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6--?/ 7 8 

















First Edition 19x8 
Reprinted 1919 









\- k'j • % ><^x.^ 


Modern researches into the early history of man, conducted 
on different lines, have converged with almost irresistible 
force on the conclusion, that all civilized races have at some 
period or other emerged from a state of savagery resembling 
more or less closely the state in which many backward races 
have continued to the present time ; and that, long after the 
majority of men in a community have ceased to think and 
act like savages, not a few traces of the old ruder modes of 
life and thought survive in the habits and institutions of the 
people. Such survivals are included under the head of folk- 
lore, which, in the broadest sense of the word, may be 
said to embrace the whole body of a people's traditionary 
beliefs and customs, so far as these appear to be due to the 
collective action of the multitude and cannot be traced to 
the individual influence of great men. Despite the high 
moral and religious development of the ancient Hebrews, 
there is no reason to suppose that they formed an exception 
to this general law. They, too, had probably passed through 
a stage of barbarism and even of savagery ; and this prob- 
ability, based on the analog^y of other races, is confirmed by 
an examination of their literature, which contains many 
references to beliefs and practices that can hardly be ex- 
plained except on the supposition that they are rudimentary 
survivals from a far lower level of culture. It is to the 
illustration and explanation of a few such relics of ruder 
times, as they are preserved like fossils in the Old Testa- 
ment, that I have addressed myself in the present work. 

« « 


Elsewhere I have had occasion to notice other similar sur- 
vivals of savagery in the Old Testament, such as the sacrifice 
of the firstborn, the law of the uncleanness of women, and 
the custom of the scapegoat ; but as I am unwilling to 
repeat what I have said on these topics, I content myself 
with referring readers, who may be interested in them, to 
my other writings. 

The instrument for the detection of savagery under 
civilization is the comparative method, which, applied to the 
human mind, enables us to trace man's intellectual and 
moral evolution, just as, applied to the human body, it 
enables us to trace his physical evolution from lower forms 
of animal life. There is, in short, a Comparative Anatomy 
of the mind as well as of the body, and it promises to be 
no less fruitful of far-reaching consequences, not merely 
speculative but practical, for the future of humanity. The 
application of the comparative method to the study of 
Hebrew antiquities is not novel. In the seventeenth century 
the method was successfully employed for this purpose in 
France by the learned French pastor Samuel Bochart, and 
in England by the learned divine John Spencer, Master of 
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, whose book on the 
ritual laws of the ancient Hebrews is said to have laid the 
foundations of the science of Comparative Religion. In our 
own age, after a lapse of two centuries, the work initiated 
by these eminent scholars and divines was resumed in Cam- 
bridge by my revered master and friend William Robertson 
Smith, and the progress which the study made during his 
lifetime and since his too early death is due in large measure 
to the powerful impulse it received from his extraordinary 
genius and learning. It has been my ambition to tread in 
the footsteps of these my illustrious predecessors in this 
department of learning, and to carry on what I may be 
allowed to call the Cambridge tradition of Comparative 



It is a familiar truth that the full solution of any one 
problem involves the solution of many more ; nay, » that 

nothing short of omniscience could suffice to answer all 


the questions implicitly raised by the seemingly simplest 
inquiry. Hence the investigation of a point of folk-lore, 
I especially in the present inchoate condition of the study, 
naturally opens up lines of inquiry which branch out in 
many directions ; and in following them we are insensibly 
drawn on into wider and wider fields of inquiry, until the 
point from which we started has almost disappeared in the 
distance, or, to speak more correctly, is seen in its proper 
perspective as only one in a multitude of similar phenomena. 
So it befell me when, many years ago, I undertook to inves- 
tigate a point in the folk-lore of ancient Italy ; so it has 
befallen me now, when I have set myself to discuss certain 
points in the folk-lore of the ancient Hebrews. The 
^ examination of a particular legend, custom, or law has in 
I some cases gradually broadened out into a disquisition 
^ and almost into a treatise. But I hope that, apart 
from their immediate bearing on the traditions and usages 
of Israel, these disquisitions may be accepted as contri- 
butions to the study of folk-lore in general. That study 
is still in its infancy, and our theories on the subjects with 
which it deals must probably for a long time to come be 
tentative and provisional, mere pigeon-holes in which tem- 
porarily to sort the multitude of facts, not iron moulds in 
which to cast' them for ever. Under these circumstances a 
candid inquirer in the realm of folk-lore at the present time 
will state his inferences with a degree of diffidence and 
reserve corresponding to the difficulty and uncertainty of 
I the matter in hand. This I have always endeavoured to 

I* do. If anywhere I have forgotten the caution which I 
, recommend to others, and have expressed myself with 

I an appearance of dogmatism which the evidence does 

I not warrant, I would request the reader to correct all such 


particular statements by this general and sincere profession 
of scepticism. 

Throughout the present inquiry I have sought to take 
account of the conclusions reached by the best modern 
critics with regard to the composition and dates of the 
various books of the Old Testament ; for I believe that 
only in the light of these conclusions do many apparent 
discrepanci^ in the sacred volume admit of a logical and 
historical explanation. Quotations are generally made in 
the words of the Revised English Version, and as I have 
occasionally ventured to dissent from it and to prefer a dif- 
ferent rendering or even, in a very few places, a different 
reading, I wish to say that, having read the whole of the 
Old Testament in Hebrew attentively, with the English 
Version constantly beside me, I am deeply impressed by the 
wonderful felicity with which Translators and Revisers alike 
have done their work, combining in an extraordinary degree 
fidelity to the letter with justice to the spirit of the original. 
In its union of scrupulous accuracy with dignity and 
beauty of language the English Revised Version of the Old 
Testament is, as a translation, doubtless unsurpassed and 
probably unequalled in literature. 

The scope of my work has obliged me to dwell chiefly 
on the lower side of ancient Hebrew life revealed in the 
Old Testament, on the traces of savagery and superstition 
which are to be found in its pages. But to do so is not 
to ignore, far less to disparage, that higher side of the 
Hebrew genius which has manifested itself in a spiritual 
religion and a pure morality, and of which the Old Testa- 
ment is the imperishable monument. On the contrary, 
the revelation of the baser elements which underlay the 
civilization of ancient Israel, as they underlie the civilization 
of modern Europe, serves rather as a foil to enhance by 
contrast the glory of a people which, from such dark depths 
of ignorance and cruelty, could rise to such bright heights 


of wisdom and virtue, as sunbeams appear to shine with a 
greater effulgence of beauty when they break through the 
murky clouds of a winter evening than when they flood the 
earth from the serene splendour of a summer noon. The 
annals of savagery and superstition unhappily compose a 
lar^e part of human literature ; but in what other volume 
shall we find, side by side with that melancholy record, 
psalmists who poured forth their sweet and solemn strains 
of meditative piety in the solitude of the hills or in green 
pastures and beside still waters ; prophets who lit up their 
beatific visions of a blissful future with the glow of an im- 
passioned imagination ; historians who bequeathed to distant 
ages the scenes of a remote past embalmed for ever in the 
amber of a pellucid style ? These are the true glories of 
the Old Testament and of Israel ; these, we trust and 
believe, will live to delight and inspire mankind, when the 
crudities recorded alike in sacred and profane literature shall 
have been purged away in a nobler humanity of the future. 


I Brick Court, Temple, London, 
zdth May 1 9 1 8. 

VOL. 1 






Two (liflerent accounts of the creation of man in Cjenesis 

The Priestly and the Jehovistic narratives 

The Jehovistic the more primitive 

Babylonian and Ei^ypiian parallels 

Greek legend of the creation of man out of clay . 

Australian and Maori stories of the creation of man out of clay 

Tahitian tradition : creation of woman out of man's rib 

Similar stories of the creation of woman in Polynesia 

Similar Karen and Tartar stories 

( )t]ier stories of the creation of man in the Pacific 

Melanesian legends of the creation of men out of clay 

Stories of the creation of man in Celebes 

Stories told by the Dyaks of Borneo 

Legend told by the natives of Nias 

Stories told by the natives of the Philippines 

Indian legends of the creation of man 

Cheremiss story of the creation of man 

African stories of the creation of man 

American stories of the creation of man . 

Our first parents moulded out of red clay 

Belief of savages in the evolution of man out of lower animals 

American Indian stories of the evolution of men out of animals 

African and Malagasy stories of the evolution of men 

Evolution of men out of fish in Africa and Borneo 

Descent of men from trees and animals in the Indian Archipelag( 

Descent of men from animals in New Guinea 

Descent of men from fish and grubs in the Pacific 

• • • 

















Evolution of men out of animals in Australia 
Evolutionary hypothesis of Empedocles . 
Creation or evolution ? . 





§ I. The Narrative in Genesis 

The temptation and the fall, the woman and the serpent 
The two trees . . . . , 

The Tree of Life and the Tree of Death . 
The Creator's good intention frustrated by the serpent 
The serpent's selfish motive for deceiving the woman 
Widespread belief in the immortality of serpents 
Story of the Fall, a story of the origin of death . 

§ 2. The Story of the Perverted Message 
Hottentot story of the Moon and the hare 
Bushman story of the Moon and the hare 
Nandi story of the Moon and the dog 
Hottentot story of the Moon, the insect, and the hare 
Bushman story of the Moon, the tortoise, and the hare 
Louyi story of the Sun and Moon, the chameleon and the hare 
Ekoi story 0/ God, the frog, and the duck 
Gold Coast story of God, the sheep, and the goat 
Ashantee story of God, the sheep, and the goat . 
Akamba story of God, the chameleon, and the thrush 
Togoland story of God, the dog, and the frog 
Calabar story of God, the dog, and the sheep 
Bantu story of God, the chameleon, and the lizard 
The miscarriage of the message of immortality 

§ 3. The Story of the Cast Skin 

Supposed immortality of animals that cast their skins 
How men missed immortality and serpents, etc, obtained it 
Belief that men formerly cast their skins and lived for ever 
Belief that men used to rise from the dead after three days 
How men missed immortality and the Moon obtained it . 
Bahnar story how men used to rise from the dead 
Rivalry between men and serpents, etc., for immortality . 

§ 4. The Composite Story of the Perverted Message and the Cast Skin 
Galla story of God, the blue bird, and the serpent 
Stories of the Good Spirit, men, and serpents .... 

§ 5. Conclusion 
Original form of the story of the Fall of Man .... 

















The theory that the mark was a tribal badge 

Homicides shunned as infected .... 

Attic law concerning homicides .... 

Seclusion of murderers in Dobu .... 

Belief in the infectiousness of homicides in Africa 

Earth supposed to spurn the homicide 

Wanderings of the matricide Alcmaeon . 

Earth offended by bloodshed and appeased by sacrifice 

The homicide's mark perhaps a danger-signal to others . 

The mark perhaps a protection against the victim's ghost . 

Ceremonies to appease the ghosts of the slain 

Seclusion of murderer through fear of his victim's ghost 

Fear of ghosts of the murdered, a motive for executing murderers 

Protection of executioners against the ghosts of their victims 

Bodily marks to protect people against ghosts of the slain 

Need of guarding warriors against the ghosts of the slain . 

Various modes of guarding warriors against the ghosts of the slain 

Faces or bodies of manslayers painted in diverse colours . 

The mark of Cain perhaps a disguise against the ghost of Abel 

Advantage of thus interpreting the mark . 

The blood rather than the ghost of Abel prominen^ in the narrative 

Fear of leaving blood of man or beast uncovered . 

Superstition a crutch of morality 





















§ I. Introduction 

Huxley on the Great Flood . ... 

The present essay a study in folk-lore 

Bearing of flood stories on problems of origin and diffusion 

§ 2. The Babylonian Story of a Great Flood 

Babylonian tradition recorded by Berosus 

Nicolaus of Damascus on the flood 

Modern discovery of the original Babylonian story 

The Gilgamesh epic .... 

Journey of Gilgamesh to Ut-napishtim 

Ut-napishtim's story of the Great Flood 

The building of the ship — the embarkation — tne storm 






The sending forth of the dove and the raven — the landing 
Othtr fragmentary versions of the Babylonian story 
Sumerian version of the flood story 

The flood story borrowed by the Semites from the Sumerians 
The scene of the story laid at Shurippak on the Euphrates 

§ 3. The Hebrew Story of a Great Flood 

The story in Genesis ...... 

The story compounded of two different narratives 

The Priestly Document and the Jehovistic Document 

Late date and ecclesiastical character of the Priestly Document . 

Its contrast with the Jehovistic Document 

Verbal differences between the Priestly and the Jehovistic Documents 

Material differences between the documents in the flood story 

The Jehovistic document the older of the two 

Dependence of the Hebrew on the Babylonian story of the flood . 

Fanciful additions made to the flood story in later times . 

§ 4. Aficient Greek Stories of a Great Flood . 

Deucalion and Pyrrha .... 

The grounding of the ark o'n Parnassus 

Aristotle and Plato on Deucalion's flood . 

Ovid*s rhetorical account of the flood 

Athenian legend of Deucalion's flood 

The grave of Deucalion and the Water-bearing Festival at Athens 

Story of Deucalion's flood a^ Hierapolis on the Euphrates 

Water festival and prayers at Hierapolis . 

Deucalion, the ark, and the dove 

Phrygian story of a flood associated with King Nannacus . 

Noah's flood on coins of Apamea Cibotos in Phrygia 

Greek traditions of three great floods. The flood of Ogyges 

Dates assigned by ancient authorities to the flood of Ogyges 

The flood of Ogyges and the vicissitudes of the Copaic I^ke 

The ruins of Gla on a stranded island of the lake 

The flood of Dardanus. Home of Dardanus at Pheneus . 

Alternations of the valley of Pheneus between wet and dry 

The water-mark on the mountains of Pheneus 

Samothracian story of great flood consequent on opening of Dardanelles 

The Samothracian story partially confirmed by geology 

The Samothracian story probably a speculation of an early philosopher 

Story of Deucalion's flood perhaps an inference from the configuration o 

Thessaly ....•• 
The Vale of Temjye . . . . ■ 

The Greek flood stories probably myths of observation 

§ 5. Other European Stories of a Great Flood 

Icelandic story of a deluge of blood 

Welsh story of a flood ..... 


1 10 






















Lithuanian story of a great flood . . » 

Flood story told by the gipsies of Transylvania . 
Vogul story of a great flood .... 

Relics of the flood in Savoy . . . • . 

§ 6. Supposed Persian Stories of a Great Flood 

Supposed traces of a flood story in ancient Persian literature 
The sage Yima and his blissful enclosure 






§ 7. Ancient Indian Stories of a Great Flood 

The story in the Satapatka Brahmana. Manu and the fish 
The story in the Mahabharata . ... 

The story in the Sanscrit Purdnas 



§ 8. Modern Indiatt Stories of a Great Flood 

Stories told by the Bhils and Kamars of Central India 
Stories told by the lios and Mundas of Bengal 
Stories told by the Santals of Bengal . . * . 

Stories told by the Lepchas of Sikhim and tribes of Assam 
Shan story of a great flood .... 

Tradition concerning the Vale of Cashmeer 
Geological confirmation of the tradition . 
The tradition probably a myth of observation 








§ 9. Stories of a Great Flood in Eastern Asia 

Stories told by the Karens and Singphos of Burma 
Story told by the Bahnars or Bannavs of Cochin China 
Stories told by the aborigines of the Malay Peninsula 
Story told by the Lolos of Southern China 
Chinese tradition of a great flood 
A Chinese emperor on Noah's flood 
Kamchadale story of a great flood 
Mongolian story of a great flood . 


§ 10. Stories of a Great Flood in the Indian Archipelago 

Stories told by the Battas of Sumatra ' . 
Stories told by the natives of Nias and Engano 
Stories told by the Dyaks of Borneo 
Stories told by the natives of Celebes 
Stories told by the natives of Ceram and Rotti 
Story told by the natives of Flores 
Stories told by the Philippine Islanders . 
Stories told by the wild tribes of Formosa 
Story told by the Andaman Islanders 






§ II. Stories of a Great Floodin Australia 

Story told by the Kumai of Victoria .... 
Stories told by other tribes of Victoria .... 
Stories toid by the aborigines of South Australia and Queensland . 




§ 1 2. Stories of a Great Flood in New Guinea and Melanesia 

Stories told by the natives of New Guinea 

R. Neuhauss on stories of a flood in New Guinea 

Fijian story of a great flood ..... 

Melanesian story of a great flood .... 


§ 13. Stories of a Great Flood in Polynesia and Micronesia 

Wide diffusion of such stories in the Pacific . . . .241 
Tahitian legends of a great flood ..... 242 

Hawaiian legends of a great flood . . . . .245 

Mangaian story of a great flood . . , . . .246 

Samoan traditions of a great flood . . . . .249 

Maori stories of a great flood . . . . . '250 

Story of a great flood told by the Pelew Islandera . . •253 

§ 14. Stories of a Great Flood in South America 

Stories told by the Indians near Rio de Janeiro 
Story told by the Caingangs of Southern Brazil 
Story told by the Carayas of Brazil 
Story told by the Ipurina of the Purus River 
Story told by other Indians of the Purus River 
Story told by the Jibaros of the Upper Amazon 
Story told by the Muratos of Ecuador 
Story told by the Araucanians of ChiU 
Story told by the Ackawois of British Guiana 
Story told by the Arawaks of British Guiana 
Story told by the Macusis of British Guiana 
Stories told by the Indians of the Orinoco 
Stories told by the Muyscas or Chibchas of Bogots 
Geological evidence as to the valley of Bogota 
Story told by the Caflaris of Ecuador 
Stories told by the Peruvian Indians 
Story told by the Chiriguanos of Bolivia • . 
Story told by the Fuegians 

















§ 15. Stories of a Great Flood in Central \^merica and Mexico 

Stories told by the Indians of Panama and Nicaragua . 273 

Mexican tradition of a great flood . ... . .274 

Michoacan legend of a great flood . . . . .275 

Story of a great flood in the Popol Vuh . . . . .276 

Story toli by the Huichol Indians of Mexico . . . .277 


Stories told by the Cora Indians of Mexico 
Stor>' told by the Tarahuraares of Mexico 
Story told by the Caribs of the Antilles . 

§ 1 6. Stories of a Great Flood in North America, 

Story told by the Papagos of Arizona 

Stories told by the Pimas 

Story told by the ZuRi Indians of New Mexico . 

Stories told by the Californian Indians 

Story told by the Natchez of the Lower Mississippi 

Story told by the Mandan Indians 

Annual Mandan ceremonies commemorative of the flood 

Story told by the Cherokee Indians 

Story of a Great Flood widely spread among the Algonquins 

Story told by the Montagnais Indians of Canada . 

Story told by the Crees .... 

The Algonquin story told in full by the Chippeways 

An Ojibway version of the same story 

Another Ojibway version of the same story 

Another Ojibway version of the same story 

Another version of the same story told by the Blackfoot Indians 

Another version of the same story told by the Ottawas 

Another version of the same story told by the Crees 

Another version of the same story told by the Dogrib and Slave Indians 

Another version of the same story told by the Hareskin Indians 

Stories of a Great Flood told by the Tinneh Indians 

Stories told by the Tlingit Indians of Alaska 

Story told by the Haida Indians of Queen Charlotte Islands 

Stt>ry told by the Tsimshian Indians of British Columbia . 

Story told by the Bella Coola Indians of British Columbia 

Story told by the Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia . 

Story told by the Lillooet Indians of British Columbia 

Story told by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia 

Story told by the Kootenay Indians of British Columbia . 

Stories told by the Indians of Washington State . 

Story told by the Indians of the l-rower Columbia River . 

Stories told by the Eskimo and Greenlanders 


















§ 17. Stories of a Great Flood in Africa 

General absence of flood stories in Africa . . , 

Reported traces of such stories . . . . . 

Stories of a Great Flood reported in East Africa . 

§ 18. The Geo^fl^hical Diffusion of Flood Stories 

Absence of flood stories in a great part of Asia . 

Rarity of flood stories in.-jEnrope . . . . 

Absence of flood stories in Africa . . . . 






Presence of flood stories in the Indian Archipelago, New Guinea, Australia, 

Melanesia, Polynesia, and America .... 
The Hebrew flood story derived from the Babylonian 
Most other flood stories apparently independent of the Babylonian 
Greek flood stories not borrowed from the Babylonian 
Ancient Indian story probably independent of the Babylonian 
Wide diflusion of the Algonquin story in North America . 
Evidence of diflusion in South America and Polynesia 



§ 1 9, The Origin of Stories of a Great Flood 

Old theory of a universal deluge supported by evidence of fossils . 

Survivals of the theory of a universal deluge in the nineteenth century 

Stories of a Great Flood interpreted as solar, lunar, or stellar myths 

Evidence of geology against a universal deluge . 

Philosophical theories of a universal primeval ocean 

Many flood stories probably reminiscences of real events . 

Memorable floods in Holland .... 

Floods caused by earthquake waves in the Pacific 

Some flood stories in the Pacific probably reminiscences of earthquake 

Inundations caused by heavy rains 

Babylonian story explained by annual inundation of the Euphrates valley 

Suess*s theory of a flood caused by an earthquake and a typhoon 

Objections to the theory ..... 

Diluvial traditions partly legendary, partly mythical 

Myths of observation based on geological configuration and fossils 

All flood stories probably comparatively recent . 








The Tower of Babel and the confusion of tongues 

Later Jewish legends as to the Tower of Babel . 

The Tower of Babel probably a reminiscence of a temple-tower 

Two such ruined temple-towers at Babylon 

The mound of Babil, formerly a temple of Marduk 

Inscriptions of Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar at Rabil 

The mound of Birs-Nimrud, formerly a temple of Nebo 

Inscription of Nebuchadnezzar at Birs-Nimrud 

Ruined temple- tower at Ur of the Chaldees 

Inscription of Nabonidus at Ur . 

The temple- tower at Ur perhaps seen by Abraham 

Theories as to the primitive language of mankind 

Experimental attempts to determine the primitive language 

African stories like that of the Tower of Babel 






Story told by the Anals of Assam ' . . . . . 37S 

Story told of the pyramid of Cholula in Mexico . . '379 

Story told by the Toltecs of Mexico . . . .382 

Karen and Mikir versions of the Tower of Babel . 383 

Admiralty Islands' version of the Tower of Habel . . . 383 

Stories as to the origin of the diversity of tongues in Greece, Africa, 

Assam, Australia, and America . • . . .384 





The Patriarchal Age described in Genesis 

God^s covenant with Abraham .... 

Hebrew covenant by cutting a sacrificial victim in two 

Similar Greek modes of ratifying oaths . 

Similar modes of swearing among the Scythians . 

Similar ceremonies at peacemaking in East Africa 

Ceremonies at peacemaking in South Africa 

Similar ceremonies among tribes of Assam 

Two theories of the ceremonies, the retributive and the sacramental or 

purificatory ..... 

The retributive theory implied in some cases 
Ceremony at p>cacemaking among the Awome of Calabar 
Retributive theory confirmed by Greek and Roman practice 
Retributive theory illustrated by an Assyrian inscription . 
Similar sacrifices and imprecations in the ritual of barbarous tribes 
The slaughter of the victim symbolizes the fate of the perjurer 
The sacramental or purificatory theory 
Bisection of victims in purificatory ceremonies . . 
The purificatory theory confirmed by a modern Arab rite 
Similar rites observed by Chins, Koryaks, and gipsies 
Significance of the |)assage l>ciween the pieces of the victim 
Robertson Smith's sacramental interpretation of the Hebrew rite 
The interpretation confirmed by savage rituals 
Flalf-skeleton of bisecte<l human body found at Gezer 
The half-skeleton probably a relic of human sacrifice 
Alternative explanations, the purificatory and the covenantal, of the bi&ec 

tion of human victims .... 
The purificatory or protective explanation of the rite 
Discovery of another half-skeleton of a human victim at Gezer 



















The half-skeleton not explicable as a foundation sacrifice 

Covenantal explanation of half-skeletons confirmed by Wachaga practice 

Retributive theory of Hebrew rile confirmed by Wachaga parallel 

Retributive and sacramental theories complementary 

Theory of vicarious sacrifice in modern Syria 

Vicarious aspect of bisected victims in ritual 





§ I. Traces of Ultimogeniture in Israel 

The character of Jacob ..... 
His alleged frauds on his brother and father 
Theory that Jacob, as the younger son, was the heir 
Traces of junior right or ultimogeniture in patriarchal history 
Traces of ultimogeniture in the history of David . 

§ 2. Ultimogeniture in Europe 

Borough English in England 
Ultimogeniture in France 
Ultimogeniture in Friesland and Germai^ 
Ultimogeniture in Russia 
Ultimogeniture in Hungary 

§ 3. The Question of the Origin of Ultimogeniture 

Blackstone on the origin of Borough English 
Ultimogeniture among the Turks and Mongols 

§ 4. Ultimogeniture in Southern Asia 

The Lushais of Assam, their migratory cultivation 

Youngest son a chiefs heir among the Lushais 

Ultimogeniture in private families among the Lushais 

Ultimogeniture among the Angamis of Assam 

Ultimogeniture among the Naga tribes of Manipui 

Ultimogeniture among the Meitheis of Assam 

Ultimogeniture among the Kachins or Singphos of Burma 

Systems of ownership dependent on systems of agriculture 

Economic advance from migratory agriculture and communal ownership to 

permanent agriculture and individual ownership 
The Kachins practise both migratory and permanent agriculture . 
Ultimogeniture among the Kachins of China 
Ultimogeniture among the Shans of China 
Ultimogeniture among the Chins .... 










Compromise between ultimogeniture and primogeniture among the Hkamies 457 


eniture among the Lolos of China 

\ of youngest daughter among the Khasis and Garos of Assam 

Icin among the Khasis .... 

t daughter the heir among the Khasis 

igbters rather than sons are heirs among the Khasis 

cin among the Garos .... 

I of the youngest daughter among the Garos 

home of Mongolian tribes practising ultimogeniture 

eniture among the Mrus .... 

» or Larka Coles of Bengal 

eniture and primogeniture among the Hos 

Is of Central India 

eniture among the Hhils . ' 

eniture among the Badagas of Southern India 

f ultimogeniture in the Malay region and Georgia 

§ 5. Ultimogeniture in North-Eastern Asia 

eniture among the Yukaghirs 
eniture among the Chukchee 
eniture among the Koryaks 

§ 6. Ultimogeniture in Africa 

f ultimogeniture in Africa 

f youngest sons among the Bogos, Suks, and Turkanas 

eniture among the I bos of Southern Nigeria 

eniture among the Ba-Ngoni of Mozambique 

ne chiefs are reluctant to sec their grandsons 















§ 7. The Origin of Ultimogeniture 

ingest sons are preferred as heirs 

jngest daughters are preferred as heirs 

ce for youngest sons natural among pastoral tribes 

eniture tends to pass into primogeniture . 


§ 8. Ultimogeniture and Jus Primae Noctis 

o( the illegitimacy of the eldest child 
Plot on Borough Knglish 
roneous interpretation of Marcheta mulierum 
eory rejected by modern historians of English law 
enus and the so-Q2i\\tiS. jus primae noctis in Scotland 
station of Evenus a fable 
e bom of a misinierpretaiion of the menhet 
legal authorities on the merchet . 
snce of the so-called y«j primae noctis in Britain 
of the merchet in the highlands of Scotland 








African parallel to the merchei ..... 

The so-called /W /riOTfltf noctis equally fabulous on the Continent 

Misapprehension of the real y«j/rf>/ia^ «£>f /I J 

The ** Tobias Nights" enjoined by the Catholic Church . 

The story of Tobias and his wife Sarah . 

The remission of the ** Tobias Nights" the xt9\jus primcu noctis 

Lawsuit between Abbeville and the Bishop of Amiens 

Survival of ** Tobias Nights '* in modern Europe . 

The practice of continence after marriage older than Christianity 

Continence for several nights after marriage in Vedic India 

Continence after marriage in non- Aryan tril>es of India . 

Continence after marriage in hill tribes of Assam and Burma 

Continence after marriage in the Indian Archipelago and New Guinea 

Continence after marriage among the aborigines of Australia 

Continence after marriage in African tribes 

Continence after marriage among American Indians 

The function of bridesmen and bridesmaids 

** Tobias Nights " probably borrowed from paganism 

The " Tobias Nights " an interpolation in The Book of Tohit 

Continence after marriage probably based on fear of demons 

Precautions against demons at marriage in many lands 

Precautions at the marriage of widowers and widows 

Mock marriages of widowers and widows in India 

No real evidence of alleged seignorial right in Europe 

Ultimogeniture not derived from alleged seignorial right . 

Slight ground for such a derivation among the Lolos 

Marco Polo on the defloration of virgins in Tibet 

Liberty accorded to Lolo brides after marriage 

Defloration of brides could not explain ultimogeniture 


















§ 9. Uhimo^s^eniture and Polygamy 

Ultimogeniture traced to preference for youngest wife in a })C)lygamous 

family . ' . 

The theory not supported by the evidence 

The first wife the chief wife of a polyganx^us family in West Africa 
The first wife the chief wife in Central and t^st Africa . 
The first wife the chief wife in South Africa 
In some Kafir tribes a chiefs principal wife not the first wife 
Superiority of a later wife explained by chiefs reluctance to see his grand 

child ....... 

Suggested explanation of this reluctance .... 

" Great wife," ** Right-hand wife," ** Ix'ft-hand wife'' in Kafir tribes 

In Kafir law succession regulated by primogeniture 

In India the first wife of a polygamous family generally the chief wife 

In other parts of Asia the first wife generally the chief wife 

In the Indian Archipelago the first wife generally the chiei wife . 

