their fortress, the rebels withstood Ndengei's armies for three months, but then Ndengei caused the earth to be flooded with rain. The rebels sat securely as the surrounding lands were submerged, until the waters reached their walls. They prayed to another god for direction, and they were brought canoes (or taught how to make them) by Rokoro, the god of carpenters, and his foreman Rokola. (By other accounts, they were instructed to make floats out of the shaddock fruit, or they floated in bowls.) They floated around picking up other survivors. The receding tide left a total of eight survivors on the island of Mbengha. Two tribes were destroyed completely--one
consisting entirely of women and the other with tails like dogs. The natives of Mbengha claim to rank highest of all the Fijians. [Kelsen, p. 131; Gaster, p. 106] Samoa: In a battle between Fire and Water (offspring of the primeval octopus), everything was overwhelmed by a 'boundless sea', and the god Tangaloa had the task of recreating the world. [Poignant, p. 30] The only survivor of a deluge was a man or a lizard named Pili, who, by marriage with the stormy petrel, begat offspring to repopulate the land. [Frazer, p. 249] Nanumanga (Tuvalu, South Pacific): A deluge was dispelled by a sea serpent who, as a woman, married the earth as a man. By him, she gave birth to the present race of mortals. [Frazer, p. 250] Mangaia (Cook Islands): The rain god Aokeu ("Red Circle" for the red clay he washes around the island), who was lowly born of the drippings from stalactites, disputed with the ocean god Ake to see which was more powerful. Ake summoned help from the wind god Raka and his twin children Tikokura, who is seen in the line of curling billows which break over reefs, and Tane-ere-tue, who manifests in storm waves. They attacked the coast, reaching the height of the Makatea, a raised barrier reef plateau surrounding the island, hundreds of feet high. Proof of their deeds may be seen in seashells embedded in high rocks. Meanwhile, Aokeu caused five days and nights of rain, washing the red clay and small stones into the ocean and carving deep valleys. Rangi, the people's first chief, had been forewarned and led his people to Rangimotia, the central peak. Soon water covered everything except a long narrow strip of soil, and the tide continued rising. Rangi waded through water up to his chin to reach the temple of the supreme god Rongo, and appealed to him. Rongo looked at the war of the waters and cried "Enough!" The sea subsided and the rain stopped, leaving the island with its present landscape. Aokeu was judged the victor, because the sea had been stopped by the rocky heights, but but the rains flowed far into the ocean, carrying red clay to mark their progress. [Frazer, pp. 246-248; Vitaliano, p. 168] Rakaanga (Cook Islands): A chief named Taoiau, angered at his people for not bringing him the sacred turtle, roused all the sea gods on whose good will the islands depend. One, who sleeps at the bottom of the sea, was roused to anger by the king's prayer and stood straight up. A hurricane burst forth, and the sea swept over the island of Rakaanga. A few inhabitants survived by taking refuge on a mound. [Frazer, p. 249] Raiatea (Leeward Group, French Polynesia): Shortly after the peopling of the world, a fisherman carelessly let his hooks get entangled in the hair of the sea god Ruahatu, who was reposing among the coral, and disturbed the god's rest when wrenching them out. The angry god surfaced, upbraided the fisherman, and threatened to destroy the land in revenge. The fisherman prostrated himself and apologized profusely. Moved by his penitence, Ruahatu told him to go with his wife and child to Toamarama, a small low island (not more than two feet above sea level) in a lagoon on the east side of Raiatea.
This he did, taking also some domesticated animals. As the sun set, the ocean waters began to rise and continued rising all night. The other inhabitants fled to the mountains, but at last even these were covered, and everyone on Raiatea perished. When the waters receded, the fisherman and his family returned to the mainland and became progenitors of its present inhabitants. [Gaster, pp. 109-110; Roheim, p. 157] Tahiti: Tahiti was destroyed by the sea. Even the trees and stones were carried away by the wind. But two people were saved. The wife took up her young chicken, her young dog, and her kitten, and the husband took up his young pig. The husband said they should escape to Mount Orofena, but the wife said (correctly) that the flood would reach even there, and they should go to Mount Pita-hiti instead, which they did. They watched ten nights till the sea ebbed. The land, though, remained without produce, and the fish in the rock crevices were putrid. When the wind died away, stones and trees began to fall from the heavens, where the winds had carried them. To escape this new danger, the couple dug a hole, lined it with grass, and covered it over with stones and earth. They crept inside and listened to the terrible crash of the falling stones. By and by, the falling stones stopped, but to be safe they waited another night before coming out. The land they found was desolated. The woman brought forth two children, a son and a daughter, but grieved about the lack of food. Again the mother brought forth, but still there was no food. Then in three days all the trees bore fruit. All people are descended from that couple. [Gaster, pp. 108-109] The Supreme God was angry and dragged the earth through the sea. By a happy chance, the island of Tahiti broke off and was preserved. [H. Miller, p. 287] Hawaii: Lalohona, a woman from the depths of the sea, was enticed ashore by Konikonia with a series of images. She warned him that her parents, Kahinalii and Hinakaalualumoana, would cause the ocean to flood the land so that her brothers, the pao'o fish, may search for her. At her suggestion, they fled to the mountains and built their home in the tops of the tallest trees. After ten days, Kahinalii sent the ocean; it rose and overwhelmed the land. The people fled to the mountains, and the flood covered the mountains; they climbed the trees, and the flood rose above the trees and drowned them all. But the waters began to subside just as they reached the door of Konikonia's house. When the waters retreated, he and his people returned to their land. This flood is called kai-a-ka-hina-lii. [BarrĂ¨re, p. 23] All the land was once overflowed by the sea, except for the peak of Mauna Kea, where two humans survived. The event is called kai a Kahinarii (sea of Kahinarii). There was no ship involved. [Gaster, p. 110; BarrĂ¨re, p. 22] In the earliest times in Hawaii, there was no sea, nor even fresh water. Pele came to Hawaii because she was displeased over her husband having been enticed from her. Her parents gave her the sea so she could bring her canoes. At Kanaloa she poured the sea from her head. It rose until it covered the high ground, leaving only a few mountains not entirely submerged. She later caused it to recede to what we see today. This sea was named after the mother of Pele, Kahinalii, because the sea belonged to her; Pele simply brought it. [BarrĂ¨re, pp. 23-24]
The people had turned to evil, so Kane punished their sin with a flood. Nu'u and his company were saved by entering into the Great-Canoe, a large canoe roofed over like a house, which had been given them by Kane. The canoe contained a number of things, and Nu'u ruled over the whole like a chief. After the flood, these people repopulated the islands. The waters came up as a wicked brother-inlaw of Nu'u was indulging himself in pleasure. He ran to enter the ark, but his calls were unheard by those inside. He prayed to the god Lono in the name of his sister but did not escape. He became angry at the first pair of people who had brought this trouble by bringing evil into the world, and he prayed to Lono that the whole earth be destroyed and that the first pair of people be brought back to life to witness the trouble they caused. [BarrĂ¨re, pp. 19-21] Nuu was of the thirteenth generation from the first man. The gods commanded Nuu to build an ark and carry on it his wife, three sons, and males and females of all breathing things. Waters came and covered the earth. They subsided to leave the ark on a mountain overlooking a beautiful valley. The gods entered the ark and told Nuu to go forth with all the life it carried. In gratitude for his deliverance, Nuu offered a sacrifice of pig, coconuts, and awa to the moon, which he thought was the god Kane. Kane descended on a rainbow to reproach Nuu for his mistake but left the rainbow as a perpetual sign of his forgiveness. [Kalakaua, p. 37; BarrĂ¨re, pp. 21-22] A high chief had two boys killed for playing with his drums. Their father Kamalo sought the help of the shark god Kauhuhu to get revenge. Kauhuhu told the man to build a special fence around his place and to collect 400 black pigs, 400 red fish, and 400 white chickens. Months later, Kauhuhu came in the form of a cloud. He caused a great storm which washed everyone on the hillside, except Kamalo and his people, into the harbor, where sharks devoured them. [Westervelt, pp. 110116]
North America Innuit: An unusually high tide caused a global flood. Shellfish and such things in the mountains are evidence of it. [Gaster, p. 120] Eskimo (Orowignarak, Alaska): A great inundation, together with an earthquake, swept the land so rapidly that only a few people escaped in their skin canoes to the tops of the highest mountains. [Frazer, p. 327] Norton Sound Eskimo: In the first days, the water from the sea came up and flooded all the earth except for a very high mountain in the middle. A few animals escaped to this mountain, and a few people survived in a boat, subsisting on fish. The people landed on the mountain as the water subsided and followed the retreating water to the coast. The animals also descended. [Gaster, p. 120] Central Eskimo: The ocean rose suddenly and continued rising until it covered even the tops of mountains. Ice drifted on the water, and when the flood subsided, ice was stranded to form ice-caps on the tops of mountains. The shells and bones of many
shellfish, fish, seals, and whales were also left high above sea level, where they may be found today. Many people drowned, but many others were saved in their boats. [Frazer, pp. 327-328] Tchiglit Eskimo (Point Barrow to Cape Bathurst): A great flood broke over the land. Driven by the wind, it submerged people's dwellings. The people formed a raft by tying several boats together and pitched a tent against the icy blast. They huddled together for warmth as uprooted trees drifted past. Finally, a magician named An-odjium ("Son of the Owl") threw his bow in the water and commanded the wind to be calm. Then he threw in his earrings, causing the flood to subside. [Frazer, p. 327] Herschel Island Eskimo: Noah invited all animals to save themselves aboard his ark, but the mammoths thought there would not be much of a flood and that their legs were long enough to deal with it, so they stayed outside and became extinct. The other animals believed Noah and were saved. [Frazer, pp. 328-329] Netsilik Eskimo: A flood killed all animals and humans except for two Shaman, who survived in a boat. They copulated, and their offspring included the world's first women. [Balikci] The giant Inugpasugssuk waded into the ocean to hunt seals. His penis stuck up out of the water so far away that he thought it was a seal putting its head up, and he struck it by mistake. He fell backwards in pain, and that raised a wave that flooded the whole district of Arviligjuaq. [Norman, p. 233] Greenlander: The world once overturned. Some people were turned into fiery spirits; all the rest drowned but one. Afterwards, the survivor smote the ground with his stick, a woman sprung out, and the two of them repopulated the world. Proof of the flood is found in the form of sea fossils on high mountains. [Gaster, p. 120] Tlingit (southern Alaska coast): Yehl, the Raven, created man, caused the plants to grow, and set the sun, moon, and stars in their places. Yehl's wicked uncle had a young wife whom he was very fond and jealous of. He did not want any of his nephews to inherit his widow when he died, as Tlingit law dictates should happen, so he murdered each of Yehl's ten older brothers by drowning them or, according to some, by stretching them on a board and beheading them. When Yehl grew to manhood, his uncle tried to do the same to him. But Yehl's mother had conceived him by swallowing a round pebble she had found at low tide, and with another stone she had rendered him invulnerable. When the uncle tried to behead Yehl, his knife had no effect. In a rage, the uncle called for a flood, and a flood came and covered all the mountains. Yehl assumed his wings, which he could do at will, and soared into the sky. He remained hanging by his beak from the sky for ten days, while the water rose so high it lapped his wings. When the water fell, Yehl let go, dropped like an arrow onto a soft bank of seaweed, and was rescued by an otter who brought him to land. [Frazer, pp. 316-317]
Raven had put a woman under the world to govern the tides. Once he wished to see the undersea world, and he caused the woman to raise the waters so that he might do so while remaining dry. He directed her to raise the ocean slowly so that people might have time to provision their canoes. As the waters rose, bears and other animals were driven to the mountaintops, and many of them swam out to the people's canoes. Some people had taken dogs into their canoes, and the dogs kept the bears off. Some people landed on the tops of mountains, building dikes around them to keep out the water. Uprooted trees, devil-fish, and other strange creatures washed past. When the waters ebbed, the survivors followed the tide down the mountain, but the trees were all gone, and the people, having no firewood, perished of cold. When Raven returned, he saw fish lying high on the land, and he commanded them to turn to stone. When he saw people coming down the mountain, he turned them to stone also. When all mankind had been destroyed, he created them anew out of leaves. That is why so many people die during the autumn. [Frazer, pp. 317-318] People were saved from a universal deluge in a giant ark. The ark struck a rock and split in two. The Tlingits were in one half of the ark, and all other people were in the other half. This explains why there is a diversity of languages. [Gaster, p. 119] Hareskin (Alaska): Kunyan ("Wise Man"), foreseeing the possibility of a flood, built a great raft, joining the logs with ropes made from roots. He told other people, but they laughed at him and said they'd climb trees in the event of a flood. Then came a great flood, with water gushing from all sides, rising higher than the trees and drowning all people but the Wise Man and his family on his raft. As he floated, he gathered pairs of all animals and birds he met with. The earth disappeared under the waters, and for a long time no one thought to look for it. Then the musk-rat dived into the water looking for the bottom, but he couldn't find it. He dived a second time and smelled the earth but didn't reach it. Next beaver dived. He reappeared unconscious but holding a little mud. The Wise Man placed the mud on the water and breathed on it, making it grow. He continued breathing on it, making it larger and larger. He put a fox on the island, but it ran around the island in just a day. Six times the fox ran around the island; by the seventh time, the land was as large as it was before the flood, and the animals disembarked, followed by Wise Man with his wife (who was also his sister) and son. They repeopled the land. But the flood waters were still too high, and to lower them, the bittern swallowed them all. Now there was too little water. Plover, pretending sympathy at the bittern's swollen stomach, passed his hand over it, but suddenly scratched it. The waters flowed out into the rivers and lakes. [Gaster, pp. 117-118] Tinneh (Alaska and south): The deluge was caused by a heavy snowfall one September. One man foresaw the flood and warned his fellows, but in vain; the flood covered their intended mountain escape. The one man survived in a canoe he had built, and he rescued animals from the waters as he sailed about. In time, he sent the beaver, otter, muskrat, and arctic duck to dive into the water in search of earth, but only the duck succeeded, bringing some slime on its claws. The man spread the slime on
the water and breathed on it to make it grow. For six days he embarked animals upon the new island; then the land was large enough for he himself to go ashore. [Gaster, p. 118] A rich youth and his four nephews sailed far across the sea to seek the hand of a fair damsel who lived there. But she would not have him, so he prepared to leave. He and his nephews were prepared to shove off from shore, and many of the villagers had come to see them off. One woman with an infant in her arms said, "If they want a little girl, why not take this one of mine?" The rich young man heard her, extended his paddle and told her to put the infant on it, and placed the infant next to him in the canoe. The girl whom he had asked to marry came down to get water, but she began sinking in the mud. As she cried for help, the young man said it was her own fault, and she soon sank out of sight. The girl's mother saw this, and to avenge her death brought some tame brown bears to the water's edge and, holding their tails, told them to raise a strong wind, hoping in this way to drown the rich youth. The bears began furiously digging, raising great waves. The young man's nephews drowned, as did all inhabitants of the village except the infant's mother and her husband. The young man, though, had a magical white stone which, when he threw it ahead of him, clove a smooth path through the billows. Then he threw a harpoon at the crest of a wave. When it hit, the wave became a mountain, and the harpoon rebounded and stuck in the sky, where medicine-men can see it today. Land had been formed again, and the youth found himself in a spruce forest. Turning to the infant, he found that she had become a radiant woman. He married her and repopulated the drowned earth. The couple from his wife's village became the ancestors of the people overseas. [Frazer, pp. 313-314] Loucheux (Dindjie) (a Tinneh tribe, Alaska): A man called the Mariner (Etroetchokren) was the first person to build a canoe. One day, he rocked it side to side, causing waves which flooded the earth and floundering the canoe. He scrambled into a giant hollow straw that floated past, caulked up the ends, and floated safely until the flood dried. He landed on a high mountain, called the Place of the Old Man today, near Fort MacPherson in the Rockies. The Mariner straddled a rapid stretch of the Yukon River and, dipping with his hands, drew out dead bodies of men as they floated past, but he found none living. The only living thing he saw was a raven high on a rock, gorged with food and fast asleep. The Mariner climbed to the raven, grabbed it, and stuck it in his sack. The raven begged not to be cast down, saying the man would find no other surviving men without the raven's help. The man dropped the bag anyway, and the bird was dashed to pieces. But though the man searched far and wide, he could find nothing else living except a loach and a pike sunning themselves on the mud. He went back to the raven, reassembled its bones, and blew on them to restore the flesh and return the raven to life. They returned to the beach, and the raven told the man to bore a hole in the belly of the pike, while it did the same to the loach. A crowd of men emerged from the hole in the pike, and women came out of the loach. [Frazer, pp. 315-316] Dogrib and Slave (Tinneh tribes, northern Canada):