Among the American Indians the first wife generally the chief wife 







Among the Eskimo and Grecnlanders the first wife generally the chief wife 561 
In polygamous families generally the first wife the chief wife . .56? 

Tendency of polygamy to favour primogeniture .... 562 

I 10. Ultiinogefiiiure and Infanticide 

Ultimogeniture and the killing of the firstborn .... 562 
The two castoms probably unconnected . • 5^3 

§ II. Superstitions ahottt youngest childrai 

Su]>erstitions about youngest children in many lands . . . 564 

Youngest sons in ritual among the Akikuyu .... 565 

Youngest sons in ritual among the Taiyals of Formosa . . . 565 

ADDENDA ........ 567 


men who could move but not speak. So Wangi swarmed 
up the tree again to ask Wailan Wangko, " How now? The 
two images are made, but they cannot speak." Said Wailan 
Wangko to Wangi, " Take this ginger and go and blow it 
on the skulls and the ears of these two images, that they 
may be able to speak ; call the man Adam and the woman 
Ewa," ^ In this narrative the names of the man and woman 
betray Christian or Mohammedan influence, but the rest of 
the story may be aboriginal. 
Stories of The Dyaks of Sakarran in British Borneo say that the 

thecreaiion fij-gt man was made by two large birds. At first they tried 

of man told / i . . r^, , , , 

by the to make men out of trees, but m vam. Then they hewed 
^5^* °^ them out of rocks, but the figures could not speak. Then 

Borneo. i i ^ /• i ^ i . 

they moulded a man out of damp earth and infused mto 
his veins the red gum of the kumpang-tree. After that 
they called to him and he answered ; they cut him and 
blood flowed from his wounds, so they gave him the name 
of Tannah Kumpok or " moulded earth." * Some of the Sea 
Dyaks, however, are of a different opinion. They think that 
a certain god named Salampandai is the maker of men. He 
hammers them into shape out of clay, thus forming the 
bodies of children who are to be born into the world. 
There is an insect which makes a curious clinking noise at 
night, and when the Dyaks hear it, they say that it is the 
clink of Salampandai*s hammer at his work. The story 
goes that he was commanded by the gods to make a man, 
and he made one of stone ; but the figure could not speak 
and was therefore rejected. So he set to work again, and 
made a man of iron ; but neither could he speak, so the gods 
would have none of him. The third time Salampandai 
made a man of clay, and he had the power of speech. 
Therefore the gods were pleased and said, " " The man you 
have made will do well. Let him be the ancestor of the 
human race, and you must make others like him." So 
Salampandai set about fashionirtg human beings, and he is 
still fashioning them at his anvil, working away with his 

1 N. (iraaflancl, De Miuahassa i. 299 sq, (V»mprire the Lord Bishop 
(Rotterdam, 1869), i. 96 jy. of Labuan, "On the Wild Tribes of 

2 Ilorsburjjh, quoted by H. Linj; the North -West Coast of Borneo," 
Roth, The Natives of Saravak and of Transactions of the Rthnolo:::ical Sdiety 
British North Borneo (lx)ndon, 1396), of London, New Series, ii. (1863) p. 27. 


topis in unseen regions. There he hammers out the 
clay babies, and when one of them is finished he brings 
it to the gods, who ask the infant, "What would you 
like to handle and use ? " If the child answers, " A sword," 
the gods pronounce it a male ; but if the child replies, 
"Cotton and a spinning-wheel," they pronounce it a 
female. Thus they are born boys or girls, according to their 
own wishes.^ f 

The natives of Nias, an island to the south-west of The 
Sumatra, have a long poem descriptive of the creation, creation of 
which they recite at the dances performed at th^ funeral of by the 
a chief In this poem, which is arranged in couplets, after °|^.**^*^"f 
the style of Hebrew poetry, the second verse repeating the 
idea of the first in somewhat different language, we read 
how the supreme god, Luo Zaho, bathed at a celestial spring 
which reflected his figure in its clear water as in a mirror, 
and how, on seeing his image in the water, he took a handful 
of earth as large as an ^%%, and fashioned out of it a figure 
like one of those figures of ancestors which the people of 
Nias construct. Having made it, he put it in the scales and 
weighed it ; he weighed also the wind, and having weighed 
it, he put it on the lips of the figure which he 'had made ; 
so the figure spoke like a man or like a child, and God gave 
him the name of Sihai. But though Sihai was like God in 
form, he had no offspring ; and the world was dark, for as 
yet there was neither sun nor moon. So God meditated, 
and sent Sihai down to earth to live there in a house made 
of tree-fern. But while as yet he had neither wife nor >^ 
child, he one day died at noon. However, out of his mouth ^ 

grew two trees, and the trees budded and blossomed, and 
the wind shook the blossoms from the trees, and blossoms 
fell to the ground and from them arose diseases. And from 
Sihai's throat grew a tree, from which gold is derived ; and 
from his heart grew another tree, from ^yhich men are 
descended. Moreover, out of his right eye came the sun, 
and out of his left eye came the moon.^ In this legend the 
idea of creating man in his own image appears to have been. 

* Edwin H. Gomes, ^SWv«/<:<r// Years ^ II. Sundcrman, Die InscI Nias 

among the Sea Dyaks 0/ Jn»rneo (Lon- unci die Mission daselbst (Barmen, 
don, 1911), p. I97» compare p. 174. 1905), Pp. 65 sqq.^ 200 sqq. 



suggested to the Creator by the accident of seeing his own 

likeness reflected in a crystal spring. 

. Story of The Bila-an, a wild tribe of Mindanao, one of the Philip- 

^f mastoid P^"^ Islands, relate the creation of man as follows. They 

, by the Say that in the beginning there was a certain being named 

in the" Melu, of a size so huge that no known thing can give any 

i Philippine idea of it : he was white in colour, and had golden teeth, 

'Til ^^ 

V san s. ^^j j^^ g^^ upon the clouds, occupying all the space above. 

\ Being of a very cleanly habit, he was constantly rubbing 

' 'fc . himself in order to preserve the whiteness of his skin un- 

•iC^: sullied. The scurf which he thus removed from his person 

^ he laid on one side, till it gathered in such a heap as to 

i'^\ fidget him. To be rid of it he constructed the earth out of 

^ it, and being pleased with his work he resolved to make 

two beings like himself, only much smaller in size. He 
fashioned them accordingly in his own likeness out of the 
leavings of the scurf whereof he had moulded the earth, and 
these two were the first human beings. But while the 
Creator was still at work on them, and had finished one of 
them all but the nose, and the other all but the nose and one 
other part, Tau Dalom Tana came up to him and demanded 
.to be allowed to make the noses. After a heated argument 
with the Creator, he got his way and made the noses, but in 
applying them to the faces of our first parents he unfortun- 
ately placed them upside down. So warm had been the 
discussion between the Creator and his assistant in regard 
to the noses, that the Creator quite forgot to finish the other 
part of the second figure, and went away to his place above 
the clouds, leaving the first man or the first woman (for we 
are not told which) imperfect ; and Tau Dalom Tana also 
went away to his place below the earth. After that a heavy 
rain fell, and the two first of human kind nearly perished, 
for the rain ran off the tops of their heads into their up- 
turned nostrils. Happily the Creator perceived their plight 
and coming down from the clouds to the rescue he took off 
their noses and replaced them right end up.^ 
Another ' A variant of the foregoing legend told by the Bila-an 
Biia-an ^uns thus. In the beginning four beings, two male and two 

version of 

thestoo'. I Fay-Cooper Cole, 7'A^ fF/7^7r/y;rj 19 13), pp. 135 sq. {Field Mustunt 

of Davao District^ A/indaf too (Chicago, of Naitual Hislory^ Publication Jjo.) 


female, lived on a small island no bigger than a hat Neither 
trees nor grass grew on the island, but one bird lived on it. 
So the four beings sent the bird to fetch some earth, the 
fruit of the rattan, and the fruit of trees. When it brought 
the articles, Melu, who was one of the two male beings, took 
the earth and'moulded it into land, just as a woman moulds 
pojs ; and having fashioned it he planted the seeds in it, and 
they grew. But after a time he said, " Of what use is land 
without people ? " The others said/* tet us make wax into 
people." They did so, but when the waxen figures were set 
•near the fire, they melted. So the Creators perceived that j^, 

they could not make man out of wax. Not to be baffled, ^|^ 

they resolved to make him out of dirt, and the two male ♦ 

beings accordingly addressed themselves to the task. All 
went well till it came to fashioning the noses. The Creator 
who was charged with this operation put the noses on upside 
down, and though his colleague Melu pointed out his mis- 
take, and warned him that the people would be drowned if 
they went about with their noses in that position, he refused 
to repair his blunder and turned his back in a huff. His 
colleague seized the opportunity and the noses at the same 
instant, and hastily adjusted these portions of the human 
frame in the position which they still occupy. But on the 
bridge of the nose you can see to this day the print left 
by the Creator's fingers in his hurry.^ 

The Bagobos, a pagan tribe of South-Eastern Mindanao, Bagobo 
say that in the beginning a certain Diwata made the sea predion ^of 
and the land, and planted trees of many sorts. Then he man. 
took two lumps of earth, shaped them like human figures, 
and spat on them ; so they became man and woman. 
Tlie old man was called Tuglay, and the old woman, Tugli- 
bung. They married and lived together, and the old man 
made a great house and planted seeds of different kinds, 
which the old woman gave him.^ 

The Kumis, who inhabit portions of Arakan and the Indian 
Chittagong hill tracts in eastern India, told Captain Lewin J^creaiion 
the following story of the creation of man. God made the of man. 
world and the trees and the creeping things first, and after 

* Fay-CooperColc,^/. «/. pp. 136^^. '^\'^\}\?>^'' Journal of American Folk-lore y 

* Laura Watson Benedict, ** Bagobo xxvi. (19 13) p. 15. 





how God 
man with 

of a dog. 

KumUtory that he_.made one man and .one woman, forming their bodies 
jiLfclay ; but every night, when he had done his work, there 
came a great snake, which, while God was sleeping, devoured 
the two images. This happened twice or thrice, and God 
was at his "wits* end, for he had to work all day, and could 
not finish the pair in less than twelve hours ; besides, if he 
did not sleep, " he would be no good," as the native narrator 
observed with some show of probability. So, as I have 
said, God was at his ^its* end. But at last he got up early 
one morning and first made a dog and put life into it ; and 
that night, when he had finished the images, he set the dog 
to watch them, and when the snake came, the dog barked 
and frightened it away. That is why to this day, when a 
man is dying, the dogs begin to howl ; but the Kumis think 
that God sleeps heavily nowadays, or that the snake is 
bolder, for men die in spite of the howling of the dogs. If 
God did not sleep, there would be neither sickness nor 
death ; it is during the hours of his slumber that the snake 
comes and carries us off.^ A similar tale is told by the 
Khasis of Assam. In the beginning, they say, God created 
man and placed him on earth, but on returning to look at 
the work of his hands he found that the man had been 
destroyed by the evil spirit. This happened a second 
time, whereupon the deity created first a dog and then a 
^osj man; and the dog kept watch and prevented the devil 
K^y^ Ofrom destroying the man. Thus the work of the deity 
^^KorV.}! was preserved.^ The same story also crops up, with a 

slight varnish of Hindoo mythology, among the Korkus, an 
aboriginal tribe of the Central Provinces of India. Accord- 
ing to them, Rawan, the demon king of Ceylon, observed 
that the Vindhyan and Satpura ranges were uninhabited, 
and he besought the great god Mahadeo to people them. 
So Mahadeo, by whom they mean Siva, sent a crow to find 
for him an ant-hill of red earth, and the bird discovered 
such an ant-hill among the mountains of Betul. Thereupon 
the god repaired to the spot, and taking a handful of the red 

* Captain T. H. Lewjn, Wild Races The Khasis, Second Edition (Londoa, 
of South 'Eastern India (London, 19 14), p. 1 06. Compare A. Bast ian, 
1870), pp. 224-226. Volkersliiiume am Btahmapuira uttd 

verwatidtschaftliche Nachharn (Berlin, 

» Lieut. -Colonel P. R. T. Gurdon, 1883), p. 8. 

version of 
the tale. 

version of 
the tale. 


earth he fashioned out of it two images, in the likeness of 
a man and a woman. But no sooner had he done so than 
two fiery horses; sent by Indra, rose from the earth and 
trampled the images to dust. For two days the Creator 
persisted in his attempts, but as often as the images were 
made they were dashed in pieces by the horses. At last 
the god made an image of a dog, and breathed into it the 
breath of life, and the animal kept off the fiery steeds of 
Indra. Thus the god was able to make the two images of 
man and woman undisturbed, and bestowing life upon them, 
he called them Mula and Mulai. These two became the 
ancestors of the Korku tribe. 

A like tale is told, with a curious variation, by the Munda 
Mundas, a primitive aboriginal tribe of Chota Nagpur. They J'h^i^" °^ 
say that the Sun-god, by name Singbonga, first fashioned 
two clay figures, one meant to represent a man and the other 
a woman. But before he could endow the figures withjife, 
the horse, apprehensive of what in future he might endure 
at their hands, trampled them under its hoofs. In those 
days the horse had wings and could move about much faster 
than now. When the Sun-god found that the horse had 
destroyed his earthen figures of men, he first created a spidqL 
and then fashioned two more clay figures like those which 
the horse had^ demolished. Next he ordered j^he spider to 
guard the effigie s against the horse .1 Accordingly the sp ider 
wove its web round the figures in such a way that the horsp 
could pot break them agaiih After that, the Sun-god im-_ 
parted life to the two figures, which th us became the .first 
Human b eings. * 

A story of the same sort, in fuller form and with Santai 
material variations, is told by the Santals of Bengal. They 'I^^i^n of 
say that in the beginning there was a certain Thakur Jiu. man. 
There was no land visible, all was covered with water. 
Then Thakur Jiu's servants said to him, " How shall we 
create human beings?" He replied, "If it be so desired, 

* R. V. Russell, The Tribes and (Bankipore, 191 6) pp. 201 sq. The 
CcLstesof the Central Provinces of India writer adds in a note, "The Bir-hors 
(London, 1916), iii. 551 sq. and the Asurs of Ch6t§ Nagpur substi- 
tute the dog for the spider. The dog 

* Sarat Chandra Roy, ** The Divine would bark at the horse and frighten 
Myths of the Mundas," yi?wr«^/ ^ Mtf him away whenever he attempted to 
Bihar and Orissa Research Society y ii. approach the clay figures." 


we can create them." They then said, " If you give us a 
blessing (or the gift), we shall be able to do so." Thakur 
Jiu then said, ** Go, call Malin Budhi. She is to be found 
in a rock cave under the water." When she came, she 
How the received the order to form two human beings. Some say 
wcre""^*^ she made them of a kind of froth which proceeded from a 
trampled supernatural being who dwelt at the bottom of the sea, but 
Daj^ts^ others say she made them of a stiff clay. Thakur Jiu was 
a spectator of what was being done. At length Malin 
Budhi made the bodies of two human beings, and laid them 
out to dry. In the meantime Day-horse (Singh Sadom) 
passed that way, and trampling thenii under foot destroyed 
them. After an interval Thakur Jiu demanded of Malin 
Budhi whether she had prepared the figures. She replied, 
" I made them, but I have many enemies." Thakur Jiu 
inquired who they were, and she answered, ** Who but Day- 
horse?" Thakur Jiu then said, "Kick the pieces into the 
Sora Nai and the Samud Nai." At this point the reciter 
of the story chants the following staves : — 

" OA / the Day-horse. Oh / the Day-horse, 
The Day-horse has gone to the river Gang, 
The Day-horse has floated to the Sora Sea, 
Oh / the Day-horse:' 

The Thakur Jiu then said to Malin Budhi, " I again give you a 

tvi^b^ds°' blessing ; go, make two human beings." Having prepared 
them, she went to Thakur Jiu, who said, ** Well, have you 
got them ready ? " She replied, " They are ready ; give 
them the gift of life." He said, " Above the door-frame is 
the life (or spirit) of birds ; do not bring that. Upon the 
cross-beam is the life of human beings ; bring it" So she 
went, but being low of stature she could not reach the 
cross-beam ; hence she brought the birds* life from above the 
door. No sooner had she given the birds' life to the figures 
than they flew up into the heavens, where they continued to 
course about, whether for twelve years or for twelve months 
is doubtful. The names of the birds were Has and Hasin. 
At length the desire to breed came upon them, and they 
went to Thakur Jiu and said, " You gave us being, but we 
cannot find a place on which to rest." He answered, "I 
will prepare a place for you." 


Living in the water were Sole-fish, Crab, Prince Earth- The raising 
worm, and Lendom Kuar. Thakur Jiu called them and of^^of^the^ 
ordered them to raise the earth above the water. Sole-fish water, 
said, •* I will raise the earth above the water," but though 
he tried and tried again, he could not do it Then Crab 
came and said, " I will do it," but he also failed. Prince 
Earth-worm then came and undertook to accomplish it. So 
he ducked his head under water and swallowed earth, and 
the earth passed through him and came out at the other 
end ; but when it fell on the surface of the water, it imme- 
diately sank to the bottom again. Then Prince Earth- 
worm said, " Within the water resides Prince Tortoise ; if we 
fasten him at the four corners with chains, and then raise 
the earth on his back, it will remain and not fall into the 
water again." So Prince Earth-worm secured Prince Tor- 
toise with chains and raised the earth on his back, and in a 
short time there was an island in the midst of the waters. 
Thakur Jiu then caused a karam tree^ to spring up, and at 
the foot of the karam tree he caused sirom grass ^ to grow. 
He then caused dhobi grass ^ to spring up, after which he 
covered the earth with all kinds of trees and herbs. In 
this manner the earth became firm and stable. 

Then the birds Has and Hasin came and alighted on Human 
the karam tree, and afterwards made their nest among the ^'^^^ed 
sirom grass at its foot There the female laid two eggs, out of 
and Raghop Buar came and ate them. Again she laid ^^"^^^ ^^ 
other two eggs, and again Raghop Buar came and devoured 
them. Then Has and Hasin went to Thakur Jiu and 
informed him that Raghop Buar had twice eaten their 
eggs. On hearing this Thakur Jiu said, " I shall send 
some one to guard your eggs." So, calling Jaher-era, he 
committed the eggs of the two birds to her care. So well 
did she perform her task that the female was allowed 
to hatch her eggs, and from the eggs emerged two human 
beings, a male and a female ; their names were Pilchu 
Haram and Pilchu Budhi. These were the parents of man- 
kind. Here the reciter of the story bursts out into song as 
follows : — 

^ Adina cordifolia^ Hook. f. Benth. ' Andropogon muricaiuSy Kctz. 

8 Cynodon daciylon^ Pers. 








in the 



story of the 
creation of 

stories of 
^f man. 
version of 

" Hae^ hae^ two human beings^ 

Hae^ hae, are born in the water^ 

Hae^ haCy how can I bring them up f 

Haey hae^ u'he?e can I place them f 
My mother gave me birth atnong the sirom grass, 
My/at/ier had his dwelling at the karma tree foot ?^ ^ 

This Santal story of the origin of man combines the 
principles of creation and evolution, for according to it man- 
kind is ultimately derived from two images, which were 
modelled in human form out of froth or damp clay, but 
were afterwards accidentally transformed into birds, from 
whose eggs the first man and woman of flesh and blood 
were hatched. 

The Cheremiss of Russia, a Finnish people, tell a story 
of the creation of man which recalls episodes in the Toradjan 
and Indian legends of the same event. They say that God 
moulded man's body of clay and then went up to heaven to 
fetch the soul, with which to animate it. In his absence he 
set the dog to guard the body. But while he was away the 
Devil drew near, and blowing a cold wind on the dog he 
seduced the animal by the bribe of a fur-coat to relax his 
guard. Thereupon the fiend spat on the clay body and be- 
slavered it so foully, that when God came back he despaired 
of ever cleaning up the mess and saw himself reduced to the 
painful necessity of turning the body outside in. That is 
why a man's inside is now so dirty. And God cursed the 
dog the same day for his culpable neglect of duty.* 

Turning now to Africa, we find the legend of the creation 
of mankind out of clay among the Shilluks of the White 
Nile, who ingeniously explain the different complexions of 
the various races by the differently coloured clays out of 
which they were fashioned. They say that the creator Juok 
moulded all men out of earth, and that while he was engaged 
in the work of creation he wandered about the world. In 
the land of the whites he found a pure white earth or sand, 
and out of it he shaped white men. Then he came to the 
land pf Egypt and out of the mud of the Nile he made red 

1 Rev. A. Campbell, D.D., "The 
Traditions of the Santals," The Jourfial 
of the Bihar and Or issaKesearch Society ^ 
ii. (Bankipore, 191 6) pp. 15-17. 

* Jean N. Smirnov, Les Populations 
Fin noises des Bass ins de la Volga et de 
la Kama^ Premiere Partie (Paris, 1898), 
p. 200. 

- Ni 


or brown men. Lastly, he came to the land of the Shilluks, 
and finding there black earth he created black men out of it 
The way in which he modelled men was this. He took a 
lump of earth and said to himself, " I will make man, but he 
must be able to walk and run and go out into the fields, so 
I will give him two long legs, like the flamingo." Having 
done so, he thought again, " The man must be able to culti- 
vate his millet, so I will give him two arms, one to hold the 
hoe, and the other to tear up the weeds." So he gave him 
two arms. Then he thought again, " The man must be able 
to see his millet, so I will give him two eyes." He did so 
accordingly. Next he thought to himself, ** The man must 
be able to eat his millet, so I will give him a mouth." And 
a mouth he gave him accordingly. After that he thought 
within himself, " The man must be able to dance and speak 
and sing and shout, and for these purposes he must have a 
tongue." And a tongue he gave him accordingly. Lastly, 
the deity said to himself, " The man must be able to hear the 
noise of the dance and the speech of great men, and for that 
he needs two ears." So two ears he gave him, and sent 
him out into the world a perfect man.^ The Fans of West The Fan 
Africa say that God created man out of clay, at first in the J^^^s^q °^ 
shape of a lizard, which he put in a pool of water and left 
there for seven days. At the end of the seven days God 
cried, ** Come forth," and a man came out of the pool instead 
of a lizard.* The Ewe-speaking tribes of Togo-land, in West The Ewe 
Africa, think that God still makes men out of clay. When ^^^'Z^\ 
a little of the water with which he moistens the clay remains 
over, he pours it on the ground, and out of that he makes 
the bad and disobedient people. When he wishes to make 
a good man he makes him out of good clay ; but when he 
wishes to make a bad man, he employs only bad. clay for 
the purpose. In the beginning God fashioned a man and 
set him on the earth ; after that he fashioned a woman. 
The two looked at each other and began to laugh, where- 
upon God sent them into the world.^ 

^ W. Hofmayr, "Die Religion der (Berlin, 1913), ii. 18. 
SchiUuk," Anthropos, vi. (1911) pp. ^ Jakob Spieth, Die £ibe'Sf(fmme, 

12S sf. Material zur Kunde des Eivt'Volkes 

in Dtittsch'Togo (Berlin, 1 906), pp. 

S GUnter Tessmann, Die Fatigwe 828, 840. 



American The story of the creation of mankind out of clay occurs 

thecrea°ion ^^^ ^" America, both among the Eskimo and the Indians, 

of man. from Alaska to Paraguay. Thus the Eskimo of Point 

versions of Barrow, in Alaska, tell of a time when there was no man in 

the story, the land, till a certain spirit named d s^ lu, who resided at 

Point Barrow, made a clay man, set him up on the shore to 

dry, breathed into him, and gave him life.^ Other Eskimo 

of Alaska relate how the Raven made the first woman 

out of clay, to be a companion to the first man ; he fastened 

water-grass to the back of the head to be hair, flapped his 

wings over the clay figure, and it arose, a beautiful young 

Caiifornian woman.^ The Acagchemem Indians of California said that 

stories of ^ powerful being called Chinigchinich created man out of 

thecreation clay which he found on the banks of a lake ; male and 

man. fg^ale Created he them, and the Indians of the present day 

are the descendants of the clay man and woman.' 

Maidu According to the Maidu Indians of California the first 

verMon ^^^ ^^^ woman were created by a mysterious personage 

story. named Earth-Initiate, who descended from the sky by a rope 

made of feathers. His body shone like the sun, but his face 

was hidden and never seen. One afternoon he took dark 

red earth, mixed it with water, and fashioned two figures, 

one of them a man and the other a woman. He laid the 

man on his right side and the woman on his left side, in his 

house. He lay thus and sweated all that afternoon and all 

that night. Early in the morning the woman began to 

tickle him in the side. He kept very still and did not laugh. 

By and by he arose, thrust a piece of pitch-wood into the 

ground, and fire burst out. The two people were very white. 

No one to-day is so white as they werei Their eyes were 

pink, their hair was black, their teeth shone brightly, and 

they were very handsome. It is said that Earth-Initiate did 

not finish the hands of the people, because he did not know 

how best to do it. The coyote^ or prairie-wolf, who plays a 

great part in the myths of the Western Indians, saw the 

* Report of the Internatiofial Ex- /t?^, Part i. (Washington, 1899) p. 
pediiion to Point Barroiu (Washington, 454. 

1885), p. 47. ^ Father Gcronimo Boscana, *' Chi- 

* E. W. Nelson, '* The Eskimo about nigchinich,'' appended tt) [A. Robin- 
Bering Strait," ^/^///tr^r;//// Anttuat Re- son's] Life in California (New V(»rk, 
port of the Bureau of American Ethtw- 1846), p. 247. 


people and suggested that they ought to have hands like his. 
But Earth-Initiate said, " No, their hands shall belike mine." 
Then he finished them. When the coyote asked why their 
hands were to be like that, Earth- Initiate answered, " So 
that, if they are chased by bears, they can climb trees." The 
first man was called Kuksu, and the first woman was called 
Morning-Star Woman.^ 

The Dieguefio Indians or, as they call themselves, the The 
Kawakipais, who occupy the extreme south-western corner of^an" 
of the State of California, have a myth to explain how the according 
world ^n its present form and the human race were created. Dieguefto 
They say that in the beginning there was no earth or solid Indians of 

1 1 , . , , . , T^ California. 

land, nothmg but salt water, one vast primeval ocean. But 
under the sea lived two brothers, of whom the elder was 
named Tcaipakomat. Both of them kept their eyes shut, 
for if they had not done so, the salt water would have 
blinded them. After a while the elder brother came up to 
the surface and looked about him, but he could see nothing 
but water. The younger brother also came up, but on the 
way to the surface he incautiously opened his eyes, and the 
salt water blinded him ; so when he emerged he could 
see nothing at all, and therefore he sank back into the 
depths. Left alone on the face of the deep, the elder 
brother now undertook the task of creating a habitable earth 
out of the waste of waters. First of all he made little red 
ants, which produced land by filling up the water solid with 
their tiny bodies. But still the world was dark, for as yet 
neither sun nor moon had been created. Tcaipakomat now 
caused certain black birds with flat bills to come into being ; 
but in the darkness the birds lost their way and could not 
find where to roost. Next Tcaipakomat took three kinds 
of clay, red, yellow, and black, and thereof he made a round 
flat thing, which he took in his hand and threw up against 
the sky. It stuck there, and beginning to shed a dim light 
became the moon. Dissatisfied with the faint illumination 
of this pallid orb, Tcaipakomat took more clay, moulded it 
into another round flat disc, and tossed it up against the 
other side of the sky. It stuck there and became the sun, 

* Rolands Dixon, "Maidu Myths," Natural History y xvii. Part ii. (New 
Bulletin of the American Museum of York, 1902), pp. 39, ^\ sq. 



lighting up everything with his beams. After that Tcaipa- 
komat took a lump of light-coloured clay, split it partly up, 
and made a man of it.. Then he took a rib from the man 
and made a woman of it The woman thus created out of 
the man's rib was called Sinyaxau or First Woman (from 
siny^ " woman," and axau^ " first "). From this first man 
and woman, modelled by the Creator out of clay, mankind 
is descended. At first people lived at a great mountain 
called Wikami. If you go there and put your ear to the 
ground, you will hear the sound of dancing ; it is made by 
the spirits of all the dead people footing it away. For when 
people die, they go back to the place where all things were at 
first created, and there they dance, just as live folks do here.* 
The Hopi The Hopi or Moqui Indians of Arizona similarly believe 

story of the ^^^t in the beginning there was nothing but water every- 
nian. wherc, and that two deities, apparently goddesses, both 

named Huruing Wuhti, lived in houses in the ocean, one of 
them in the east, and the other in the west ; and these two 
by their efforts caused dry land to appear in the midst of 
the water. Nevertheless the sun, on his daily passage across 
the newly created earth, noticed that there was no living 
being of any kind on the face of the ground, and he brought 
this radical defect to the notice of the two deities. Accord- 
ingly the divinities met in consultation, the eastern goddess 
passing over the sea on the rainbow as a bridge to visit her 
western colleague. Having laid their heads together they 
resolved to make a little bird ; so the goddess of the east 
made a wren of clay, and together they chanted an incanta- 
tion over it, so that the clay bird soon came to life. Then 
they sent out the wren to fly over the world and see whether 
he could discover any living being on the face of the earth ; 
but on his return he reported that no such being existed 
anywhere. Afterwards the two deities created many sorts 
of birds and beasts in like manner, and sent them forth to 
inhabit the world. Last of all the two goddesses made up 
their mind to create man. Thereupon the eastern goddess 
took clay and moulded out of it first a woman and after- 

' T. T. WaKTiiijin, The Kfii\i^t\yus sity of California Publications in 
Tractiifs of the Pii\iiucfio Iiiiiians {h<ix- Afneritan Archaeolc^' and Ethnology^ 
kelcy, 1 910), PI). 33S sq, {Uniicr- vol. viii. No. 6.) 


wards a raan ; and the clay man and woman were brought 
to life just as the birds and beasts had been so before them.^ 

The Pima Indians, another tribe of Arizona, allege The 
that the Creator took clay into his hands, and mixing ^^^^ 
it with the sweat of his own body, kneaded the whole according 
into a lump. Then he blew upon the lump till it began pj^J^ ^^ 
to live and move and became a man and a woman.^ A Natche*. 
priest of the Natchez Indians in Louisiana told Du Pratz 
"that God had kneaded some clay, such as that which 
potters use, and had made it into a little man ; and that 
after examining it, and finding it well formed, he blew 
upon his work, and forthwith that little man had life, grew, 
acted, walked, and found himself a man perfectly well . 
shaped." As to the mode in which the first woman was 
created, the priest frankly confessed that heAad no informa- 
tion, the ancient traditions of his tribe being silent as to any 
difference in the creation of the sexes ; he thought it likely, 
however, that man and woman were made in t he s ame way. 
So Du Pratz corrected his erroneous ideas by telling him the 
tale of Eve and the rib, and the grateful Indian promised to 
bruit it about among the old men of his tribe.* 

The Michoacans of Mexico said that the great god Stones of 
Tucapacha first made man and woman out of clay, but that of marTtoW 
when the couple went to bathe in a river they absorbed so ^y the 
much water that the clay of which they were composed all Mexico, 
fell to pieces. To remedy this inconvenience the Creator p®"^"* and 
applied himself again to his task and moulded them afresh out 
of ashes, but the result was again disappointing. At last, 
not to be baffled, he made them of metal. His perseverance 
was rewarded. . The man and woman were now perfectly 
watertight ; they bathed in the river without falling in pieces, 
and by their union they became the progenitors of mankind.* 

1 H. R. Voth, The Traditions of of the vast Continent and Islands of 
the Hopi (Chicago, 1905), pp. i sq. America^ translated into English by 
{Field Columbian Museum^ Tublica- Capt. J. Stevens (London, 1725- 1726), 
tioHf g6). iii. 254 ; Brasseur de Bourbourg, His- 

2 H. H. Bancroft, The Native Races '^^'^^ ^^ Nations civilist^es du Mexique 
of the Pacific States (London, 1875- etderAm^rique'Centrale{V;ir\s,\%S7- 

' 1876), iii. 78. ^859), iii- 80 sq. ; compare id, i. 54 

« , _ r,.j TT- T ^9' A similar story of the successive 

3 Lc Page du Pratz, 7 he History of ^^^^j^^ ^f ^^^ ^^^^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^ 

Louisiana (London, 1774), p. 330. materials is told in the Fopol Vuh, - 

♦ A. dc Herrera, General History See below, p. 276. 


According to a legend of the Peruvian Indians, which was 
told to a Spanish priest in Cuzco about half a century after 
the conquest, it was in Tiahuanaco that the human race was 
restored after the great flood which had destroyed them all, 
except one man and woman. There in Tiahuanaco, which 
is about seventy leagues from Cuzco, "the Creator began to 
raise up the people and nations, that are in that region, 
making one of each nation of clay, and painting the dresses 
that each one was to wear. Those that were to wear their 
hair, with hair ; and those that were to be shorn, with hair 
cut ; and to each nation was given the language that was to 
be spoken, and the songs to be sung, and the seeds and food 
that they were to sow. When the Creator had finished paint- 
ing and making the said nations and figures of clay, he gave 
life and soul to each one, as well men as women, and ordered 
that they should pass under the earth. Thence each nation 
came up in the places to which he ordered them to go." ^ 
The Lengua Indians of Paraguay believe that the Creator, in 
the shape of a beetle, inhabited a hole in the earth, and that 
he formed man and woman out of the clay which he threw 
up from his subterranean abode. At first the two were 
joined together, " like the Siamese twins," and in this very 
inconvenient posture they were sent out into the world, 
where they contended, at great disadvantage, with a race of 
powerful beings whom the beetle had previously created. 
So the man and woman besought the beetle to separate 
them. He complied with their request and gave them the 
power to propagate their species. So they became the 
parents of mankind. But the beetle, having created the 
world, ceased to take any active part or interest in it.^ We 
are reminded of the fanciful account which Aristophanes, in 
the Symposium of Plato, gives of the original condition of 
mankind ; how man and woman at first were knit together 
in one composite being, with two heads, four arms, and four 
legs, till Zeus cleft them down the middle and so separated 
the sexes.^ 

* Christoval de Molina, "The Fables ^ W. Barbrooke Grub, An Unkno7itfi 

and Riles of the Yncas,'' in Narratives People m an Unknown Za//</(Loiid<)n, 

of the Rites and Laws of the Yncas^ I9il)t pp. l\\ sq. 

translated and edited by (Sir) Clements ^ Plato, Symposium^ pp. 189 1>- 

R. Markham (London, 1873), P« 4* *9' D. 


It is to be observed that in a number of these stories the our first 
clay out of which our first parents were moulded is said to P^^^pj^^ 

' *^ , niouldcd 

have been red. The colour was probably intended to explain out of red 
the redness of blood. Though the Jehovistic writer in Genesis ^^*^* 
omits to mention the colour of the clay which God used in 
the construction of Adam, we may perhaps, without being 
very rash, conjecture that it was red. For the Hebrew word 
for man in general is adam^ the word for ground is adamahy 
and the word for red is adorn ; so that by a natural and 
almost necessary concatenation of causes we arrive at the 
conclusion that our first parent was modelled out of red 
earth. If any lingering doubt could remain in our mind on 
the subject, it would be dissipated by the observation that 
down to this day the soil of Palestine is of a dark reddish 
brown, " suggesting," as the writer who notices it justly 
remarks, "the connection between Adam and the ground 
from which he was taken ; especially is this colour noticeable 
when th^ soil is newly turrfed, either by the plough or in 
digging." * So remarkably does nature itself bear witness to 
the literal accuracy of Holy Writ 

However, it is noteworthy that in regard to the origin of Many 
the human species many savages reject the hypothesis of^^^that 
creation in favour of the theory of evolution. They believe, man was 
in fact, that men in general, or their own tribespeople in b^J^y^ 
particular, have been developed out of lower forms of animal outofiower 
life. T he theor y of e volution is pa rtjcularly populax-amoog animaUife. 
totemic tribes who imagine that their ancestors sprang from American 
their totemic animals or plants, but it is by no means con- stones 
fined to them. For example, some of the Californian Indians, of ^^e. . 
in whose mythology the coyote or prairie-wolf is a leading of men out 
personage, think that they are descended from coyotes. At of*^*"^^^ 
first they walked on all fours ; then they began to have some 
members of the human body, one finger, one toe, one eye, 
one ear, and so on ; then they got two fingers, two toes, two 
eyes, two ears, and so forth ; till at last, progressing from 
period to period, they became perfect human beings. The 
loss of their tails, which they still deplore, was produced by 
the habit of sitting upright* Similarly Darwin thought that 

> Rev. T.C Wilson, /^a:///Z«;^i« * H. R. Schoolcraft, Indian Tribes 

the Holy Land {LoiiAtinf 1906), p. 189. of the Untied States ^ iv. (Philadelphia, 


" the tail has disappeared in man and the anthropomorphous 
apes, owing to the terminal portion having been injured by 
friction during a long lapse of time ; the basal and embedded 
portion having been reduced and modified, so as to become 
suitable to the erect or semi-erect position."^ The Turtle 
Iroquois clan of the Iroquois think that they are descended from real 
*°*^* mud turtles which used to liye in a pool. One hot summer 
the pool dried up, and the mud turtles set out to find another. 
A very fat turtle, waddling after the rest in the heat, was 
much incommoded by the weight of his shell, till by a great 
effort he heaved it off altogether. After that he gradually 
developed into a human being and became the progenitor of 
Choctaw the Turtle clan.* The Crawfish clan of the Choctaws are in 
story. jjj^^ manner descended from real crawfish, which used to live 
underground, only coming up occasionally through the mud 
to the surface. Once a party of Choctaws smoked them out, 
taught them to speak the Choctaw language and to walk on 
two legs, and made them cut off their toe nails and pluck 
the hair from their bodies, after which they adopted them 
into the tribe. But the rest of their kindred, the crawfish, 
Osage are crawfish under the ground to this day.^ The Osage 
^^^' Indians universally believed that they were descended from 

a male snail and a female beaver. A flood swept the snail 
down to the Missouri and left him high and dry on the bank, 
where the sun ripened him into a man. He met and married 
a beaver maid, and from the pair the tribe of the Osages is 
descended. For a long time these Indians retained a pious 
reverence for their animal ancestors and refrained from hunt- 
ing beavers, because in killing a beaver they killed a brother 
of the Osages. But when white men came among them and 
offered high prices for beaver skins, the Osages yielded to the 
temptation and took the lives of their furry brethren.* The 

1856) pp. 224 sq,\ compare id,^ v. the Bureau of Ethmlogy {\\:is\\\ngicin, 

217. The descent of some, not all, 1SS3), p. 77. 

Indians from coyotes is mentioned als<^ 3 Geo. Gitlin. Infers and Notes on 

^//"*' ^,^r"*» ]^ ^^-/f '?«?M^ ^^'^ ^^^"^'^^'^ Customs, and Condition 
Ltjc in California (New \c>rk. 1846), of the North American Indians, Fourth 

^'xVi , T^ • vi; n , f E'Htion (London, 1844). ii. 128. 
1 Charles Darwin, I he Df scent of 

Man, Second Edition (London, 1S79), * M. Lewis and W. Clark, Trax'els 

p. 60. fo the Source of the Missouri River 

- E. A. Smith, "Myths of the (London, 1S15), i. 12 (vol. i. pp. 44 

Iroquois," Second Annual Report of 5"^. of the London reprint. 1905). 


Carp clan of the Ootawak (Ottawa) Indians are descended Ottawa 
from the eggs of a carp which had been deposited by the fish *^°^' 
on the banks of a stream and warmed by the sun.^ The Crane 
clan of the Ojibways are sprung originally from a pair of Ojibway 
cranes, which after long wanderings settled on the rapids at ^^°^* 
the outlet of Lake Superior, where they were changed by 
the Great Spirit into a man and woman.* The members of 
two Omaha clans were at first buffaloes and lived under Omaha 
water, which they splashed about, making it muddy. And ^^^'^^' 
at death all the members of these clans went back to their 
ancestors the buffaloea So when one of them lay a-dying, 
his friends used to wrap him up in a buffalo skin with the 
hair outside and say to him, "You came hither from the 
'animals and you are going back thither. Do not face this 
way again. When you go, continue walking."' The Haida Haida 
Indians of the Queen Charlotte Islands believe that long ago ^'°'^' 
the raven, who is the chief figure in the mythology of North- 
western America, took a cockle from the beach and married it; 
the cockle gave birth to a female child, whom the raven took 
to wife, and from their union the Indians were produced.* 
Speaking of these Indians, a writer who lived among them 
tells us that " their descent from the crows is quite gravely 
affirmed and steadfastly maintained. Hence they never will 
kill one, and are always annoyed, not to say angry, should 
we whites^ driven to desperation by the crow-nests on every 
side of us, attempt to destroy them. This idea likewise 
accounts for the coats of black paint with which young and 
old in all those tribes constantly besmear themselves. The 
crow-like colour affectionately reminds the Indians of their re- 
puted forefathers, and thus preserves the national tradition." * 
The Delaware Indians called the rattlesnake their grand- Delaware 
father and would on no account destroy one of these reptiles, *^°^^* 
believing that were they to do so the whole race of rattle- 
snakes would rise up and bite them. Under the influence 

^ Lettres Adifiantes et Curieuses, 1884), pp. 229, 233. 

Nouvellc Edition, vi. (Paris, 1781) * G. M. Dawson, Report on the 

p. 171. Queen Charlotte Islands (Montreal, 

> L. H. Morgan, Ancient Society 1880), pp. 149B x^. {Geological Survey 

(London, 1877), p. 180. of Canada). 

* J. Owen Dorsey, ** Omaha Socio- * Francis Poole, Queen Charlotte 

logy," Third Annual Report of the Islands^ edited by John W. Lyndon 

Bureau of Ethnology (Washington, (London, 1872), p. 136. 





of the white man, however, their respect for their grandfather 
the rattlesnake gradually died away, till at last they killed 
him without compunction or ceremony whenever they met 
him. The writer who records the old custom observes that 
he had often reflected on the curious connexion which 
appears to subsist in the mind of an Indian between man 
and the brute creation ; " all animated nature," says he, " in 
whatever degree, is in their eyes a great whole, from which 
they have not yet ventured to separate themselves." ^ How- 
ever, the title of grandfather, which these Indians bestowed 
on the rattlesnake, hardly suffices to prove that they believed 
themselves to be actually descended from the creature ; it 
may have only been a polite form of address intended to 
soothe and gratify the formidable reptile. Some of the 
Indians of Peru boasted of being descended from the puma 
or American lion ; hence they adored the lion as a god, and 
appeared at festivals, like Hercules, dressed in the skins of 
lions with the heads of the beasts fixed over their own. 
Others claimed to be descended from condors and attired 
themselves in great black and white wings, like that huge 
Africanand The Wanika of East Africa look upon the hyena as one 
sfories**^ of their ancestors or as associated in some way with their 
of the origin and destiny. The death of a hyena is mourned by 
ofrnw^out ^^^ whole people,, and the greatest funeral ceremonies which 
of animals, they perform are performed for this brute. The wake held 
over a chief is as nothing compared to the wake held over a 
hyena ; one tribe alone mourns the death of its chief, but 
all the tribes unite to celebrate the obsequies of a hyena.* 
Some Malagasy families claim to be descended from the 
babacoote (jAchanotns brevicaudatus), a large lemur of grave 
appearance and staid demeanour which lives in the depth 
of the forest. When they find one of these creatures dead, 

1 Rev. John Hecke welder, **An 
Account of the History, Manners, and 
Customs of the Indian Nations, who 
once inhabited Pennsylvania and the 
Ncii^hbouring States," Transactions of 
the Historical and Literary Committee 
of the American Philosophical Society 
(Philadelphia, 1819), pp. 245, 247, 

^ Garcilasso dc la V^ega, First Part 
of the Koyal Commcntat ies of the Yncas^ 
translated and edited by (Sir) Clements 
R. Markham (London, 1869-1871),^ 
323, ii. 156. 

3 Cliarles New, ///?', Jianderiftj^^ 
and Labours in Eastern Africa 
(London, 1873), P- 122. 


his human descendants bury it solemnly, digging a grave for / 

it, wrapping it in a shroud, and weeping and lamenting over -( 
its carcase. A doctor who had shot a babacoote was accused / ' 
by the inhabitants of 'a Betsimisaraka village of having kille^d 
" one of their grandfathers in the forest," and to appease thi6r 
indignation he had to promise not to skin the animal irythe 
village but in a solitary place where nobody could see.him.^ 
Many of the Betsimisaraka believe that the curious noi^turnal 
animal called the aye-aye {Cheiromys niadagascaritnsis) "is 
the embodiment of their forefathers, and hence will not touch 
it, much less do it an^injury. It is said that when one is 
discovered dead in the forest, these people make a tomb for 
it and bury it with all the forms of a funeral. They think 
that if they attempt to entrap it, they will surely die in 
consequence."^ Some Malagasy tribes believe themselves 
descended from crocodiles and accordingly they deem the 
ferocious reptiles their brothers. If one of these scaly 
brothers so far forgets the ties of kinship as to devour a 
man, the chief of the tribe, or in his absence an old man 
familiar with the tribal customs, repairs at the head of the 
people to the edge of the water, and summons the family 
of the culprit to deliver him up to the arm of justice. A 
hook is then baited and cast into the river or lake. Next 
day the guilty brother, or one of his family, is dragged 
ashore^ formally tried, sentenced to death, and executed. 
The claims of justice being thus satisfied, the erring brother 
is lamented and buried like a kinsman ; a mound is raised 
over his grave, and a stone marks the place of his head.® 

Amongst the Tshi-speaking tribes of the Gold Coast in Stories 
West Africa the Horse-mackerel family traces its descent evoimion 
from a real horse-mackerel whom an ancestor of theirs once of men out 

of fish told 
1 Father Abinal, "Croyances fabu- « G. A. Shaw, ** The Aye- aye," The >« West 

leuses des Malgachcs," I^s Missions Antananarivo Annual and Madagascar ^J^^^^ 

Catholiqugs, xii. (1880) p. 526; G. H. JA/^o^/w, vol. ii. (Antananarivo, 1896), ^^^^' 

Smith, "Some Betsimisaraka Super- pp. 201, 203 (Reprint of the Second 

stitions," 7^he Antananarivo Annual Four Numbers). Compare A. van 

and Mada}^a*car Magazine^ No. 10 Gennep, Taboti et Tot^misme <) Mada- 

( Antananarivo, 1886), p. 239; H. W. gasrar^ pp. 281 sq. 
Little, Madagascar^ its History and ^ Father Abinal, "Croyances fabu- 

People (London, 1884), pp. 321 sq. ; leuses des Malgaches," Les Missions 

A. van Gennep, Tabou et Totimisme CflM^//^//^j, xii. (1880) p. 527 ; A. van 

h Madagascar (Pari.s, 1904), pp. 214 Gennep, Tabou ct Tot^misme ii Mada- 

sqq. gascar^ pp. 28 1 sq. 



took to wife. She lived with him happily in human shape 
on shore, till one day a second wife, whom the man had 
mafried, cruelly taunted her with being nothing but a fish. 
That hurt her so much that, bidding her husband farewell, 
she returned to her old home in the sea, with her youngest 
child in her arms, and never came back again. But ever 
since the Horse-mackerel people have refrained from eating 
horse-mackerels because the lost wife and mother was a fish 
of that sort.^ Some of the Land Dyaks of Borneo tell a 
similar tale to explain a similar custom. " There is a fish 
which is taken in their rivers called a puttin, which they 
would on no account touch, under the idea that if they did 
they would be eating their relations. The tradition respect- 
ing it is, that a solitary old man went out fishing and caught 
a puttiHy which he dragged out of the water and laid down 
in his boat On turning round, he found it had changed 
into a very pretty little girl. Conceiving the idea she would 
make, what he had long wished for, a charming wife for his 
son, he took her home and educated her until she was fit to 
be married. She consented to be the son's wife, cautioning 
her husband to use her well. Some time after their marriage, 
however, being out of temper, he struck her, when she 
screamed, and rushed away into the water ; but not without 
leaving behind her a beautiful daughter, who became after- 
Kayan wards the mother of the race."^ The Kayans of Borneo 
sioryofihe ^hj^i^ that the first man and woman were born from 'a tree, 

evolution of ' 

men out of which had been fertilized by a creeper swaying backwards 
*^''^' and forwards in the wind. The man was named Kaluban 
Gai and the woman Kalubi Angai. However, they were 
incomplete, for they had no legs, and even the lower half of 
their trunks was wanting, so that their entrails protruded. 
Nevertheless they married and became the progenitors of 
mankind.^ Thus the Kayans suppose the human race to 

^ (Sir) A. B. Ellis, The Tshi-speaking Coast of Borneo," Transactions of the 
Peoples of the Gold Coast of West Africa Ethnological Society of I^ndon^ New 
(London, 1887), pp. 208-211. A Series, ii. (London, 1863) PP« 26 j^. 
similar tale is told by another fish Such stories conform to a well-known 
family who abstain from eating the type which may be called the Swan- 
species of fish {appei) from which they maiden type of story, or Beauty and 
take their name (A. B. Ellis, op. cit, the Beast, or Cupid and Psyche, 
pp. 211 sq.). ^ Ch. Hose and W. McDougall, The 

- The I^)rd Bishop of Lalnian, "On Pa!;^dn Trides of Borneo {lAindonfigi2), 

the Wild Tribes of the Norih-Wcst ii. 138. 


have been directly evolved from plants without passing 
through the intermediate stage of animals. 

Members of a clan in Mandailing, on the west coast of Stones of 
Sumatra, allege that they are descended from a tiger, and at ^*nfeT^°^ 
the present day, when a tiger is shot, the women of the clan from 
are bound to offer betel to the dead beast. When members Sumatra."* 
of this clan come upon the tracks of a tiger, they must, as 
a mark of homage, enclose them with three little sticks. 
Further, it is believed that the tiger will not attack or 
lacerate his kinsmen, the members of the clan.^ The Battas 
or Bataks of Central Sumatra are divided into a number of 
clans which have for their totems white buffaloes, goats, wild 
turtle-doves, dogs, cats, apes, tigers, and so forth ; and one of 
the explanations which they give of their totems is that 
these creatures were their ancestors, and that their own 
souls after death can transmigrate into the animals.^ 

Some of the natives of Minahassa, a district at the north- Stories of 
eastern extremity of Celebes, believe that they are descended of^meT^*^"^ 
from apes, and that the parent stock of these animals still from Apes 
inhabits the woods of Menado toowah, or Old Menado, an 
island which rises out of the sea in the shape of a conical 
mountain. The old inhabitants of Menado, a town on the 
mainland of Celebes, stoutly affirmed that the apes on that 
island were their forefathers. In former times they used to 
send offerings of rice, bananas, and so forth, every year to their 
simian ancestors in the woods, but afterwards they found it 
more convenient to place their offerings on a raft of bamboo 
stems and then, in the darkness of night, illuminated by the 
glare of torches, to let the frail bark drift down the river amid 
a hubbub of noises and the clamour of multitudinous voices 
wishing it good speed. A similar belief in their descent from 
these apes is cherished by the inhabitants of Tanawangko, 
another town of Minahassa distant somewhat farther from the 
ancestral island. These people sometimes repair to the island 

^ H. Ris, "DeOnderafdeeling Klein Sumatra," Tijdschrift van het Neder* 

Mandailing Oeloe en Pahantan en hare landsch Aardrijkskuttdig Genootschap^ 

Bevolking met uitzondering van de Twcede Serie, iii. Afdecling, Meer 

Ocloes," BijdrcLgen tot de Taal- Land- uitgebreide Artikelen, No. 2 (Amster- 

en Volkenkufide van Nederlamisch- dam, 1886), pp. 311 sq, ; id.^ op. ctt,^ 

//»«'», xlvi. (1896) p. 473. Tweede Serie, iv. Afdeeling Meer 

• J. B. Neumann, **Het Pane en uitgebreide Artikelen, No. I (Amster- 

Bila - stroomgebied op het eiland dam, 1887), pp. 8 sq. 


for the purpose of felling timber, and it is said that, rather 
than chase away or injure the apes which infest the forest, 
they suffer the thievish animals to steal their rice, bananas, 
and clothes, believing that sickness or death would be the in- 
evitable consequence of any attempt to defend their property 
against the monkeys.^ 
Stories of In Amboyna and the neighbouring islands the inhabitants 

Ac descent ^f some villages aver that they are descended from trees, 
from trees such as the Capellenia moluccajia^ which had been fertilized 
anfmais ^Y ^^ Pandion Haliaetus. Others claim to be sprung from 
in the pigs, octopuscs, crocodiles, sharks, and eels. People will not 
burn the wood of the trees from which they trace their 
descent, nor eat the flesh of the animals which they r^ard 
as their ancestors. Sicknesses of all sorts are believed to 
result from disregarding these taboos.^ Similarly in Ceram 
persons who think they are descended from crocodiles, ser- 
pents, iguanas, and sharks will not eat the flesh of these 
animals.* Many other peoples of the Molucca Islands enter- 
tain similar beliefs and observe similar taboos.^ 
Stories of The Bukaua of North-Eastern New Guinea appear to 

the descent ^^^ce their descent from their'^lotemic animals. Thus the 

of men 

from inhabitants of one village will not eat a certain sea-fish {ingd)^ 

TttNcw because they allege that they are all descended from it 

Guinea. Were One of them to eat the fish, they believe that the 

' doom of all the villagers would be sealed. Another clan 

revere white parrots as their totems, and never eat the 

bird, though they are glad to deck themselves with its 

feathers. If they see other people eating a white parrot, 

they are grieved, sprinkle themselves with ashes in token of 

sorrow for the death of the bird, and expect compensation 

from the murderers. If one of themselves ate a white 

parrot, he would suffer from sore eyes. The members of a 

particular family refuse to eat pig, because they owe their 

existence to a sow, which farrowed babies and little pigs at 

the same birth.^ Similarly some of the natives of Astrolabe 

1 N. Graafland, i9^ -.4////rt^aj-jfl (Rot- (Dordrecht, 1875), p. 152. 
terdam, 1869), i. 8 sq, ^ J. G. Y. Ricdel, op. cit. p. 122. 

2 J. G. F. Riedel, Dc sluik- en * J. G. F. Riedcl, op, n't. pp. 253, 
kroeshariffe rassen tusscken Selebcs en 334, 341, 348, 412, 414, 432. 
Papua (The Hague, 1886), pp. 32, ^ Stefan Lchner, •* Bukaua," in 
61 ; G. W. W. C. Baron van Hocvell, R. Neuhauss, Deutsch Neu-Gutnea 
Ambon en meer bepaaldclijk dc Oeliastrs (Berlin, 1911), iii. 428. 