A Dogrib and Slave Indian tale is the same as the Cree tale of Wissaketchak, except the old man is named Tchapewi, and he sends all kinds of amphibious animals diving for earth before muskrat succeeds. [Frazer, p. 310] Kaska (northern inland British Columbia): A great flood came; people survived it on rafts and canoes. Darkness and high winds came, which scattered the vessels. When the flood subsided, people landed at the nearest land and lived where they had landed. Thus they were scattered all over the world, and when they met again long afterwards, they were different tribes and spoke different languages. [Gaster, p. 119] Thompson Indians (British Columbia): A flood once covered all but the summits of some of the highest mountains. Its cause isn't certain, but it may have been made the the three brothers Qoaqlqal, who travelled the country transforming things until they themselves were transformed into stones. Three men escaped in a canoe and drifted to the Nzukeski Mountains, where they and their canoe were afterwards turned to stone; you may see them there today. Coyote survived by turning himself into a piece of wood and floating. When the flood subsided, leaving him in the Thompson River area, he resumed his normal shape. He took trees to be his wives, and from them the Indians are descended. The flood left lakes in the hollows of the mountains, streams flowing from them, and fish in them; none of these existed before the flood. [Frazer, p. 322] Sarcee (Alberta): The world was flooded, and one man and one woman survived on a raft on which they collected all kinds of animals and birds. The man sent a beaver (or, some say, a muskrat) diving to the bottom, and it brought up a little mud. The man shaped this to form a new world. It was at first so small that a little bird could walk around it, but it grew and grew. [Frazer, pp. 314-315] Tsetsaut: A man and his wife went up the hills to hunt marmots. There, they saw that the water was still rising. They enclosed their children, along with supplies, in hollow trees. The water rose further, and all other people drowned. The children went to sleep, and when they awoke, one of the boys opened a hole, and they came out, the waters having had receded. [Roheim, pp. 159-160] Haida (Queen Charlotte Is., British Columbia): A strange woman wearing an unusual fur cape came to a village. One of the boys playing in the area pulled at her garment and saw her backbone, which had protuberances like a plant that grows along the seashore. The children jeered at this. The parents told the children not to laugh, and the woman sat by the water's edge at low tide. As the tide rose and touched her feet, she moved up a little and sat down again. The tide kept rising, following the woman. The villagers soon became alarmed at its unprecedented height, and having no canoes, they prepared rafts and provisioned them with fish and water. At last the tide covered the whole island. The people saved themselves on the rafts. The various rafts landed in different places, which is how the tribes became dispersed. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 472-473]
Long ago there was a flood which killed all creatures except a single raven. This raven, Ne-kil-stlas, was a person who could don and doff his feathers at will; he had been born of a woman who had had no husband. When the flood had gone down, he looked about but found no mate, so he became very lonely. He married a cockle (Cardium nuttalli) from the beach, and he constantly brooded and wished for a companion. In time, he heard a faint cry, such as from a newborn child, from the shell. The cry gradually grew louder, and at last a small female child appeared. She grew larger and larger and finally married the raven. From them all the Indians were produced. [Frazer, p. 319] Tsimshian (British Columbia): The flood was sent by the god Laxha, who had become annoyed by the noise of boys at play. [Gaster, p. 119] All people except for a few were destroyed by a flood, which was sent by heaven to punish man's ill behavior. Later, people were devastated by fire. The earth had no mountains or trees before the flood. Leqa created them after the deluge. [Frazer, p. 319] Long ago the waters swelled. A few people escaped to the tops of high mountains, but more were saved in their canoes. They were scattered and, when the waters went down, they landed and settled in various spots. Thus Indians are spread all over the country, but their common songs and customs show that they are one people. [Frazer, p. 320] Kwakiutl (north Vancouver Island): Very long ago, a flood covered everything but three mountains, one near BellaBella, one northeast of there, and a hill called Ko-Kwus on Don Island which rose with the flood to stay above the water. Nearly all people floated on logs and trees in different directions. Some people had small canoes with anchors and managed to land near their homes when the water subsided. Of the Hailtzuk only two men, a woman, and a dog survived. One of the men landed at Ka-pa, one at another village site, and the woman and dog at Bella-Bella. The Bella-Bella Indians descended from the marriage of the woman and dog. There was no fresh water when the flood subsided. The raven showed people where they could dig for a little water and how chewing on cedar brought water into their mouths. This sustained them until a great rain came which filled the lakes and rivers. It is still understood, though, that without cedars there would be no water. [Frazer, p. 321] Kootenay (southeast British Columbia): A small gray bird, despite the prohibition of her husband (a chicken hawk, Accipiter cooperi), bathed in a certain lake after picking berries in the hot sun. There she was seized and raped by a giant in the lake. The bird's husband shot the monster, who in revenge swallowed up all the water to keep others from having it. The woman pulled out the arrow, and the water rushed forth in a torrent. The husband and wife escaped to a mountain until the flood receded. (In variant versions, the woman was seized by a giant fish or water animal. The husband killed it, and its blood caused the flood. The husband escaped up a tree.) [Kelsen, pp. 147-148; Frazer, p. 323]
Squamish (British Columbia): When the Squamish saw the great flood coming, they held a council and decided to make a giant canoe. The men worked day and night to make this canoe, the biggest ever, and the women made a long rope of oiled cedar fibers with which they tied the canoe to a giant rock. They put every baby into the canoe, with food and water. They selected the bravest young man and the mother of the youngest baby to go as their guardians. No one cried as the waters rose and drowned everyone else. After several days, the man saw a speck far to the south. By the next day, he could see that it was a mountain top, Mount Baker. He cut the rope and paddled to it, and made a new home there. The outline of the canoe can still be seen halfway up the slope of Mount Baker. [Clark, pp. 42-43] Bella Coola (British Columbia): Masmasalanich, who created man, fastened the earth to the sun to keep the earth from sinking and to keep the sun at the proper distance. One day he stretched the rope, so the earth sank and the water ran over it, eventually covering even the tops of the mountains. A fierce storm broke out at the same time. Many people who had taken to boats were drowned in the storm, and others were driven far away. At last Masmasalanich shortened the rope, the earth rose again from the water, and mankind spread over it. Diversity of language arose from their being scattered; there was but one speech before the flood. [Frazer, p. 320] Lillooet (Green River, British Columbia): A great rain came, making the rivers and lakes overflow the country. A man named Ntcinemkin took refuge with his family in his very large canoe. The others fled to the mountains, but the flood rose to cover them, too. The people begged Ntcinemkin to save at least their children. He didn't have room enough to hold all of them, so he took one child from each family, alternating males and females. The flood covered all land except the peak of Split Mountain (Ncikato) on the west side of Lower Lillooet Lake. When the waters dropped, the canoe grounded on Smimelc Mountain. Each stage of the water's dropping is marked by a terrace on the side of the mountain, which can be seen today. [Frazer, pp. 321-322] Makah (Cape Flattery, Washington): The ocean rose high enough to cut off the cape. Then it withdrew, reaching its low ebb four days later, leaving Neah Bay high and dry. Then it rose again to cover all but the mountain tops. The rising waters were very warm. People with canoes loaded their belongings and were borne far to the north. Many died when their canoes were caught in trees. The sea returned to normal after four more days, and the people found themselves far to the north, where their descendants still live. [Vitaliano, pp. 171-172] Klallam (northwest Washington): People escaped the great flood in canoes tied by ropes to the summit of a tall mountain. The top of the mountain broke off in the flood, leaving two peaks visible in a ridge in the Olympics. The canoes floated away and came to rest, after the flood, in the region where Seattle is now. Their descendants became the natives of that area. [Clark, pp. 44-45]
Skokomish (Washington): The Great Spirit, angry with the wickedness of people and animals, decided to rid the earth of all but the good animals, one good man, and his family. At the Great Spirit's direction, the man shot an arrow into a cloud, then another arrow into that arrow, and so on, making a rope of arrows from the cloud to the ground. The good animals and people climbed up. Bad animals and snakes started to climb up, but the man broke off the rope. Then the Great Spirit caused many days of rain, flooding up to the snow line of Takhoma (Mount Ranier). After all the bad people and animals were drowned, the Great Spirit stopped the rain, the waters slowly dropped, and the good people and animals climbed down. To this day there are no snakes on Takhoma. [Clark, pp. 31-32] Once a big flood came. People made ropes of twisted cedar limbs and used them to fasten their canoes to mountains. The flood covered the Olympic Mountains. Some of the ropes broke, and the canoes drifted to the country of the Flatheads. That is why the Skokomish and the Flatheads speak the same language. [Clark, p. 44] Skagit (Washington): The Creator made the earth and gave four names for it -- for the sun, waters, soil and forests. He said only a few people, with special preparation for the knowledge, should know all four names, or the world would change too suddenly. After a while, everyone learned the four names. When people started talking to the trees the change came in the form of a flood. When the people saw the flood coming, they made a giant canoe and filled it with five people and a male and female of all plants and animals. Water covered everything but the summit of Kobah and Takobah (Mts. Baker and Ranier). The canoe landed on the prairie. Doquebuth, the new Creator, was born of a couple from the canoe. He was told to go to a lake (Lake Campbell) and swim and fast to get his spirit powers, but he delayed. Finally he did so after his family deserted him. The Old Creator came to him in dreams. First he told Doquebuth to wave his blanket over the water and the forest and name the four names of the earth; this created food for everyone. Next, at the direction of the Old Creator, he gathered the bones of the people who lived before the flood, waved the blanket over them and named the four names, and made people again. These people couldn't talk, so he similarly made brains for them from the soil. Then they spoke many different languages, and Doquebuth blew them back to the places they lived before the flood. Someday, another flood will come and change the world again. [Clark, pp. 139-141] Quillayute (Washington): Thunderbird was once so angry that he sent the ocean over the land. When it reached the village of the Quillayute, they got into their canoes. The water rose for four days, covering the mountains. The boats were scattered by the wind and waves. Then the water receded for four days, and people settled in many areas. [Clark, p. 45] Nisqually (Washington): The people became so numerous that they ate all the fish and game and started to eat each other. They were so wicked that Dokibatl, the Changer, flooded the earth. All living things were destroyed except one woman and one dog, which survived
atop Tacobud (Mt. Ranier). From them the next race of people were born. They walked on four legs and lived like animals. To make matters worse, a huge and powerful bear came from the south. It had the power to paralyze with its gaze whatever it wanted to eat, and it threatened to eat all the people. The Changer sent a Spirit Man from the east to teach them civilization. He showed them how to make and use bows, canoes, clothing, fire, etc., and taught them about the spirits and the potlatch custom. He killed the bear with seven arrows, and he put all the ills of the world in a large building, but years later a curious daughter peeked in the building and let them out. [Clark, pp. 136-138] Twana (Puget Sound, Washington): The people were wicked, and to punish them, a flood came which covered all the land except one mountain. The people escaped in their canoes to the highest peak in their country, which they call "Fastener." With long ropes, they tied their canoes to the tallest tree on the peak, but the water rose over it. Some of the canoes broke their moorings and drifted west; those people formed a tribe to the west which speaks a language like that of the Twanas. Because those people drifted away, the present Twana tribe is small. [Frazer, p. 324] Kathlamet: Blue-jay advised a maiden to marry a panther, who was a hunter and chief of his town. She went to his town but married Beaver by mistake. When Beaver returned from fishing, he told her to gather the trout he had caught, but she discovered they were not trout but willow branches. Disgusted, she ran away from him and finally married the panther. Beaver wept for five days, flooding the land with his tears. The animals escaped to their canoes. When the flood nearly reached the sky, they thought to fetch up some earth. They told Blue-jay to dive, but his dive was so shallow that his tail remained above water. Mink tried next, and then otter, but they could not reach the bottom. When muskrat's turn came, he told the people to tie the canoes together and lay planks across them. Muskrat threw off his blanket, sang his song five times, and dove. He was down a long time, but at last flags came up to the surface. Summer came, the water sank, and the canoes grounded. As the animals jumped out of the canoes, they broke off their tails against the gunwale. But otter, mink, muskrat, and panther reattached their tails, so they have long tails today. [Frazer, pp. 325-326; Kelsen, p. 148] Cascade Mountains: A flood overflowed the land. An old man and his family, on a boat or raft, were blown by the wind to a certain mountain. He stayed there and sent a crow to search for land, but it returned without finding any. Later, it brought back a leaf from a certain grove, and the old man knew the water was abating. [Frazer, pp. 324-325] Spokana, Nez Perce, Cayuse (eastern Washington): These tribes also have traditions of a flood in which one man and his wife survived on a raft. Each tells of a different mountain where the raft landed. [Gaster, pp. 119-120] Yakima (Washington):
In early times, many people had gone to war with other tribes; even medicine men had killed people. But there were still some good people. One of the good men heard from the Land Above that a big water was coming. He told the other good people, and they decided they would make a dugout boat from the largest cedar they could find. Soon after the canoe was finished, the flood came, filling the valleys and covering the mountains. The bad people were drowned; the good people were saved in the boat. We don't know how long the flood stayed. The canoe came down where it was built and can still be seen on the east side of Toppenish Ridge. The earth will be destroyed by another flood if people do wrong a second time. [Clark, p. 45] Warm Springs (Oregon): Twice, a great flood came. Afraid that another might come, the people made a giant canoe from a big cedar. When they saw a third flood coming, they put the bravest young men and fairest young women in the canoe, with plenty of food. Then the flood, bigger and deeper than the earlier ones, swallowed the land. It rained for many days and nights, but when the clouds finally parted for the third time, the people saw land (Mount Jefferson) and paddled to it. When the water receded, they made their home at the base of the mountain. The canoe was turned to stone and can be seen on Mount Jefferson today. [Clark. pp. 14-15] Joshua (southern Oregon): In the beginning, there was no land, and Xowalaci (The Giver) and his companion lived in a sweat house on the water. One day, white land appeared and expanded on the waters. Xowalaci made it solid by blowing tobacco smoke on it. He made more solid land by dropping five mud cakes into the ocean and telling them to expand when they hit the bottom. When he stepped on the new land, it became solid. He looked on the sand of the new land and saw a man's tracks, seemingly coming from the north and leading into the water to the south. This worried him, and he told the water to overflow the land he had created from the mud and to recede again. But he found more tracks again, coming from the west, so he caused a second flood. He repeated the process five times with no different results. Finally he gave up and said, "This is going to make trouble in the future!" and there has been trouble in the world since then. Then Xowalaci tried to make people. He formed figures from grass and mud, ordered a house to appear, and gave the figures to his companion to put in the house. Dogs arose from this creation attempt. He tried again using white sand, but those figures gave rise to snakes. He attributed these failures to the footprints. The world became inhabited by dogs and snakes. He crushed the ten biggest snakes in baskets of mixed fresh and salt water and threw them in the ocean. Two bad snakes got away to give rise to today's snake-like animals. Xowalaci ordered those two to encircle the world and hold it together. He also crushed five bad dogs and threw them in a ditch. They gave rise to water monsters. Soon after, his companion smoked for three days and created a house from which a woman emerged. Xowalaci told his companion to be her husband. Xowalaci straightened out the world, made more animals, and went up into the sky, saying as he went that the companion, his wife, and their sixteen children would speak different languages and become progenitors of the different tribes. [Sproul, pp. 232-236; von Franz, p. 174]
Smith River (northern California coast): A great rain came which lasted a long time, and waters covered the land. The people retreated to high land, but they were all swept away and drowned except for one pair who found safety on the highest peak. They lived on fish, which they cooked by placing them under their arms. They had no fire, and, as everything was wet, they could not get any. The waters sank, and all present Indians descended from that couple. When the Indians died, their spirits took the forms of various animals and insects, so the earth was repopulated by animals also. The Indians, still lacking fire, looked to the moon, whose fire shone brightly. The Spider Indians and Snake Indians hatched a plan. The Spider Indians went to the moon in a gossamer balloon, but they kept the balloon fastened to the earth by a long rope. The Indians on the moon were suspicious of the newcomers, but the Spider Indians assured them that they had only come to gamble. As they played games around the fire, a Snake Indian climbed up the rope, darted through the fire, and escaped down the rope again before the Moon Indians could react. When he reached the earth, he had to travel over rocks, sticks, and trees, and everything he touched has henceforth contained fire. The Spider Indians were long kept prisoners on the moon. When they were finally released and returned to earth, ungrateful men killed them, fearing vengeance from the Moon Indians. [Frazer, pp. 289-290] Wintu (north central California): People came into existence and dwelt a long, long time. Then one of them dreamed of a whirlwind, and the others said he had dreamed something bad. After that it blew, and the wind increased. The world was going bad. At noon they all went into an earth lodge. It blew terribly. Trees fell down westward. The one who had dreamed stayed outside and told the others it was raining, the water was coming, the earth will be destroyed. All the other houses were blown away. He came into the earth lodge and leaned against the pole. At last the pole came loose too. The one who dreamed was the last destroyed of all the people. The world was destroyed and water alone was left. After some time, Olelbes (He-Who-Is-Above) looked down all around and finally saw something barely visible in the north in the middle of the water. It swam around a little. It was lamprey eel, the first to come into existence, and it lay on the bedrock. On the rocks lay a little mud. No one knows how long the waters sat there. At last it receded to the south, turning into numerous creeks. A little earth came into being, and it turned into all kinds of trees. [Margolin 1981, pp. 128-129] Maidu (central California): As the Indians of old lived tranquilly in the Sacramento Valley, a mighty rushing of waters came suddenly, so that the whole valley became like an ocean. Many Indians were overtaken by the waters, and the frogs and the salmon overtook and ate many others. Only two escaped to the hills, but the Great Man made them fruitful, so the world was soon repopulated with many tribes. One man was a chief of great renown over all the nations. He went to a knoll overlooking the waters that covered the fertile plains of his ancestors. For nine sleeps he lay there without food, meditating on how that water had come there. At the end of nine sleeps, he was changed so that no arrow could harm him. He commanded the