Bay in Northern New Guinea believe that they are de- 
scended from a crocodile, which a human ancestress of theirs 
brought forth along with a twin girl. Hence they refuse 
to eat the flesh of crocodiles, and they tell a long story 
about the vicious behaviour of their crocodile forefather.* 

A somewhat different account of the origin of man is story of 
given by the Marindineeze, a tribe who occupy the dreary, o^*^^JP° 
monotonous treeless flats on the southern coast of Dutch told i^ the 
New Guinea, not far from the border of the British territory, ^i^^ of 
They say that one day a crane or stork {dik) was busy Dutch New 
picking fish out of the sea. He threw them on the beach, "*"*** 
where the clay covered and killed them. So the fish were 
no longer anything but shapeless lumps of clay. They were 
cold and warmed themselves at a fire of bamboos. Every 
time that a little bamboo burst with a pop in the heat, the 
lumps of clay assumed more and more the shape of human 
beings. Thus the apertures of their ears, eyes, mouth, and 
nostrils were opened, but as yet they could not speak, they 
could only utter a murmuring sound. Their fingers were 
still joined by membranes like those in the wings of bats. 
However, with a bamboo knife they severed the membranes 
and threw them into the sea, where they turned into leeches. 
When the nature spirit {demo) saw the human beings, he 
was wroth, and enviously asked the crane, why he had 
bestowed life on these creatures. So the crane ceased to 
peck at the fish and pecked at a log of wood instead ; and 
that is why his beak has been bent ever since. At last, 
while the first men were sitting round the fire, a big bamboo 
burst with a louder crack than usual, which frightened the 
people so that they gave a loud shriek, and that was the 
beginning of human speech. You may still hear shrieks of 
the same sort at the present day, when in time of sickness 
the descendants of these first parents are sitting by the fire 
and throwing bamboos into it, in order that the crackling 
and popping of the bamboos in the flames may put the 
spirit of disease to flight. Every time a bamboo bursts 
with a pop, all the people shout and load the demon with 
curses. And this Papuan narrative of the descent of man 

1 Otto Dempwolff, " Sagcn und Marchen aus Bilbili," Baessler-Archiv 
(191 1) pp. 63-66. 




version of 
the Marin- 


usually winds up with the words, " So the stork or crane 
{dik^ bestowed life on us." ^ 

A somewhat different version of the story is told by other 
members of the tribe. They say that before the first human 
pair appeared on earth, there were spirits (devtas) residing 
oririn*^of^* at Wegi, near Kondo-miraaf which is near the extreme 
south-eastern corner of the tribal territory. Now the spirits 
owned a dog and a bird {diegge\ which may be presumed 
to be the same crane or stork {dik^ diek) which figures in 
the former version. One day the dog, snuffing about, was 
attracted by the scent to a certain spot, and there with his 
paws he scraped a hole in the ground, from which the first 
human pair, a man and a woman, came forth. They 
possessed all animal instincts, but their minds were very 
imperfectly developed. They lived like beasts, without 
experience and without feeling the need of communicating 
with each other by speech. As for the necessaries of life, 
they received them from the spirits. Roaming about one 
day they came to a river, and in their ignorance of the 
nature of water they walked straight into it and might have 
been drowned, if the bird had not flown to their rescue and 
drawn them out of the stream. That is how they came to 
be acquainted with water ; but still they were ignorant of 
fire. Their knowledge of that element they acquired from 
watching a fire which the spirits had kindled to warm them- 
selves at in cold weather ; and it was the astonishment our 
first parents felt at the sight of the devouring flames, and 
the alarm they experienced at the loud crackling of the 
bamboos in the heat, which elicited from them the first cry 
of fear and wonder and so unloosed their tongues. Hence- 
forth they could speak. The hole from which these 
ancestors of mankind emerged on that memorable day has 

^ Jos. Viegen (Pastoor te Merauke), 
•* Oorsprongs- en afstammingslegenden 
van den Marindinees (Zuid Niew- 
Guinea)," Tijdschrift van het Konin- 
klijk Nederlandsch Aardrijkskundig 
Genootschap, Tweede Serie, xxix. 
(1912) pp. 137, 145 sq,-y A. J. Goo- 
szen, '*De Majo-mysterien ter Nieuw- 
Guinea*s Zuidkust," Bijdrai^en tot de 
Taai' Land' en Volkenkwide van 

Nederlandsch- Indie y Ixix. (19 14) p. 
375. There seems to be some doul)t 
as to the identification of the bird 
which plays so important a part in the 
legend. The natives call it dik (di'ek). 
According to Pastor Viegen, it is a 
crane ; Mr. Gooszen describes it as a 
stork or crane ; Mr. O. G. Heldring 
(see the reference in the next note) 
calls it a stork {ooicvaary p. 466). 




continued to be a hole ever since ; but water has gathered 
in it, and it is now the sacred pool of VVegi. Even in 
seasons of the greatest drought the water in that pool never 
fails ; and all the animals and plants about it, every thing 
that runs or flies or grows there, is holy.^ 

The legend which in one or other of these versions the The origin 
Marindineeze tell^ to account for the origin of the human repw»entcd 
species is said to be represented dramatically by them at at the 
the mysteries or rites of initiation which they celebrate every dineeze 
year, and on the celebration of which they apparently niysterics, 
believe the fertility of the land, of man, and of beast to be 
dependent. Thus the story that the. bird picked the first 
human beings from the water in the likeness of fish and threw 
them on the beach, is acted by an initiated man who comes 
hopping along on two sticks, picks up the novices one by 
one and throws them into the sacred enclosure. There 
they must lie motionless ; they are stripped of all their orna- 
ments, and coated from head to foot with a thick layer 
of clay ; more than that, lumps of clay are thrust into 
their mouths by initiated men, and these they have after- 
wards to spit out into holes dug in the ground. This scene 
of the mysteries seems to recall either the clay which is 
said to have covered our fishy ancestors when they were first 
cast on the beach, or the earth from which they emerged 
when the dog had scraped away the soil from above them. 
The subsequent stages of the mysteries consist for the most 
part in a series of lessons designed to initiate the novices 
successively into the various occupations of ordinary life, of 
which, like newborn babes or their ancestors when they first 
emerged from the water or the earth, they are presumed to 
be entirely ignorant.^ 

1 O. G. Heldring, " Bijdrage tot de 
ethnografische kennis der Mariende- 
Anim,'* Tijdschrifi voor Indische Taal- 
Latid' en VolkenkuncU^ Iv. (19 13) p. 
429 sq.\ A. J. Gooszen, ** De Majo- 
mysterien ter Nieuw-Guinea's Zuid- 
kust," Bijdragen tot cU Taal- 1. and- en 
Volkenkttnde van Nederlandsch-IndiCy 

Ixix. (1914) pp. 375 ^^• 

* Jos. Viegen, ** Oorsprongs- en 
afstammingslegenden van den Marin- 
dinees (Zuid Nieuw-Guinea)," Tijd- 

schrift vati het KoninklijkNederlafidsch 
Aardrijkskuttdig Genootschap^ Twecde 
Serie, xxix. (19T2) pp. 147 sqq.\ O. 
G. Heldring, ** Bijdrage tot de ethno- 
grafische kennis der Mariende-Anim,'* 
Tijdschrift voor Indische Taal- Land- 
en Volkitikunde, Iv. (1913) pp. 440 
sqq.\ A. J. Gooszen, '* De Majo- 
mystcrien ter Nieuw-Guinea's Zuid- 
kust,'** Bijdragen tot de Taal- Land- en 
Volkenkitnde van Nederlandsch-Imiiey 
Ixix, (19 14) pp. 366 sqq. The name 




Stories Again, in Ponape, one of the Caroline Islands, " the dif- 

d«^nt of ^^^^^^ families suppose themselves to stand in a certain relation 
men from to animals, and especially to fishes, and believe in theirdcscent 
grubs"in ^^ovci them. They actually name these animals * mothers*; 
the Pacific, the creatures are sacred to the family and may not be injured. 
Great dances, accompanied with the offering of prayers, are 
performed in their honour. Any person \yho killed such an 
animal would expose himself to contempt and punishment, 
certainly also to the vengeance of the insulted deity." Blind- 
ness is commonly supposed to be the consequence of such a 
sacrilege.^ The Samoans have a tradition that the first two 
men were developed out of two grubs, which were produced 
through the rotting of a convolvulus torn up by its roots. 
But the transformation of the grubs into men was carried 
out by two divine beings under the direction of Tuli (a species 
of plover), who was himself the son of the great god Tangaloa 
of the Skies. When the two men had received all their 
human limbs and features complete at the hands of the 
deities, they dwelt in the land where they had been formed, 
but being both males they could not continue the species. 
However, it chanced that one day, while he was fishing, one 
of the two men received a mortal hurt from a little fish and 
died; whereupon the great god Tangaloa caused the dead 
man to be changed into a woman and to be brought to life 
again. So the man and the woman married and became 
the parents of mankind.* This Samoan story of the origin 
of man combines the processes of evolution and creation ; 

of the initiatory rites or mysteries is 
Mayo {Majo). They are described 
most fully by Mr. Held ring, whose 
description is based, partly on personal 
observation, but mainly on information 
furnished by a native Government in- 
terpreter, who attended all the cere- 
monies in the villages to the east of 
the Marau River (pp. 443 .t^.). Mr. 
Heldring lays stress on the importance 
which the natives attach to the per- 
formance of the rites as a means to 
ensure the fertility of man and beast as 
well as of the land (p. 460). **A11 
accounts," he tells us, ** agree that the 
holding of the Mayo rites is always 
followed by good harvests. It is, 

therefore, the foremost duty of the 
Mariende tribes to celebrate the rites 
every year, though not in the same 
group of villages two years running." 
At the same time he points out the 
great part which the dramatic repre- 
sentation of the creation myth plays 
in the mysteries. The parallelism 
between the myth and the ritual is 
drawn out most fully by Pastor V'iegen. 

^ Dr. Hahl, ** Mittheilungen liber 
Siltcn und rechtliche Vcrhjiltnisse auf 
Ponape," Etlutologisches Notizblait^ 
vol. ii. Heft 2 (Berlin, 1901), p. 10. 

2 Rev. John R Stair, Old Samoa 
(London, 1 897), pp. 213 sq. 


for while it represents the first men as developed out of 
grubs, it attributes their final perfection to the formative 
action of divine beings. 

Some of the aborigines of Western Australia believe that Stones 
their ancestors were swans, ducks, or various other species of evo}jfiJon 
water-fowl before they were transformed into men.^ The of men out 
Dieri tribe of Central Australia, who are divided into totemic among^the 
clans, explain their origin by the following legend. They aborigines 
say that in the beginning the earth opened in the midst of Australia. 
Perigundi Lake, and the totems {murdus or madas) came 
trooping out one after the other. Out came the crow, and 
the shell parakeet, and the emu, and all the rest. Being as 
yet imperfectly formed and without members or organs of 
sense, they laid themselves down on the sandhills which 
surrounded the lake then, just as they do now. It was a 
bright day, and the totems lay basking in the sunshine, till 
at last, refreshed and invigorated by it, they stood up as 
human beings and dispersed in all directions. That is why 
people of the same totem are now scattered all ov^r the 
country. You may still see the island in the lake out of 
which the totems came trooping long ago.* Another Dieri 
legend relates how Paralina, one of the Mura-Muras or 
mythical predecessors of the Dieri, perfected mankind. He 
was out hunting kangaroos, when he saw four incomplete 
beings cowering together. So he went up to them, smoothed 
their bodies, stretched out their limbs, slit up their fingers 
and toes, formed their mouths, noses, and eyes, stuck ears 
on them, and blew into their ears in order that they might 
hear. Having perfected their organs and so produced man- 
kind out of these rudimentary beings, he went about making 
men everywhere.' Yet another Dieri tradition sets forth 
how the Mura-Mura produced the race of man out of a 
species of small black lizards, which may still be met with 
under dry bark. To do this he divided the feet of the 
lizards into fingers and toes, and, applying his forefinger to 
the middle of their faces, created a nose ; likewise he gave 

* Captain G. Grey, A Vocabulary Souih- East Australia (London, 1904), 

of the Dialicti of South Western pp. 476, TJ<) sq. 
Australia, Second Edition (London', ^ ^^ ^^ Howitt, op, cit. pp. 476, 

1840), pp. 29, 37, 61, 63, 66, 71. 780 sq. 

^ /L "W. Howitt, Native Tribes cf 


^ 42 THE CREA TION OF MAN part i 

them human eyes, mouths, and ears. He next set one of 
them upright, but it fell down again because of its tail ; so 
he cut off its tail, and the lizard then walked on its hind legs. 
That is the origin of mankind.^ 
Arunta The Arunta tribe of Central Australia similarly tell how 

ofThe'* in the beginning mankind was developed out of various rudi- 
evoiuiionof mentary forms of animal life. They say that in those days 
menou o ^^^ beings called Ungambikula, that is, "out of nothing," 
mentary or " self-existing," dwelt in the western sky. From their 
lofty abode they could see, far away to the east, a number 
of inapertwa creatures, that is, rudimentary human beings or 
incomplete men, whom it was their mission to make into 
real men and women. For at that time there were no real 
men and women ; the rudimentary creatures (Jnapertwd) 
were of various shapes and dwelt in groups along the shore 
of the salt water which covered the country. These embryos, 
as we may call them, had no distinct limbs or organs of 
sight, hearing, and smell ; they did not eat food, and they 
presented the appearance of human beings all doubled up 
into a rounded mass, in which only the outline of the different 
parts could be vaguely perceived. Coming down from their 
home in the western sky, armed with great stone knives, 
the Ungambikula took hold of the embryos, one after the 
other. First of all they released the arms from the bodies, 
then making four clefts at the end of each arm they fashioned 
hands and fingers ; afterwards legs, feet, and toes were 
added in the same way. The figure could now stand ; a 
nose was then moulded and the nostrils bored with the 
fingers. A cut with the knife made the mouth, which was 
pulled open several times to render it flexible. A slit on 
each side of the face separated the upper and lower eyelids, 
disclosing the eyes, which already existed behind them ; and 
a few strokes more completed the body. Thus out of the 
rudimentary creatures were formed men and women. These 
rudimentary creatures or embryos, we are told, " were in 

^ S. Gason, **Xhe Manners and Mura-Mura {Mooramoora) as a Good 

Customs of the Dieyerie tribe of AuS- Spirit instead of as one of the mythical 

tralian Aborigines," in J. 1). Woods's but more or less human predecessors 

Native Tribes 0/ South Australia (Ade- of the Dieri in the country. See A. 

laide, 1879), p. 260. This writer W. Ilowitt, Native Triles of Sottth" 

made the mistake of regarding the East Australiay pp. 475 sqq. 


reality stages in the transformation of various animals and 
plants into human beings, and thus they were naturally^ 
when made into human beings, intimately associated with 
the particular animal or plant, as the case may be, of which 
they were the transformations — in other words, each in- 
dividual of necessity belonged to a totem the name of which 
was of course that of the animal or plant of which he or she 
was a transformation." However, it is not said that all the 
totemic clans of the Arunta were thus developed ; no such 
tradition, for example, is told to explain the origin of the 
important Witchetty Grub clan. The clans which are known, 
or said, to have originated out of embryos in the way 
described are the Plum Tree, the Grass Seed, the Large 
Lizard, the Small Lizard, the Alexandra Parakeet, and the 
Small Rat clans. When the Ungantbikula had thus fashioned 
people out of these totems, they circumcised them all, except , 
the Plum Tree men, by means of a fire-stick. After that, 
having done the work of creation or evolution, the Ungam- 
bikula turned themselves into little lizards which bear a 
name meaning " snappers-up of flies." ^ 

This Arunta tradition of the origin of man, as Messrs. The 
Spencer and Gillen, who have recorded it, justly observe, " is trad?Uon 
of considerable interest ; it is fn the first place evidently a of the 
crude attempt to describe the origin of human beings out of man 
of non-human creatures who were of various forms ; some of compared 
them were representatives of animals, others of plants, but in of the 
all cases they are to be regarded as intermediate stages in ^T^f^ 
the transition of an animal or plant ancestor into a human pherEm- 
individual who bore its name as that of his or her totem." ^ pedocies. 
In a sense these speculations of the Arunta on their own 
origin may be said, like a similar myth of the Samoans,^ to 
combine the theory of creation with the theory of evolution ; 
for while they represent men as developed out of much 
simpler forms of life, they at the same time assume that this 
development was effected by the agency of two powerful 
beings, whom so far we may call creators. It is well known 

' (Sir) Baldwin Spencer and F. J. * (Sir) Baldwin Spencer and F. J. 

Gillen, Native Tribes of Central Atts- Gillen, Native Tribes of Central AuS" 

tralia (I^ndon, 1899), pp. 388 sq. ; traliay pp. 391 sq, 
tom^^rtiid.<t Northern Tribes of Central 
• Australia (London, 1904), p. 150. ' Above, p. 40. 


that at a far higher stage of culture a crude form of the 
evolutionary hypothesis was propounded by the Greek 
philosopher Empedocles. He imagined that shapeless lumps 
of earth and water, thrown up by the subterranean fires, 
developed into monstrous animals, bulls with the heads of 
men, men with the heads of bulls, and so forth ; till at last, 
these hybrid forms being gradually eliminated, the various 
existing species of animals and men were evolved.^ The 
theory of the civilized Greek of Sicily may be set beside the 
similar theory of the savage Arunta of Central AustraliaL 
Both represent gropings of the human mind in the dark 
abysses of the past ; both were in a measure grotesque 
anticipations of the modern theory of evolution. 
The The foregoing examples may serve to illustrate two very 

opimonsof different views which primitive man has taken of his own 

mankind . . ^ 

divided . Origin. They may be distinguished as the theory of creation 
the^throry ^"^ ^^^ theory of evolution. According to the one, the 
of creation human race was fashioned in its present form by a great 
theory ^of artificer, whether a god or a hero ; according to the other, it 
evolution, was evolved by a natural process out of lower forms of 
animal or even vegetable life. Roughly speaking, these two 
theories still divide the civilized world between them. The 
partisans of each can appeal in support of their view to a 
large consensus of opinion ; and if truth were to be decided 
by weighing the one consensus against the other, with 
Genesis in the one scale and The Origin of Species in the 
other, it might perhaps be found, when the scales were finally- 
trimmed, that the balance hung very even between creation 
-and evolution. 

^ E. Zeller, Die Phlhsophie der rerum natura^ v. 837 sqq. Another 

Gricchen, i.* (Leipsic, 1876), pp. 718 ancient Greek philosopher, Anaxi- 

5q:\ II. Rilterund L. Preller, Historia mander of Miletus, thought that men 

Philosophiae Graecae et Latifiae ex were developed out of fishes. Sec 

fondum /octs coniexta^ {GothciCf 1875), Plutarch, Symposium, viii. 8. 4; Cen- 

pp. 102 sg. ; H. Diels, Die Fra^^mente sorinus, De die natali^ iv. 7 ; H. Diels» 

der Vorsokratiker,^ i. (Berlin, 1906), op. at. i. 17. 
pp. 190 sgq. Compare Lucretius, De 



§ I. The Narrative in Genesis 

With a few light but masterly strokes the Jehovistic writer The 
depicts for us the blissful life of our first parents in the "f'^^Faii 
happy garden which God had created for their abode. There of Man in 
every tree that was pleasant to the sight and good for food ^'^* 
grew abundantly ; there the animals lived at peace with man 
and with each other ; there man and woman knew no shame, 
because they knew no ill : it was the age of innocence.^ 
But this glad time was short, the sunshine was soon clouded. 
From his description of the creation of Eve and her intro- 
duction to Adam, the writer passes at once to tell the sad 
story of their fall, their loss of innocence, their expulsion 
from Eden, and the doom of labour, of sorrow, and of death 
pronounced on them and their posterity. In the midst of 
the garden grew the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, 
and God had forbidden man to eat of its fruit, saying, " In 
the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Burf 
the serpent was cunning, and the woman weak and credulous :l 
he persuaded her to eat of the fatal fruit, and she gave of ;t 
to her husband, and he ate also. No sooner had they tasted 
it than the eyes of both of them were opened, they knew 
that they were naked, and filled with shame and confusion 
they hid their nakedness under aprons of fig-leaves : the age 
of innocence was gone for ever. That woeful day, when the 
heat of noon was over and the shadows were growing long 
in the garden, God walked there, as was his wont, in the 

1 Genesis ii. 8-25. 

46 THE FALL OF MAN part i 

cool of the evening. The man and woman heard his foot- 
steps,^ perhaps the rusth'ng of the fallen leaves (if leaves 
could fall in Eden) under his tread, and they hid behind 
the trees, ashamed to be seen by him naked. But he called 
them forth from the thicket, and learning from the abashed 
couple how they had disobeyed his command by eating of 
the tree of knowledge, he flew into a towering passion. He 
cursed the serpent, condemning him to go on his belly, to 
eat dust, and to be the enemy of mankind all the days of 
his life : he cursed the ground, condemning it to bring forth 
thorns and thistles : he cursed the woman, condemning her 
to bear children in sorrow and to be in subjection to her 
husband : he cursed the man, condemning him to wrin|f his 
daily bread from the ground in the sweat of his brow, and 
finally to return to the dust out of which he had been taken! 
Having relieved his feelings by these copious maledictions, 
the irascible but really kind-hearted deity relented so far as 
to make coats of skins for the culprits to replace their scanty 
aprons of fig-leaves, and clad in these new garments th^ 
shamefaced pair retreated among the trees ; while in the 
west the sunset died away, and the shadows deepened on 
Paradise Lost.^ 
The tree ^^ ^^is account everything Binges on the tree of the 

of the knowledge of good and evil : it occupies, so to say, the 
of good centre of the stage in the great tragedy, with the man and 
**"h ^\^^ woman and the talking serpent grouped round it^ But 
of life. when we look closer we perceive a second tree standing side 
by side with the other in the midst of the garden. It is a 
very remarkable tree, for it is no less than the tree of life, 
whose fruit confers immortality on all who eat of it. Yet 
in the actual story of the fall this wonderful tree plays 
no part Its fruit hangs there on the boughs ready to be 
plucked ; unlike the tree of knowledge, it is hedged about 
by no divine prohibition, yet no one thinks it worth while to 
taste of the luscious fruit and live for ever. The eyes of the 
actors are all turned on the tree of knowledge ; they appear 

J Genesis iii. 8, "they heard tl/e Hebrew word for sound (Vip) is am- 

sound of the Lord God walking in the biguous ; it may signify either "sound" 

garden." •The "sound" is clearly that or "voice." * . 
of his footsteps, not of his voice, as 

the English version translates it. The 2 G^jnesis iii. 


not to see the tree of life. Only, when all is over, does God 
bethink himself of the wondrous tree standing there neglected, 
with all its infinite possibilities, in the midst of the garden ; 
and fearing lest man, who has become like him in knowledge 
by eating of the one tree, should become like him in im.- 
riiortality by eating of the other, he drives him from the 
garden and sets an angelic squadron, with flaming swords, 
to guard the approach to the tree of life, that none hence- 
forth may eat of its magic fruit and live for ever. Thus, 
while throughout the moving tragedy in Eden our attention 
is fixed exclusively on the tree of knowledge, in the great 
transformation scene at the end, where the splendours of Eden 
fade for ever into the light of common day, the last glimpse 
we catch of the happy garden shows the tree of life alone lit 
Vip by the lurid gleam of brandished angelic falchions.^ 

It appears to be generally recognized that some confusion We may 
has crept into the account of the two trees, and that in the thai^lnUic 
original story the tree of life did not play the purely passive original 
and spectacular part assigned to it in the existing narrative, narrative * 
Accordingly, some have thought that there were originally ^^^^e were 
two different stories of the fall, in one of which the tree of a Tree of 
knowledge figured alone, and in the other the tree of life ^^^« ^"d a 
alone, and that the two stories have been unskilfully fused Death, and 
into a single narrative by an editor, who has preserved the '^^^ ^^ 
one nearly intact, while he has clipped and pared the other allowed to 
almost past recognition.^ It may be so, but perhaps th^^^®^^]^® 
solution of the problem is to be sought in another direction. Life but 
The gist of the whole story of the fall appears to be ad [^""^^'^'^^^^^ 
attempt to explain man's mortality, to set forth how death! the Tree 
came into the world. It is true that man is not said tor^^^^^*^* 
have been created immortal and to have lost. his immortality \ 
through disobedience ; but neither is he said to have been \ 
created mortal. Rather we are given to understand that 1 
the possibility alike of immortality and pf mortality was I 
open to him, and that it rested with him which he would I 
choose; for the tree of life stood within his reach, its fruit ' 
was not forbidden to him, he had only to stretch out his / 
hand, take of the fruit, and eating of it live for ever. : 

1 Genesis iii. 22-24. Commentary on Genesis (Edinburgh, 

« J. Skinner, Critical and Exesetical 19 10), pp. 52 j^., 94. 

48 THE FALL OF MAN part i 

Indeed, far from being prohibited to eat of the tree of life, 
man was implicitly permitted, if not encouraged, to partake 
of it by his Creator, who had told him expressly, that he 
might eat freely of every tree in the garden, with the single 
exception of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.* 
Thus by planting the tree of life in the garden and not pro- 
hibiting its use, God apparently intended to give mAn the 
option, or at least the chance, of immortality, but man missed 
his chance by electing to eat of the other tree, which God had 
warned him not to touch unde*: pain of immediate death. 
This suggests that the forbidden tree was really a tree^ of 
death, not of knowledge, and/ that the mere taste of its 
deadly fruit, quite apart from' any question of obedience or 
disobedience to a divine command, sufficed to entail death 
on the eater. The inference is entirely in keeping with 
God's warning to man, " Thou shalt not eat of it : for in 
the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."^ 
Accordingly we may suppose that in the original story 
there were two trees, a tree of life and a tree of death ; that 
it was open to man to eat of the one and live for ever, or 
to eat of the other and die ; that God, out of good will to 
his creature, advised man to eat of the tree of life and 
warned him not to eat of the tree of death ; and that man, 
misled by the serpent, ate of the wrong tree and so forfeited 
the immortality which his benevolent Creator had designed 
for him. 
This At least this hypothesis has the advantage of restoring 

hypothesis ^^g balance between the two trees and of rendering the 

sets the 

character whole narrative clear, simple, and consistent. It dispenses 

of the ^j^i^ ^j^g necessity of assuming two original and distinct 

in a more stories which have been clumsily stitched, together by a 

iiS« by botching editor. But the hypothesises further recommended 

making it by another and deeper consideration. It sets the character 

fhat^c^*' of the Creator in a far more amiable light : it clears him 

intended entirely of that suspicion of envy and jealousy, not to say 
the^boonol malignity and cowardice, which, on the strength of Mhe 

immortal- narrative in Genesis, has so long rested like a dark blot 
ity GO his 

1 Genesis ii. i6 sq.y "And the Ixird ledge of good and evil, thou shalt not 

God commanded the man, saying, Of eat of it : for in the day that tho* 

every tree of the garden thou mayest eatest thereof thou slialt surely die." 

Jfreely eat : but of the tree of the know- * (iencsis ii. 1 7. 


on his reputation. For according to that narrative, God creature 
grudged man the possession both of knowledge and of ^^onhf 
immortality ; he desired to keep these good things to frustrated 
himself, and feared that if man got one or both of them, liable 
he would be the equal of his maker, a thing not to be intention' 
suffered at any price. Accordingly he forbade man to eat cunning of 
of the tree of knowledge, and when man disregarded the ^e serpent, 
command, the deity hustled him out of the garden and 
closed the premises, to prevent him from eating of the other 
tree and so becoming immortal. The motive was mean, and 
the conduct despicable. More than that, both the one and 
the other are utterly inconsistent with the previous behaviour 
of the deity, who, far from grudging man anything, had 
done all in his power to make him happy aiid comfortable, 
by creating a beautiful garden for his delectation, beasts and 
birds to play with, and a woman to be his wife. Surely 
it is far more in harmony both with the tenor of the narra- 
tive and with the goodness of the Creator to suppose, that 
he intended to crown his kindness to man by conferring 
on him the boon of immortality, and that his benevolent 
intention was only frustrated by the wiles of the serpent. 

But we have still to ask, why should the serpent practise in the 
this deceit on man ? what motive had he for depriving the °"si"^^ 

*■ ** narrative 

human race of the great privilege which the Creator had the 
planned for them ? Was his interference purely officious ? ^q^^^j. 
or had he some deep design behind it ? To these questions beguiling 
the narrative in Genesis furnishes no answer. The serpent 

the woman 


gains nothing by his fraud ; on the contrary he loses, for he probably 
is cursed by God and condemned thenceforth to crawl on J^g^ ^^ 
his belly and lick the dust. But perhaps his conduct was the boon of 
not so wholly malignant and purposeless as appears on the jty and to 
surface.^ We are told that he was more subtle than any confer it on 
beast of the field ; did he really show his sagacity by whi^are 
blasting man's prospects without improving his own ? We commonly 

^ supposed. 

may suspect that in the original story he justified his to be 
reputation by appropriating to himself the blessing of which j^™^^^* 
he deprived our species ; in fact, that while he persuaded they cast 
our first parents to eat of the tree of death, he himself ate anTthw^eb 
of the tree of life and so lived for ever. The supposition is renew their 
Bot so extravagant as it may seem. In not a few savage ^°" ^ 





stories of the origin of death, which I will relate immediately, 
we read that serpents contrived to outwit or intimidate 
man and so to secure for themselves the immortality whicli 
was meant for him ; , for many savages believe that by 
annually casting their skins serpents and other animals 
renew their youth and live for ever. The belief appears to 
have been shared by the Semites ; for, according to the 
ancient Phoenician writer Sanchuniathon, the serpent was 
the longest-lived of all animals, because it cast its skin and 
so renewed its youth.^ But if the Phoenicians held this 
view of the serpent's longevity and the cause of it, their 
neighbours and kinsfolk the Hebrews may well have done 
the same. Certainly the Hebrews seem to have thought 
that eagles renew their youth by moulting their feathers ; * 
and if so, why not serpents by casting their skins ? Indeed, 
the notion that the serpent cheated man of immortality by 
getting possession of a life-giving plant which the higher 
powers had destined for our species, occurs in the famous 
Gilgamesh epic, one of the oldest literary monuments of 
the Semitic race and far more ancient than Genesis. In it 
we read how the deified Ut-napishtim revealed to the hero 
Gilgamesh the existence of a plant which had the miraculous 
power of renewing youth and bore the name " the old man 
becomes young " ; how Gilgamesh procured the plant and 
boasted that he would eat of it and so renew his lost youth ; 

* Sanchuniathon. quoted by Euse- 
bius, Praeparaiio EvanffcUiy i. lo, kqX 
roXvxpovidrraToy Si iariv ov fxbvov t(^ 
4K5v6fx€voy rb yrjpai ved^eiv. Here 
7^/)as is used in the sense of **old 
or cast skin," as in Aristotle, Hisior. 
Ammal. vii. i8 (vol. i. pp. 6oOfl- 
60 1 b^ of Im. Bekker's Berlin edition), 
who discusses the subject at length. 
The use of 7^/)aj ("old age") in the 
sense of **cast skin" is a clear indica- 
tion that the Greeks shared the wide- 
spread belief in- the renewal of an 
animal's youth by the casting of its 

* Psalm ciii. 5, '*Thy youth is re- 
newed like the ca^le." The com- 
mentators rij^htly explain the belief in 
the renewal of the eagle's youth by the 

moulting of its feathers. Coinpare 
J. Morgenstcrn, ** On Gilgames-Epic, 
xi. 274-320,'* Zeitschrift fiir AssyriO' 
logicy xxix. (I9i5)p- 294, ** Baethgen 
quotes a tradition from Bar Hebraeus, 
that when the eagle grows old he casts 
ofT his feathers and clothes himself 
with new ones. Rashi, commenting on 
this same verse, is even more specific 
He says that from year to year the 
eagle casts off his old wings and feathers 
and puts on new, and thereby renews 
his youth constantly." Strictly speak- 
ing, the bird referred to in this passage 
of the Psalms (n^j) is not tlie eagle but 
the great griffon-vulture, which abounds 
in Palestine. See H. B. Tristram, 
7'hc Natural History of the BibU^ 
Ninth Edition (London, 189S), pp. 
172 sqq. 




how, before he could do so, a serpent stole the magic plant 
from him, while he was bathing in the cool water of a well 
or brook ; and how, bereft of the hope of immortality, 
Gilgamesh sat down and wept^ It is true that nothing is 
here said about the serpent eating the plant and so obtain- 
ing immortality for himself; but the omission may be due 
merely to the state of the text, which is obscure and 
defective, and even if the poet were silent on this point, the 
parallel versions of the story^ which I shall cite^ enable us to 
supply the lacuna with a fair degree of probability. These 
parallels further suggest, though they cannot prove, that in 
the original of the story, which the Jehovistic writer has 
mangled and distorted, the serpent was the messenger sent 
by God to bear the glad tidings of immortality to man, 
but that the cunning creature perverted the message to 
the advantage of his species and to the ruin of ours. The 
gift of speech, which he used to such ill purpose, was lent 
him in his capacity of ambassador from God to man. 