Great Man to let the waters flow from the plains. The Great Man opened the side of a mountain, and the waters flowed away to the ocean. [Frazer, pp. 290-291] Northern Miwok (central California): Water covered the world except for the top of the highest mountain. People escaped to there, but they were starving. The water went down, leaving the ground a soft mud. The people rolled down rocks to see if the mud was hard enough to support them. When the rocks stayed on top of the mud, the people went down. But the mud was not hard enough, and the people sank out of sight. Ravens came and stood at the holes where the people had gone down, one Raven at each hole. When the ground hardened, the ravens turned into people. That is why the Miwok are so dark. [Merriam, p. 101] Tuleyome Miwok (near Clear Lake, California): Wekwek, the Falcon, visited Wennok Lake, a region new to him, and found many ducks and geese. His grandfather Olle, Coyote-man, taught him how to make and use a sling. Wekwek went back to the area, killed hundreds of birds, gathered them, and brought them back to Olle. The next day, Wekwek saw Sahte, Weaselman, coming and going and was curious about him. Wekwek followed Sahte north to Clear Lake and found his home while Sahte was out. He found several sacks of shell-bead money there and took it all back with him. When Sahte returned, he wanted to find out who stole his money. He set fire to one end of a stick and pointed it in different directions. When it pointed south towards the thief, the flame leaped from the stick and spread southward. Wekwek was concerned when he saw that the country to the north was on fire, and he told Olle. Olle knew the reason for the fire, but he said only, "The people up there are burning tules." When the fire came close so that Wekwek thought they would soon burn, he confessed to Olle that he had stolen the money and hidden it in the creek. Olle then took a sack from his roundhouse and beat it against an oak tree, creating fog. He beat another sack against the tree, causing more fog, and then rain. He said the rain would last for ten days and nights. The rain covered all the land except the top of Mount Konokti. Wekwek flew around in the rain and eventually found that refuge. On the tenth day, the rain stopped, and the water started going down. After about a week, the land was bare again. At that time, there were no real people in the world. Olle took the feathers of the geese that Wekwek had killed at Wennok lake. They traveled over the country, and whenever they found a good site, Olle laid two feathers side by side. The next morning, each pair of feathers had turned into a man and a woman. Later, Wekwek commented to Olle that the people had no fire, and Olle sent Wekewillah, the Shrew-mice brothers, to steal fire from Kahkahte, the Crow, who had it at his roundhouse. They succeeded, and Olle put the fire in the buckeye tree. [Merriam, pp. 138-151] Olamentko Miwok (Bodega Bay, California): Oye, Coyote-man, and Wekwek, Falcon-man, quarreled. Oye took all the people with him across the ocean and made rain to cover the world with water. Wekwek flew and flew but could find no place to rest. The water covered everything. Finally he fell in the water. He was floating nearly dead when his wing caught on a stick. The stick was from the roundhouse of Peleet the Grebe, who investigated
and found Wekwek. He pulled Wekwek into his roundhouse and saved him. Oye let the water down and brought the people back. [Merriam, p. 157] Ohlone (San Francisco to Monterey, California): A fight between the great forces of Good and Evil was followed by an immense flood. It wiped out all traces of the previous world and covered all the earth except two islands. Coyote, the only living thing in the world, stood on one of the islands (Mount Diablo or Pico Blanco). One day, he saw a feather floating on the water. It turned into Eagle as it reached the island. Later, they were joined by Hummingbird. This trio created a new race of people. Eagle told Coyote how to find a wife but did not tell him how to make children. Coyote told the girl to louse him and to swallow the woodtick she found. She became pregnant from this. Afraid, she ran away to the ocean and turned into a sand flea. Coyote found another wife and with her went out over the world, founding five tribes with five different languages. [Margolin 1978, pp. 134-135] Kato (Mendocino County, California): The previous world had a sky of sandstone rock. Two gods, Thunder and Nagaicho, saw that it was old. They stretched it, propped up its four corners, created flowers, clouds and other pleasant things. They created a man out of earth, putting in grass for the stomach and heart, clay for liver and kidneys, pulverized red stone mixed with water for blood. They split one of his legs to make a woman. Then they made the sun and moon. But the creation didn't last. It rained day and night as people slept. The sky fell. Humans and animals were all washed away by a flood which covered everything. There was only water, no wind, rain, frost, clouds, or sun. It was very dark. Then this earth, with its long horns, traveled underground from the north; Nagaicho rode on its head. Where the earth dragon turned its head upwards, mountain ridges and islands formed. It lay down in the south; Naigaicho covered it with clay and plants to create the mountains. People appeared who had animal names. Later, when the indians came, those people turned into animals. Naigaicho traveled over the earth making sea foods, creeks, trees, ocean waves, and generally making it comfortable for people. When he got to his home in the north, he and his dog stayed there. [Gifford & Block, pp. 79-82; Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 107-109] Shasta (northern California interior): Coyote encountered an evil water spirit who said, "There is no wood" and caused water to rise until it covered Coyote. After the water receded, Coyote shot the water spirit with a bow and ran away, but the water followed him. He ran to the top of Mount Shasta; the water followed but didn't quite reach the top. Coyote made a fire, and all the other animal people swam to it and found refuge there. After the water receded, they came down, made new homes, and became the ancestors of all the animal people today. [Clark, p. 12] Pomo (north central California): Coyote dreamed that water would soon cover the world, but nobody believed him. It rained, and the water started rising. The people climbed trees because there were no mountains to escape to. Coyote and a number of people escaped on a log. With the help of Mole, Coyote created mountains; then he created people for the new world. [Roheim, p. 153]
One day, the Thunder People found trout in their spring. At first, the people were afraid of them, but driven by hunger, the people ate them, except for three children who were warned by their grandmother not to eat them. The next morning, all but those three children had been transformed into deer. The children went to a very high mountain. Rain came and flooded all but the mountaintop. The children asked an old man what he could do; he said he didn't know, but he dug all night while the children slept. In the morning, he woke the children. The flood was gone, and the world was beautiful. [Roheim, pp. 153-154] Everyone but Gopher was killed in a flood. He climbed to the top of Mt. Kanaktai, and just as the water was about to wash him off, it receded. He had no fire, so he dug into the mountain until he found fire inside, thus bringing fire again to the world. [Roheim, p. 154] Coyote lived with two little boys whom he had got by deceit from one of the Wood-duck sisters. Everybody abused the boys, so Coyote decided to set the world on fire. He dug a tunnel at the east end of the world, filled it with fir bark, and lit it. With his two children in a sack, he called for rescue from the sky. Spider descended and took Coyote back up through the gates of the sky. When they came back, everything was roasted. Coyote drank too much water and got sick. Kusku the medicine man jumped on his belly, and water flowed out and covered the land. [Roheim, p. 154] Salinan (California): The old woman of the sea, jealous of Eagle's power, came with her basket in which she carried the sea. She continually poured out water until it covered the land, almost to the top of Santa Lucia Peak where the animals gathered. Eagle borrowed Puma's whiskers, made a lariat from them, and lassoed the basket. The sea stopped rising, and the old woman died. Eagle told Dove to fetch up some mud, and he made the world from it. Eagle shaped the first people, a woman and two men, from elder-wood. After sweating in a sweat-house, he blew on them and gave them life. Then they had a great fiesta. [Sproul, p. 236] Yuma (western Arizona, southern California): Komashtam'ho caused a great rain and started to flood out the large dangerous animals, but he was persuaded that people needed some of the animals for food. He evaporated the waters with a great fire, turning the land to desert in the process. [Erdoes & Ortiz, p. 81] Havasupai (lower Colorado River): Two brothers fueded, and Hokomata angrily sent a deluge which destroyed the world. Before it came, though, Tochopa sealed his daughter Pukeheh in a hollow log. She emerged when the flood subsided. She bore a son, fathered by the sun, and a daughter, fathered by a waterfall; these two repopulated the world. Havasupai women are called "Daughters of the Water". [Alexander, 1916, p. 180] Ashochimi (California): A great flood covered the earth and drowned every living creature except the coyote. He collected tail-feathers of owls, hawks, eagles, and buzzards and traveled with them all over the earth. Wherever a wigwam had stood before the
flood, he planted a feather. The feathers sprouted and flourished, turning into men and women. Thus coyote repopulated the world. [Frazer, p. 290] Yurok (north California coast): The sky fell and hit the water, causing high breakers that flooded all the land. That is why one can find shells and redwood logs on the highest ridges. Two women and two men jumped into a boat when they saw the water coming, and they were the only people saved. Sky-Owner gave them a song, and many days later the water fell when they sang it. Sky-Owner sent a rainbow to tell them the water would never cover the world again. [Bell, p. 68] Blackfoot (Alberta and Montana): The Sun, the Moon, and their two children "Old Man" and "Apistotoki God" began creating the world. They were given sand, stone, water, and the hide of a fisher with which to complete the creation. A flood came, and they could save only those four things. Later, they created an old man, a dog, a man, and a woman. After a second flood, only those four were left on earth, and they created the rest of the world. [von Franz, p. 163] Cree (Canada): A man survived the deluge in his canoe. He sent forth a raven, but it did not return, and in punishment it was changed from white to black. He next sent out a wood pigeon; it returned with mud in its claws, by which the man inferred that the earth had dried, so he landed. [Frazer, p. 297] Wissaketchak was an old magician. A certain sea monster hated him and, when the old man was paddling his canoe, the monster lashed the sea with its tail, causing waves that flooded the land. Wissaketchak, though, built a great raft and gathered on it pairs of all animals and birds. The sea monster continued its exertions, and the water continued to rise, until even the highest mountain was covered. Wissaketchak sent a duck to dive for earth, but the duck could not reach the bottom and drowned. He then sent the muskrat, which, after a long time, returned with its throat full of slime. Wissaketchak moulded this slime into a disk and floated it on the water; it resembled a nest such as muskrats make on ice. The disk swelled, and Wissaketchak made it grow more by blowing on it. As it grew and hardened, he sent the animals onto it. It became the land we now inhabit. [Frazer, pp. 309-310] Timagami Ojibway (Canada): Nenebuc, son of the Sun and a mortal woman, saw some lions in a great lake. He waited for them to come to shore to sun themselves, disguising himself by wrapping around himself some birch bark from a rotten stump. When the lions came, they were curious about the new stump and sent a snake to check it out. The snake coiled around it and tried to upset it, but Nenebuc stood firm. When the lions themselves approached, Nenebuc wounded the wife of the chief lion with an arrow shot. She was badly hurt but escaped to the cave where she lived. (The cave may still be seen in a bluff west of Smoothwater Lake.) Nenebuc donned the skin of a toad, disguised himself as a medicine-woman, and was admitted to the lioness. He thrust the arrow deeper, killing her. At once, water poured out of the cave, and the lake began to rise. Nenebuc built a raft, which was ready no sooner than the flood reached him. As the raft floated on the flood, Nenebuc took on
animals that were swimming in the waters. After a time, Nenebuc tied a willowroot rope to the beaver's tail and bade him dive to find earth below the water, but the beaver returned without finding a bottom. Seven days later, Nenebuc let the muskrat try. The muskrat stayed down a long time and came up dead, but it held a little earth in its claws. Nenebuc dried the grains from which he remade the land, but not entirely, which is why there are swampy areas today. [Frazer, pp. 307-308] Chippewa (Ojibway) (Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin): The medicine man Wis-kay-tchach recognized all animals as his relations, and he considered some wolves to be his brother and two nephews. To stave off starvation one hard winter, they went hunting and came across the track of a moose. Wis-kay-tchach and the old wolf stopped to smoke while the two young wolves hunted the moose, but they didn't return, so the older two went after them. They found that the young wolves had eaten all of the moose. Wis made a fire, and when he had done so, the moose was restored again, already cut up. The young wolves divided the spoils into four, but one of them retained the tongue and upper lip. Wis grumbled, and the young wolves gave the delicacies to him. They made marrow fat, but soon this was also eaten, and they began to hunger again. They separated, with Wis and one young wolf hunting together. The wolf killed some deer, brought them home in his stomach, disgorged them on his arrival, and told his uncle that he could catch no more. Wis spent the night setting enchantments. In the morning, he told his nephew to go hunting, but warned him to throw a stick over every valley and hollow place before jumping over, or some evil would befall him. The wolf, following a deer, forgot this warning, jumped a hollow, and fell into a river where he was killed and devoured by water lynxes. Wis followed when his nephew didn't return. When he came upon the river, he guessed what had happened, and this was confirmed when a kingfisher told him it saw the wolf skin serving as a door mat of the water lynxes. The bird also told him that the water lynxes often come ashore, and Wis must turn himself into a stump close by to get his revenge. In gratitude, Wis began to put a ruff around the bird's neck, but the bird flew off before Wis could finish, which is why kingfishers have only part of a ruff at the back of their head. Wis returned to his camp to prepare; among other things, he provided a large canoe and in it embarked all animals that could not swim. He returned to the area of the lynxes before daybreak, transformed himself into a stump, and waited. The black one crawled out of the water, then the gray one. Then the white one, who had killed the wolf, emerged, but it grew suspicious on seeing the stump. It sent frogs and snakes to try to pull it down, but Wis kept himself upright. The lynx, suspicions lulled, went to sleep. Wis returned to normal shape and, though warned to shoot the lynx's shadow, forgot and shot its body. He shot a second arrow at the shadow, wounding the animal, but the lynx escaped into the river, which then overflowed and flooded the whole country. Wis escaped in his canoe and began rescuing the animals which could swim only a short time. Wis then tied a string around the leg of a loon and told it to dive for some earth, assuring it that he could restore it to life if it drowned. When the line ceased to play out, Wis hauled up the drowned loon, which, when restored to life, said that it had found no bottom. Wis next send an otter, then a beaver on the same errand, with similar results. Finally he send a rat
fastened to a stone, and the rat, when hauled up, had a little earth in its paws. He dried the earth and blew on it to expand it. He sent a wolf to explore it, but the wolf soon returned, saying it was too small. He blew on it a long time, then sent a crow to explore. The crow didn't return, so Wis decided the land was big enough and disembarked with all the animals. [Frazer, pp. 297-301; Roheim, p. 157, Kelsen, p. 147] Nenebojo went hunting every day while his brother stayed home. One day, he returned to find his brother missing. His searching brought him to the shore of a lake, where he saw a kingfisher looking into the water. The bird would not tell Nenebojo what it saw until Nenebojo painted its feathers; then it said it saw Nenebojo's brother, whose skin the water-spirits were using as a door flap. It also told where the water-spirits sun themselves. Nenebojo went there and, using his rod, assumed the shape of a rotten stump for a disguise. When the lions came out of the water, they were suspicious of the new stump until one broke off a piece and saw it was rotten. When they had gone to sleep, Nenebojo struck them on their heads with his rod. As he did so, the lake's water rose. He fled; a woodpecker directed him to a tall pine tree on a mountain. Nenebojo climbed the tree and began building a raft, which he finished just as the waters reached his neck. He put pairs of all kinds of animals on the raft and floated about. After a while, he sent otter to dive for some earth, but the otter returned without any. Next, beaver was sent, but in vain. Next he sent muskrat, who returned with a little sand in its claws and mouth. He dried the grains and blew them into the water with the horn he had used to summon the animals. They formed an island, which Nenebojo enlarged. He sent a raven to determine its size, but it didn't return. He next sent a hawk, which reported back that the raven had been eating dead bodies on the shore, so Nenebojo cursed the raven never to have anything to eat but what it steals. After another interval, Nenebojo sent a caribou to explore the size. It said that the island was still too small, so Nenebojo grew it once more and finished. [Frazer, pp. 305-306] Menaboshu regarded all animals as his kin. Once, when times were bad, he asked the wolves for some food. The food was so good that he asked to hunt with them, which they allowed. After ten days of hunting, they reached a crossroads; the wolves determined to go one way, and Menaboshu went another, taking with him a little wolf whom he loved dearly as a brother. They then hunted sometimes together and sometimes alone. Menaboshu warned the wolf to stay away from a certain lake, knowing that his worst enemy the serpent-king lived there. But this warning just made the wolf curious, and three days later he ventured out on the ice of the lake. The ice broke under him, and he was drowned. Menaboshu waited five days for the wolf's return; then he began wailing, knowing that the serpentking had got him. Menaboshu could not get the serpent-king in the winter, so he came to the lake in the spring. He set up loud lamentations when he saw the footprints of his lost brother there. This attracted the attention of the serpent-king, and when Menaboshu saw it stick up its head, he immediately turned himself into a tree stump. The serpent-king and other serpents saw nothing unusual but the new tree stump. Suspicious of it, the serpent-king sent one large snake to it. This snake squeezed hard enough to crack Menaboshu's bones, but he bore the pain
stoically. The snakes then went to sleep on the beach. Menaboshu emerged from his disguise, grabbed his bow and arrows, and shot dead the serpent-king and three of its sons. The other snakes escaped into the water, making much noise and lashing with their tails. Some snakes scattered the contents of their medicine bags; the waters began to swell, and torrents of rain fell from the newly gathered clouds. In short time, the whole earth was flooded. Menaboshu fled, hopping from mountain to mountain, but the waves followed him. He climbed to the top boughs of a fir tree on the top of one tall mountain, and the waters stopped rising just as they reached his mouth. Menaboshu stayed there five days and nights. Finally, he saw a loon swim by, and he asked it do dive for some earth. The loon did so repeatedly, but without success. Then Menaboshu saw the body of a drowned muskrat. He breathed on it to restore it to life and asked it to dive. The muskrat dived and, though it came up dead, it had a few grains of earth. Menaboshu dried these and blew them over the water. Where they landed, they grew into islands, and these grew together, with Menaboshu's guidance, into continents. Menaboshu then wandered around breathing on the corpses of animals to bring them back to life and otherwise restoring nature and land to its former beauty. [Frazer, pp. 301304] Wenebojo travelled awhile with five wolves. The oldest wolf became distrustful of Wenebojo and decided they should leave him, but one wolf, who liked Wenebojo, stayed with him and hunted food for him, and Wenebojo considered him his nephew. One night, this wolf didn't return from hunting. Wenebojo followed his tracks the next day and saw that he had fallen into a river. The manidog, or spirits under the water, caused the wolf's death because there wouldn't be any wild animals left if Wenebojo had his own way. Wenebojo went to the bank of a lake where the manidog sometimes come out to sun themselves; he turned himself into a stump and waited four days. At last, the manidog came out to bask. A big snake was suspicious that the stump was Wenebojo, so he went and squeezed it four times, harder and harder each time, but Wenebojo withstood it, and the snake said it wasn't Wenebojo. When all the manidog were asleep, Wenebojo shot the two kings, wounding them. All the manidog rushed back into the water. Wenebojo followed the stream and came across a kingfisher, which said it was waiting for Wenebojo's nephew's guts to float by. Wenebojo had a string of beads that had belonged to his nephew, and he offered them to the bird with the secret intent of strangling it, but his hand slipped and the bird escaped with the beads, which is why the kingfisher's head is bushy and it has a necklace of white spots. Wenebojo went on and met an old lady carrying basswood bark. He told her he wasn't Wenebojo, and the old lady told him that they were laying out basswood to detect Wenebojo, and that she was doctoring the wounded kings. Wenebojo learned her song and her route; then he killed her, skinned her, and put on her skin. He had to shave off his calf muscles to make it fit. With this disguise, he got entrance into the king's house. He saw his nephew's skin hanging there, which made him angry. Two snakes on either side of the door watched him suspiciously, but he told them his medicine wouldn't work with them watching. He went to the kings and pushed his arrows deeper, killing them. He ran out, breaking through basswood strings in his escape. The manidog saw the basswood moving and sent
water there. Wenebojo heard the water coming and ran for a hill. Soon the water came to the top of the hill, and he climbed a tall pine tree there. The water kept coming, and he told the pine tree to stretch itself to double its length. It did that four times but could not stretch more. The water stopped rising just short of Wenebojo's mouth. Wenebojo had to defecate, and the feces floated around his mouth. Wenebojo saw an otter and asked it to dive for some earth. The otter tried, but it drowned. Wenebojo blew on it, and it came back to life and told him that it hadn't seen anything. A beaver got farther but also failed. Next, the muskrat tried. It also floated up drowned, but Wenebojo found a grain of earth in each of its paws and in its mouth. He restored the muskrat to life, dried the grains in the sun, and threw them on the water, forming a small island. The three animals and Wenebojo went on the island, and Wenebojo took handfuls of dirt from the island and threw them around, making it bigger. Other animals came from the water to the island, too. Wenebojo asked a caribou to run around the island to test its size. The caribou soon returned and reported that the land wasn't big enough yet. Wenebojo threw more dirt far and wide and sent the caribou off again, but the caribou never came back. It got tired and stayed in the north. For a long time, Wenebojo travelled, having forgotten about his anger. But one day he happened to remember, and he sat crying. He threatened to pull up the four layers below the earth and pull down the four layers of the sky to get at the manidog there. The first manido from below the earth and the Great Spirit manido from the sky believed he would do that, and they invited him to meet with them, but he wouldn't come until they sent a white otter (seal?) as a messenger. Wenebojo didn't have any parents, so they created parents for him. The manido from the bottom formed a clay figure, shook his rattle and talked, and the figure came to life. It was an Indian woman. The Great Spirit put the last rib from the woman into a clay figure and likewise created a man. The manidog also told Wenebojo about the Medicine Dance. The people were meant to live forever, but Wenebojo's brother Nekajiwegizik hadn't been invited. He was the first person to die, and he decreed that everyone who lived on earth would have to follow his road to the other world. [Barnouw, pp. 33-45] For a time, Wenebojo travelled with a pack of wolves which he considered his nephews. When they parted, one of the wolves stayed with him and hunted for him. Wenebojo had a dream that the manidog, evil underwater spirits who were jealous of him, would kill his nephew, so he told his nephew not to cross any streams. But the wolf tried to jump a stream while hunting and was captured and killed. Wenebojo knew what happened. He followed a river to a lake and found a kingfisher in a tree looking into the water, waiting for some of Wenebojo's nephew's guts to float by. Wenebojo offered it a string of beads if it would tell him what it knew. The bird described how the manidog sun themselves. Wenebojo intended to wring the bird's neck as he put on the beads, but the bird slipped away. That is why the kingfisher has ruffled feathers around its neck. Wenebojo prepared two arrows by rubbing them on the lips of women having their first menses. Then he turned himself to a stump by the lake and waited for the manidog to sun themselves. When they emerged, the king was suspicious of the stump and had a snake squeeze it and a bear claw it, but Wenebojo withstood
these attacks. Wenebojo wished the manidog would go to sleep, and when they slept, he shot and wounded the king and the next to the king; then he ran away as the water was rising behind him. Woodchuck saved him by digging a shelter, which they stayed in two days until the water receded. Later, Wenebojo encountered an old woman carrying basswood bark. He assured her that he was not Wenebojo, and she told him that the bark would be used to detect Wenebojo when he touched it, that she was treating the wounded manidog, and that only she had eaten his nephew. With that, he killed her, put on her clothes, and wished himself to look like her. He went to the wigwam of the wounded manidog and killed them. As he ran away, he heard a roar of water behind him. He ran to a bluff; a pine tree there told Wenebojo to climb it, and the tree stretched higher, saving Wenebojo from the flood with his nose barely above water. Wenebojo asked loon to dive down to get some dirt, but the loon died in the attempt. Otter and beaver failed similarly. Muskrat, however, was able to get a few grains of dirt before he passed out. Wenebojo used this dirt to recreate land. He told a big bird to fly around it; the land would grow as it did so. When the bird returned in four days, he sent an eagle out to grow the land larger. Wenebojo cut up the body of the king manido and made a lake of fat from it. The animals that ate or touched it acquired fat in their bodies. [Barnouw, pp. 63-69] The evil serpent Meshekenabek carried off Manobozho's cousin into a deep lake. Manobozho caused the sun to shine fiercely on the lake to drive out Meshekenabek and his companions. When they emerged, Manobozho shot an arrow into the serpent's heart. The serpent, in his dying rage, stirred up the waters of the lake and spread waves over the land. Fleeing, Manobozho warned the Indians also to retreat to a mountain top. The waters still rose, though, and Manobozho made a raft for them to take refuge on. However, Manobozho couldn't disperse the flood without some earth to use as a nucleus. Muskrat finally succeeded in diving for some dirt, and Manobozho used it to make the waters recede. [Howey, pp. 291-293] In the beginning of time, in September, there was a great snow. A mouse nibbled a hole in the leather bag which contained the sun's heat, and the heat escaped and melted all the snow in an instant. The waters rose to cover even the highest mountains. One old man had foreseen the flood and warned everybody, but the others had thought to escape to the hills; they drowned in the flood. The old man had prepared a canoe and survived, rescuing animals he came across. After a while he sent, in turn, the beaver, otter, muskrat, and duck to find land. Only the duck returned, with some mud in its bill. The old man cast the mud on the water and blew on it, making solid land. [Vitaliano, p. 170] Ottawa: A deluge covered the whole earth. A lone man named Nanaboujou escaped by floating on a piece of bark. [Frazer, p. 308] Menomini (Wisconsin-Michigan border): Manabush wanted to punish the evil manidoes, the Ana maqkiu who had killed his brother Wolf. He invented the ball game and asked the Thunderers to play against the Ana maqkiu, who appeared from the ground as bears. After the first day of play, Manabush made himself into a pine tree near where the manidoes
played. When they returned the next morning, the manidoes were suspicious of the tree, so the sent for Grizzly Bear to claw it and Serpent to strangle and bite it. Manabush withstood these attacks, allaying their suspicion. When the ball play took everyone else far away, Manabush shot and wounded the two Bear chiefs with arrows and then ran away. The underground Ana maqkiu soon came back, saw the wounded Bear chiefs, and called for a flood from the earth. Badger hid Manabush in the earth, so the Ana maqkiu gave up the search just as the water was starting to fill Badger's burrow. The underground people took their chiefs to a wigwam and sent for an old woman to heal them. Manabush followed, took the old woman's skin and disguised himself in it. He entered the wigwam, killed the two chiefs, and took the bear skins. The Ana maqkiu at once pursued; water poured out of the earth in many places. Manabush climbed a great pine tree on the highest mountain. When the waters still rose to threaten him, he commanded the tree to grow. This he did four times, but the waters still rose. He called to Kisha Manido for help, who commanded the waters to stop. Seeing water everywhere, Manabush called to Otter to dive down and bring up some earth. Otter tried but drowned before reaching bottom. Mink failed similarly. Then Manabush called on Muskrat, who also returned drowned but had some mud in his paw. Manabush blew on Muskrat to return him to life. Then he took the earth, rubbed it between his hands, and threw it on the water, thus creating a new earth. Manabush told Muskrat that his tribe would always be numerous. He gave the skin of the Gray Bear chief to Badger and kept the skin of the White Bear chief. [Judson, p. 21-25] Cheyenne (Minnesota): The Great Spirit created three kinds of men: red men, white men with hairy heads, and hairy men with hair all over their body. The hairy men went to the barren south and eventually dwindled in numbers and disappeared. The red men went south after the Great Spirit taught them culture. They went north again when the Great Medicine told them the south would be flooded. In the north, they found that the white men had gone and they could no longer talk to the animals, though they could still control them. Later, they went south again, but another flood came and scattered them, and they never came together again. They traveled in small bands to the north, but they found it barren, so they returned south and lived the best they could. One particularly hard winter had earthquakes, volcanoes, and floods which destroyed all the trees. The people spent the long winter in caves and were almost famished the following spring. The Great Medicine, in pity, gave them corn and buffalo. Since then, there have been no more famines or floods. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 112-113] Yellowstone (Wyoming): People came who hunted for sport, burned and cleared forests, and didn't think of the animals as their brothers. The Great Spirit was sad and let the people's smoke from their fires lie in the valleys. The people coughed and choked but continued their evil ways. The Great Spirit sent rains to extinguish the fires and destroy the people. The people moved to the hills as the waters rose. Spotted Bear, the medicine man, said they would be safe as long as they had buffalo, but there were no buffalo around. The young men went hunting for buffalo, revising their treatment of nature as they went. The waters rose, and people climbed to the
mountains. Finally, two men came back with the hide of a white bull buffalo which had tried to climb to the mountains but had drowned in the floodwaters, though a cow and young buffalo survived. Spotted Bear announced that, since the people were no longer destroying the world, that buffalo would save those who were left. With help from other medicine men, he scraped and stretched the hide, stretching it over the whole village. Each day the wet hide stretched farther, until it covered all of Yellowstone Valley. Rain no longer fell in the valley, and people and animals moved back there. The hide began to sag, but Spotted Bear raised the west end to catch the West Wind, which made the skin a dome over the valley. The Great Spirit, seeing that people were living at peace with the earth, stopped the rain. The sun shone on the hide, shrinking it until all that was left was a rainbow arch. [Edmonds & Clark, pp. 17-19] Montagnais (northern Gulf of St. Lawrence): Messou was hunting with his dogs, when his dogs got caught in a large lake. He couldn't find them until a bird told him that it had seen the lost dogs in the lake. Messou entered the lake to rescue them, but the lake overflowed, covered the land, and destroyed the world. Messou sent first a raven and then an otter to find a piece of earth, but neither could find any. He next sent down a muskrat, which dived and returned with just a tiny amount of land, but enough for Messou to form the land we are on. Messou fired arrows into the trunks of trees, and the arrows turned into branches. He took revenge on those who had detained his dogs. He married the muskrat and by it peopled the world. [Brinton, p. 225] Being angry with giants, God commanded a man to build a large canoe. The man did so, and when he embarked, the water rose till no land was visible anywhere. Weary of seeing nothing but water, the man threw an otter into it. The otter dived and brought up a little mud, which the man breathed on and caused to expand. He placed the earth on the water and prevented it from sinking. After awhile, he placed reindeer on the new island, but they completed a circuit of the island quickly, so he concluded it wasn't yet large enough. He continued to blow on it and grow it so the mountains, lakes, and rivers were formed; then he disembarked. [Gaster, p. 117] Micmac and Penobscot (eastern Maritime Canada): Kuloscap (Glooscap) defeated the cruel Ice Giant magicians at various contests. Then he stomped on the ground, and foaming water rushed down from the mountains. He sang a song which changed how everyone looks, and the Ice Giants became large fish and were washed to sea. Those fish carry markings like the wampum collars of the magicians. [Norman, p. 115; Leland, p. 126] Algonquin (upper Ottowa River): Long ago, when men had become evil, the Strong Serpent Maskanako came. He was the foe of people, and they became embroiled, hating and fighting each other. The small men (Mattapewi) fought with Nihanlowit, keeper of the dead. The Strong Serpent resolved to destroy all men, and the Black Serpent brought the snake-water rushing, spreading everywhere, destroying everything. Then the waters ran off, and the great evil went away by the path of the cave. [Kelsen, pp. 146-147]
Lenape (=Delaware) (Delaware to New York): A deluge covered the whole earth. A few people survived on the back of a turtle which was so old its shell was mossy. A loon flew by, and the people begged it to dive and bring up some land. The bird dived but could not reach the bottom. Then he flew far away, came back with some earth in his bill, and led the turtle back to some dry land. There the people settled and repopulated the country. Those saved by the turtle became the Turtle Clan. [Frazer, p. 295; Bierhorst, 1995, pp. 30, 43] After the Great Spirit created the earth, he flooded it. He sent various animals diving for earth. At last the muskrat succeeded. He put the earth on the turtles back, and it increased in size. [Bierhorst, 1995, p. 44] Cherokee (Great Lakes area; eastern Tennessee): Day after day, a dog stood at the river bank and howled piteously. Rebuked by his master, the dog said a flood was coming, and he must build and provision a boat. Furthermore, the dog said, he must throw him, the dog, into the water. For a sign that he spoke the truth, the dog showed the back of his neck, which was raw and bare with flesh and bone showing. The man followed directions, and he and his family survived; from them, the present population is descended. [Gaster, pp. 116117] Mandan (North Dakota): The earth is a large tortoise. Once a tribe, digging for badgers, dug deep into the earth and cut through the shell of Tortoise. Tortoise began to sink, and water rose through the knife cut. The water covered all the ground and drowned all the people except one man, Nu-mohk-muck-a-nah, who escaped in a large canoe to a mountain in the west. Today, a plank structure called the "big canoe" stands in the central plaza of a Mandan village. The Mandans celebrate the subsidence of the flood every year with a ceremony called Mee-nee-ro-ka-ha-sha, held when willow leaves are fully grown because the twig that the turtle-dove brought home had such leaves. In the ceremony, a man representing the survivor collects edged tools from each household; these are later thrown into a deep pool. If this sacrifice is not made, the man says, another flood will come and destroy everyone. [Judson, p. 20; Frazer, pp. 292-294] Lakota: In the world before this one, the people didn't know how to behave or how to act human, and the creating power was displeased. He placed three dry buffalo chips under a sacred pipe rack and saved a fourth for lighting the pipe. He sang three songs to bring rain, which caused the rivers to overflow; then he sang a fourth song and stamped on the earth. The earth split open, and water flowed from the cracks and covered everything. The Creating Power floated on the sacred pipe and his huge pipe bag. All people and animals were destroyed except Kangi, the crow. It was very tired and three times asked the Creating Power to make a place for it to rest. The Creating Power opened his pipe bag, which contained all manner of animals and birds, and selected four known for their diving abilities. He sang a song and commanded the loon to dive and bring up mud, but the loon failed. Likewise, the water was too deep for otter and beaver. But the turtle succeeded in