To sum up, if we may judge from a comparison of the The story 
versions dispersed among many peoples, the true original oJ^^n^in^ 
story of the Fall of Man ran somewhat as follows. The its original 
benevolent Creator, after modelling the first man and expiana*'' 
woman out of mud and animating them by the simple tionof th< 
process of blowing into their mouths and noses, placed the d2ah.° -" 
happy pair in an earthly paradise, where, free from care and 
toil, they could live on the sweet fruits of a delightful 
garden, and where birds and beasts frisked about them in 
fearless security. As a crowning mercy he planned for our 
first parents the great gift of immortality, but resolved _to 
make them the arbiters of their own fate by leaving them 
free to accept or reject the proffered^boon. For that purpose 
he"' planted in the midst of the garden two wondrous trees 
that bore fruits of very different sorts, the fruit of the one 

* P. Jensen, Assyrisch-Babylonische 
Mytken und Epen (Berlin, 1900), pp. 
^5 ^ •^^^' * ^* ^* Harper, Assyrian and 
Babylonian Literature (New York, 
1901), pp. 361 sq. ; P.-Dhorme, Chcix 
df Textes Religieux Assyro-Babyhfliens 
(Paris, 1907), pp. 311 sqq, ; A. Ungnad 
und H, Gressmann, Das Gilgamesch- 
Epos (Gottingen, 191 1), pp. 62 sq.\ 

L. W. King, Babylonian Religion and 
Maf»ic (London, 1899), pp. 173 sq. 
The first, so far as I know, to point 
out the parallelism between this passage 
and the narrative in Genesis was Rabbi 
Julian Morgcnstem. See his instructive 
article, " On GilgameS-Epic, xi. 274. 
320," Zeitschrift fUr Assyriologie^ xxix. 
(1915) pp. 284 J^^. 

52 THE FALL OF MAN part i 

being fraught with death to the eater, and the other with 
h'fe eternal. Having done so, he sent the serpent ta the 
man and woman and charged him to deliver this message : 
** Eat not of the Tree of Death, for in the day ye eat thereof 
ye shall surely die ; but eat of the Tree of Life and live for 
ever," Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of 
the field, and on his way he bethought him of changing the 
message ; so when he came to the happy garden and found 
the woman alone in it, he said to her, " Thus saith God : 
Eat not of the Tree of Life, for in the day ye eat thereof 
ye shall surely die ; but eat of the Tree of Death, and live 
for ever." The foolish woman believed him, and ate of the 
fatal fruit, and gave of it to her husband, and he ate also. 
But the sly serpent himself ate of the Tree of Life. That 
is why men have been mortal and serpents immortal ever 
since, for serpents cast their skins every year and so renew their 
youth. If only the serpent had not perverted God*s good 
message and deceived our first mother, we should have been 
immortal instead of the serpents ; for like the serpents we 
should have cast our skins every year and so renewed our 
youth perpetually. 

That this, or something like this, was the original form 
of the story is made probable by a comparison of the 
following tales, which may conveniently be'arrangeti under 
two heads, " The Story of the Perverted Message " and " The 
Story of the Cast Skin." 

§ 2. The Story of the Perverted Message 

Hottentot Like many other savages, the Namaquas or Hottentpts 

story of the associate the phases of the moon with the idea of immor- 

ongin of . . /• 1 , 

death : the tality, the apparent wanmg and waxmg of the luminary 
Moon and b^ing understood by them as a real process of alternate 
disintegration and reintegration, of decay and growth repeated 
perpetually. Even the rising and setting of the moon is 
interpreted by them as its birth and death.^ They say thaF 
once on a time the Moon wished to send to mankind aT 
message of immortality, and the hare undertoo'k to act aS' 

^ C. J. Andersson, Lake Ngami, the Namaquas do not say, like ourselves 
Second Edition (London, 1856), p. 328 that it rises and sets, but that *it dies 
note ^ ** When speaking of the moon and is born again.*" 


messenger. So the Moon charged him to go to men and 
say, " As I die and rise to life again, so shall you die and 
rise to life again." Accordingly the hare went to men, but 
either out of forgetfulness or malice he reversed the message 
and said, " As I die and do not rise to life again, so you 
shall also die and not rise to life again." Then he went 
baclj: to the Moon, and she asked him what he had said. 
He told her, and when she heard how he had given the 
wrong message, she was so angry that she threw a stick at 
him which split his lip. That is why the hare's lip is still 
cloven. So the hare ran away and is still running to this 
day. Some people, however, say that before he fled he 
clawed the Moon's face, which still bears the marks of the 
scratching, as anybody may see for himself on a clear 
moonlight night. But the Namaquas are still angry with 
the hare for robbing them of immortality. The old men 
of the trrbe used to say, " We are still enraged with the hare, 
because he brought such a bad message, and we will not 
eat him." Hence from the day when a youth comes of age 
and takes his place among the men, he is forbidden to eat 
hare's flesh, or even to come into contact with a fire on 
which a hare has been cooked. If a man breaks the rule, 
he is not infrequently banished the village. However, on 
the payment of a fine he may be readmitted to the 

A similar tale, with some minor differences, is told by Bushman 
the Bushmef). According to them, the Moon formerly said ori2n°of*** 
to men, " As I die and come to life again, so shall ye do ; death : the 
when ye die, ye shall not die altogether but shall rise again." theha^ 
But one man would not believe the glad tidings of immor- 
tality, and he would not consent to hold his tongue. For 
his mother haid died, he loudly lamented her, and nothing, 
could persuade him thjit^she would come to life again. A 
heated altercation ensued between him and the Moon on 
this painful subject. "Your mother's asleep," says, the 
Moon. ** She's dead," says the man, and at it they went 

* Sir J. E. Alexander, Expedition Bleek, Reynard the Fox in South Africa 

of Discovery into the Interior of Africa (Ix>ndon, 1864), pp. 71-73 ; Th. Hahn, 

(London, 1838), i. 169; C.J.Anders- Tsuni- \\ Goanty the Supreme Being 

gon, Lake Ngami^ Second Edition of the Khoi-Khoi (London, 1881), 

(London, 1856), pp. 328 sq, ; W. H. L p. 52. 

54 THE FALL OF MAN part i 

again, hammer and tongs, till at last the Moon lost patience 
and struck the man on the face with her fist, cleaving his 
mouth with the blow. And as she did so, she cursed him 
saying, " His mouth shall be always like this, even when 
he is a hare. For a hare he shall be. He shall spring 
away, he shall come doubling back. The dogs shall chase 
him, and when they have caught him they shall tear 
him in pieces. He shall altogether die. And all men, 
when they die, shall die outright. For he would not agree 
with me, when I bid him not to weep for his mother, for 
she would live again. * No,' says he to mc, * my mother will 
not live again.' Therefore he shall altogether become a 
hare. And the people, they shall altogether die, because he 
contradicted me flat when I told him that the people would 
do as I do, returning to life after they were dead." So a 
righteous retribution overtook the sceptic for his scepticism, 
for he was turned into a hare, and a hare he has been ever 
since. But still he has human flesh in his thigh, and that 
is why, when the Bushmen kill a hare, they will not eat that 
portion 6f the thigh, but cut it out, because it is human flesh. 
And still the Bushmen say, " It was on account of the hare 
that the Moon cursed us, so that we die altogether. If it 
had not been for him, we should have come to life again 
when we died. But he would not believe what the Moon 
told him, he contradicted her flat." ^ In this Bushman 
version of the story the hare is not the animal messenger 
of God to men, but a human sceptic who, for doubting 
the gospel of eternal life, is turned into a hare and involves 
the whole human race in the doom of mortality. This may 
be an older form of the story than the Hottentot version, 
in which the hare is a hare and nothing more. 
Nandi . The Nandi of British East Africa tell a story in which 
oH^n^of ^ the origin of death is referred to the ill-humour of a dog, 
death : the ^ho brought thc tidings of immortality to men, but, not 
the dog. being received with the deference due to so august an 
embassy, he changed his tune in a huff and doomed mankind 
to the sad fate to which they have ever since been subject 

* W. H. I. Bleek and L. C. Lloyd, the hare's thigh which the Bushmen 
Specimens of Bushman Folklore (Lon- cut out is l)elieved to be the musculus 
don, 191 1 ), pp. 57-65. Tlie put of bicep femoris. 


The story runs thus. When the first men lived upon the 
earth, a dog came to them one day and said, " All people 
will die like the Moon, but unlike the Moon you will not 
return to life again unless you give me some milk to drink 
out of your gourd and beer to drink through your straw. 
If you do this, I will arrange for you to go to the river when 
you die and to come to life again on the third day." But 
the people laughed at the dog, and gave him some milk and 
beer to drink off a stool. The dog was angry at not being 
served in the same vessels as a human being, and though 
he put his pride in his pocket and drank the milk and beer 
from the stool, he went away in high dudgeon, saying, " All 
people will die, and the Moon alone will return to life." 
That is why, when people die, they stay away, whereas when 
the Moon goes away she comes back again after three days' 
absence. If only people had given that dog a gourd to 
drink milk out of, and a straw to suck beer through, we 
should all have risen from the dead, like the moon, after 
three days.^ In this story nothing is said as to the person- 
age who sent the dog with the message of immortality to 
men ; but from the messenger's reference to the Moon, and 
from a comparison with the parallel Hottentot story, we 
may reasonably infer that it was the Moon who employed 
the dog to run the errand, and that the unscrupulous 
animal misused his opportunity to extort privileges for 
himself to which he was not strictly entitled. 

In these stories a single messenger is engaged to carry in some 
the momentous message, and the fatal issue of the mission the"ori^n 
is set down to the carelessness or malice of the missionary, of death 
However, in some narratives of the origin of death, two nTessengers 
messengers are despatched, and the cause of death is said to appear. 
have been the dilatoriness or misconduct of the messenger 
who bore the glad tidings of immortality. There is a 
Hottentot story of the origin of death which is cast in this Hottentot 
form. They say that once the Moon sent an insect to men sioryofihe 

^ ^ ongm of 

with this message, " Go thou to men and tell them, * As I death : the 
die, and dying live, so ye shall also die, and dying live.* " |^^°* ^^^ 
The insect set off with this message, but as he crawled the hare. 
along, the hare came leaping after him, and stopping beside 

1 A, C. Hollis, The Natidi (Oxford, 1909), p. 98. 

56 THE FALL OF MAN part i 

him asked, " On what errand art thou bound ? " The insect 
answered, " I am sent by the Moon to men, to tell them that 
as she dies, and dying lives, they also shall die, and dying 
live." The hare said, " As thou art an awkward runner,, 
let me go." And away he tore with the message, while the 
insect came creeping slowly behind. When he came to men, 
the hare perverted the message which he had officiously 
taken upon himself to deliver, for he said, " I am sent by 
the Moon to tell you, * As I die, and dying perish, in the 
same manner ye shall also die and come wholly to an end.* " 
Then the hare returned to the Moon, and told her what he 
had said to men. The Moon was very angry and reproached 
the hare, saying, " Barest thou tell the people a thing which 
I have not said ? " With that she took a stick and hit him 
over the nose. That is why the hare's nose is slit down to 
this day.^ 
Tati The same tale is told, with some slight variations, by the 

^ory^niie ^^^^ Bushmen or Masarwas, who inhabit the Bechuanaland 
origin of Protectorate, the Kalahari desert, and portions of Southern 
the Moon, Rhodesia. The men of old time, they say, told this story, 
ihetortoise, The Moon wished to send a message to the men of the early 
hare. race, to tell them that as she died and came to life again, so 

they would die, and dying come to life again. So the Moon 
called the tortoise and said to him, " Go over to those men 
there, and give them this message from me. Tell them that 
as I dying live, so they dying will live again." Now the 
tortoise was very slow, and he kept repeating the message 
to himself, so as not to forget it. The Moon was very vexed 
with his slowness and with his forgetfulness ; so she called 
the hare and said to her, " You are a swift runner. Take 
this message to the men over yonder : * As I dying live again, 
so you will dying live again.' " So off the hare started, but 
in her great haste she forgot the message, and as sTie did not 
wish to show the Moon that she had forgotten, she delivered 
the message to men in this way, *' As I dying live again, so 
you dying will die for ever." Such was the message delivered 
by the hare. In the meantime the tortoise had remembered 
the message, and he started off a second time. ** This time," 

^ W. H. I. Bleek, Reynard the Fox in Souih Africa (London, 1864}, 
pp. 69 $q. 


said he to himself, " I won't forget" He came to the place 
where the men were, and he delivered his message. When 
the men heard it they were very angry with the hare, who 
was sitting at some distance. She was nibbling the grass 
after her race. One of the men ran and lifted a stone 
and threw it at the hare. It struck her right in the mouth 
and cleft her upper lip ; hence the lip has befen cleft ever 
since. That is why every hare has a cleft upper lip to this 
day, and that is the end of the story .^ 

In a story told by the A-Louyi tribe of the Upper Lonyfstory 
Zambesi, the messengers of death and of life respectively are °[j^j^ ^^ 
the chameleon and the hare. They say that Nyambe, whom death : 
they identify with the sun, used to dwell on earth with his and^moon, 
wife Nasilele, whom they identify with the moon. But ^?echame- 
Nyambe retired to heaven from fear of men. Whenever he the hare. 
carved wood, men carved it also ; when he made a wooden 
plate, so did they. After he had withdrawn to the sky, it 
happened that Nyambe's dog died. He loved the animal, 
and said, "Let the dog live." But his wife said, "No, I 
won't have it He's a thief." Nyambe still persisted. • 

" For my part," said he, " I love my dog." But his wife 
said, " Throw him out" So they threw him out By 
and by Nyambe's mother-in-law died, and his wife said 
to him, " Let her live," just as Nyambe himself had said to 
her about his dog. But Nyambe answered, " No, let her die 
and be done with it I said to you that my dog should live, 
and you refused. It is my wish that your mother should die 
for good and all." So die she did for good and all. After 
that the husband and wife sent two messengers, a chameleon 
and a hare, to men on the earth. To the chameleon they 
said, " When thou art come to men, say to them, * Ye shall 
live * ; but as for thee, O hare, when thou art come to men, 
say to them, * Ye shall die once for all.' " The chameleon 
and the hare set off with their messages. Now the chameleon, 
as he went, kept constantly turning about, but the hare ran. 
So the hare arrived first, and said that men should die 
once for all. Having delivered his message, the hare 
returned. That is why, when men die, they die once for 

^ Rev. S. S. Dornan, "The Tali gMVLgt^^^ Jourttal of the Royal AnthrO" 
Bushmen (Masarwas) and their Lan- pological Jnstitutey xlvii. (19 17) p. 80. 

58 THE FALL OF MAN part i 

all.^ From this Louyi legend it would appear that human 
mortality resulted ffoni a donriestic jar in heaven, the~deTty 
falling out with his wife over his dead dog and mother-in- 
law. From such seemingly trivial causes may flow such 
momentous con3equences. 
Ekoi story The Ekoi of Southern Nigeria, on the border of the 

orisr^nof Cameroons, attribute human mortality to the gross mis- 
dpth : conduct of a duck. It happened in this way. The 
frog,' and sky-god Obassi Osaw one day thought to himself, "Men 
the duck, fear to die. They do not know that perhaps they may 
cqrofi to life again. I will tell them that sometimes such 
a thing may happen, then they will have less dreaJ of 
de^th." So he stood up in his house in the sky, and 
called a frog and a duck before him. To the frog he said, 
" Go to earth and say to the people, * When a man dies, it 
is the end of all things ; he shall never live again.* " To the 
duck he said, " Go tell the earth folk that if a man dies he 
may come to life again." He then led them a little way 
and showed them the road, saying, "Take my message. 
Duck, you may go to the left hand. Frog, keep to the 
right." So the frog kept on to the right, and when he came 
to the earth he delivered his message of death to the first 
men he met, telling them that when they died it would be 
an end of them. In due time the duck also reached the 
earth, but happening to arrive at a place where the people 
were making palm oil, she fell to gobbling it up and forgot 
all about the message of immortality which the good god 
had charged her to deliver to mankind. That is why we 
are all mortal down to this day. We are bound to go by 
the message of the frog ; we cannot go by the message of 
the duck, which never reached us.^ 
Gold Coast The story of the two messengers is related also by the 
ori^n'of^^ negroes of the Gold Coast, and in their version the two messen- 
death: gers are a sheep and a goat. The following is the form in 
the sheep, which the tale was told by a native to a Swiss missionary at 
and the Akfopong. In the beginning, when sky and earth existed, 

1 E. Jacottet, Etudes surles langues moon respectively, see E. Jacottet, op, 

du Haut'Zambiz€y Troisi^me Partie, n't. p. ii8, note^. 
TexUs Louyi (Paris, 1901), pp. 116 

sq. As to the identification of Ny- * P. Amaury Talbot, In the Shadow 

ambe and Nasilele with the sun and 0/ the Bush (London, 1912), p. 229. 



but there were as yet no men on earth, there fell a great 
rain, and soon after it had ceased a great chain was let down 
from heaven to earth with seven men hanging on it These 
men had been created by God, and they reached the earth 
by means of the chain. They brought fire with them and 
cooked their food at it Not long afterwards God sent a 
goat from heaven to deliver the following message to the 
seven men, " There is something that is called Death ; it 
will one day kill some of you ; but though you die, you will 
not perish utterly, but you will come to me here in heaven." 
The goat went his way, but when he came near the town he 
lit on a bush which seemed to him good to eat ; so he lingered 
there and began to browse. When God saw that the goat 
lingered by the way, he sent a sheep to deliver the same 
message. The sheep went, but did not say what God had 
commanded her to say ; for she perverted the message and 
said, "When you once die, you perish, and have no place to 
go to." Afterwards the goat came and said, ** God says, ybu 
will die, it is true, but that will not be the end of you, for 
you will come to me." But the men answered, " No, goat, 
God did not say that to you. What the sheep first reported, 
by that we shall abide." ^ In another version of the story, 
also told at Akropong, the parts of the goat and the sheep 
are inverted ; it is the sheep that bears the good tidings and 
loiters by the way to browse, and it is the goat that bears 
the evil tidings, and is the first to deliver them. The story 
ends with the melancholy reflection that " if only the sheep 
had made good speed with her message, man would have 
died but returned after death ; but the goat made better 
speed with the contrary message, so man returns no 
more." ^ 

In an Ashantee version of the story the two messengers Ashantee 
are also a sheep and a goat, and the perversion of the message oricuTof*** 
of immortality is ascribed sometimes to the one animal and death: 
sometimes to the other. The Ashantees say that long ago gj^^^p ^^^ 
men were happy, for God dwelt among them and talked the goat. 
with them face to face. However, these blissful days did 
not last for ever. One unlucky day it chanced that some 

* J. G. Christaller, ** Negersagen von ischeSprachen, i. (Berlin, i SS7-88) p. 55. 
^eiGo\d\i\!isiQ,''Z€itschHftfurA/nkan' * J. G. Christaller, op. ciL p. 58. 

6o THE FALL OF MAN part i 

women were pounding a mash with pestles in a mortar, 
while God stood by looking on. For some reason they 
were annoyed by the presence of the deity and told 
him to be off; and as he did not take himself off 
fast enough to please them, they beat him with their 
pestles. In a great huff God retired altogether from the 
world and left it to the direction of the fetishes ; and still to 
this day people say, " Ah, if it had not been for that old 
woman, how happy we should be I " However, God was 
very good-natured, and even after he had gone up aloft, he 
sent a kind message by a goat to men on earth, saying, 
** There is something which they call Death. He will kill 
some of you. But even if you die, you will not perish com- 
pletely. You will come to me in heaven." So off the goat 
set with this cheering intelligence. But before he came 
to the town, he saw a tempting bush by the wayside, and 
stopped to browse on it. When God looked down from 
heaven and saw the goat loitering by the way, he sent off a 
sheep with the same message to carry the joyful news to 
men without delay. But the sheep did not give the message 
aright. Far from it : she said, " God sends you word that 
you will die, and that will be an end of you." When the 
goat had finished his meal, he also trotted into the town and 
delivered his message, saying, "God sends you word that 
you will die, certainly, but that will not be the end of you, 
for you will go to him." But men said to the goat, 
" No, goat, that is not what God said. We believe that 
the message which the sheep brought us is the one which 
God sent to us." That unfortunate misunderstanding 
was the beginning of death among men.^ However, 
in another Ashantee version of the tale the parts played 
by the sheep and goat are reversed. It is the sheep 
who brings the tidings of immortality from God to men, 
but the goat overruns him, and offers them death instead. 
In their innocence men accepted death with enthusiasm, 
not knowing what it was, and naturally they have died ever 


In a version of the story which is told by the Akamba 

* E. Perregaux, Chez Us Achatiti (Neuchatel, 1906), pp. 198 sq, 

- E. Perregaux, op» cit, p. 199. 


of British East Africa the two gospel messengers are a Akamba 
chameleon and a thrush, whom God sent out together to origL^of^* 
find people who died one day and came to life the next, and death : 
to bear the glad tidings of immortality to men. So off they chamJiTOn, 
set, the chameleon leading the way, for in those days he was ^"^ the 
a very high and mighty person indeed. As they went along, 
what should they see but some people lying like dead by 
the wayside. The chameleon went up to them and said 
softly, " Niwe^ niwe^ niwer But the thrush asked him testily 
what he was making that noise for. The chameleon mildly 
answered, " I am only calling the people who go forward and 
then come back,'' and he explained to the thrush that these 
seemingly dead folk would rise from the dead, just as he 
himself in walking lurches backward and forward before he 
takes a step. This argument from analogy, which might 
have satisfied a Butler, had no effect on the sceptical thrush. 
He derided the idea of the resurrection. Undeterred by 
this blatant infidelity the chameleon persisted in calling to 
the dead people, and sure enough they opened their eyes 
and listened to him. But the thrush rudely interrupted 
him and told the dead people that dead they were and 
dead they would remain, nothing could bring them to life. 
With that he flew away, and though the chameleon stayed 
behind and preached to the corpses, telling them that he 
had come from God on purpose to bring them to life again, 
and that they were not to believe the lies of that shallow 
sceptic the thrush, they turned a deaf ear to his message ; 
not one of those dead corpses would so much as budge. So 
the chameleon returned crestfallen to God and reported the 
failure of his mission, telling him how, when he preached 
the glad tidings of resurrection to the corpses, the thrush 
had roared him down, so that the corpses could not hear a 
word he said. Thereupon God cross-questioned the thrush, 
who stated that the chameleon had so bungled the message 
that he, the thrush, felt it to be his imperative duty to 
interrupt him. The simple-minded deity believed the lying 
thrush, and being very angry with the honest chameleon he 
degraded him from his high position and made him walk 
very slow, lurching this way and that, as he does down to 
this very day. But the thrush he promoted to the office of 


62 THE FALL OF MAN part i 

wakening men from their slumber every morning, which he 

still does punctually at 2 A.M. before the note of any other 

bird is heard in the tropical forest.^ 

Togoiand In all these versions of the story the message is sent 

story of the {xom God to men, but in another version, reported from 

origin of 

death: Togoland in West Africa, the message is despatched from 
S*^*^d "^^" ^^ God. They say that once upon a time men sent a 
the frog, dog to God to Say that when they died they would like to 
come to life again. So off the dog trotted to deliver the 
message. But on the way he felt hungry and turned into a 
house, where a man was boiling magic herbs. So the dog sat 
down and thought to himself, " He is cooking food." Mean- 
time the frog had set off to tell God that when men died 
they would prefer not to come to life again. Nobody had 
asked him to give that message ; it was a piece of pure 
officiousness and impertinence on his part However, away 
he tore. The dog, who still sat hopefully watching the hell- 
broth brewing, saw him hurrying past the door, but he 
thought to himself, ** When I have had something to eat, I 
will soon catch froggy up." However, froggy came in first, 
and said to the deity, " When men die, they would prefer 
not to come to life again." After that, up comes the dog, 
and says he, " When men die, they would like to come to 
life again." God was naturally puzzled, and said to the dog, 
" I really do not understand these two messages. As I heard 
the frog's request first, I will comply with it. I will not do 
what you said." That is the reason why men die and do not 
come to life again. If the frog had only minded his own busi- 
ness instead of meddling with other people's, the dead would 
all have come to life again to this day. But frogs come to life 
?-gain when it thunders at the beginning of the rainy season, 
after they have been dead all the dry season while the Har- 
mattan wind was blowing. Then, while the rain falls and the 
thunder peals, you may hear them quacking in the marshes.^ 
Thus we see that the frog had his own private ends to serve 

* C. W. Hobley, Ethnology of A- bluish-black back, and a buff-coloured 

Kamba and other East African Tribes breast. Its Luganda name is nyonza 

(Cambridge, 191 o), pp. 107-109. The and its Swahili name kurumbizi. 

bird's native name is itoroko or siotoroka. ' Fr. Miiller, " Die Religionen Togos 

It is a small bird of the thrush tribe in Einzcldarstellungen," Authropos^ ii. 

{Cossypha imoliuns), with a black head, (1907) p. 203. 



in distorting the message. He gained for himself the 
immortality of which he robbed mankind. 

In Calabar a somewhat different version of the same Calabar 
widespread story is told. The messengers are a dog and a oriSn°of^* 
sheep, and they go backwards and forwards between God death : 
and men. They say that for a long time after the creation ^^' ^^ 
of the world there was no death in it. At last, however, a the sheep, 
man sickened and died. So the people sent a dog to God 
to ask him what they should do with the dead man. The 
dog stayed so long away that the people grew tired of waiting 
and sent off a sheep to God with the same question. The 
sheep soon returned, and reported that God said, " Let the 
dead man be buried." So they buried him. Afterwards the 
dog returned also and reported that God said, " Put warm 
ashes on the dead man's belly, and he will rise again." 
However, the people told the dog that he came too 
late ; the dead man was already buried according to the 
instructions of the sheep. That is why men are buried 
when they die. But as for the dog, he is driven from 
men and humiliated, because it is through his fault that we 
all die.' 

In these stories the origin of death is ascribed to the Bantu 
blunder or wilful deceit of one of the two messengers. How- story of the 

° ongin of 

ever, according to another version of the story, which is widely death : 
current among the Bantu tribes of Africa, death was caused, ^^^' \^*^ 

o ' ' cnameleon, 

not by the fault of the messenger, but by the vacillation of and the 
God himself, who, after deciding to make men immortal, **" * 
changed his mind and resolved to make or leave them 
mortal ; and unluckily for mankind the second messenger, 
who* bore the message of death, overran the first messenger, 
who bore the message of immortality. In this form of the tale 
the chameleon figures as the messenger of life, and the lizard 
as the messenger of death. Thus the Zulus say that in the 
beginning Unkulunkulu, that is, the Old Old One, sent the 
chameleon to men with a message, saying, ** Go, chameleon, 
go and say. Let not men die." The chameleon set out, but 
it crawled very slowly and loitered by the way to eat the 
purple berries of the ubukwebezane shrub or of a mulberry 

J ** Calabar ^ioncs" Journal 0/ (he African Society^ No. 18 (January 1906), 
p. 194. 

64 THE FALL OF MAN part i 

tree ; however, some people say that it climbed up a tree 
to bask in the sun, filled its belly with flies, and fell fast 
asleep. Meantime the Old Old One had thought better of 
it and sent a lizard post-haste after the chameleon with a 
very different message to men, for he said to the animal, 
" Lizard, when you have arrived, say, Let men die." So the 
lizard ran, passed the dawdling chameleon, and arriving first 
among men delivered his message of death, saying, " Let 
men die." Then he turned and went back to the Old Old 
One who had sent him. But after he was gone, the chame- 
leon at last arrived among men with his joyful news of 
immortality, and he shouted, saying, " It is said. Let not 
men die ! " But men answered, " Oh ! we have heard the 
word of the lizard ; it has told us the word, * It is said. Let 
men die.' We cannot hear your word. Through the word 
of the lizard, men will die." And died they have ever since 
from that day to this. So the Zulus hate the lizard and 
kill it whenever they can, for they say, " This is the very 
piece of deformity which ran in the beginning to say that 
men should die." But others hate and hustle or kill the 
chameleon, saying, " That is the little thing which delayed 
to tell the people that they should not die. If he had only 
told us in time, we too should not have died ; our ancestors 
also would have been still living ; there would have been no 
diseases here on earth. It all comes from the delay of the 
chameleon." ^ 

The same story is told in nearly the same form by other 

* \\, Q2\\2i^7iy y The Religious System Reynard the Fox in South Africa 

of the Amazu/Uy Part i. (Springvale, (London, 1864), p. 74 ; D. Leslie, 

Natal, etc., 1868) pp. i, 3 sq.^ Among the Zulus and Amatongas, 

Part ii. (Springvale, Natal, etc., Second Edition (Edinburgh, 1875), P- 

1869) p. 138; Rev. L. Grout, Zulu- 209 ;F. Merenskyy Beitnioe zur R'enn/- 

landj or Life among the Zulu- Kafirs niss Siid-Afrikas (Berlin, 1 87 5), p. 

(Philadelphia, N.D.), pp. 148 5q.\ 124; F. Speckmann, Die Hertnanns- 

Dudley Kidd, The Essential Kafir burger Mission in Afrika (Hermanns- 

(London, 1904), pp. ^(i sq. Compare burg, 1876), p. 164. According to 

h. ¥.G2ix6.mtTt Narrative of a foiirney Callaway, the lizard is hated much 

io the Zoolu Country (London, 1836), more than the chameleon and is in- 

pp. 178 sq. ; T. Arlxjusset et F. variably killed. On the other hand, 

Daumas, Relation dun voyage d'ex- according to Arbousset and Daumas, 

ploration an Nord-Est de la Colonie du it was the grey lizard that brought the 

Cap de Bonne-Esp^rame{?2iX\^,i%\2)y message of life, and the chameleon 

p. 472 ; Rev. F. Shooter, The Kafirs that brought the message of death ; 

of Natal and the Zulu Country (Lon- hence the chameleon is hated, but the 

don, 1857), p. 159; W. H. L lileek, harmless grey lizard beloved. 