bringing up a little mud. The Creating Power took the mud and, singing, spread it out on the water. After the fourth song, there was enough land for himself and the crow. He waved two long eagle feathers over the ground, and it spread until it replaced the water. He named it the Turtle Continent. The Creating Power thought, "Land without water is not good," and wept for the earth and the creatures he would put upon it. His tears became oceans, streams, and lakes. He scattered the animals across the land; they came to life when he stamped on the ground. He created four colors of people from red, white, black, and yellow earth. He created the rainbow as a sign that there would be no more great flood, but warned that he had destroyed the first world by fire because it was bad, and the second world by flood, and he would destroy this world too if people make it bad and ugly. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 496-499] Unktehi, a water monster, fought the people and caused a great flood. The people retreated to a hill, but the water swept over them, killing them all. The blood gelled and turned to pipestone. (Pipes made from that rock are sacred today.) Unktehi was also turned to stone; her bones are in the Badlands now, forming a long ridge. A giant eagle, Wanblee Galeshka, swept down, saved one girl from the flood, carrying her to a tree on the highest pinnacle, the only place not covered by water. He made her his wife. She bore twins, a boy and a girl, which are the ancestors of the Sioux. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 93-95] Unktehi puffed up her body to make the Missouri overflow, and the little water monsters, her children, did the same with other streams and lakes. This caused a great flood which covered the country. Only a few people escaped to the highest mountain, and the waves threatened to kill them. The thunderbirds liked people, so they fought the water monsters for several years. In time, it became clear that the thunderbirds were losing when they fought close, so they retreated to the sky and, all together, sent their lightning bolts. This burned the forests, boiled the water, and turned the earth red hot, except where the people had taken refuge. Unktehi and the water monsters were defeated. Their bones can still be seen in the Badlands. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 220-222] Choctaw (Mississippi): A prophet was sent by the high god to warn of a coming flood, but nobody took notice. When the flood came, the prophet took to a raft. After several months, he saw a black bird. He signaled it, but it just cawed and flew away. Later, he sighted and signaled a bluish bird. The bird flapped, moaned dolorously, and guided the raft towards where the sun was breaking through. Next morning, he landed on an island with all kinds of animals. He cursed the black bird (a crow) and blessed the bluish one (a dove). [Gaster, p. 116] Natchez (Lower Mississippi): A great rain fell so abundantly that it extinguished all fires and caused a flood which drowned all but a few people who saved themselves on a high mountain. A little bird named Co端y-o端y (a cardinal) brought fire from heaven again. [Gaster, p. 116] Chitimacha (Southern Louisiana): Long ago, a great storm came. The people baked a great earthen pot, in which two people saved themselves. Since rattlesnakes were then the friends of man, two
rattlesnakes were saved in the pot, too. The red-headed woodpecker clung to the sky, but the waters rose so high they wet and marked his tail. When the waters sank, the woodpecker was sent to find land, but he could find none. The dove was sent next and came back with a grain of sand. When this grain was placed on the water, it spread out and became dry land. [Judson, p. 19] When the earth was first made, all was under water. The Creator sent Crawfish to bring up a little earth. The mud he brought up spread out, and dry earth appeared. [Judson, p. 5] Caddo (Oklahoma, Arkansas): A woman gave birth to four monsters. Though advised to kill them, she let them grow. They grew quickly and acted evilly, and before long they were too large and powerful to kill. They kept growing. One night they came together in the camp with their backs together and grew together into one creature, which grew tall enough to touch the sky. Most people took refuge at their base, where they couldn't bend over and reach them; others were caught by the monsters' long arms and eaten. One man who could see the future heard a voice telling him to plant a hollow reed. He did so, and it quickly grew very big. The voice directed the man and his wife to go naked into the reed, taking pairs of good animals, when they see all the birds of the world flying south. The sign came and they entered. Rain came, and waters rose to cover everything but the top of the reed and the heads of the monsters. Turtle destroyed the monsters by digging under them and uprooting them. They broke apart and fell in (and thus formed) the four cardinal directions. The waters subsided, and winds dried the earth. The people and animals emerged onto a barren earth, and the wife wondered how they would live. The man said, "Go to sleep." Four times they slept, and each time they woke there was more growth around them. After the fourth night, they awoke in a grass hut, and there was a stalk of corn outside. The voice told them corn was to be their holy food. If they plant corn and something else comes up, then the world will end. The voice didn't return after that. [Erdoes & Ortiz, p. 120-122] Pawnee (Nebraska): The first people on the earth were giants, very big and strong. They did not believe in the creator Ti-ra-wa. They thought nothing could overcome them. They grew increasingly worse. At last Ti-ra-wa grew angry and raised the water to the level of the land so that the ground became soft. The giants sank into the mud and drowned. Their bones can still be found today. Ti-ra-wa then created a man and woman, like people of today, and gave them corn. The Pawnees are descended from them. [Grinnell, pp. 355-356] Navajo (Four Corners area): The first world, where Navajos originated, was inhabited by Insect People of twelve types. For their sins of adultery and constant quarreling, the gods expelled them by sending a wall of water from all directions. The Insect People flew up into the second world, guided through a hole in the sky by a cliff swallow. The second world was a barren world inhabited by Swallow People. They decided to stay anyway, but after 24 days, one of the Insect People made love to the wife of the Swallow People's chief. They were expelled to the third world; the white face of the wind told them of an opening. The third world was a barren world of
Grasshopper People. Again, the Insect People were expelled for philandering after 24 days. The red face of the wind guided them to the hole to the fourth world. This world was inhabited by animals and Pueblos, with whom the Insect People coexisted peacefully. The gods made people in human form from ears of corn, different colors of corn becoming different tribes. The Insect People intermarried with them, and their descendants eventually looked fully human. In time, the men and women argued and decided to live apart. But both groups engaged in unnatural sex acts, and eventually the women were starving, so they got back together. The gods were displeased by their sins, though, and sent a wall of water upon them. The people noticed animals running and sent cicadas to investigate. They escaped the floodwaters by climbing into a fast-growing reed. Cicada dug an entrance into the fifth world, which was inhabited by grebes. The grebes said that people could have that world if they could survive plunging arrows into their heart. The cicadas met this challenge (they bear the scars on their sides still), and people live in the fifth world today. [Capinera, pp. 226-228] Jicarilla Apache (northeastern New Mexico): Before the Apaches emerged from the underworld, there were other people on the earth. Dios told an old man and old woman that it would rain forty days and nights. People were warned to go to the tops of four mountains (Tsisnatcin, Tsabidzilhi, Becdilhgai, and another whose identity isn't known), and not to look at the flood or sky. The people didn't believe the old couple. When the rains came, only a few people made it to the mountain tops and shut their eyes. Those who looked at the flood turned into a fish or frog (as did some who were caught in the flood); if they looked at the sky, they turned into a bird. The people sitting on the mountains were told, when they got hungry, to think of food, and Dios would feed them. After eighty days, Dios told the 24 people remaining to open their eyes and come down. These 24 people went into 24 mountains. Eight other people survived the flood who were able to travel by looking where they wanted to go, and they were there. These people told the Apaches about the flood before going into two mountains themselves. Dios told them to stay there until the world is destroyed. Around the year 2000, when the Apaches dwindle in number, the surface of the earth will again be destroyed, this time by fire. [Opler, pp. 111-113] When people still lived in the underworld, the chief, after an argument with his mother-in-law, decided that men and women should live apart for awhile, so the men all moved to the other side of a river, and the chief prayed to Kogulhtsude (a water spirit) to widen the river. They lived four years like this. The women's farms became less and less productive, and they began to go hungry. The men wanted sexual satisfaction and began some sexual perversions; the older girls, likewise affected, began to masturbate with elk horns, eagle feathers, and other things. These things impregnated them and produced the monsters that afterwards killed men. About that time, Coyote found a baby in a whirlpool in the river and took it out to raise himself. But the baby was Kogulhtsude's child, and he sent water out to draw it back. Some people were drowned and turned into frogs and fish; the other men and women escaped together to a tall mountain. Coyote used his magic to make the mountain grow, but the waters kept rising, finally overflowing onto this world. The people suspected Coyote was causing the trouble and found the
baby hidden under his coat. They threw the baby (which was almost dead from drying) into the water, and the water receded. The people went down into the underworld again. When they later emerged, the surface of the earth was covered with water from that flood. The four Holy Ones made black, blue, yellow, and glittering hoops and threw them in each compass direction, and the water receded. They commanded the four winds to dry the land further. [Opler, p. 20, 265-268] As the waters rose, a chief led his warriors into the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. When it became clear that even the mountain peaks would be submerged, the chief told his braves that, rather than let them drown ignominiously, he would turn then to stone. They are there guarding the heights even today. [Vitaliano, p. 170] Sia: Sussistinnako (Spider), the first being, lived in the lower world. He drew a cross and placed magic parcels at the east and west points, and his song brought forth from them two women, Utset, the mother of all Indians, and Nowutset, the mother of all other races. Spider also created rain, thunder, lightning, and rainbow, and the women made the sun, moon, and stars. Nowutset was the stronger but duller of the two women, and she lost a contest of rules. Utset slew her and cut out her heart; thus began war in the world. People lived happily in the lower world for eight years, but in the ninth, a flood came. The people ascended through a reed, with Utset leading the way. Badger and locust bored the passage through the lower world's sky. Turkey was the last to ascend, and the foaming flood waters touched his tail and left their mark there to this day. Beetle was put in charge of the sack full of stars, but out of curiosity he made a hole in it, and the stars scattered across the heavens. Utset managed to rescue a few with which she made constellations. The hole through which the people emerged is called the Shipapo. The first people, the Sia, camped around it. They had no food, but Utset had always known the name of corn, and she created it out of bits of her heart. [Alexander, 1916, p. 203] Acagchemem (near San Juan Capistrano, so. California): The descendants of Captain Ouiot asked Chinigchinich for vengeance upon their chief. Chinigchinich appeared to them and told them that those of them with the power to cause rain were the once to achieve vengeance by inundating the earth and so destroying every living thing. The rains came; the sea swelled in over the earth, covering all the land except a high mountain, where a few people had gone with the person who caused the rain with songs of supplication to Chinigchinich to drown their enemies. Every other animal on earth was destroyed. If their enemies heard them, they sang other songs saying that they were not afraid because Chinigchinich will not destroy the world with another inundation. [Frazer, p. 288] Luise単o (Southern California): A great flood covered high mountains and drowned most people. A few saved themselves on a knoll called Mora by the Spaniards and Katuta by the Indians, staying there until the flood went down. The hill still has stones, ashes, and heaps of seashells showing where the Indians cooked their food. [Gaster, pp. 115-116] Pima (southwest Arizona):
After the earth had become peopled, the great eagle told a seer in the Gila valley, on three occasions, to warn the people about a great flood that would soon come, but the seer ridiculed him and ignored his warnings. Scarcely had the bird gone for the third time when a tremendous clap of thunder was heard. When morning came, the earth trembled, and a great green wall of water roared down the valley and destroyed everything in it. Szeukha, son of Chiowotmahke (Earth maker), saved himself by floating on a ball of pine resin. When the water receded somewhat, he landed on a mountain above the Salt River; his cave and tools can still be seen there. Szeukha made a ladder that reached into the clouds and went to fight the great eagle, whom he thought had caused the flood. They fought long, but at last he killed the eagle. He found the bones and corpses of the people which the eagle had abducted and returned them to life. He also rescued a pregnant woman and her child. The eagle had stolen her and taken her for his wife. She became the mother of the Pima people. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 473-475; Gaster, p. 115] The Creator, Earth Doctor, made the mountains, the waters, the plants; he made the sun and moon in their courses. Then he made all kinds of birds and creeping things, and he made clay images and commanded them to become living humans. They obeyed him, multiplied, and spread over the earth. In time, as sickness and death were still unknown, the population outran the available sustenance, and people faced ever-increasing famine. The Creator resolved to destroy the creatures he had made, so he pulled down the sky, crushing to death all living things. Then he restored the world and made humans again. The earth gave birth to one known as Siuuh没 or Elder Brother. He spoke harshly to the Creator, and the Creator feared him. Elder Brother shortened people's lives so that they didn't multiply out of control as before. He resolved further to destroy mankind entirely with a great flood. He created a handsome youth to go among the Pimas, wed their women, and beget children, staying with each wife only until his first child was born. The first wife gave birth four months after marriage and conception, and the gestation periods became shorter with each successive wife, until the last child was born at the time of the marriage. (The people were amazed and frightened by the powers shown by Elder Brother and his agent during these years.) This last child's screams shook the earth, and it was he who caused the flood. Meanwhile, Elder Brother had begun fashioning, out of black gum, a jar in which to save himself, and he announced his purpose to the Creator. The Creator called the people together and warned them of the nearing flood. He thrust his staff into the ground, boring a hole all the way through the earth. Some people took refuge in the hole. Other people appealed, futilely, to Elder Brother. Elder Brother did tell coyote to find a big log on which to float safely on the flood. Elder Brother closed himself in the jar, known as Black House, and the flood came. The jar bobbed on the waters until it came to rest near the mouth of the Colorado River. It may be seen there today; it is called Black Mountain. The Creator survived the flood by enclosing himself in his reed staff and floating. The coyote survived on his driftwood. Only five sorts of birds survived, including the flicker and vulture, by clinging to the sky with their beaks until a god took pity on them and let them make nests from their own down and float in them. Some people survived in the
hole which the Creator had made. Others survived in a similar hole made by a powerful person called South Doctor. Others appealed to the Creator, who told them to try to find refuge on Crooked Mountain, and he directed South Doctor to help them. South Doctor led the people to the summit and, with his enchantments, four times raised the mountain and arrested the rising waters, but then his powers were exhausted. He threw his staff into the water, where it cracked loudly. He sent a dog to see how high the tide had risen, and when the dog reported that the water was very near the top, the people were transformed into stone. You may see them there today. [Frazer, pp. 283-287] Because someone displeased the gods, a heavy rain began pouring down, and water gushed from the broken ground, swelling the rivers. For the first time, the wise Se-eh-ha (Elder Brother) did not know what to do. Some people ran up Slanting Mountain (Superstition Mountain) and prayed to the Great Spirit to stop the flood, but when the water threatened to swallow them up, they turned into rocks in fright. Se-eh-ha and his brother Juvet-Makai (Earth Medicine Man) hurriedly made canoes and rode out the flood in them. Coyote used his magic to turn himself small and crawl into his bamboo flute, in which he floated. Some birds, including the swallow, buzzard, raven, oriole, and hummingbird, clung to the sky with their bills. The flood rose high enough to drench their tails, leaving them drenched-looking for all time. The flood lasted four days, and Se-eh-ha, Juvet-Makai, and Coyote were tossed in different directions. Coyote landed on a high mountain near the Colorado River; his flute was tightly stuck in the rocks, so he left it there. He left to look for Se-eh-ha and Juvet-Makai, finding them at Slanting Mountain surveying the desolated land. Elder Brother rubbed some dust off his chest onto the ground, where it turned into ants. The ants began scattering the dirt, making it drier, and Elder Brother said that is what he wants ants to do. The three of them began making images to replace the lost people. Elder Brother scolded Earth Medicine Man for making his images so different, with one leg and one arm, and Earth Medicine Man angrily threw away his images and sank into the ground to find a place to live on the other side of the earth. Elder Brother and Coyote placed their images in a warm mud hut and waited for them to speak. Coyote's images began laughing first; this displeased Elder Brother, so he sprinkled cold water on them and threw them to the cold north, where they became the Apaches. Coyote was angered and disappeared as Earth Medicine Man had. After four days, Elder Brother's images began laughing and talking. They became the River People and repopulated the Gila valley. (Later, Elder Brother became greedy and evil and led Juvet-Makai's people to conquer the River People.) [Shaw, pp. 1-14] Papago (Arizona): Back when the sun was closer to the earth, Coyote foresaw the coming of a flood, gnawed down a great tree, entered it, and sealed the opening. Montezuma, who was the first person created by the Great Mystery, took warning from Coyote and prepared a dugout canoe for himself atop Monte Rosa. Only they survived the flood, which covered all the land. They met again on the top of Monte Rosa, which rose above the flood waters. To ascertain how much dry land was left, the man sent Coyote to explore. Coyote reported that there was sea to the west, south,
and east, but seemingly endless land to the north. The Great Spirit, with the help of Montezuma, restocked the earth with men and animals. Montezuma, with Coyote's help, taught them and led them. Montezuma later became prideful and rebelled against the Great Mystery, thus bringing evil into the world. The Great Mystery raised the sun to its present height and, with an earthquake, destroyed the tower that Montezuma was building into the heavens, in the process changing languages so that people could no longer understand animals or other tribes. [Erdoes & Ortiz, p. 487-489; Gaster, pp. 114-115] Hopi: The people repeatedly became distant from Sotuknang, the creator. Twice he destroyed the world (by fire and by cold) and recreated it while the few people who still lived by the laws of creation took shelter underground with the ants. When people became corrupt and warlike a third time, Sotuknang guided the ones who had retained their wisdom to Spider Woman, who cut down giant reeds and sheltered the people in the hollow stems with a little water and food. Sotuknang caused a great flood with rain and waves, and the people floated in their reeds for a long time. Finally, they came to rest on a small piece of land, and Spider Woman unsealed their reeds and pulled them out by the tops of their heads. They still had as much food as they started with. They sent out birds to find more land, but to no avail. They grew a tall reed and climbed it, but they saw only water. But guided by their inner wisdom (which comes from Sotuknang through the door at the top of their head), the people traveled on, using the reeds as canoes. They went northeast, finding progressively larger islands. The last of these was large and fruitful, and people wanted to stay there, but Spider Woman urged them on. They went further northeast, paddling hard as if going uphill, until they came to the Fourth World. The shores were rocky with seemingly no place to land, but by opening the doors at the tops of their head, they found a current that took them to a sandy beach. Sotuknang appeared and told them to look back, and they saw the islands, the last remnants of the Third World, sink into the ocean. [Waters, pp. 1220] Spider Clan, Blue Flute Clan, Fire Clan, Snake Clan, and Sun Clan traveled together on the Hopi migrations. On their northward journey, they were blocked at the Arctic Circle by a mountain of ice and snow. This was the Back Door of the Fourth World, which Sotuknang said was closed to them. Spider Woman and the Spider Clan, however, urged them to go on, and all the clans used their powers to try to melt and bread down the mountain. They tried four times but failed. Sotuknang told Spider Woman that if they had succeeded, the melted snow and ice would have flooded the world. He punished her by letting her grow old and ugly, and Spider Clan became breeders of wickedness. [Waters, pp. 39-40] Zuni (New Mexico): A great flood once forced the Zunis out of their valley to take refuge on a nearby tableland. But the flood rose nearly to the top of the tableland, and the people, fearing it would drown them all, decided to offer a human sacrifice to appease the angry waters. A youth and maiden, children of two Priests of the Rain, were dressed in finery and thrown into the flood. The waters began subsiding
immediately. The two young people turned to stone; they may be seen as two great pinnacles rising from the tableland. [Frazer, pp. 287-288]
Central America Tarascan (northern Michoacan, Mexico): When the great flood came, God built a house. Everyone tried to crowd into it; those who failed were drowned. The house floated on the waters for twenty days, striking the sky three times. When the waters receded, some of the survivors were very hungry, and although God told them not to eat anything, they started to cook tortillas inside the house. God sent down an angel to tell them not to light any fire, but the smoke was already drifting into the sky. God sent the angel again with the same message, but the people said they were hungry and continued cooking. After the message was ignored a third time, God told the angel to give those people a good kick. They became dogs and buzzards and cleaned up the earth. [Horcasitas, p. 195] God ordered a man to build a large house and to put animals and food in it. When he had finished, it began to rain and continued raining for six months. The house floated on the flood, and all who had helped build it were saved in it. When the flood started going down, the man sent out a raven, but it stayed out to eat dead bodies. He next sent out a dove, which returned to tell what the raven was doing, and ravens have been cursed to eat carrion since. God ordered that no fires be kindled, but one man disobeyed and was turned into a dog. [Horcasitas, p. 196] After the world was destroyed by a flood, a boy, very hungry, got out of his canoe to heat a gorda. The Eternal Father said it was not yet time for a fire to be lit and sent Saint Bartholomew to investigate who was making the smoke. Bartholomew reminded the boy of God's orders, but the boy pleaded that he was hungry. Saint Bartholomew reported back to Heaven, and the Eternal Father said to kick the boy if he again didn't understand. Saint Bartholomew did so, and the boy turned into a dog. [Horcasitas, pp. 195-196] Michoacan (Mexico): When the flood waters began to rise, a man named Tezpi entered into a great vessel, taking with him his wife and children and diverse seeds and animals. When the waters abated, the man sent out a vulture, but the bird found plenty of corpses to eat and didn't return. Other birds also flew away and didn't return. Finally, he sent out a hummingbird, which returned with a green bough in its beak. [Gaster, p. 122] Yaqui (Sonoran, Northern Mexico): On the 17th day of February, in the year 614, it rained for fourteen days all over the world. The waters rose and destroyed all living things. Yaitowi, a just and perfect man who walked with Dios, was saved, along with thirteen others and eleven women, on the hill of Parbus (today called Maatale). A few other people, seven birds, seven asses, and seven little dogs were saved on other mountains. After the flood, two angels appeared to two of the survivors, and the angel San Gabriel came, sent by Dios, telling the people to "go by the way of our Dios and Father." When they arrived at Venedici, they heard the voice of Dios, who
promised the rainbow as a sign that no other flood would destroy earth. [Giddings, pp. 106-108] Tarahumara (Northern Mexico): People were once fighting among themselves, and Father God (Tata Dios) sent much rain, drowning everyone. After the flood, God sent three men and three women to repopulate the earth. They planted three kinds of corn which still grow in the country. [Gaster, p. 124] When all the world was flooded, a little boy and girl climbed the mountain Lavachi ("Gourd") south of Panalachic. They came down when the flood subsided, bringing with them three grains of corn and three beans. The rocks were so soft that their feet sank into them, leaving footprints that can still be seen today. They planted the corn, slept and dreamed, and harvested. All Tarahumares are descended from them. [Frazer, p. 281] Huichol (western Mexico): A man clearing fields found the trees regrown overnight. On the fifth day of this, he found that the Grandmother Nakawe, goddess of the earth, did this, because she wanted to talk to him. She told him that he was working in vain because a flood was coming in five days. Per her instructions, he built a box from the fig tree and entered it with five grains of corn and beans of each color, fire with five squash stems to feed it, and a black bitch. (In other versions, the vessel was a canoe.) She closed him in and caulked the cracks, and he floated in the flood for five years, first floating south, then north, then west, then east, then rising upward as the whole world flooded. Finally the box came to rest on a mountain near Santa Cantarina, where it can still be seen. The world was still under water, but parrots and macaws pulled up mountains and created valleys to drain the water, and the land dried. The old woman, who had sat upon the box with a macaw during the flood, turned to wind and disappeared. The man lived with the bitch in a cave. Every evening he would return home from work in the fields to find meals prepared. He spied one day and found that the bitch took off her skin and became a woman to do the work. He threw her skin into the fire. She whined like a dog, but he bathed her in nixtamal water, and she remained a woman. They repopulated the earth. [Gaster, pp. 122-123; Horcasitas, pp. 203-205] Cora (east of the Huichols): As in the Huichol myth, a woodman was warned of a coming flood by a woman. He was bidden to take the woodpecker, sandpiper, and parrot with him, as well as the bitch. He embarked at midnight as the flood began. When the flood subsided, he waited five days and sent out the sandpiper, which came back and cried, "Eewee-wee", indicating the earth was too wet to walk upon. He waited five more days and sent out the woodpecker, which found the trees too soft and returned saying "Chu-ee, chu-ee!" He waited five days more and sent out the sandpiper, who reported back that the ground was hard, and the man ventured out. He lived with the bitch who, as above, transformed into a human wife. [Gaster, p. 124] Survivors of the flood escaped in a canoe. God sent the vulture out to see if the earth was dry enough, but the vulture didn't return because it was devouring the drowned corpses. God cursed the vulture and made it black, leaving its wingtips white to remind people of its former color. Next, God sent the ringdove, who
reported that the land was dry but the rivers were in spate. So God commanded the animals to drink the rivers dry. All came and drank except the weeping dove, which today still goes to drink at nightfall because she is ashamed to be seen drinking by day. [Gaster, p. 124] Tepecano (southeast of Huichols): A man cleared trees every morning and found them regrown overnight. He spied and found an old man had been doing this. The old man told him not to work anymore because a flood was coming, and instead to build an ark and take on it pairs of all animals, corn, and water. The flood came, and the ark wandered over the waters for forty days. When the waters went down, the man returned to work. He soon noticed that food had been prepared for him when he returned from work. He spied and found his black bitch had been turning into the housekeeper. He burned her skin and soothed her by sprinkling nixtamal water on her. They lived together and had 24 children. One day the man took half of them to visit God, who gave them clothes; the others remained naked. That's why there are rich and poor people. [Horcasitas, p. 205] Tepehua (eastern Mexico): A man was surprised to find his fields overgrown after clearing them the previous day. He spied and found a monkey was responsible. The monkey told him that God didn't want him to work because a flood was coming, and it gave him instructions for building a coffinlike craft. The man built the box and got into it, and when the flood came, the monkey rode atop it. When the flood subsided, the man got out and built a fire to cook some fish he found. But the Almighty, irritated with him for building the fire, appeared and turned him into a monkey. [Horcasitas, p. 198] Toltec (Mexico): One of the Tezcatlipocas (sons of the original dual god) transformed himself into the Sun and created the first humans to show up his brothers. The other gods, angry at his audacity, had Quetzalcoatl destroy the sun and the earth, which he did with a flood. The people became fish. This ended the first age. The second, third, and fourth Suns ended, respectively, with the crumbling of the heavens, a rain of fire, and devastating winds. [Leon-Portilla, p. 450] Nahua (central Mexico): People in three previous ages were destroyed by being devoured by jaguars, swept away by the wind and turned into monkeys, and transformed into birds in a rain of fire. The sun of 4 Water lasted 676 years; then the heavens came down in one day, and the people were inundated and transformed into fish. In the next age, Titlacahuan (Tezcatlipoca) told a man known as Nata ("Our Father") and his consort Nene to hollow out an aheuhuetl (cypress?) log and enter it during the vigil of Toรงoztli, when the heavens would come crashing down. He sealed them in with a single ear of corn apiece to eat. When they had finished eating all the kernels, they heard the water declining. They exited the log, found a fish, and made a fire to cook it. The gods Citlallinicue and Citlallatonac complained that someone was smoking up the heavens. Tezcatlipoca descended, struck off the people's heads, and reattached them over their buttocks; they became dogs. [Markman, pp. 132-133; Frazer, pp. 274-275]
The deluge overwhelmed mankind. Only a man named Coxcox (some call him Teocipactli) and a woman named Xochiquetzal survived in a small bark. They landed on a mountain called Colhuacan and had many children. These children were all born dumb until a dove from a lofty tree gave them languages, but different languages so that they couldn't understand each other. [Gaster, p. 121; Horcasitas, p. 191; Vitaliano, p. 176] Tlaxcalan (central Mexico): Men who survived the deluge were turned into monkeys, but they slowly recovered speech and reason. [Gaster, p. 121] Tlapanac (south central Mexico): A buzzard told a man working in the fields not to work anymore and caused all the trees that had been cut to rise again. The buzzard told the man to make a box for himself and take along in it a dog and a chicken. The man survived the flood in this box. When the waters lowered, the chicken turned into a buzzard, and the man lived with the dog. The man found that someone prepared tortillas for him while he was away at work. One day he returned home and saw the bitch remove her skin and grind corn. He then burned her skin. She complained, but she remained a woman, and the two of them repopulated the world. [Horcasitas, p. 206] Mixtec (northern Oaxaca, Mexico): The earth was once well populated, when mankind committed a magical fault for which they were punished by a great deluge. The Mixtec people descended from the few survivors. [Horcasitas, p. 192] The god and goddess Puma-Snake and Jaguar-Snake raised a cliff above the abyss. Here they lived many centuries and raised two boys who had the power to transform themselves into eagles and serpents. The brothers established farming and sacrifice and penance; at their prayers, light appeared and water separated from earth. The earth was peopled, but a flood destroyed them, and Creator-ofAll-Things restored the world. [Alexander, 1920, p. 87] Zapotec (Oaxaca, southern Mexico): The Angel Gabriel warned Noéh that a flood was coming because of mankind's sins. Noéh warned other people, but they didn't believe him. He built an ark and took pairs of all animals. The waters came; the Archangel Saint Michael blew his trumpet. When the waters receded, Noéh sent out a buzzard to see if the world was dry, but it stayed out to eat dead animals. The crow was then sent; it returned to say that the world was drying. Then the turtledove and parroquet went and reported back that the world was dry, and Noéh and the animals left the ark. The buzzard became ugly because of his actions, and the trip of a person unmindful of his mission is called a "buzzard's trip." Petela, a great Zapotec chieftain of Ocelotepeque, was descended from the survivors of the flood. [Horcasitas, p. 192,213] In another version, the buzzard stayed to eat the dead and was condemned to be a scavenger. A heron was sent next, fulfilled its mission, and was allowed to eat fish as a reward. A raven was sent, and its obedience was rewarded by permitting it to
eat fruit and corn. A dove then went and reported that the earth was almost dry, and it was granted freedom. [Horcasitas, p. 212] The earth was dark and cold. The only inhabitants were giants, and God was angry with them for their idolatry. Some giants, feeling that a flood was coming, carved underground houses for themselves out of great slabs of rock. Some thus escaped destruction and may still be found hidden in certain caverns. Other giants hid in the forests and became monkeys. [Horcasitas, p. 199] Trique (Oaxaca, southern Mexico): Nexquiriac sent down a great flood to punish mankind for its very wicked ways. He instructed one good man to make a large box and to preserve himself in it, along with many animals and seeds of certain plants. When the flood was almost over, Nexquiriac told the man not to come out, but to bury the box, along with himself, until the face of the earth had been burned. After that was done, the man emerged and repopulated the earth. [Horcasitas, p. 192] Totonac (eastern Mexico): A man, warned by God, survived the flood in a tree he had hollowed out. After the deluge, he was hungry and built a fire. God smelled the smoke and sent buzzard down to investigate, but buzzard stayed to eat the dead animals, and God condemned him to eat only rotten flesh thereafter. God told Saint Michael the Archangel to go down, and Saint Michael reversed the man's face and hind parts and turned him into a monkey. [Horcasitas, p. 197] A flood destroyed mankind. The children became flowers when they jumped up to where the star is. A man was sent a large dog. He went every day to clear the fields and found, on returning home, that food had been prepared for him. He resolved to discover the cook. [The story fragment ends there, but see below, and see related myth of Huichol.] [Horcasitas, p. 205] God told a man to make an ark. After the deluge had subsided, the man sent forth a dove, which came back. Later, he sent it out again; it returned with muddy feet, and the man left the ark. He happened upon a house and decided to live there. Ants brought him corn. When he returned every day, he found food prepared for him. He watched his dog and one day found her, skinless, preparing corn. He threw her skin in the fire, and she began to weep. The couple lived together and had a baby. One day, the man told his wife to make tamales out of the "tender one," and the wife, misunderstanding, cooked their child. When the man found out, he scolded his wife and ate the tamales anyway. [Horcasitas, pp. 205-206] Chol (southern Mexico): When the deluge came, some people survived by climbing into the highest trees. Ahau became angry with them and, reversing their faces and hind parts, turned them to monkeys. [Horcasitas, p. 198] Tzeltal (Chiapas, southern Mexico): Through a misunderstanding, a wife killed and cooked her child. She and her husband ate it and enjoyed it, and soon everyone was killing and cooking children. God became angry and sent a deluge. One intelligent man survived in a canoe. Right after the flood, he lit a fire, and God smelled the smoke. God sent the buzzard, turkey buzzard, and churn-owl to investigate, but they stayed to eat
dead bodies. God condemned them always to eat dead bodies. God then sent the hawk, which reported back. The man was turned into a monkey. [Horcasitas, p. 198] The Padre Santo warned two brothers that a flood was coming, and they, with many animals, survived in an ark. When the waters were subsiding, the younger brother fell out of the ark, landed in a tree, and turned into a monkey. [Horcasitas, p. 198] QuichĂŠ (Guatemala): The wooden people, an early version of humanity, were imperfect because there was nothing in their hearts and minds, and they did not remember Heart of Sky. So Heart of Sky destroyed them with a flood. He sent down a black rain of resin; animals came into their houses and attacked them; and even pots and stones crushed them. The dogs and turkeys told them, "You caused us pain, you ate us. Now we eat you." Their other animals and implements likewise turned on them. They tried to escape onto their houses, into trees, and into caves, but the houses collapsed, the trees threw them off, and the caves slammed shut. Today's monkeys are a sign of these people, mere manikins. This was before the sun dawned on the earth. [Tedlock, p. 83-86] Some men tried to save themselves from the deluge by making boxes and going underground in them. God didn't approve of this and turned them into bees. [Horcasitas, p. 199] Maya (southern Mexico and Guatemala): The Puzob, an industrious dwarf people, were the first inhabitants of the earth. God destroyed them with a flood because of their carelessness in their observation of custom. They heard that a terrible storm was coming, so they put some stones in a pond and sat on them, but the dwarfs were all destroyed. Jesucristo sent down four angels to investigate what was happening on earth. They removed their clothes and bathed, whereupon they became doves. Some other angels were sent down; they were turned into buzzards when they ate the dead. [Horcasitas, p. 194] In the first period of the world lived the Saiyamkoob, "the Adjusters," a dwarf race which built cities now in ruins. They worked in darkness, as the sun had not yet appeared. When it did, they turned to stone, and their images can be found in the ruins. Food for the workers was lowered by rope from the sky, but the rope was cut, the blood ran out of it, and the earth and sky separated. This period ended with water over the earth. The Tsolob, "the Offenders," lived in the second period. These, too were destroyed by a flood. The Maya reigned during the third period, but their period was also ended by flood. The fourth and present age is peopled by a mixture of all previous races. [Alexander, 1920, p. 153] After people were created, the sky fell upon the earth, and the waters followed them. The world was destroyed. The four Bacab gods managed to escape and now hold up the four corners of the sky. [Horcasitas, p. 191] Two floods had destroyed humanity. Three people escaped a third and final flood in a canoe. [Horcasitas, p. 191] Popoluca (Veracruz, Mexico):