Bantu tribes such as the Bechuanas,^ the Basutos,* the Wide 
Baronga,^ the Ngoni,* and apparently by the Wa-Sania of ^''[h^g*'" 
British East Africa.* It is found, in a sh'ghtly altered form, story of the 
even among the Hausas, who are not a Bantu people/ To and"the^° 
this day the Baronga and the Ngoni owe the chameleon a ^^^^^ 
grudge for having brought death into the world by its dilatori- 
ness. Hence, when they find a chameleon slowly climbing 
on a tree, they tease it till it opens its mouth, whereupon 
they throw a pinch of tobacco on its tongue, and watch with 
delight the creature writhing and changing colour from 
orange to green, from green to black in the agony of death ; 
.for so they avenge the great wrong which the chameleon did 
to mankind/ 

Thus the belief is widespread in Africa, that God at one The fatal 
time purposed to make mankind immortal, but that the Hag^" 
benevolent scheme miscarried through the fault of the 
messenger to whom he had entrusted the gospel message. 

* J. Chapman, Travels in the Interior 
of South Africa (London, 1868), i. 47. 

' E. Casalis, The Basutos (London, 
1 86 1), p. 242 ; £. Jacottet, 77ie 
Treasury of Ba-suio Lore, i. (Morija, 
Basutoland, 1908) pp. 46 sqq. Ac- 
cording to the Basutos it was the grey 
lizard that was sent first with the 
message of immortality, and the cha- 
meleon that was sent after him with 
the message of mortality. Compare 
alx>ve, p. 64, note. 

' Henri A. Junod, Les Chants et Us 
Contes des Ba-ronga (Lausanne, N.D.), 
P« 137 ; *^'i ^^ Ba-Ronga (Neu- 
chatel, 1898), pp. 401 sq. ; i</., The 
Life of a South African Tribe (Neu- 
chatel, 1912-1913), ii. 3281^. 

* W. A. Elmslie, Among the Wild 
A^ont (Edinburgh and London, 1899), 
p. 70. 

^ See Captain W. E. R. Barrett, 
"Notes on the Customs and Beliefs of 
the Wa-giriama, etc., of British East 
Africa,'* Journal of the Royal Anthro- 
pological Institute^ xli. (191 1) p. 37, 
** The Wa-.Sania believe that formerly 
human beings did not die until one day 
a lizard (Dibleh) appeared and said to 

them, * All of you know that the moon 
dies and rises again, but human beings 
will die and rise no more.' They say 
that from that day human beings com- 
menced to die." This is probably 
only an abridged form of the story of 
the two messages sent to man by the 
Moon through the lizard and the 

•J. G. Christaller, **Negersagen 
von der GoldkUste," Zeitschrift fUr 
Afrikanische Sprachen, i. (Berlin, 
1 887- 1 888) p. 6 1 . In this Hausa ver- 
sion the message sent by God to men 
through the chameleon is as follows, 
**When a man dies, you must touch 
him with bread, and he will rise again." 
This message the chameleon fisiithfuUy 
delivered, but men refused to accept 
it, because the lizard, outrunning the 
chameleon, had brought them this 
word, " When a man dies, you must 
bury him." 

^ H. A. Junod and W. A. Elmslie, 
llcc.-f see above, notes ^ and *. The 
particular species of lizard which accord- 
ing to the Thonga (Baronga) outran the 
chameleon and brought the message of 
death, is a large animal with a blue 


66 THE FALL OF MAN part i 

§ 3. The Story of the Cast Skin 

Savnpe Many savages believe that, in virtue of the power of 

belief that periodically Casting their skins, certain animals and in 

which cast particular serpents renew their youth and never die. Hold- 

their skins i,i«r this belief, they tell stories to explain how it came about 

renew their o ¥ x 

youth and that these creatures obtained, and men missed, the boon of 
never die. immortality. 

Various Thus, for example, the Wafipa and Wabende of East 

stories of Africa say that one day God, whom they name Leza, came 

how men 

missed the down to earth, and addressing all living creatures said, '* Who 
gift of im- wishes not to die ? " Unfortunately man and the other 

mortality ' 

and animals were asleep ; only the serpent was awake and he 

amruzards Promptly answcred, " I do." That is why men and all other 
obtained it. animals die. The serpent alone does not die of himself. 
He only dies if he is killed. Every year he changes his 
skin, and so renews his youth and his strength.^ In like 
manner the Dusuns of British North Borneo say that when 
the Creator had finished making all things, he asked, " Who 
is able to cast off his skin ? If any one can do so, he shall 
not die." The snake alone heard and answered, " I can." 
For that reason down to the present day the snake does not 
die unless he is killed by man. The Dusuns did not hear 
the Creator's question, 'or they also would have thrown off 
their skins, and there would have been no death.^ Similarly 
the Todjo-Toradjas of Central Celebes relate that once upon 
a time God summoned men and animals for the purpose of 
determining their lot. Among the various lots proposed by 
the deity was this, " We shall put off our old skin." Un- 
fortunately mankind on this momentous occasion was repre- 
sented by an old woman in her dotage, who did not hear the 
tempting proposal. But the animals which slough their skins, 
such as serpents and shrimps, heard it and closed with the 
offer.^ Again, the natives of Vuatom,an island in the Bismarck 
Archipelago, say that a certain To Konokonomiange bade 
two lads fetch fire, promising that if they did so they should 

' Mgr. Lccliaptois, Aux Riucs du Royal Authropolo:^cal Institute, xh'ii. 

Taiv^anika (Alp[iL'rs, 1913), p. 195. (i9*3) P- 47J>- 

- Ivor II. N. Evans, *' Folk Stories ^ N. Adriani en Alb. C. Kruijt, De 

of the Tempassuk and Tuaran Districts, Barcc-iprekcndc J'oradjas t'an Midden- 

Brilish North Borneo,'' Journal of the Celebes (Batavia, 1912-1914), ii. 83. 


never die, but that, if they refused, their bodies would perish, 
though their shades or souls would survive. They would 
not hearken to him, so he cursed them, saying, " What ! you 
would all have lived ! Now you shall die, though your soul 
shall live. But the iguana {Goniocephalus) and the lizard 
{Varanus indicus) and the snake {Enygrus\ they shall live, 
they shall cast their skin and they shall live for evermore." 
When the lads heard that, they wept, for bitterly they rued 
their folly in not going to fetch the fire for To Konokono- 

The Arawaks of British Guiana relate that once upon a somh 
time the Creator came down to earth to see how his creature -^"^V^ican 

stones of 

man was gettmg on. liut men were so wicked that they how men 
tried to kill him ; so he deprived them of eternal life and "SJfof im^ 
bestowed it on the animals which renew their skin, such as mortality, 
serpents, lizards, and beetles.^ A somewhat different version ^rpents 
of the story is told by the Tamanachiers, an Indian tribe of Hzards,and 
the Orinoco. They say that after residing among them for obtained iu 
some time the Creator took boat to cross to the other side 
of the great salt water from which he had come. Just as he 
was shoving off from the shore, he called out to them in a 
changed voice, " You will change your skins," by which he 
meant to say, " You will renew your youth like the serpents 
and the beetles." But unfortunately an old woman, hearing 
these words, cried out ** Oh ! " in a tone of scepticism, if not 
of sarcasm, which so annoyed the Creator that he changed 
his tune at once and said testily, " Ye shall die." That is 
why we are all mortal.* 

The people of Nias, an island to the west of Sumatra, Niasian 
say that, when the earth was created, a certain being was hov7men 
sent down from above to put the finishing touches to the missed the 
work. He ought to have fasted, but, unable to withstand nloruiity" 
the pangs of hunger, he ate some bananas. The choice of •'^"'^ 
food was very unfortunate, for had he only eaten river crabs, obtained it. 
men would have cast their skins like crabs, and so, renewing 
their youth perpetually, would never have died. As it is, 
death has come upon us all through the eating of those 

' Otto Meyer, ** Mythen und Erziih- 2 R. Schomburgk, A*«j*r«/>f^r/Vi>r>4. 

lungen von der Insel Vuatom (Bis- Guiana (Leipsic, 1847-1848), ii. 319. 
marck-Archipcl, Siidsee)," Anthropos^ 

V. (1910) p. 724. • R. Schomburgk, op, cit, ii. 32a 

68 THE FALL OF MAN part i 

bananas.^ Another version of the Niasian story adds that 

** the serpents on the contrary ate the crabs, which in the 

opinion of the people of Nias cast their skins but do not 

die ; therefore serpents also do not die but merely cast their 

skin." * 

Saraoan I" this last version the immortality of serpents is ascribed 

story of ^Q their having partaken of crabs, which by casting their 

mUsed the skins renew their youth and live for ever. The same belief 

^'^'uiir ^" ^^ immortality of shell-fish occurs in a Samoan story of 

the origin of death. They say that the gods met in council 

to determine what should be the end of man. One proposal 

was that men should cast their skins like shellfish, and so 

renew their youth. The god Palsy moved, on the contrary, * 

that shellfish should cast their skins, but that men should 

die. While the motion was still before the meeting a shower 

of rain unfortunately interrupted the discussion, and as the 

gods ran to take shelter, the motion of Palsy was carried 

unanimously. That is why shellfish still cast their skins 

and men do not* 


Some Thus not a few peoples appear to believe that the happy 

peoples privilege of immortality, obtainable by the simple process of 

that periodically shedding the skin, was once within reach of our 

formerly species, but that through an unhappy chance it was trans- 

their skins ferred to certain of the lower creatures, such as serpents, 

and lived ^rabs, lizards, and beetles. According to others, however, 

for ever. ' ' o » i 

men were at one time actually in possession of this priceless 

boon, but forfeited it through the foolishness of an old woman. 

MeUnesian Thus the Melanesians of the Banks' Islands and the New 

story of Hebrides say that at first men never died, but that when 

now men ^ ^ ^ ... 

ceased to they advanced in life they cast their skins like snakes and 
yomhby ^rabs, and came out with youth renewed. After a time a 
casting woman, growing old, went to a stream to change her skin ; 
according to some, she was the mother of the mythical or 
legendary hero Qat, according to others, she was Ul-ta- 
marama, Change-skin of the world. She threw off her old 

* H. Sundermann, Die Insel Nias ^ George Brown, D.D., yl/<r/a/^«tfwj 
und die Mission da t-lbst (Barmen, and Polynesians (London, 1910), p. 
1905), p. 68; E. Modigliani, Un 365; George Turner, Samoa a Iltm- 
viaggio a Nias (Milan, 1890), p. 295. dred Years ago and long be/ore (Lon- 

* A. Fehr, Det N'iasser itn Lebcn don, 1884), pp. 8 sq, 
und Sterben (Barmen, 1901), p. 8. 

their skins. 


skin in the water, and observed that as it floated down it 
caught against a stick. Then she went home, where she had 
left her child. But the child refused to recognize her, crying 
that its mother was an old woman, not like this young stranger. 
So to pacify the child she went after her cast integument 
and put it on. From that time mankind ceased to cast 
their skins and died.^ A similar story of the origin of death A similar 
is told in the Shortlands Islands * and by the Kai, a Papuan ori^n^of^*^ 
tribe of north-eastern New Guinea. The Kai say that at first death loid 
men did not die but renewed their youth. When their old of Nw ^* 
brown skin grew wrinkled and ugly, they stepped into water, Guinea, 
and stripping it off got a new, youthful white skin instead. 
In those days there lived an old grandmother with her grand- 
child. One day the old woman, weary of her advanced 
years, bathed in the river, cast off her withered old Jiide, and 
returned to the village, spick and span, in a fine new skin. 
Thus transformed, she climbed up the ladder and entered 
her house. But when her grandchild saw her, he wept and 
squalled, and refused to believe that she was his granny. 
All her efforts to reassure and pacify him proving vain, she 
at last went back in a rage to the river, fished her wizened 
old skin out of the water, put it on, and returned to the 
house a hideous old hag again. The child was glad to see 
his granny come back, but she said to him, " The locusts 
cast their skins, but ye men shall die from this day forward." 
And sure enough, they have done so ever since.' The same similar 
story, with some trivial variations, is told by natives of the ty'thJ^ 
Admiralty Islands. They say that once on a time there was natives of 
an old woman, and she was frail. She had two sons, and Admiralty 
they went a- fishing, while she herself went to bathe. She islands, 
stripped off her wrinkled old skin and came forth as young 
as she had been long ago. When her sons came from the 
fishing they were astonished to see her. The one said, " It 
is our mother " ; but the other said, " She may be your 
mother, but she shall be my wife." Their mother overheard 

* R. H. Codrington, The Afelan- Kannihakn der Salomo-Inseln (Dres- 
esians (Oxford, 189 1), p. 265 ; W. den-Blasowitz, 1903), p. 148. 

Gray, ** Some Notes on the Tannese," 

Intemaiic9taUs Archiv fur Ethtto- ' Ch. Keysscr, ** Aus dem Leben der 

graphicy vii. (1894) p. 232. Kaikute," in K. Neuhauss's Deutsck 

• C. Ribbc, Zwei Jahre uftter den Neu-Guinia (Berlin, 191 1), iii. 161 J^. 

70 THE FALL OF MAN part i 

them and said, " What were you two saying ? " The two 
said, " Nothing ! We only said that you are our mother." 
"You are liars," she retorted, " I heard you both. If I had 
had my way, we should have grown to be old men and 
women, and then we should have cast our skin and been 
young men and young women. But you have had your way. 
We shall grow old men and old women, and then we shall 
die." With that she fetched her old skin, and put it on, and 
became an old woman again. As for us, her descendants, 
we grow up and we grow old. But if it had not been for 
those two young scapegraces, there would have been no end 
of our days, we should have lived for ever and ever.^ 
A similar Still farther away from the Banks Islands the very same 

story of the story is repeated by the To Koolawi, a mountain tribe of 

origin of ^ ^ , 

death told Central .Celebes. As reported by the Dutch missionaries 
in^Ceiel^ ^^^ discovered it, the Celebes version of this widely diffused 
tale runs thus. In the olden time men had, like serpents 
and shrimps, the power of casting their skin, whereby they 
became young again. Now there was an old woman who had 
a grandchild. Once upon a time she went to the water to 
bathe, and thereupon laid aside her old skin and hung it up 
on a tree. With her youth quite restored she returned to 
the house. But her grandchild did not know her again, and 
would have nothing to do with his grandmother ; he kept 
on saying, " You are not my grandmother ; my grandmother 
was old, and you are young." Then the woman went back 
to the water and drew on her old skin again. But ever since 
that day men have lost the power of renewing their youth 
and must die.^ 
A variant A variant form of the Melanesian story is told in Anei- 

Meianesian ^y^^^t ^nc of the New Hebrides. There they say that once 
story. an old man took off his skin before he began to work in his 

garden. He then looked young. But one day his two 
grandchildren, finding his skin folded away, pierced it through, 
making many holes therein. When the old man put it on 
again he shivered with cold, and seeing the holes in his skin 
he said to his grandchildren, " I thought we should live for 

* Josef Meier, " My then und Sagen De Bare^e-sprekende Torcuija^s van 

der Admiralilatsinsulaner," Anthropos^ Midden- Celebes (Batavia, 191 2-1 9 14), 

iii. {1908) p. 193. ii 83. 

'-* N. Adrian! en Alb. C. Kruijt, 


ever and cast our skins and become young again ; but as 
you have done this we shall all die." Thus death came into 
the world.^ 

Another Melanesian tradition ascribes the introduction A different 
of death to purely economic causes. In the days when storyoT^ 
men changed their skins and lived for ever, the permanence origin of 
of property in the same hands was found to be a great in- 
convenience ; . it bore very hard on the heirs, who were per- 
petually tantalized by the prospect of an inheritance to which 
it was legally and physically impossible that they should ever 
succeed. All this time Death had resided either in a 
shadowy underground region called Panoi or by the side of 
a volcanic vent in Santa Maria, it is not quite certain which ; 
but now in answer to the popular demand he was induced 
to come abroad and show himself. He was treated to a 
handsome funeral of the usual sort ; that is to say, he was 
laid out on a board and covered with a pall, a pig was killed, 
and the mourners enjoyed a funeral feast and divided the 
property of the deceased. Afterwards, on the fifth day, 
the conch shell was blown to drive away the ghost In 
short, nothing was loft undone to soothe and gratify the feel- 
ings of the departed. So Death returned down the road to 
the underground region from which he had emerged ; and all 
mankind have since followed him thither.^ 

While some peoples have supposed that in the early ages Some 
of the world men were immortal in virtue of periodically b^JJe^^jj^^j 
casting their skins, others have ascribed the same high men on 
privilege to a certain lunar sympathy, in consequence of ^5^^^^^^^ 
which mankind passed through alternate states of growth the dead 
-and decay, of life and death, corresponding to the phases of ^^ ^ 
the moon, without ever coming to an end. On this view, the moon 
though death in a sense actually occurred, it was speedily do in ihe° 
repaired by resurrection, generally, it would seem, by resur- ^^y* 
rcction after three days, since three days is the period between 
the disappearance of the old moon and the reappearance of 
the new. Thus the Mentras or Mantras, a shy tribe of 
savages in the jungles of the Malay Peninsula, allege that in 
the early ages of the world men did not die, but only grew 

1 William Gunn, The Gospel in * R. H. Codrington, The Melart' 

Futuna (London, 19 14)) pp. 217 sq, esiam (Oxford, 1 891), pp. 265 sq. 

72 THE FALL OF MAN part i 

thin at the waning of the moon and then waxed fat again 
as she waxed to the full. Thus there was no check whatever 
on the population, which increased to an alarming extent. 
So a son of the first man brought this state of things to his 
father's notice, and asked him what was to be done. The 
first man, a good easy soul, said, " Leave things as they are " ; 
but his younger brother, who took a more Malthusian view 
of the matter, said, " No, let men die like the banana, leaving 
their offspring behind." The question was submitted to the 
Lord of the Underworld, and he decided in favour of death. 
Ever since then men have ceased to renew their youth like 
the moon and have died like the banana.^ In the Caroline 
Islands it is said that in the olden time death was unknown, or 
rather it was only a short sleep. Men died on the last day of 
the waning moon and came to life again on the appearance of 
the new moon, just as if they had wakened from a refreshing 
slumber. But an evil spirit somehow contrived that when 
men slept the sleep of death they should wake no more.^ 
The Wotjobaluk, a tribe of south-eastern Australia, related 
that when all animals were men and women, some of them 
died and the moon used to say, " You up again," whereupon 
they came to life again. But once on a time an old man 
said, " Let them remain dead " ; and since then nobody has 
ever come to life again, except the moon, which still con- 
tinues to do so down to this very day.* The Unmatjera and 
Kaitish, two tribes of central Australia, say that their dead 
used to be buried either in trees or underground, and that 
after three d«iys they regularly rose from the dead. The 
Kaitish tell how this happy state of things came to an end. 
It was all the fault of a man of the Curlew totem, who found 
some men of the Little Wallaby totem in the act of burying 
a man of that ilk. For some reason the Curlew man flew 
into a passion and kicked the corpse into the sea. Of 
course after that the dead man could not come to life again, 
and that is why nowadays nobody rises from the dead after 

* D. F. A. Hervey, ** The Mentra * Lettres^ Edifiantds et Curieuses^ 

Traditions," Journal of the Straits Nouvelle Kdition, xv. (Paris, 1 781) 

Branch of the Koyal Asiatic Society^ pp. 305 sq. 
No. 10 (Deceml^er, 1882), p. 190; 

W. W. Skeat and C. O. Blagden, 3 a. W. Ilowiit, Native Tribes of 

Pa^-^an Races of the Malay Peninsula Souih-Etist Australia {l.ondoUf 1904), 

(London, 1906), ii. Zi7 sg, pp. 428 sq. 


three days, as everybody used to do long ago.^ Though 
nothing is said about the moon in this narrative of the 
origin of death, the analogy of the preceding stories makes 
it probable that the three days, during which the dead used 
to lie in the grave, were the three days during which the 
moon lay " hid in her vacant interlunar cave." The Fijians 
also associated the possibility, though not the actual enjoy- 
ment, of human immortality with the phases of the moon. 
They say that of old two gods, the Moon and the Rat, dis- 
cussed the proper end of man. The Moon said, " Let him 
be like me, who disappear awhile and then live again." But 
the Rat said, " Let man die as a rat dies." And he prevailed.^ 

The Upotos of the Congo tell how men missed and Upoto 
the Moon obtained the boon of immortality. One day God, how^men 
whom they call Libanza, sent for the people of the moon and missed the 
the people of the earth. The people of the moon hastened mortality 
to the deity, and were rewarded by him for their alacrity. ^"^^ ^^e 
" Because," said he, addressing the moon, " thou camest to me obtained it. 
at once when I called thee, thou shalt never die. Thou 
shalt be dead for but two days each month, and that only 
to rest thee ; and thou shalt return with greater splendour." 
But when the people of the earth at last appeared before 
Libanza, he was angry and said to them, ** Because you 
came not at once to me when I called you, therefore you 
will die one day and not revive, except to come to me." * 

The Bahnars of eastern Cochin China explain the im- Bahnar 
mortality of primitive man neither by the phases of the ^^^^^^ 
moon nor by the custom of casting the skin, but apparently used to 
by the recuperative virtue of a certain tree^ They say that Si^dSJd 
in the beginning, when people died, they used to be buried ^y being 
at the foot of a tree called Long Bio, and that after a time the foot of 
they always rose from the dead, not as infants, but as full- * ce^ain 
grown men and women. So the earth was peopled very 
fast, and all the inhabitants formed but one great town 
under the presidency of our first parents. In time men 
multiplied to such an extent that a certain lizard could not 
take his walks abroad without somebody treading on his tail. 

1 (§ir) Baldwin Spencer and F. J. Fijians, Second Edition (London, 

Gillen, Northern Tribes , of Central i860), i. 20$. 

Australia {\xivAoxi, 1904), pp. 5131^. ' M. LindemanjZ^j^^/^jj (Brussels, 

' Thomas Williams, Fiji and the 1906), pp. 23 sq. 

74 THE FALL OF MAN part i 

This vexed him, and the wily creature gave an insidious hint 
to the gravediggers. " Why bury the dead at the foot of the 
Long Bio tree ? " said he ; " bury them at the foot of Long 
Khung, and they will not come to life again. Let them die 
outright and be done with it." The hint was taken, and 
from that day men have not come to life again.^ 
Rivalry for In this last story, as in many African tales, the instru- 

imniortai- n^ent of brinjjing death amoner men is a lizard. We may 

ity between , o o o ^ ^ j 

men and conjecture that the reason for assigning the invidious office 
tha^cast ^^ ^ lizard was that this animal, like the serpent, casts its 
their skins, skin periodically, from which primitive man might infer, as 
serpents ^^ infers with regard to serpents, that the creature renews its 
andiizards. youth and Hves for ever. Thus all the myths which relate 
how a lizard or a serpent became the maleficent agent of 
human mortality may perhaps be referred to an old idea of 
a certain jealousy and rivalry between men and creatures 
which cast their skins, notably serpents and lizards ; we may 
suppose that in all such cases a story was told of a contest 
between man and his animal rivals for the possession of im- 
mortality, a contest in which, whether by mistake or guile, 
the victory always remained with the animals, who thus 
became immortal, while mankind was doomed to mortality. 

§ 4. The Composite Story of the Perverted Message and 

the Cast Skin 

Stories In some stories of the origin of death the incidents of 

combine ^^c perverted message and the cast skin are combined. 
^^^ Thus the Gallas of East Africa attribute the mortality of 

incidents 1 , . i- r 1 • 1 1. 

of the mviW and the immortality of serpents to the mistake or malice 
perverted Qf ^ certain bird which falsified the inessac^e of eternal life 

message , " 

and the entrusted to him by God. The creature which did this 

^Ua^stor S^'G^t wrong to our species is a black or dark blue bird, with 

of God and a white patch on each wing and a crest on its head. It 

bird. "^ perches on the tops of trees and utters a wailing note like 

the bleating of a sheep ; hence the Gallas call it hohnvaka 

or " the sheep of God," and explain its apparent anguish by 

the following tale. Once upon a time God sent that bird to 

' Guerlach, •' McKurs ct Superstitions des sauvages Ba-hnars," />! Afissiofts 
Catholiques^ xix. (1887) p. 479. 


tell men that they should not die, but that when they grew 
old and weak they should slip off their skins and so renew 
their youth. In order to authenticate the message God gave 
the bird a crest to serve as the badge of his high office. 
Well, off the bird set to deliver the glad tidings of immor- 
tality to man, but he had not gone far before he fell in with 
a snake devouring carrion in the path. The bird looked 
longingly at the carrion and said to the snake, " Give me 
some of the meat and blood, and I will tell you God's 
message." *' 1 don't want to hear it," said the snake tartly, 
and continued his meal. But the bird pressed him so to 
hear the message that the snake rather reluctantly consented. 
" The message," then said the bird, " is this. When men 
grow old they will die, but when you grow old you will cast 
your skin and renew your youth." That is why people grow 
old and die, but snakes crawl out of their old skins and 
renew their youth. But for this gross perversion of the 
message God punished the heedless or wicked bird with a 
painful internal malady, from which he suffers to this day ; 
that is why he sits wailing on the tops of trees.^ Again, the 
Melanesians, who inhabit the coast of the Gazelle Peninsula Meianesian 
in New Britain, say that To Kambinana, the Good Spirit, Kambin- ° 
loved men and wished to make them immortal. So he called ana and To 
his brother To Korvuvu and said to him, " Go to men and ^"^^^^ 
take them the secret of immortality. Tell them to cast their 
skin every year. So will they be protected from death, for 
their life will be constantly renewed. But tell the serpents 
that they must thenceforth die." However, To Korvuvu 
acquitted himself badly of his task ; for he commanded men 
to die, and betrayed to the serpents the secret of immor- 
tality. Since then all men have been mortal, but the serpents 
cast their skins every year and never die.^ A similar story Annamite 
of the origin of death is told in Annam. They say that story of 


Ngoc hoang sent a messenger from heaven to men to say hoangand 
that when they reached old age they should change their his message 
skins and live for ever, but that when serpents grew old they 
must die. The messenger came down to earth and said, 
rightly enough, *' When man is old he shall cast his skin ; 

* Miss A. Werner, ** Two Galla * P. A. Kleintitschen, Die Kiisteti' 

Legends," Man^ xiii. (19 13) pp. 90 bewohner dUr Gazellehalbinscl (Hiltrup 
sq, bei Miinster, N.D.), p. 334. 

76 THE FALL OF MAN part i 

but when serpents are old they shall die and be laid in 
coffins." So far so good. But unluckily there happened 
to be a brood of serpents within hearing, and when they 
learned the doom pronounced on their kind, they fell into 
a fury and said to the messenger, " You must say it over 
again and just the contrary, or we will' bite you." That 
frightened the messenger, and he repeated his message, 
changing the words thus, " When the serpent is old he shall 
cast his skin ; but when man is old he shall die and be laid 
in the coffin." That is why all creatures are now subject to 
death, except the serpent, who, when he is old, casts his skin 
and lives for ever.^ 

§ 5. Conclusion 

In its Thus, arguing from the analogy of the moon or of 

form^the animals which cast their skins, the primitive philosopher has 
Hebrew inferred that in the beginning a perpetual renewal of youth was 
FaUofMan either appointed by a benevolent being for the human species 
probably or was actually enjoyed by them, and that but for a crime, an 
ibeserpcnt, accident, or a blunder it would have been enjoyed by them 
by eating for ever. People who pin their faith in immortality to the cast 
of Life, skins of serpents, lizards, beetles, and the like, naturally look 
obtained q^ these animals as the hated rivals who have robbed us of 

the boon 

ofimmor- the heritage which God or nature intended that we should 
tTil^^iTn^L.: possess ; consequently they tell stories to explain how it 
came about that such low creatures contrived to oust us 
from the priceless possession. Tales of this sort are widely 
diffiised throughout the world, and it would be no matter for 
surprise to find them among the Semites. The story of the 
Fall of Man in the third chapter of Genesis appears to be an 
abridged version of this savage myth. Little is wanted to 
complete its resemblance to the similar myths still told by 
savages in many parts of the world. The principal, almost the 
only, omission is the silence of the narrator as to the eating of 
the fruit of the tree of life by the serpent, and the consequent 
attainment of immortality by the reptile. Nor is it difficult 
to account for the lacuna. The vein of rationalism,' which 
runs through the Hebrew account of creation and has stripped 

* A. Landes, ** Conies et L^gendes Excursions et /Reconnaissances, No. 25 
Annamites," Cochinchint franfaise, (Saigon, 1886) pp. 108 sq. 

bis species. 


it of many grotesque features that adorn or disfigure the 
corresponding Babylonian tradition, could hardly fail to find 
a stumbling-block in the alleged immortality of serpents ; 
and the redactor of the story in its final form has removed this 
stone of offence from the path of the faithful by the simple 
process of blotting out the incident entirely from the legend. 
Yet the yawning gap left by his sponge has not escaped the 
commentators, who look in vain for the part which should have 
been played in the narrative by the tree of life. If my 
interpretation of the story is right, it has been left for the 
comparative method, after thousands of years, to supply the 
blank in the ancient canvas, and to restore, in all their 
primitive crudity, the gay barbaric colours which the skilful 
hand of the Hebrew artist had softened or effaced. 