Christ ordered a man to build an ark and to take in it pairs of all useful animals. The flood came and subsided. The survivors began to cook fish, which the rest of the former inhabitants of the world had been turned into. Christ sent a buzzard to investigate, but the buzzard stayed to eat fish. Then Christ sent down the hawk and hummingbird and finally came himself. He turned the people upside down, and they became monkeys. Christ repopulated the world by turning the dead fish back into people. The buzzard was condemned to eat only carrion thereafter. [Horcasitas, pp. 196-197] God told a man to stop working, because a flood was coming. The man was told to build a canoe to save himself and his family. After the deluge came and went, the man began to cook the bodies of the dead animals. Saint Peter smelled the smoke and came to investigate. He turned the man into a buzzard and his children into monkeys. [Horcasitas, p. 197] Nicaragua: The world was once destroyed by a deluge. After its destruction, the gods created all things afresh. [Gaster, p. 121] Panama: One man, with his wife and children, escaped the flood in a canoe. Mankind are descended from them. [Gaster, p. 121] Carib (Antilles): The Master of Spirits, angered at the people for not giving the offerings due him, caused a heavy rain to fall for several days, drowning the people. Only a few survived, escaping by canoe to an isolated mountain. This flood separated the Carib's islands from the mainland and caused their present terrain. [Frazer, p. 281]
South America Acawai (Orinoco): Makunaima created the birds and animals and put his son, Sigu, in charge of them. Makunaima created a great tree from which all food plants grew. Agouti discovered it first but kept it secret, but Sigu sent Rat to follow him, and the secret was out. Sigu decided it would be best to chop down the tree and plant the seeds and cuttings so that the food would be widespread. This they did, but Iwarrika, the monkey, didn't help, so Sigu sent him to fetch water with an open-work basket. When the tree was felled, the animals discovered the hollow stump was filled with water containing all kinds of fresh-water fish. But the water began overflowing and threatened to flood the land, so Sigu wove a magic basket and covered the trunk with it. When Iwarrika returned, he saw the basket and, thinking the best fruits were under it, lifted it to look. A torrent of water flooded out and covered the countryside. Sigu led the birds and climbing animals to tall cocorite trees on the highest hill. He led the other animals to a cave and covered its entrance with wax, first giving them a long thorn with which to pierce the wax to determine when the water went down. Many days of darkness and storm followed. The red howler monkey cried in anguish so much at the cold and hunger that his throat swelled and remains so to this day. Sigu stayed with the birds in the cocorite tree, occasionally dropping seeds. He heard that it took longer and longer for them to hit water as the water dropped, and eventually they
thudded on the ground. At that moment, the sky grew lighter. The trumpeter bird was in such a hurry to descend that he flopped into an ant's nest, and the insects gnawed his legs to the bone, giving his present appearance. Sigu rubbed two pieces of wood together to make fire, but the bush-turkey mistook the first spark for a firefly, gobbled it up, and burnt his throat, explaining why turkeys have red wattles today. The alligator was generally unpopular and was accused of having stolen the spark. To try to retrieve the spark, Sigu tore out the animal's tongue, so alligators today have no tongue to speak of. The plants which had been planted sprang to life, but the fish were not distributed evenly. Monkeys are as curious as ever but are now afraid of water. [Frazer, pp. 253-265; Gifford, pp. 113-114] Arekuna (Guyana): Shortly after people arrived on earth, all crops grew on a single tree. The culture hero Makunaima and his four brothers cut down the tree, and water immediately poured from the stump, and with it came fish. One of the brothers made a basket to stop the water, but Makunaima wanted a few more fish for the rivers. When he lifted the basket just a little, water came out full force, flooding the earth. Some people survived in canoes or by climbing tall palms until the water subsided. (In some versions of this myth, the water from the stump merely forms rivers.) [Bierhorst, 1988, pp. 79-80] Makiritare (Venezuela): The Star people listened to Jaguar and killed and ate a woman. Kuamachi wanted to punish them, but they were too many and too powerful. He went to Wlaha, their chief, and invited them to help in picking dewaka fruit. They were suspicious, but Kuamachi left some fruit with them, and they liked the taste so much they decided to go help pick fruit. Kuamachi and his grandfather Mahanama led them to the trees. The star people climbed the trees and started eating fruit; they weren't afraid of only two people. Kuamachi dropped one fruit; water came out of it, spread, and caused a flood, covering everything but the trees. Kuamachi thought "canoe," and a canoe appeared. He and Mahanama stayed in the canoe. Mahanama threw the baskets he was weaving into the water, and they turned into anacondas, crocodiles, caimans, and other deadly animals. Kuamachi set a termite nest on fire, filling the forest with smoke. He and his grandfather got bows and arrows they had hidden in a cave. When they got back and the smoke cleared, the Star people were begging for mercy. The two shot them. The people fell down into the water below and were attacked by the dangerous animals. Kuamachi and his grandfather ran out of arrows before shooting Wlaha, the leader of the Star people. He had turned himself into seven people and caught seven arrows. The surviving wounded Star people climbed back into the trees. Wlaha shot the arrows into heaven, and with the help of Ahishama, who changed into the troupial, and KĂźtto, who became a frog, he formed a ladder which he and the surviving Star people climbed up and became stars. Ahishama became Mars; Wlaha became the Pleiades; MĂśnettĂ¤, the scorpion, became the Big Dipper; and Ihette, One Leg, became Orion's belt. Kuamachi also decided to climb up. He had Kahshe, the piranha, cut the vine behind him so that the demon Ioroko couldn't climb up with his basket of poison. Kuamachi brought Akuaniye, the Peace Plant, with him, which he offered to Wlaha, and they stopped fighting. Kuamachi
became the Evening Star. Before this, the night sky had been empty and black. [de Civrieux, pp. 109-116] Macusi (British Guyana): The good spirit Makunaima ("He who works in the night") created the heaven and earth. When he had created plants and trees, he came down from his heavenly mansion, climbed a tree, and chipped off bark with a large stone axe. The chips turned into animals of all kinds when they fell into the river at the base of the tree. Next, Makunaima created man, and after the man had fallen asleep, he awoke to find a woman beside him. Later the evil spirit got more power on earth, so Makunaima sent a great flood. Only one man survived in a canoe. He sent a rat to see whether the flood had abated, and the rat returned with a cob of maize. When the flood had subsided, the man threw stones behind him, which became other people. [Frazer, pp. 255-256] Muysca (Colombia): In olden times before the moon existed, the Muyscas lived as savages. A bearded old man with the names Botschika, Nemquetheba, and Zuhe came and taught them agriculture, crafts, religion, and government. His wife, with the names Huythaca, Chia, and Yubecayguya, was beautiful but malicious. To destroy the good works of her husband, she magically caused the river Funza (Rio Bogota) to flood the whole Cundinamarca plateau. Only a few people escaped to the mountain tops. Botschika banished her from earth and changed her into the moon. Then he opened a pass, and the water poured down in the Tequendama waterfall, leaving Lake Guatavita. The country dried and was cultivated by the survivors. [Kelsen, p. 140; Vitaliano, pp. 173-175] Offended by people's wickedness, Chibchachun, the tutelary god, sent the torrents of Sopo and Tibito down from the hills, flooding the plain. This made cultivation impossible and threatened to submerge the people, who had fled to the mountains. The people appealed to the culture-hero Bocicha. Appearing as a rainbow, he struck the mountain with his staff and provided an outlet for the waters, creating the waterfall of Tequendama. Chibchachun was driven under the ground and made to hold it up (replacing the lignum-vitae trees which had held it before). His restlessness causes earthquakes. The rainbow, Chuchaviva, was thence honored as a god, but Chibchachum, in revenge, proclaimed that many would die when it appears. [Alexander, 1920, p. 203; Gaster, p. 131; Frazer, p. 267] Yaruro (southern Venezuela): The first people neglected Kuma the creator, so she made it rain until only one sand dune and one tree stayed above water. People escaped into the tree, but there were only leaves and rotten fruit to eat, and when people sat with their bottoms towards the water, a big fish would come by and bite them. A few of these people survived as humans, but Kuma turned the ones that ate leaves and rotten fruit into howler monkeys. [Brusca & Wilson, p. "M"] Yanomamö (southern Venezuela): The daughter of Rahaririyoma went to a river to fetch water. Omauwä (one of the first beings) and his brother Yoawä found her and copulated with her; then Omauwä changed the girl's vagina into a mouth with teeth. Howashiriwä, another of the first beings, then saw her and seduced her, but her vagina bit off his penis.
Then the son of Omauwä became very thirsty. Omauwä and Yoawä dug a hole for water, but they dug so deep that water gushed forth and covered the jungle. Many drowned. Some of the first beings survived by cutting down trees and floating on them. This was such a strange thing to do that they became foreigners and floated away, and their language gradually became unintelligible. The Yanomamö survived by climbing mountains, namely Maiyo, Howashiwä, and Homahewä. Raharariyoma painted red dots all over her body and plunged into the lake, causing it to recede. Omauwä then caused her to be changed into a rahara, a dangerous snake-like monster that lives in large rivers. Omauwä went downstream and became an enemy of the Yanomamö, sending them hiccups and sickness. [Chagnon, pp. 46-47] Tamanaque (Orinoco): In the time of the great flood, "the Age of Water," the sea broke against the Encamarada mountain chain, and people were forced into canoes. One man and one woman were saved on the high mountain called Tamanacu, on the banks of the Asiveru. After the flood, as they descended the mountain grieving the destruction of mankind, they heard a voice telling them to throw the fruits of the Mauritia palm over their heads behind them. People sprung from the kernels of these fruits, men from those thrown by the man, and women from those thrown by the woman. (This tradition occurs also in neighboring tribes.) [Gaster, p. 127; H. Miller, p. 285]
Arawak (Guyana): Since its creation, the world has been destroyed twice, once by fire and once by flood, by the great god Aiomun Kondi because of the wickedness of mankind. The pious and wise chief Marerewana was informed of the coming of the flood and saved himself and his family in a large canoe. He tied the canoe to a tree with a long cable of bushrope to prevent drifting too far from his old home. [Gaster, p. 126] Pamary, Abedery, and Kataushy (Purus R., Brazil): Once upon a time, people heard a rumbling above and below the ground; the sun and moon turned red, blue, and yellow; and wild beasts mingled fearlessly with man. A month later, they saw darkness ascending from the earth to the sky, accompanied by a roar and by thunder and heavy rain. Everything was in dreadful confusion. Some people lost themselves. Some died without knowing why. The water rose to cover the earth, and people took refuge in the highest trees. There they perished from cold and hunger, for it continued to be dark and rainy. Only Uassu and his wife survived. When they came down after the flood, they could not find even a sign of a single corpse. They had many children. Today, the Pamarys build their houses on the river, so that when the water rises, they may rise with it. [Gaster, pp. 125-126] Ipurina (Upper Amazon): Birds flew all over the world collecting things that decayed and threw them in a great kettle of water that boiled in sun. (The hard parukuba wood they left alone.)
The storks waited around the kettle and snatched up things when they appeared on the surface of the boiling water. When the water was getting low, Mayuruberu, the chief of storks and creator of all birds, threw a round stone in the kettle. This upset the kettle, and its hot liquid poured over the world and burned up almost everything, including even water. Mankind survived, but all plants were destroyed except the cassia. The sloth, an ancestor of the Ipurina, climbed the cassia tree to fetch fruits, as there was nothing else to eat. At that time, the sun and moon were hidden. The first kernel that the sloth threw down fell on hard ground, and the sun appeared again, but it was very small. The second kernel he threw fell in water, and the sun grew larger. As the third kernel fell in deeper water, the sun grew more, and so on until the sun reached its present size. Then the sloth asked Mayuruberu for seeds of crops. Mayuruberu appeared with many new plants, and the Ipurina began tilling their fields. Mayuruberu ate anyone who would not work. The kettle still stands in the sun, but it is empty. [Frazer, pp. 259-260; Kelsen, p. 139] Jivaro (eastern Ecuador): Two boys found that the game they had hunted for a feast kept disappearing while they were gone. One stayed in camp and discovered a large snake was responsible. They built a fire to drive the snake out of the hollow in a tree, where it lived. The snake fell in the fire, and one of the brothers ate some of its roasted flesh. He became very thirsty, drank all the water in camp, and went to the lake. He was transformed first into a frog, then a lizard, and finally into a snake, which grew rapidly. His brother was frightened and tried to pull him out, but the lake began to overflow. The snake told his brother that the lake would continue to grow and all the people would perish unless they made their escape. The snake told him to take a calabash and flee to a palm tree on the highest mountain. The brother told his people what was happening, but they didn't believe him. He fled to the top of a palm tree on the top of a mountain and returned many days later when the waters had subsided. Vultures were eating the dead people in the valley. He went to the lake and carried away his brother in a calabash. [Kelsen, pp. 140141; see also Roheim, p. 156] A great cloud fell from heaven, turned to rain, and killed all the inhabitants of earth. Only a man and his two sons were saved. One of the sons was cursed by his father; the Jivaros are descended from him. [Gaster, p. 126] According to some Jivaro, the flood was survived by a man and woman, who took refuge in a cave on a high mountain along with samples of all the various animal species. [Gaster, p. 126] Two brothers survived the flood in a mountain which rose higher and higher with the flood waters. They went looking for food after the flood, and when they returned, found food set out for them. To find its source, one of the brothers hid himself and saw two parrots with the faces of women enter their hut and prepare the food. He jumped out, seized one of the birds, and married it. From this union came three boys and three girls from whom the Jivaros are descended. [Gaster, p. 126] Shuar (Andes):
A hunter heard whistling at a riverbank, and suspecting it was something from the spirit world, went home and used tobacco smoke to induce a dream. In it, he was told by the daughter of the water spirit Tsunki to return to the river. He did so, met the woman, and followed her underwater to her father's house. The woman's mother gave him an aphrodisiac, and he became her husband. When he returned to his home on earth, she took the form of a snake. She became pregnant, and the man had to go out hunting. While he was out, his two earthly wives discovered the snake and tormented her, and she returned to her father. Tsunki, in a rage, flooded the earth, drowning everyone but the hunter and one of his daughters, who escaped to a mountaintop. These two repopulated the world. [Bierhorst, 1988, p. 218] Murato (a branch of the Jivaros): A Murato was fishing in a lagoon of the Pastaza River when a small crocodile swallowed his bait. The fisherman killed it. The mother of crocodiles was angered and lashed the water with her tail, which flooded the area and drowned all people except one man, who climbed a palm tree. It was dark as night, so he dropped a palm fruit from time to time. When he heard it thud on ground rather than splash, he knew the flood had subsided. He climbed down, built a house, and began tilling a field. Being alone, he cut off a piece of his flesh and planted it; from this grew a woman, whom he married. [Frazer, pp. 261-262] Cañari (Quito, Ecuador): Two brother escaped a great flood on top of the tall mountain Huaca-yñan. As the water rose, the mountain also rose. When the water lowered and their provisions were consumed, the brother descended, built a small house, and ate herbs and roots, living a miserable existence of hunger and toil. One day, they returned home to find food and chicha drink prepared. After ten days of this, to find out who their benefactor was, the elder brother hid and presently saw two macaws, dressed like Cañaris, enter the house and begin to prepare food they had brought with them. The man saw that they were beautiful and had faces of women, and he came out of hiding. But the birds became angry and left when they saw him, leaving no food. The younger brother came home and heard the story, and both were angry. The next day, the younger brother decided to hide. After three days, the macaws returned. The two men waited until the birds had finished cooking and then shut the door. The birds were angry, and the larger one escaped as the brothers held the small one. The brothers took the macaw as a wife; by her they had six sons and daughters, from whom the Cañari are descended. Macaws and the hill Huaca-yñan are venerated by the Indians today. [Frazer, pp. 268-269] Guanca and Chiquito (Peru): Long ago, before there were any Incas, the country was populous, but the ocean broke out of its bounds, the land was covered, and the people perished. Some say that a few people survived in the caves of the highest mountains. Others say that only six people survived on a float. [Frazer, pp. 271-272] Ancasmarca (near Cuzco, Peru): A month before the flood came, the sheep showed much sadness, watching the stars at night and not eating. Their shepherd asked what bothered them, and they told him that the conjunction of stars foretold the destruction of the world by
water. The shepherd and his six children gathered all the food and sheep they could and took them to the top of the very tall mountain Ancasmarca. As the flood water rose, the mountain rose higher, so its top was never submerged, and the mountain later sank with the water. The six children repopulated the province after the flood. [Frazer, pp. 270-271] Canelos Quechua: Quilla, the moon, had sex with his bird sister, Jilucu. From this union came the stars, as people. Quilla always came unseen at night. One night Jilucu smeared genipa juice on his face, telling him it would make him feel fresh. By morning the juice turned dark, and Jilucu saw that her lover was the moon. The stars also knew from the moon's spotted face that they were descended from an incestuous relationship. They all cried, and their crying produced rain, earthquake, and flood. Volcanoes erupted, new hills formed, rivers swelled; the earth people were swept eastward by a great river into the sea. From this river came the sun, who began his regular course and brought an orderly axis to the world. The moon and stars lost much of their power because of the incestuous relationship, making night lose most of its light. The people were separated from one another and had to work their way westward, having many adventures along the way. [Whitten, pp. 51-52] Quechua: The world wanted to come to an end. A llama buck, knowing that the ocean would soon overflow, was depressed. When its human owner complained that it wouldn't eat, the llama told him that the flood would occur in five days and suggested they go to Villca Coto mountain with five days' food. The man left in a hurry, carrying both the llama and the supplies. They arrived at the mountain to find the peak already filled with all kinds of animals. The flood came as soon as they arrived and lasted five days, then it dried to the ocean's normal position. The fox's tail was soaked, which turned it black. Afterwards, the man began to multiply once more. [Salomon & Urioste, pp. 51-52] Paria Caca, a god born from five falcon eggs, heard about a man called Tamta Namca who called himself a god and had himself worshipped, and about other people's sins. He went into a rage, rose up as rain, and washed them all away to the ocean, together with their homes and llamas. At that time a tree called the Pullao formed an arch between the Llantapa and Vichoca mountains; in it lived monkeys, toucans, and other birds. These too were swept to sea. [Salomon & Urioste, pp. 59-60] Paria Caca went to the village Huauqui Usa, which was celebrating a festival. He sat at the end of the banquet like a stranger. No one offered him a drink while he sat there, until at the end of the day a woman finally did so. Paria Caca told the woman that these people had made him mad, told her that in five days something terrible would happen to the village, and warned her to take her family away and not to tell anyone else, or he might kill her, too. Five days later, the woman and her family left. The other villagers continued drinking without a care. Paria Caca climbed Matao Coto, a mountain which overlooks the village, and rising up as red and yellow hail, caused a torrential rainstorm. It washed all the villagers to the ocean and shaped the slopes and valleys of the area. [Salomon & Urioste, pp. 61-
62] He similarly exterminated another village where no one offered him a drink. [Salomon & Urioste, p. 127] The Inca summoned people from every village to help defeat their enemies. Paria Caca sent his child Maca Uisa. When nobody else at the meeting offered to help, Maca Uisa said he would defeat the enemies completely. Strong litter bearers carried him to the battle front, and as soon as he got there, he started raining on them, gently at first, then pouring rain. He washed away their villages in a mudslide and killed their strong men with lightning bolts. Only a few common people were spared. [Salomon & Urioste, p. 115] Inca (Peru): Pictorial records of ancient Incan rulers show that a flood rose above the highest mountains. All created things perished, except for a man and woman who floated in a box. When the flood subsided, the floating box was driven by the wind to Tiahuanacu, about 200 miles from Cuzco, where the Creator told them to dwell. The Creator molded new people from clay at Tiahuanacu. On each figure, the Creator painted dress and hair style, and he gave each nation distinctive language, songs, and seeds to plant. When he had brought them to life, he ordered them into the earth to travel underground and emerge from caves, springs, tree trunks, etc. in their various homes. He then created the sun, moon, and stars. [Bierhorst, 1988, pp. 200,202; Gaster, p. 127; Frazer, p. 271] The creator god Viracocha made the earth and sky, and he created stone giants to live in it. After a while the giants became lazy and quarrelsome, and Viracocha decided to destroy them. Some he turned back to stone, and these stone statues still exist at Tiahuanaco and Pucara. He destroyed the rest with a great flood. When the flood subsided, it left the lakes Titicaca and Poopo, and it left seashells on the Altiplano at elevations of 3660 m. Viracocha saved two stone giants from the flood and with their help created people his own size. He reached down into Lake Titicaca and drew out the Sun and Moon to provide light so he could admire his new creation. In those days, the Moon was even brighter than the Sun, but the Sun grew jealous and threw ashes onto the Moon's face. [Gifford, p. 54] A large, rich city once existed on the Altiplano. One day, a group of ragged Indians came and warned the proud inhabitants that the city would be destroyed by earthquake, flood, and fire. Most inhabitants just scoffed and eventually had the ragged people flogged and thrown out. Some of the city's priests, though, heeded the warning and went to live as hermits in a temple on a hill. Some time later, a red cloud appeared on the horizon. Soon it had grown and covered the area, and its red glow eerily lit the night. Suddenly, with a flash and a rumble, an earthquake destroyed many of the city's buildings, and a red rain poured down. Other earthquakes and more rain followed, and a flood soon covered the ruined city; this water is Lake Titicaca today. None of the city's inhabitants survived save the priests. The descendants of the prophets became the Callawayas, wise men of the valleys. [Gifford, pp. 55-56] Colla (high Andes): Some adventurous Indians, looking for a reputed land of abundance, travelled to the Amazonian jungle. To make a clearing, they set the forest alight. The gods of the mountains were angry at the smoke dirtying their snow. Khuno, the snow god,
decided to kill them with a flood, but the mountain god Illimani suggested instead that they be driven to great hardship. Khuno sent a flood that spared their lives but destroyed everything they had managed to build and grow. The people were almost hopeless, but one was attracted to a brilliant green plant, coca. He chewed its leaves and forgot his discomforts, and the others followed his example. When they all felt strong again, they returned to Tiahuanaco, taking coca with them. [Gifford, p. 76] Chiriguano (southeast Bolivia): The evil supernatural being Aguara-Tunpa declared war against the god Tunpaete, Creator of the Chiriguanos. He set fire to the prairies in autumn, destroying all the plants and land animals. The people, who had not then begun farming, nearly died of hunger, but they retreated to the banks of rivers and survived on fish. Seeing people still surviving, Aguara-Tunpa caused a torrential rain. Acting on a hint given them by Tunpaete, the Chiriguanos placed two sibling babies, a boy and a girl, on a large mate leaf and set it afloat on the water. The flood rose, covering the earth and killing the rest of the Chiriguanos, but the two babies survived and eventually landed on solid ground when the flood sank. There, they found fish to eat, but they had no way to cook it. Fortunately, before the flood, a frog had taken some hot coals in his mouth, and it kept them alight during the flood by blowing on them. He gave the fire to the children, and they were able to roast their fish. In time, they grew up, and the Chiriguanos are descended from them. [Gaster, pp. 127-128] Chorote (Eastern Paraguay): The bottle tree (Chorisia insignis) once contained all the water and all the fish. The tree had a locked door. Fox stole the key and thoughtlessly opened the door wide. The waters rushed out, flooding the world and bringing all kinds of fish. Fox drowned. [Bierhorst, 1988, p. 123] In a former time when there were a great many people, the earth sank. Then water began to seep out. It kept rising until it became a flood. Some boys were saved, plucked from the water by a white bird; all other people drowned. [Bierhorst, 1988, p. 142] Eastern Brazil (Rio de Janiero region): Two twin sons of a great wizard, one good and the other evil, were always arguing. One day the angered good brother stamped so hard that the earth opened and water gushed out, shooting as high as the clouds. The water covered the whole world. The good brother and his wife climbed a pindona tree, and the evil brother and his wife climbed a geniper tree until the waters receded. (In another account, they survived in canoes.) From these couples descended the Tupinambas and Tominus, two tribes which don't get along well. [Vitaliano, p. 175; Gaster, pp. 124-125] Eastern Brazil (Cape Frio region): A medicine man named Sommay had two sons, Tamendonare and Ariconte. Tamendonare tilled the ground and was a good husband and father. Ariconte was interested only in war. One day he returned from battle with the arm of a slain foe and accused his brother of cowardice. Tamendonare sarcastically asked why he didn't bring the whole carcass. Ariconte threw the arm at his brother's door, and at
that moment, their village was transported to the sky, leaving the two brothers on earth. Tamendonare stamped on the ground so hard that a fountain of water sprang forth into the sky; the water continued until the whole world was covered. The brothers fled to the highest mountains and climbed trees. Tamendonare climbed a pindona tree, helping one of his wives up with him, and Ariconte climbed a geniper tree with his wife. All other people drowned. Ariconte's wife dropped fruit and heard from the splash when the water was still too high for them to climb down. Two different peoples, who are perpetually feuding, are descended from these two couples. The Tupinambo exalt themselves over the Tominu by claiming descent from Tamendonare. [Frazer, pp. 254-255] The great god Tupi warned a medicine man named Tamanduare of a coming great flood that would cover the earth, and he told Tamanduare to seek refuge on a lofty peak with a palm tree at its top. Tamanduare and his family went there immediately, and when they arrived, it began to rain. It continued to rain until the whole earth was flooded. The water covered even the summit of the mountain, and Tamanduare and his family climbed into the palm tree and live there, eating its fruit, until the water subsided. Then they descended and repopulated the devastated world. [Frazer, pp. 255-256] Caraya (Araguaia River, central Brazil): The Carayas, hunting pigs, drove them into their dens and began pulling them out and killing them. In doing so, they also came upon a deer, a tapir, a white deer, and finally the feet of a man. They fetched a magician, who drew the man from the earth. This man was Anatiua; he had a thin body but fat paunch. He sang that he wanted tobacco, but the Carayas didn't understand him and offered him all kinds of flowers and fruits until Anatiua pointed at a man smoking. Then they gave him tobacco. He smoked it until he fell senseless. They took him back to their village, where he awoke and began to dance and sing. But his behavior and unintelligible speech so alarmed the Carayas that they packed up and left. This angered Anatiua, and he turned himself into a giant piranha and followed them, carrying many calabashes full of water. The Carayas didn't heed his calls to stop, so he smashed his calabashes one at a time, making the water rise until only the mountains at the mouth of the Tapirape River were exposed. The Carayas took refuge on the two peaks of those mountains. Anatiua called on the fish to drag the people into the water. The jahu, pintado, and pacu failed, but the bicudo managed to scale the mountain from behind and pull the people from the summit; a lagoon still marks where they fell. Only a few people survived, who descended when the flood had gone. [Frazer, pp. 257-258] Coroado (south Brazil): A flood once covered the whole earth except for the top of the coastal range Serra do Mar. Members of the three tribes Coroados, Cayurucres, and Cames, swam for the mountains holding lighted torches between their teeth. The Cayurucres and Cames wearied and drowned, and their souls went to dwell in the heart of the mountain. The Coroados made it and stayed there, some on the ground and some in the branches of trees. Several days passed without food and without the water lowering. Then some saracuras, a species of waterfowl, flew to them with baskets of earth. The birds began throwing the earth into the water, and the water sank.
The people urged the birds to hurry, so the birds called the ducks to help them. When the flood subsided, the Coroados descended, except for the ones which had climbed into trees, who became monkeys. The souls of the Cayurucres and Cames burrowed their way out of the mountain and kindled a fire. From the ashes of the fire, one of the Cayurucres molded jaguars, tapirs, ant-bears, bees, and many other animals; he made them live and told them what they should eat. But one of the Cames similarly made pumas, poisonous snakes, and wasps to fight the other animals. [Gaster, p. 125] Araucania (coastal Chile): Two great serpents made the sea rise to determine which of them had the more powerful magic. The flood came after a strong earthquake and volcanic eruption. The people took refuge on a mountain called Thegtheg ("thundering" or "sparkling") which floated close to the sun. Afterwards, whenever the Araucanians felt an earthquake, they would flee to the hills carrying bowls to protect their heads from the sun's heat. [Vitaliano, p. 173; Frazer, p. 262] Toba (Northern Argentina): Rainbow does not like menstruating women to enter the water, or even to drink from it. One day a young woman broke this taboo because her mother and sisters didn't leave her any drinking water when they left for the day. Driven by thirst, she went to the lagoon. When she had returned, Rainbow, full of anger, caused a strong wind, accompanied by whirlwinds and heavy rain. All were drowned in the ensuing flood. [Bierhorst, 1988, pp. 142-143] Selk'nam (southern tip of Argentina): At one time, people didn't die; instead, they just slept awhile and woke up refreshed. After many lives, some got tired of being human and turned into rocks, clouds, animals, and such. A flood came which covered the world. People floundered around in the cold water. Some climbed onto ice floes and joined the penguins, playing and eating fish as the penguins did. In time, they turned into large penguins. When the water went down, some people went back to living as humans, but others stayed emperor penguins. [Brusca & Wilson, p. "E"] Yamana (Tierra del Fuego): Léxuwakipa, the rusty brown spectacled ibis, felt offended by the people, so she let it snow so much that ice came to cover the entire earth. This happened at the time of Yáiaasága, when men seized power from the women. When the ice melted, it rapidly flooded all the earth. People hurried to their canoes, but many didn't make it, and more perished when they couldn't find sheltered places. Some people reached the five mountaintops which stayed above the flood. These mountains were Usláka, Wémarwaia, Auwáratuléra, Welalánux, and Piatuléra. The water stayed at its high mark for two days and then rapidly lowered. Signs of the floodwaters still show up on those mountains. The few families which survived rebuilt their huts on the shore. Men have ruled women since then. [Wilbert, pp. 27-28] The moon-woman Hánuxa caused the flood because she was full of hatred against the people, especially the men, who had taken over the women's secret kina ceremony and made it their own. A few people survived on five mountaintops. [Wilbert, p. 29]
The sun sank into the sea, causing its waters to rise tumultuously and to cover all the earth except the summit of a single mountain. A few people survived there. [Gaster, p. 128]
Revision History 9/2/2002: Added Ababua fragment. 8/21/2002: New Ohlone myth. 6/2/2002: Chippewa myth from Barnouw expanded and another added. 2/16/2002: New Roman myth from Frazer's Golden Bough. 1/16/2002: "Northern California Coast" identified as Kato and revised from Gifford & Block reference. 11/15/2001: New Tamil myth. 10/6/2001: New Hindu flood from Mahabharata. 8/30/2001: Reordered by language group; from Grinnell: new Pawnee myth; from Shaw: new Pima myth; removed duplicate Lenape myth. 7/6/2001: From Frazer: new Masai, Tchiglit, Orowignarak, Central Eskimo, Herschel Island Eskimo, Tlingit, Loucheux, Haida, Bella Coola, Kwakiutl, Lillooet, Thompson, Tsimshian, Smith River, Ashochimi, Maidu, Acagchemem, Twana, Cascade, Sarcee, Dogrib, Ottawa, Chippewa, Timagami Ojibway, Delaware, Cree, Pima, Zuni, Carib, Tarahumara, Cape Frio, Caraya, Murato, Canari, Macusi, Ancasmarca, Guanca; revised Kootenay, Kathlamet, Mandan, Montagnais, Chippewa, Muysca, Acawai, Ipurina, Araucania, Inca. 5/27/2001: From Frazer: new Greek, Arcadian, Samothrace, Gypsy, Hebrew, Hindu, Munda, Santal, Tsuwo, Bunun, Shan, Karen, Mandaya, Ami, Narrinyeri, Samoa, Nanumanga, Rakaanga; revised Chaldean, Zoroastrian, Bhil, Batak, Mangaia. 5/19/2001: Slightly revised Tinguian myth based on Cole reference. 5/16/2001: From The Mythology of All Races: new Altaic, Tuvinian, Yenisey-Ostyak, Russian, Buryat, Sagaiye, Samoyed, Kiangan Ifugao, Dusun, Dyak, Victoria, western Carolines, Havasupai, Sia, Mixtec, Maya; modified Persian, Muysca. 5/3/2001: Give Koran story more fully. 4/29/2001: Acawai, Colla, and 3 Inca myths and Gifford reference; slight amendment to Scandinavian myth. 3/31/2001: Sabo-Kubo myth and LaHaye/Morris reference. 1/1/2001: Added revision history. Added Merriam reference and 3 Miwok myths from it; Bell reference and Yurok myth. 11/4/2000: H. Miller reference and Chaldean, Tahiti myths from there; revised a Hindu myth. ~2/20/2000: Extensive revision: added introduction and several new myths; revised most other myths.
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HARD RAIN Interview with Tony Hoagland Do you value the examination of the political in poetry? If so, what experience(s) taught you its importance? It is central to me. As I became an adult, outgrew my anguish of adolescence and came further into knowledge of the world, I recognized that psychology was a small subset of what makes the world. That things like money race, nationality, history, to name a few, were forces that infiltrated everything. That to drink a glass of water has many stories and histories inside it- the cart the cup the water, etc.. No act is innocent, which is not to say that living must be guilty. So, politics in poetry must be an awareness of the push and pull of the large and small, of joy and the inextricable suffering of self and others. If you write about politics frequently, what issues, difficulties, advantages and disadvantages do you negotiate? Which poets do you draw on when conducting such negotiations? One question is how current events can be rendered in a way to elicit their mythical resonance; Moralizing, self- congratulations, righteousness, and conferred superiority is a common and terrible misstep for political poetry. of course. Fortunately many great poetic examples are before usâ€”the brilliant Auden, the contemporary examples of Louis Simpson and CK Williams, of Rukeyser, of Adelia Prado of Pound, of Whitman, of Kenneth Rexroth, of Alicia Ostriker and Eleanor Wilner. Bly and Ginsberg. Ciaran Carson. Kleinzahler. What greater example is there than Ginsberg's poem "America"?
What 'responsibility' does an artist have to artistically engage his or her own politic? Art by definition cannot be legislated; nor can art be assigned political responsibility like homework. Such selections of subject matter and attitude are utterly in the hands of the individual artist's instinct—the richness of the world and the potential of art is not a matter of "individual preference" but more significantly a matter of temperament and sensibility. One poet will write a great poem about lillies in a vase; another will write about Darfur, or the treatment of the elephants on Hannibal's march. However, having made a choice, we are obligated to do it well. And not even that. In 2008, Horace Engdahl, the secretary of the Nobel prize jury, wagged his finger at American writing saying that "[American writers] don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature. […] That ignorance is restraining." What do you think? How have recent American poets engaged with or neglected the so-called 'big dialogue' of literature? Is this 'big dialogue' a political one? How the secretary's remark applies to American fiction (as I am sure he intended it to be) is a serious question. That said, America's status as the American empire has put American poets and other American writers in a complex situation of simultaneous complicity and exclusion—we are both inside and outside; part of the problem of narcissism. A great poetry of empire has to engage that paradox forcefully and subtly at once—without the luxurious license of being righteous. Great American poets—among them W.S. Merwin–have indeed written some of the greatest twentieth century poetry, and I can think of no dimension of relevance it does not profoundly engage. Is there room for romantic or rugged individualism in political poetry (as opposed to a capacious perspective of Whitman or other past poets)? If so, where is its place? Absolutely. It is paradoxically in our "rugged individualism" that we have the authority to speak more originally and convincingly and originally. I refer again to Ginsberg's poem. Where do you draw the line between poetry and propaganda? What is the purpose of such a line? Should today's poet be concerned with editorial censorship? American poets are accustomed to believing we are not censored. But we are selfcensored—everyone is. Just as no politician or president has ever represented the immense evil of American arms sales, American poetry has similarly "invisible" or silent landmines in the middle of our landscape. What are your thoughts on shifts in the state of the political voice in contemporary poetry, from the early modernist to the beat poets and black arts movement, to today? Where are we now? Where are we going?
Unfortunately, a whole generation of contemporary young American poets has largely made an unconscious retreat into aesthetic self preoccupation.â€”we seem to be in a period of Aestheticismâ€”art made for art's sake. The best and brightest migrate towards the most erudite and specialized and least politicized "projects." Key essay: http://harpers.org/blog/2013/04/twenty-little-poems-that-could-save-america/