\^ Mark set We read in Genesis that when Cain had murdered his 

Cain.^°" brother Abel he was driven out from society to be a fugitive 

and a vagabond on earth. Fearing to be slain by any one 

who might meet him, he remonstrated with God on the 

hardness of his lot, and God had so far compassion on him 

that he " set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should 

kill him."^ What was the mark that God put on the first 

murderer ? or the sign that he appointed for him ? 

The theory That we have here a reminiscence of some old custom 

mark was a observed by manslayers is highly probable ; and, though we 

tribal cannot hope to ascertain what the actual mark or sign was, 

seems in- a Comparison of the customs observed by manslayers in 

adequate, other parts of the world may help us to understand at least 

its general significance. Robertson Smith thought that the 

mark in question was the tribal mark, a badge which every 

member of the tribe wore on his person, and which served to 

protect him by indicating that he belonged to a community 

that would avenge his murder.^ Certainly such marks are 

* Genesis iv. 8- 1 5 (Authorized Ver- either imprinted on his body or at all 

sion). The Revised Version renders : events closely attached to his person. 
** and the Lord appointed a sign for 2 w Robertson Smith, Kinship and 

Cain." The former rendering, which Marriaf;e in Early Arabia^ New Edi- 

I have adopted, appears to be de- tion (London, 1903), p. 251. B. Stade. 

manded by the context, as Principal has argued that the mark was the 

J. Skinner observes in his commentary tribal mark of the Kenites, of whom 

on Genesis (p. no). The most literal he believes Cain to have been the 

translation would be " set a sign to (or eponymous ancestor ; further, he holds 

for) Cain.*' Modern commentators on that it had a religious as well as a tribal 

Genesis (Dillmann, Driver, Bennett, significance, stamping the Kenites as 

Skinner, Gunkel, Ryle) are rightly worshippers of Jehovah. From a 

agreed thai the mark was intended for variety of indications he concludes that 

the protection of Cain, and that it was the mark was probably tattooed on the 



common among peoples who have preserved the tribal system. 
For example, among the Bedouins of to-day one of the chief 
tribal badges is a particular mode of wearing the hair.^ In 
many parts of the world, notably in Africa, the tribal mark 
consists of a pattern tattooed or incised on some part of the 
person.^ That such marks might serve as a protection to 
the tribesman in the way supposed by Robertson Smith 
seems probable ; though on the other hand it is to be remem- 
bered that in a hostile country they might, on the contrary, 
increase his danger by advertising him as an enemy. But 
even if we concede the protective value of a tribal mark, still 
the explanation thus offered of the mark of Cain seems 
hardly to fit the case. It is too general. Every member of 
a tribe was equally protected by such a mark, whether he 
was a manslayer or not. The whole drift of the narrative 
tends to show that the mark in question was not worn by 
every member of the community, but was peculiar to a mur- 
derer. Accordingly we seem driven to seek for an explana- 
tion in another direction. 

From the narrative itself we gather that Cain was Homicides 
thought to be obnoxious to other dangers than that of being ^""^ 
slain as an outlaw by any one who met him. God is they are 
represented saying to him, " What hast thou done ? the S^\ed 
voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground, ^y^ 
And now cursed art thou from the ground, which hath ofSth." 
opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy 
hand ; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth 
yield unto thee her strength ; a fugitive and a wanderer 
shalt thou be in the earth." ^ Here it is obvious that the 
blood of his murdered brother is regarded as constituting a 
physical danger to the murderer ; it taints the ground and 
prevents it from yielding its increase. Thus the murderer 
is thought to have poisoned the sources of life and thereby 
jeopardized the supply of food for himself, and perhaps for 

forehead of the tribesmen. Sec B. Exe};etical Commentary on Grm'sis 

Sude, **DasKainszeichen/*/c»/jf.//;7/? (Edinburj^h, 19 10), pp. iii Si/^. 

fiir die alttestameniliche \Vissenschaft. * \V. Robertson Smith, I.e. 

xiv. (1894) pp. 250-318 ; id.y Hiblhthe 2 j^ (;, Frazer, Tote mis m and ICxo- 

Thcoloi^c des AUen Testaments^ \. ,i:amy (L<»ncl()n, 1910), i. 28 3//., iv. 

(Tubingen, 190S) PP. 42, 146. Hut 197 ^'M- 

the view is open to serious objections. ' Genesis iv. 10-12 (Revised Ver- 

Sec Principal J. Skinner, Critical and sion). 




Attic law 

of raut- 
derers in 

Others. On this view it is intelligible that a homicide 
should be shunned and banished the country, to which his 
presence is a continual menace. He is plague-stricken, 
surrounded by a poisonous atmosphere, infected by a 
contagion of death ; his very touch may blight the earth. 
Hence we can understand a certain rule of Attic law. A 
homicide who had been banished, and against whom in his 
absence a second charge had been brought, was allowed to 
return to Attica to plead in his defence • but he might not 
set foot on the land, he had to speak from a ship, and even 
the ship might not cast anchor or put out a gangway. The 
judges avoided all contact with the culprit, for they judged 
the case sitting or standing on the shore.^ Clearly the 
intention of this rule of law was to put the manslayer in 
quarantine, lest by touching Attic earth even indirectly 
through the anchor or the gangway he should blast it. For 
the same reason, if such a man, sailing the sea, had the 
misfortune to be cast away on the country where his crime 
had been perpetrated, he was allowed indeed to camp on 
the shore till a ship came to take him off, but he was 
expected to keep his feet in sea - water all the time,^ 
evidently in order to counteract, or at least dilute, the 
poison which he was supposed to instil into the soil. 

The quarantine which Attic law thus imposed on the 
manslayer has its counterpart in the seclusion still enforced 
on murderers by the savages of Dobu, an island off the 
south-eastern extremity of New Guinea. On this subject 
a missionary, who resided for seventeen years in the island, 
writes as follows : " War may be waged against the relatives 
of the wife, but the slain must not be eaten. The person 
who kills a relation by marriage must never after partake 

* Demosthenes, Orat. xxiii. 77 j^., 
pp. 645 sq. ; Aristotle, Constitution of 
Athens^ 57 ; Pausanias, i. 28. 1 1 ; [iilius 
Pollux, Onomasticon^ viii. 120; Hella- 
dius, quoted by Photius, Bibliotheca^ p. 
535<7, lines 28 v^., ed. Im. Bckker 
(Berlin, 1824). The rule which for- 
bade the ship to cast anchor or to put 
out a gangway is mentioned only by 
Pollux. But Pollux had access to 
excellent authorities, and the rule 
bears the stamp of genuine antiquity. 

We may therefore safely dismiss as 
unauthorized the statement of Hella- 
dius that the ship cast anchor. 

* Plato, LawSy ix. 8, p. 866 c D. In 
ancient Greece, for a different reason, 
when a man died of dropsy, his 
children were made t«> sit with iheir 
feet in water until the body was burnt 
(Plutarch, Dt sera numinis znndicta^ 
14). Compare The Moj^c Art and 
the Evolution of Kin^s^ i. 78 {Tht 
Golden Bought Third Edition, Part i.). 



of the general food or fruit from his wife's village. His 
wife alone must cook his food. If his wife's fire goes out 
she is not allowed to take a fire-stick from a house in her 
village. The penalty for breaking this tabu is that the 
husband dies of blood-poisoning ! The slaying of a blood 
relation places an even stricter tabu on the slayer. When 
the chief Gaganumore slew his brother (mother's sister's 
son) he was not allowed to return to his own village, 
but had to build a village of his own. He had to have a 
separate lime-gourd and spatula ; a water-bottle and cup of 
his own ; a special set of cooking pots ; he had to get his 
drinking cocoanuts and fruit elsewhere ; his fire had to be 
kept burning as long as possible, and if it went out it could 
not be relit from another fire, but by friction. If the chief 
were to break this tabu, his brother's blood would poison 
his blood so that his body would swell, and he would die a 
terrible death." ^ 

In these Dobuan cases the blood of the slain man is Beiiefinthe 
supposed to act as a physical poison on the slayer, should s^"J^o/" 
he venture to set foot in, or even to hold indirect com muni- homicides 
cation with, the village of his victim. His seclusion is there- by*Kikuyu 
fore a precaution adopted in his own interest rather than in notions. 
that of the community which he avoids ; and it is possible 
that the rules of Attic law in the matter of homicide ought 
to be similarly interpreted. However, it is more probable 
that the danger was believed to be mutual ; in other words, 
that both the homicide and the persons with whom he came 
into contact were thought liable to suffer from blood-poison- 
ing caused by contagion. Certainly the notion that a man- 
slayer can infect other people with a malignant virus is held 
by the Akikuyu of British East Africa. They think that if 
a man who has killed another comes and sleeps at a village 
and eats with a family in their hut, the persons with whom 
he has eaten contract a dangerous pollution (thahu), which 
might prove fatal to them, were it not removed in time by 
a medicine-man. The very skin on which the homicide 
slept has absorbed the taint and might infect any one else 

* Rev. W. E. Bromilow, ** Some for the. Advancement of Science held at 

manners and customs of the Dobuans HrisbanCy igog (lirisbane, 19 lo), p. 

of S.E. Papua," Report of the Twelfth 478. 
Meeting of the Australasian Association 


82 THE MARK OF CAIN part i 

who slept on it. So a medicine-man is called in to purify 
the hut and its inmates.^ 
Similar Similarly among the Moors of Morocco a manslayer " is 

notions considered in some degree unclean for the rest of his life, 
unclean- Poison oozes out from underneath his nails ; hence anybody 
ness jind ^ho drinks the water in which he has washed his hands will 
ness of fall dangerously ill. ' The meat of an animal which he has 
homicides kJHed is bad to eat, and so is any food which is partaken 
Moors of of in his company. If he comes to a place where people are 
Morocco, digging a well, the water will at once run away. In the 
Hidina, I was told, he is not allowed to go into a vegetable 
garden or an orchard, nor to tread on a threshing-floor or 
enter a granary, nor to go among the sheep. It is a common, 
although not universal, rule that he must not perform the 
sacrifice at the Great Feast with his own hands ; and in some 
tribes, mostly Berber-speaking ones, there is a similar prohibi- 
tion with reference to a person who has killed a dog, which 
is an unclean animal. All blood which has left the veins is 
unclean and haunted hyjniin*'^ (j"^n). 
In the But in the Biblical narrative of the murder of Abel the 

Biblical blood of the murdered man is not the only inanimate object 

narrative of . ./» i rr i i i i . ^ 

the murder that IS personified. If the blood is represented as crying 

of Abel the j^Jq^ j^ the earth is represented as opening her mouth to 

well as the receive the blood of the victim.^ To this personification of 

personified ^^^ earth Aeschylus offers a parallel, for he speaks of the 

ground drinking the blood of the murdered Agamemnon.* 

But in Genesis the attribution of personal qualities to the 

earth seems to be carried a step further, for we are told that 

the murderer was " cursed from the ground '* ; and that w hen 

he tilled it, the land would not yield him her strength, but 

that a fugitive and a wanderer should he be in the world. 

The earth The implication apparently is that the earth, polluted by 

to^^*^ blood and offended by his crime, would refuse to allow the 

polluted by seed sown by the murderer to germinate and bear fruit ; nay, 


spurn the ^ C. W. Ilohley, ** Kikuyu Customs * Ed ward Wester ma rck, 7y^<?y1A?^r/jA 

guilty from ^"^ Beliefs," Journal of the Koyai ConiCption of I/oh'fiess (Ilclsingfors, 

her bosom. Ajithropoh\:^cal Instihtk, xl. (1910) 19 16), pp. 1 301^. 
p. 431. I have already cited this and 

more evidence to the same effect in uencbis iv. 11. 

/^jyr//^V7l2jZ', Second Edition (London, * Aeschylus, Chotphor. 63(58), hC 

19 1 3), pp. 115 ^^Q' atfid T* iKiroOh inrb x^oi'os rimtpov. 

GHAP. Ill 



that it would expel him from the cultivated soil on which he 
had hitherto prospered, and drive him out into the barren 
wilderness, there to roam a houseless and hungry vagabond. 
The conception of earth as a personal being, who revolts 
against the sin of the dwellers upon it and spurns them from 
her bosom, is not foreign to the Old Testament. In Leviticus 
we read that, defiled by human iniquity, " the land vomitcth 
out her inhabitants ";^ and the Israelites are solemnly warned 
to keep God's statutes and judgments, " that the land vomit 
not you out also, when ye defile it, as it vomited out the nation 
that was before you." * 

The ancient Greeks apparently entertained similar notions Ancient 
as to the effect of polluting earth by the shedding of human iegc„d 
blood, or, at all events, the blood of kinsfolk ; for tradition o^ the 
told how the matricide Alcmaeon, haunted by the ghost of oHhe^""^ 
his murdered mother Eriphyle, long wandered restlessly over matricide 
the world, till at last he repaired to the oracle at Delphi, and 
the priestess told him, that " the only land whither the aveng- 
ing spirit of Eriphyle would not dog him was the newest 
land, which the sea had uncovered since the pollution of his 
mother's blood had been incurred ;"* or, as Thucydidcs puts 
it, " that he would never be rid of his terrors till he had 
found and settled in a country which, when he slew his 
mother, the sun had not yet shone on, and which at that 
time was not yet dry land ; for all the rest of the earth had 
been polluted by him." * Following the directions of the 
oracle, he discovered at the mouth of the Achelous the small 
and barren Echinadian Islands which, by washing down the 
soil from its banks, the river was supposed to have created 
since the perpetration of his crime; and there he took up his 
abode.* According to one version of the legend, the murderer 
had found rest for a time in the bleak upland valley of 
Psophis, among the solemn Arcadian mountains, but even 

* Leviticus xviii. 25. 

' Leviticus xviii. 28, compare xx. 22. 
^ Pausanias viii. 24. 8. 

* Thucydidcs ii. 102. 

* Thucydidcs ii. 102 ; Pausanias 
viii. 24. 7-9. Miss J. E. Harrison has 
ingeniously conjectured that the Ale an 
plain in Cilicia (Herodotus vi. 95), 
over which Bellerophon wandered 

(Homer, Jliad^ vi. 201), after he had 
accidentally slain his brother (Apollo- 
dorus, Bibliotheca^ ii. 3. l), may have 
consisted, like the Kchinadian Islands, 
of new land formed by alluvial soil and 
but lately recovered from the sea. See 
her ProU^omefia to the Study of Greek 
Reli<^ion^ Second Edition (Cambridge, 
1908), pp. 220 sq. 

84 THE MARK OF CAIN part i 

there the ground refused to yield its increase to the 
matricide, and he was forced, like Cain, to resume his weary 
Belief The belief that the earth is a powerful divinity, who is 

entertained defiled and offended by the shedding of human blood and 
tribes of must be appeased by sacrifice, prevails, or prevailed till 
^^^ X l^^^'y> among some tribes of Upper Senegal, who exact 
that the expiation even for wounds which have merely caused blood 
offfflttdedby ^^ ^^^ without loss of life. Thus at Laro, in the country of 
Woodshed the Bobos, " the murderer paid two goats, a dog, and a cock 
apposed ^o ^^ chief of the village, who offered them in sacrifice to 
by sacrifice, the Earth on a piece of wood stuck in the ground. Nothing 
customs^of was given to the family of the victim. All the villagers, 
the Bobos. including the chief, afterwards partook of the flesh of the 
sacrificial victims, the families of the murderer and his 
victim alone being excluded from the banquet. If it was 
an affair of assault and wounds, but blood had not 
been shed, no account was taken of it. But when blood 
had been spilt, the Earth was displeased at the sight, and 
therefore it was necessary to appease her by a sacrifice. 
The culprit gave a goat and a thousand cowries to the chief 
of the village, who sacrificed the goat to the Earth and 
divided the cowries among the elders of the village. The 
goat, after being offered to the Earth, was also divided 
among the village elders. But the injured party through- 
out the affair was totally forgotten and received nothing 
at all, and that, too, logically enough. For the intention 
was not to compensate the injured party for his wrong 
at the cost of the wrongdoer, but to appease the Earth, 
a great and redoubtable divinity, who was displeased at 
the sight of bloodshed. In these circumstances there was 
nothing for the injured party to get. It sufficed that the Earth 
was pacified by eating the soul of the goat that had been sacri- 
ficed to her ; " ^ for " among the Bobos, as among the other 
blacks, the Earth is esteemed a great goddess of justice." * 
Similar Among the Nounoumas, another tribe of Upper Senegal, 

beliefs and jj^g customs and beliefs in regard to bloodshed were similar. 

customs of ° 

the Nou- 
noumas ^ Apollodorus, Bibliotheca^ iii. 7. 5, ^ \^ Tauxier, Tji A-oir du Soudan 

concerning yevo^i^vm S^ Varepov rrjs y^s Si' avrbv (Paris, 191 2), p. 64. 
bloodshed. d4>6pov ktX. ^ L. Tauxier, op. cit. p. 73. 


A murderer was banished for three years and had to pay 
a heavy fine in cowries and cattle, not as a blood-wit to the 
family of his victim, but to appease the Earth and the other 
local divinities, who had been offended by the sight of spilt 
blood. The ox or oxen were sacrificed to the angry Earth 
by a priest who bore the title of the Chief of the Earth, and 
the flesh, together with the cowries, was divided among the 
elders of the village, the family of the murdered man receiv- 
ing nothing, or at most only a proportionate share of the meat 
and money. In the case of brawls where no life had been 
taken, but blood had flowed, the aggressor had to pay an ox, 
a sheep, a goat, and four fowls, all of which were sacrificed 
to pacify the anger of the local deities at the sight of blood- 
shed. The ox was sacrificed to the Earth by the Chief <?f 
the Earth in presence of all the elders of the village ; the 
sheep was sacrificed to the River ; and the fowls to the Rocks 
and the Forest As for the goat, it was sacrificed by the 
chief of the village to his private fetish. If these expiatory 
sacrifices were not offered, it was believed that the gods in 
their wrath would slay the culprit and all his family. The 
Chief of the Earth received as his due the intestines, hide, 
head, horns, and one shoulder of the sacrificial ox ; the rest 
of the ox and the remaining victims were divided between 
the chief of the village, the headmen of the various wards, 
and the elders. Every one carried off* his portion of flesh to 
his own house and ate it there. In some places the assailant 
had also to pay a fine in cowries proportioned to the serious- 
ness of the wound which he had inflicted.^ 

The foregoing facts suggest that a mark put on a Thus the 
homicide might be intended primarily, not for his protec- JJJ>^[iieu?e* 
tion, but for the protection of the persons who met him, might be a 
lest by contact with his pollution they should defile them- signaUo 
selves and incur the wrath of the god whom he had offended, waruothers 
or of the ghost by whom he was haunted ; in short, the 
mark might be a danger-signal to warn people off*, like the 
special garb prescribed in Israel for lepers.^ 

However, there are other facts which tend to show that the 

* \,. Tauxier, I^ Noir du Soudan, id.^ ])p. 100 sq,, 227, 228, 239 sq,, 

pp. 176-178. For more evidence of 2(33, 264, 290, 313-315, 352. 
expiatory sacrifices offered to appease 
the anger of Earth at bloodshed, see ^ Leviticus xiii. 45. 

86 THE MARK OF CAIN part i 

Bat other murderer's mark was designed, as the story of Cain implies, 

pmve^that ^*^^ ^^ benefit of the murderer alone, and further that the 

the mark real danger against which it protected him was not the 

dSgned anger of his victim's kinsfolk, but the wrath of his victim's 

for the ghost. Here again, as in the Athenian customs already men- 

the tioned, we seem to touch the bed-rock of superstition in 

murderer Attica. Plato tells US that according to a very ancient 

himself by 

protecting Greek belief the ghost of a man who had just been killed 

himagainst ^^g angry with his slayer and troubled him, being enraged 

ghost. at the sight of the homicide stalking freely about in his, the 

GrKk"' ghost's, old familiar haunts ; hence it was needful for the 

belief that homicide to depart from his country for a year until the 

Asi^n^man wrath of the ghost had cooled down, nor might he return 

was wroth before sacrifices had been offered and ceremonies of purifica- 

slayer.'^ tion performed. If the victim chanced to be a foreigner, 

the slayer had to shun the native land of the dead man as 

well as his own, and in going into banishment he had to 

follow a prescribed road ; ^ for clearly it would never do to let 

him rove about the country with the angry ghost at his heels. 

Kikuyu Again, we have seen that among the Akikuyu a murderer 

ceremony jg believed to be tainted by a dangerous pollution (thahu) 

to appease • o r \ / 

the ghost of which he can communicate to other people by contact, 
a murdered yj^^^ ^j^-^ pollution is Connected with his victim's ghost 

appears from one of the ceremonies which are performed to 
expiate the deed. The elders of the village sacrifice a pig 
beside one of those sacred fig-trees which play a great part 
in the religious rites of the tribe. There they feast on the 
more succulent parts of the animal, but leave the fat, 
intestines, and some of the bones for the ghost, who is 
supposed to come that very night and devour them in the 
likeness of a wild cat ; his hunger being thus stayed, he 
considerately refrains from returning to the village to trouble 
the inhabitants. It deserves to be noticed that a Kikuyu 
homicide incurs ceremonial pollution (j/iahu) only through 
the slaughter of a man of his own clan ; there is no 
ceremonial pollution incurred by the slaughter of a man of 
another clan or of another tribc.^ 

> Plato, Laws, ix. 8, pp. 865 D- * C. W. Hoblcy, " Kikuyu Customs 

866 a; Demosthenes, Orat. xxiii. pp. and lieliefs," Journal of the Royal 
643 J^.; Hesychius, x.f. dirc»'tai/rt(r/x6f. AnthropologicaU Institute^ xl. (1910) 



Among the Bagesu of Mount Elgon,in British East Africa, Bagesu 
when a man has been guilty of manslaughter and his victim toapc^se 
was a member of the same clan and village, he must leave the ghost 
the village and find a new home elsewhere, even though he msmf ^"^ 
nniay settle the matter amicably with the relations of the 
deceased. Further, he must kill a goat, smear the contents 
of its stomach on his chest, and throw the remainder upon 
the roof of the house of the murdered man **to appease 
the ghost." ^ In this tribe very similar ceremonies of expia- Similar 
tion are performed by a warrior who has slain a man in '^,^1^^ 
battle ; and we may safely assume that the intention of observed 
the ceremonies is to appease the ghost of his victim. The ^^rrio^r" 
warrior returns to his village, but he may not spend the who have 


first night in his own house, he must lodge in the house of enemies in 
a friend. In the evening he kills a goat or sheep, deposits i>^"ie. 
the contents of the stomach in a pot, and smears them on 
his head, chest, and arms. If he has any children, they 
must be smeared in like manner. Having thus fortified 
himself and his progeny, the warrior proceeds boldly to his 
own house, daubs each door-post with the stuff, and throws 
the rest on the roof, probably for the benefit of the ghost 
who may be supposed to perch, if not to roost, there. For 
a whole day the slayer may not touch food with the hands 
which shed blood ; he conveys the morsels to his mouth 
with two sticks cut for the purpose. On the second day he 
is free to return home and resume his ordinary life. These 
restrictions are not binding on his wife ; she may even go 
and mourn over the slain man and take part in his obsequies.^ 
Such a pretence of sorrow may well mollify the feelings of 
the ghost and induce him to spare her husband. 

Again, among the Nilotic Kavirondo, another tribe of Nilotic . 
British East Africa, a murderer is separated from the members ceremony^ 
of his village and lives in a hut with an old woman, who* to rid a 
attends to his wants, cooks for him, and also feeds him, o/his*^ 
because he may not touch his food with his hands. This victim's 
separation lasts for three days, and on the fourth day a man, 

pp. 438 sq. As to the sanctity of the * J. Roscoe, l^he Northern Bantu 

fig-tree (ww^/w«) among the Akikuyu, (Cambridge, 1915), p. 171. 

see M. W. H. Beech, ** The sacred 

fig-tree of the A-kikuyu of East Africa,** * J. Roscoe, Tlu Northern Bantu, 

Man^ xiiL (19 13) pp. 4-6. p. 190. 

88 THE MARK OF CAIN part i 

who is himself a murderer, or who has at some time killed a 
man in battle, takes the murderer to a stream, where he 
washes him all over. He then kills a goat, cooks the meat, 
and puts a piece of it on each of four sticks ; after which he 
gives the four pieces to the murderer to eat in turn. Next 
he puts four balls of porridge on the sticks, and these also 
the murderer must swallow. Finally, the goat-skin is cut into 
strips, and one strip is put on the neck, and one strip round 
each of the wrists of the homicide. This ceremony is per- 
formed by the two men alone at the river. After the per- 
formance the murderer is free to return home. It is said 
that, until this ceremony is performed, the ghost cannot take 
its departure for the place of the dead, but hovers about the 
Customs Among the Boloki of the Upper Congo a homicide is 

observed j^q^ afraid of the ghost of the man whom he has killed, when 

by a Boloki *^ ' 

murderer his victim belongs to any of the neighbouring towns, because 
to mollify ^^ ^^^^ within which Boloki ghosts can travel is extremely 

his victim s & -^ 

ghost limited ; but murder, which in that case he might commit 
with an easy mind, assumes a much more serious complexion 
when it is perpetrated on a man of the same town, for then 
he knows himself to be within striking distance of the ghost. 
The fear of ghostly vengeance now sits heavy on him. There 
are unfortunately no rites by the observance of which he 
could allay these terrors, but in default of them he mourns 
for his victim as though he were a brother, neglecting his 
toilet, shaving his head, fasting, and lamenting with torrents 
of crocodile tears.^ Thus the symptoms of sorrow, which 
the ingenuous European might take for signs of genuine 
repentance and remorse of conscience, are nothing but 
shams intended to deceive the ghost. 
Among the Once morc among the Omaha Indians of North America 

Omahasthe'j^ muidcrer, whose life was spared by the kinsmen of his 

seclusion of , . ' ^ '' 

a murderer victim, had to observe certain stringent regulations for a 
seems to period which varied from two to four years. He must walk 

spnngfrom * ^ ... 

a fear of barcfoot, and he might eat no warm food, nor raise his voice, 

ghost nor look around. He had to pull his robe about him and 

to keep it tied at the neck, even in warm weather ; he might 

^ J. Koscoe, The Northern Bantu, ^ John H. Weeks, Aviong Congo 

pp. 279 sq. Cannibals (London, 191 3), p. 268. 


not let it hang loose or fly open. He might not move his 
hands about, but had to keep them close to his body. He 
might not comb his hair, nor allow it to be blown about by 
the wind. No one would eat with him, and only one of his 
kindred was allowed to remain with him in his tent. When 
the tribe went hunting, he was obliged to pitch his tent about 
a quarter of a mile from the rest of the people, " lest the 
ghost of his victim should raise a high wind which might 
cause damage." ^ The reason here alleged for banishing the 
murderer from the camp probably gives the key to all the 
similar restrictions laid on murderers and manslayers among 
primitive peoples ; the seclusion of such persons from society 
is dictated by no moral aversion to their crime : it springs 
purely from prudential motives, which resolve themselves 
into a simple dread of the dangerous ghost by which the 
homicide is supposed to be pursued and haunted. 

This fear of the wrathful ghost of the slain is probably The fear of 
at the root of many ancient customs observed in connexion ^^^ ghosts 
with homicide ; it may well have been one of the principal murdered 
motives for inflicting capital punishment on murderers. For ^^o^e* 
if such persons are dogged by a powerful and angry spirit, motive for 
which makes them a danger to their fellows, society can murderer. 
obviously protect itself very simply by sacrificing the mur- 
derer to the ghost ; in other words, by putting him to death. 
But then it becomes necessary to guard the executioners in Necessity 
their turn against the ghosts of their victims, and various [n^^^.^" 
precautions are adopted for this purpose. For example, tioners 
among the Bakongo, of the Lower Congo, when a man has gfostTof ^ 
been executed for murder, his body is burnt to ashes. " By their 
reducing the body to ashes they believe that they thereby Pre^u- 
destroy his spirit, and thus prevent the spirit from seeking tions taken 
revenge by bewitching his executioners." ^ At Porto Novo, tioners in 
on the coast of Guinea, the public executioner used to decor- ^^fr>ca and 
ate the walls of his house with the jawbones of his victims 
in order to prevent their ghosts from troubling him at night.* 
At Issini, on the Gold Coast, executioners used to remain 

' Rev. J. Owen Dorsey, "Omaha /«?/tfi?f2^^«,^(C? (London, 1914), pp. 62 j^. 

Sociology,** Third Annual Report of ^ Father Baudin, " Feticheurs ou 

the Bureau of Ethnology (Washington, minislres religieux des Nc-gres de la 

1884), p. 369. Qyx\iii<i^^'* Les Missions CathoIiques^Tusx. 

* John H. Weeks, Among the Primi- (1884) P- 332. 

90 THE AfARK OF CAIN part i 

in seclusion for three days after doing their office ; during 
that time they lived in a hut built for the purpose at a dis- 
tance from the village. When the three days were up, they 
proceeded to the place of execution, and there called thrice 
by name on the criminal whom they had put to death.^ The 
invocation was probably supposed to protect the executioners 
against the ghost of their victim. Another mode of effecting 
the same purpose is to taste of his blood ; this has been 
customary with executioners on the Lower Niger in West 
Africa, and among the Shans of Burma. The alleged inten- 
tion of the custom is to prevent the executioner from being 
affected by a kind of homicidal madness or otherwise con- 
tracting a fatal illness ; ^ but these effects are in all prob- 
ability believed to be wrought by the ghost of the slain man, 
who has entered into and taken possession of the body of 
his slayer, and the motive for tasting of his blood is to bring 
about a reconcilement between the slayer and the slain by 
establishing a blood covenant between them.® Among the 
TheTupi Tupi Indians of Brazil a man who had publicly executed a 
hwiled^a prisoner had to fast and lie in his hammock for three days, 
condemned without setting foot on the ground ; further, he had to make 
avenge incisions in his breast, arms, and other parts of his body, 
himself and a black powder was rubbed into the wounds, which left 
dea^liuand indelible scars so artistically arranged that they presented 
the execu- ^h^ appearance of a tight-fitting garment. It was believed 
to cut that he would die if he did not observe these rules and draw 
iTiarks on blood from his own body after slaughtering the captive.* 

body, * G. I^^yer, ** Voyage to Issini on (Paris, 1837), pp. 134-141(1!. Ternaux- 

perhaps tlie Gold Coast," in T. Astley's Nnv Compans, I'oya^i^es^ relations^ et mi- 

for the General Collection of Voyai^es and moires originaux pour servir h this- 

satisfaction Travels^ ii. (London, 1745) p. 444. toire de la dJcourerte de rAmih-ique ; 

o^ ^he 2 Major A. G. Leonard, The Lower the original of (jandavo's work was 

ghost. Alger and its Tribes (London, 1906), published in Portuguese at Lis1)on in 

pp. 180, 181 sg, ; Mrs. Leslie Milne, 1576); J. Lcry, Historia navigationis 

Shans at Home (London, 1910), p. in Brasiliam, quae et America dicitur 

192. ( 1 5 8 6 ), p p. 1 8 3 - 1 94 ; 7'//^ Captivity of 

3 See further Psyche s Task^ Second Hans Stade of Hesse, in A.D. 1S47- 

Edition (London, 19 13), pp. 117 sqq, isSS^among the IVild Tribes of Eastern 

* F. A. The vet, Zr J Sittgularitez de ^r(zr;7, translated by A. Tootal( London, 

la Frame Antarctique^ autrcment 1 874), pp. 1 55- 1 59; J. F. LaHtau, 

nommh Amerique (Antwerp, 1558), Ma-urs des Sauvages Ameriquains 

pp. 74-76; /</., Cosmographie Uni- (Paris, 1724), ii. 292 j^^. ; R. Southey, 

verselle (Paris, 1575), pp. 944 [978] History of Brazil y \.'^ (London, 1822) 

sq. ; Pero de Magalhanes de Gandavo, p. 232. Compare G. Friederici, 

Hi stoire dc la province de Sancta- Cruz *' Ober eine als Couvade gedeotete 


The fear of his victim's ghost is not indeed mentioned by 
our authorities as the motive for practising these customs ; 
but that it was the real motive is not only suggested by the 
analogy of the West African customs, but is practically 
proved by a custom which these same Brazilian Indians 
observed before the execution. They formally invited the 
doomed man to avenge his death, and for this purpose they 
supplied him with stones or potsherds, which he hurled at 
his guards, while they protected themselves against the 
missiles with shields made of hide.^ The form of the invi- 
tation, which ran thus, " Avenge your death before your 
decease," clearly implies a hope that if a man had thus satis- 
fied his thirst for vengeance in his lifetime, his ghost would 
not trouble them after death. But to make assurance doubly 
sure the executioner secluded himself, and observed the 
curious precautions which I have described. The drawing 
of blood from his own body, which was regarded as essential 
to the preservation of his life,^ may have been intended to 
satisfy the ghost's demand of blood for blood, or possibly to 
form a blood covenant with him, while the permanent marks 
left on the slayer's body would be a standing evidence that 
he had given satisfaction to his victim and made his peace 
with him. Could any reasonable ghost ask for more ? 

This interpretation of the marks on the executioner's The Yabim 
body is confirmed by the following custom. Among the m"!rkc^uhe 
Yabim, on the north-eastern coast of New Guinea, when the foreheads 
kinsmen of a murdered man have accepted a blood-wit whoTave 
instead of avenging his death, they take care to be marked accepted a 
with chalk on the forehead by the relatives of the murderer, for the 
" lest the ghost should trouble them for failing to avenge his murder of 
death, and should carry off their pigg or loosen their teeth." ^ the mark is 

_. — ^ 'supposed 

Widergeburtszeremonie bei den Tupi," Kaiser Wilhelms-Ijind unci den Bis- topievent 

GlobuSy Ixxxix. (1906) pp. 59-63, march Archipel {^^i\\x\^ i897)» p. 99 ; the ghost 

who interprets the incised marks on B. Hagen, Unter den Papuas (Wies- from 

the executioner's body as intended baden, 1899), p. 254. In the same troubling 

to disguise him from his victim's ghost. tribe, at the conclusion of hostilities, them. 

As to marks made with this intention the bravest of the victors puts a chalk 

see below, pp. 92 sqq, mark on the brows of the vanquished 

1 J. Lery, op. cit, p. 185. " »" ^''^^'^ l^^^ ^^l "^^l "^^ ^« \^P«\^,^ 

•' ' ^ ^ to the caprice of the ghosts." See H. 

« P. de Magalhanes de (landavo, y^y^n, " Die Jabim," in K. Neuhauss's 
op, cit, p. 139. Dcutsch NeU'Guinea\^Qt\\ii^ 1911), "»• 

* K. Vetter, in Nachrichten Uber 318. 




Not only 

who have 
have to 
ghosts of 

In this custom it is not the murderer but the kinsmen of his 
victim who are marked, but the principle is the same. The 
ghost of the murdered man naturally turns in fury on his 
heartless relatives who have not exacted blood for his blood. 
But just as he is about to swoop down on them to loosen 
their teeth, or steal their pigs, or make himself unpleasant 
in other ways, he is brought up short by the sight of the 
white mark on their black or coffee-coloured brows. It is 
the receipt for the payment in full of the blood-wit ; it is the 
proof that his kinsfolk have exacted a pecuniary, though not 
a sanguinary, compensation for his murder ; with this crumb 
of consolation he is bound to be satisfied, and to spare his 
family any molestation in future. The same mark might 
obviously be put for the same purpose on the murderer's 
brows to prove that he had paid in cash, or whatever may be 
the local equivalent for cash, for the deed he had done, and 
that the ghost therefore had no further claim upon him. Was 
the mark of Cain a mark of this sort ? Was it a proof that he 
had paid the blood-wit ? Was it a receipt for cash down ? 

It may have been so, but there is still another possibility 
to be considered. On the theory which I have just indic- 
ated it is obvious that the mark of Cain could only be put 
on a homicide when his victim" was a man of the same tribe 
or community as himself, since it is only to men of the same 
tribe or community that compensation for homicide is paid. 
But the ghosts of slain enemies are certainly not less dreaded 
than the ghosts of slain friends ; and if you cannot pacify 
them with a sum of money paid to their kinsfolk, what are 
you to do with them ? Many plans have been adopted for 
the protection of warriors against the spirits of the men 
whom they have sent out of the world before their due time. 
Apparently one of these precautions is to disguise the slayer 
so that the ghost may not recognize him ; another is to 
render his person in some way so formidable or so offensive 
that the spirit will not meddle with him. One or other of 
these motives may explain the following" customs, which I 
select from a large number of similar cases.^ 

Among the Ba-Yaka, a Bantu people of the Congo Free 

* For more examples SCO Taboo and /'.nr Ad* j 7<w^, Second Edition (London, 
the Perils of the Soiil^ pp. 157 sqq, ; 19 13), pp. 120 sqq. 


State, " a man who has been killed in battle is supposed to Precau- 
send his soul to avenge his death on the person of the man bylhl*^*'" 
who killed him ; the latter, however, can escape the venge- Ba-Yaka. 
ance of the dead by wearing the red tail-feathers of the and°^' 
parrot in his hair, and painting his forehead red." ^ The Basutos 
Thonga of south-eastern Africa believe that a man who has ^s"sof '^ 
killed an enemy in battle is exposed to great danger from ™«» '^»»»* 
his victim's ghost, who haunts him and may drive him mad. 
To protect himself from the wrath of the ghost, the slayer 
must remain in a state of taboo at the capital for several 
days, during which he may not go home to his wife, and 
must wear old clothes and eat with special spoons off special 
plates. In former times it was customary to tattoo such a 
man between the eyebrows, and to rub in medicines into the 
incisions, so as to raise pimples and to give him the appear- 
ance of a buffalo when it frowns.^ Among the Basutos 
•* warriors who have killed an enemy are purified. The 
chief has to wash then>, sacrificing an ox in the presence of 
the whole army. They are also anointed with the gall of 
the animal, which prevents the ghost of the enemy from 
pursuing them any farther." * 

Among the Wawanga, of the Elgon district in British Precau- 
East Africa, a man on returning from a raid, on which he JJ°"he^^*^° 
has killed one of the enemy, may not enter his hut until he Wawanga 
has taken cow's dung and rubbed it on the cheeks of the ghos^ro?^ 
women and children of the village, and has purified himself slain 
by the sacrifice of a goat, from whose forehead he cuts a strip ^°*^"**^- 
of skin and wears it round his right wrist for the next four 
days.* Among the Bantu tribes of Kavirondo, in British Precau- 
East Africa, when a man has killed a foe in battle he Jly^hc'^*'" 
shaves his head on his return home, and his friends rub a Bantu 
medicine, which generally consists of cow*s dung, over his Kavirondo 
body to prevent the spirit of the slain man from troubling against the 

ghosts of 

* E. Torday and T. A. Joyce, d'un missionnaire du Basutoland," Les '^'" . 
"Notes on the Ethnography of the Missions Catholiques, xxviii. (1896) p. «"®™'*^ 
Ba-Yaka," yJw^rmz/ of the Anthropo- 371. 

logical Institute^ xxxvi. (1906) pp. 

^o sq. * Hon. Kenneth R. Dundas, '*The 

* Henri A. Junod, The Life of a Wawanga and other tribes of the Elgon 
South African Tribe {^tMQhdX^^ 191 2- District, British East Mnc:iy" Journal 
191 3), i. 453 sq, of the Royai Anthropological Institute^ 

' Father Porte, '* Les reminiscences xliii. (191 3) p. 47. 




taken by 
the Nilotic 
tribes of 
against the 
ghosts of 

him.^ In these cases the cow's dung may serve either to 
wipe off the ghost or to disgust and repel him. Among the 
Ja-Luo, a Nilotic tribe of Kavirondo, the warrior who has 
slain a foe in battle shaves his head three days after his 
return from the fight ; and before he enters his village he 
must hang a live fowl, head uppermost, round his neck ; 
then the bird is decapitated and its head left hanging round 
his neck. Soon after his return a feast is made for the slain 
man, in order that his ghost may not haunt his slayer." 
According to another account the ceremonies observed on 
such occasions by the Nilotic tribes of Kavirondo are as 
follows. "When a warrior kills another in battle, he is 
isolated from his village, lives in a separate hut some four 
days, and an old woman cooks his food and feeds him like a 
child because he is forbidden to touch any food. On the 
fifth day he is escorted to the river by another man, who 
washes him ; a white goat is killed and cooked by the 
attendant, who feeds the man with the meat ; the goat-skin 
is cut into strips and put upon the man's wrists and round 
his head, and he returns to his temporary home for the night. 
The next day he is again taken to the river and washed, 
and a white fowl is presented to him. He kills it and it is 
cooked for him, and he is again fed with the meat. He is 
then pronounced to be clean and may return to his home. 
It sometimes happens that a warrior spears another man in 
battle, and the latter dies from the wound some time after. 
When death takes place, the relatives go to the warrior and 
tell him of the death, and he is separated at once from the com- 
munity until the ceremonies above described have been per- 
formed. The people say that the ceremonies are necessary in 
order to release the ghost of the dead man, which is bound to 
the warrior who slew him, and is only released on the fulfil- 
ment of the ceremonies. Should a warrior refuse to fulfil the 
ceremonies, the ghost will ask, * Why don't you fulfil the cere- 
monies and let me go ? ' Should a man still refuse to comply, 
the ghost will take him by the throat and strangle him."* 

1 Sir H. Johnston, The Ui^aiidii Protectorate^ ii. 794 ; C. \V. Hobley, 

Protectorate (Lodon, 1902), ii. 743 Eastern U^^anda^ p. 20. 

sq. ; C. W. Ilobley, Eastern U^^amia 

(London, 1902), p. 20. ^ j^ Roscoc, l^he Northern Bantu 

'-* Sir II. Johnston, The U^nda (Cambridy;c, 191 5), p. 289. 


We have seen that among the Nilotic tribes of Kavirondo The 
a very similar ceremony is observed by a murderer for the '"^cmionof 

^ ^ ^ punncatory 

avowed purpose of freeing himself from the ghost of his ceremonies 
victim, which otherwise haunts him.^ The close resemblance ^y^"^^ 
of the ritual in both cases, together with the motives expressly homicides. 
assigned for it, set in the clearest light the essential purpose murderers 
of the purificatory ceremonies observed by a homicide, whether or warriors, 

IS to fVf^f* 

he is a warrior or a murderer : that purpose is simply to the slayers 
rid the man of his victim's ghost, which will otherwise be his ^^^"^ ^^^ 
undoing. The intention of putting strips of goat-skin round the slain. 
his head and wrists may be to disguise him from the ghost. 
A similar custom is observed by other tribes of East Africa 
on a variety of occasions, which will be noticed later on.* 
Even when no mention is made of the ghosts of the slain 
by our authorities, we may still safely assume that the purifi- 
catory rites performed by or for warriors after bloodshed are 
intended to appease or repel or deceive these angry spirits. 
Thus among the Ngoni of British Central Africa, when a some 
victorious army approaches the royal village, it halts by the '^!j^»^° . 
bank of a stream, and all the warriors who have killed the faces or 
enemies smear their bodies and arms with white clay, but ^'^^'^^^ 

^ ' manslayers 

those who were not the first to dip their spears in the blood in various 
of the victims, but merely helped to despatch them, whiten ^^^°^^- 
their right arms only. That night the manslayers sleep in 
the open pen with the cattle, and do not venture near their 
own homes. In the early morning they wash off the white 
clay from their bodies in the river. The witch-doctor attends 
to give them a magic potion, and to smear their persons with 
a fresh coating of clay. This process is repeated on six 
successive days, till their purification is complete. Their 
heads are then shaved, and being pronounced clean they are 
free to return to their own homes.^ Among the Bor&na 
Gallas, when a war-party has returned to the village, the 
victors who have slain a foe are washed by the women 
with a mixture of fat and butter, and thqir faces are painted 
red and white.* Masai warriors, who have killed bar- 
barians in a fight, paint the right half of their bodies red and 

' See above, pp. 87 sq. * Ph. Paiilitschke, Ethfw^::[taphie 

' See below, vol. ii. pp. 7 sgq. Nord-ost-Afrikas : die mattrit'lle. Cul- 

' Donald Fraser, IVinnittg a Primt" titr der Dafulkil, Galla und Somdl 

tive People (London, 19 14), pp. 39 5q» (Berlin, 1893), P* 258. 




In some 
tril)es of 
it is 

for a 

to blacken 
his face, 
paint it red, 
or plaster 
his head 
with mud. 

the left half white.^ Similarly a Nandi, who has slain a 
man of another tribe, paints one side of his body red, and 
the other side white ; for four days after the slaughter 
he is deemed unclean and may not go home. He must 
build a small shelter by the river and live there ; he may not 
associate with his wife or sweetheart, and he may only eat 
porridge, beef, and goat's flesh. At the end of the fourth 
day he must purify himself by drinking a strong purge made 
from the segetet tree, and by drinking' goat's milk mixed 
with bullock's blood.^ Among the VVagogo, of German East 
Africa, a man who has killed an enemy in battle paints a 
red circle round his right eye and a black circle round his 
left eye.* 

Among the Thompson Indians of British Columbia it 
used to be customary for men who had slain enemies to 
blacken their faces. If this precaution were neglected, it 
was believed that the spirits of their victims would blind 
them.* A Pima Indian who slew one of his hereditary foes, 
the Apaches, had regularly to undergo a rigid seclusion and 
purification, which lasted sixteen days. During the whole 
of that time he might not touch meat or salt, nor look at a 
blazing fire, nor speak to a human being. He lived alone 
in the woods attended by an old woman, who brought him 
his scanty dole of food. He kept his head covered almost 
the whole time with a plaster of mud, and he might not 
touch it with his fingers.* A band of Tinneh Indians, who 
had massacred a helpless party of Eskimo at the Copper 
River, considered themselves to be thereby rendered unclean, 
and they observed accordingly a number of curious restrictions 
for a considerable time afterwards. Those who had actually 
shed blood were strictly prohibited from cooking either for 
themselves or for others ; they might not drink out of any 

* A. C. Hollis, The J A? Jtz; (Oxford, 

1905)» P- 353- 

2 A. C. Hollis, The Nandi (Oxford, 

1909)* P- 74. 

3 Rev. II. Cole, "Notes on the 

Wagogo of (lerman Kast Africa/' 
foinnal of the AnthropoIoi:^cal Insti- 
tute^ xxxii. (1902) p. 314. 

* J. Teil, *'The Thompson Indians 
of British C'olumhia," Memoirs of the 
American Museum 0/ Natural History ^ 

vol. ii., Anthropoh^^y i. [Part] iv. 
([New York], April 1900) p. 357. 

* H. H. Bancroft, Native A'aces of 
the Piuific States ( London, 1 87 5- 1 S76). 
>• 553 J Caju. Grossman, cited \n Ninth 
Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethno- 
loi^y (Wasliington, 1892), pp. 475 sq, ; 
K. Russell, *'The Pima Incfians," 
'/wentv-Si.xth Annual Report of the 
Bureau of American Ethnoloi^ (Wash- 
ingttin, 1908), pp. 204 sq. 


dish nor smoke out of any pipe but their own ; they might 
eat no boiled flesh, but only flesh that was raw or had been 
broiled at a fire or dried in the sun ; and at every meal, 
before they would taste a morsel, they had to paint their 
faces with red ochre from the nose to the chin and across 
the cheeks almost to the ears.^ 

Among the Chinook Indians of Oregon and Washington in other 
a man who had killed another had his face painted black J-l^^niar^ 
with grease and charcoal, and wore rings of cedar bark for 
round his head, his ankles, knees, and wrists. After five to blacken 
days the black paint was washed off* his face and replaced or tattoo 
by red. During these five days he might not sleep nor even or^to ^*^^ 
lie down ; he might not look at a child nor see people eating. Slacken tiie 
At the end of his purification he hung his head-ring of cedar their 
bark on a tree, and the tree was then supposed to dry up." ^^^^'cs. 
Among the Eskimo of Langton Bay the killing of an 
Indian and the killing of a whale were considered to be 
equally glorious achievements. The man who had killed an 
Indian was tattooed from the nose to the ears ; the man who 
had killed a whale was tattooed from the mouth to the ears. 
Both heroes had to refrain from all work for five days, and 
from certain foods for a whole year ; in particular, they 
might not eat the heads nor the intestines of animals.^ 
Among the Southern Massim of British New Guinea a 
warrior who has slain a man remains secluded in his house 
for six days. During the first three days he may eat only 
roasted food and must cook it for himself. Then he bathes 
and blackens his face for the remaining three days.* When 
a party of Arunta, in Central Australia, are returning from a 
mission of vengeance, on which they have taken the life of 
an enemy, they stand in fear of the ghost of their victim, 
who is believed to pursue them in the likeness of a small 
bird, uttering a plaintive cry. For some days after their 
return they will not speak of their deed, and continue to 
paint themselves all over with powdered charcoal, and to 

1 S. Heame, Journey from Prince ^ V. Stefdnsson, My Life with the 

of li'a/es's Fort in Hudson^ 5 Bay to the Eskimo (London, 191 3), p. 367. 
Northern Ocean (London, 1795), PP* 

204-206. * C. G. Seligmann, The Mclanesians 

* Franz Boas, Chinook Texts (Wash- of British Neiv Guinea (Cambridge, 

ingtoD, 1894), p. 258. 1 9 10). PP' 563 sq, 


98 THE MARK OF CAIN part i 

decorate their foreheads and noses with green twigs. Finally, 

they paint their bodies and faces with bright colours, and 

become free to talk of the affair ; but still of nights 

they must lie awake listening for the plaintive cry of 

the bird in which they fancy they hear the voice of their 


In Fiji In Fiji any one who had clubbed a human being to 

were ^^*^" death in war was consecrated or tabooed. He was smeared 

painted red red by the king with turmeric from the roots of his hair to 

his heels. A hut was built, and in it he had to pass the 

next three nights, during which he might not lie down, but 

must sleep as he sat. Till the three nights had elapsed he 

might not change his garment, nor remove the turmeric, nor 

enter a house in which there was a woman.^ That these 

rules were intended to protect the Fijian warrior from his 

victim's ghost is strongly suggested, if not proved, by another 

Fijian custom. When these savages had buried a man alive, 

as they often did, they used at nightfall to make a great 

uproar by means of bamboos, trumpet-shells, and so forth, 

for the purpose of frightening away his ghost, lest he should 

attempt to return to his old home. And to render his house 

unattractive to him they dismantled it and clothed it with 

everything that to their thinking seemed most repulsive.^ 

Some So the North American Indians used to run through the 

P*^P^^ village with hideous yells, beating on the furniture, walls, 

expel the and roofs of the huts to drive away the angry ghost of an 

fhe°siain^ enemy whom they had just tortured to death.* A similar 

custom is still observed in various parts of New Guinea and 

the Bismarck Archipelago.^ 

Thus the mark of Cain may have been a mode of dis- 

* (Sir)BaldwinSpenccrand F.J. Gil- * Ch&xlQvoiXt Histoir^ cU la Nouzfelie 

Xgxx J Native Tribes of Central Australia France (Paris, 1 744), vi. 77, 122 sq.'y 

(London, 1899), pp. 493-495 ; iid.y J. F. Lafitau, Mains dcs Sauvages 

Northern Tribes 0/ Central Australia Ameriquains (Paris, 1 724), ii. 279. 

(London, 1904), pp. 563-568. The Compare W. H. Keating, Narrative 

writers suggest that the practice of of an Expedition to the Source of St. 

painting the slayers black is meant to Peter^s River {X-onAon, 1825), i. 109. 
render them invisible to the ghost. ^ R. E. Guise, ** On the tribes 

' T. Williams, Fiji and the Eijians, inhabiting the mouth of the Wanigela 

Second Edition (London, i860), i. 55 j^. River, New Gu'incB." journal of the 

' John Jackson, quoted by Captain Anthropological Institute ^Tuxw'm. (1899) 

J. E. Erskine, foumal of a Cruise pp. 213 sq,\ J. L. D. van der Roest, 

among the Islands of the Western ** Uit het leven der bevolking van 

Pacific (London, 1853), p. 477. Windessi," Tijdschrift voor Indische 

CHAP. Ill 



guising a homicide, or of rendering him so repulsive or The mark 
formidable in appearance that his victim's ghost would nf/^^^ve 
either not know him or at least give him a wide berth, been a 
Elsewhere I have conjectured that mourning costume in pr^^jL 
general was originally a disguise adopted to protect the a homicide 
surviving relatives from the dreaded ghost of the recently victim's ** 
departed.^ Whether that be so or not, it is certain that the Kho^^- 
living do sometimes disguise themselves to escape the notice disguising 
of the dead. Thus in the western districts of Timor, a large **'"* ^r ^^ 
island of the Indian Archipelago, before the body of a man him for- 
is coffined, his wives stand weeping over him, and their "*>^a*^^e 
village gossips must also be present, " all with loosened hair repulsive. 
in order to make themselves unrecognizable by the nitu ^^^^'"^^ 
(spirit) of the dead." ^ Again, among the Herero of South- people 
West Africa, when a man is dying he will sometimes say to s^iTto"^* 
a person whom he does not like, "Whence do you come? disguise 
I do not wish to see you here," and so saying he presses the from^the^ 
fingers of his left hand together in such a way that the tip ghosts of 
of the thumb protrudes between the fingers. " The person 
spoken to, now knows that the other has decided upon 
taking him away {pkuUiaererd) after his death, which means 
that he must die. In many cases, however, he can avoid 
this threatening danger of death. For this purpose he 
hastily leaves the place of the dying man, and looks for an 
onganga {i.e. * doctor,* * magician '), in order to have himself 
undressed, washed, and greased again, and dressed with other 
clothes. He is now quite at ease about the threatening of 
death caused by the deceased ; for, says he, * Now, our father 
does not know me' {Nambano tate ke ndyi i). He has no 
longer any reason to fear the dead." ^ 

Taal- Land' en Volkenkunde^ xl. (1898) 
pp. 157 sq.\ H. von Rosenberg, Der 
Malayische Archipel {VAY^vCy 1878), p. 
461 ; K. Vetter, *' Uber papuanische 
Rechtsverhaltnisse," in Nachrichten 
uber Kaiser Wilhelms-Land und den 
Bismarck 'Archipel (Berlin, 1897), p. 
94 ; B. Hagen, Unter den Papttas 
(Wiesbaden, 1899), p. 266 ; Stefan 
Lehner, "Bukaua," in K. Neuhauss*s 
Deutsch Neu- Guinea ( Berlin, 1 9 1 1 ), iii. 
44 ; George Brown, D. D. , Melanesians 
and Polynesians (London, 1910)* pp. 

142, 145. 

^ J. G. Frazer, ** On certain Burial 
Customs as illustrative of the Primitive 
Theory of the Soul," Jourtial of the 
Anthropological Institute^ xv. (1886) 

P- 73- 

2 J. G. F. Riedel, " Die Landschaft 

Da wan oder West -Timor," Deutsche 

Geographische Blatter^ x. 286. 

8 Rev. G. Viehe, " Some Customs 

of the Ovaherero,*' {South African) 

Folk-lore Journal ^\. (Capetown, 1S79) 

pp. 51 sq. 

loo THE MARK OF CAIN part i 

The mark In like manner we may suppose that, when Cain had 

may*have ^^^^ marked by God, he was quite easy in his mind, believ- 
been ing that the ghost of his murdered brother would no longer 

tattooed^on fccognize and trouble him. What the mark exactly was 
his face or which the divinity affixed to the first murderer for his 

bodv after 

the fashion protection, we have no means of knowing ; at most we can 
adopted by hazard a conjecture on the subject. If it is allowable to 


in savage judge from the similar practices of savages at the present 
tribes. jj^y^ |.jjg deity may have decorated Cain with red, black, or 
white paint, or perhaps with a tasteful combination of these 
colours. For example, he may have painted him red all 
over, like a Fijian ; or white all over, like a Ngoni ; 
or black all over, like an Arunta ; or one half of his 
body red and the other half white, like the Masai and 
the Nandi. Or if he confined his artistic efforts to 
Cain's countenance, he may have painted a red circle round 
his right eye and a black circle round his left eye, in the 
Wagogo style ; or he may have embellished his face from 
the nose to the chin, and from the mouth to the ears, with 
a delicate shade of vermilion, after the manner of the Tinneh 
Indians. Or he may have plastered his head with mud, like 
the Pimas, or his whole body with cow's dung, like the 
Kavirondo. Or again, he may have tattooed him from 
the nose tp the ears, like the Eskimo, or between the eye- 
brows, like the Thonga, so as to raise pimples and 
give him the appearance of a frowning buffala Thus 
adorned the first Mr. Smith — for Cain means Smith ^ — may 
have paraded the waste places of the earth without the 
least fear of being recognized and molested by his victim's 
: : ghost. 
Jrhis* This explanation of the mark of Cain has the advantage 

tjxpTanation Qf relieving the Biblical narrative from a manifest absurdity. 

of the mark ii- • r^ \ m \ \ 

of Cain For on the usual mterpretation God amxed the mark to Cain 
relieves the jj^ order to save him from human assailant^, apparently 
narrative forgetting that there was nobody to assail him, since the 
manifest carth was as yet inhabited only by the murderer himself and 
absurdity, his parents. Hence by assuming that the foe of whom the 

* T. K. Chcyne, in Encyclopaedia S. R. Driver, and Ch. A. Bri^js, 
Biblica (Edinburgh, 1899-^1903), i. Hebrew and English Lexicon (Oxford, 
col. 620, 5,v. "Cain"; F. Brown, 1906), p. 8S3, j.z'. pp. 


first murderer went in fear was a ghost instead of a living 
man, we avoid the irreverence of imputing to the deity a 
grave lapse of memory little in keeping with the divine 
omniscience. Here again, therefore, the comparative method 
approves itself a powerful advocatus Dei, 

To this explanation of the mark of Cain it may be in the 
objected, with some show of reason, that the ghost of the narrative it 
murdered Abel is nowhere alluded to in the Biblical >s rather 
narrative, according to which it was not the ghost, but the than the 
blood, of his victim which endangered the murderer by calling ghost of Uie 
aloud from the ground for vengeance. It is true that the Abel which 
conception of blood thus endowed with a voice and with a ^^ ^^^ 

* vengeance. 

thirst for vengeance differs from the conception of a ghost, 
being a simpler and possibly a more primitive idea ; yet in 
practice it perhaps made little material difference to the 
manslayer whether he believed himself to be pursued by 
the bloody phantom or only by the dolorous voice of his 
victim's blood shrieking after him. Still it cannot be denied 
that in the Old Testament it is the actual blood, and not the 
ghost, of the murdered person which figures prominently in 
the references to manslaughter and to the retribution which 
should overtake the slayer. Thus in the Priestly Document 
we read, with regard to homicide, that " blood, it polluteth the 
land : and no expiation can be made for the land for the 
blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that 
shed it" ^ The notion seems to have been, that so long as Fear of 
the blood lay exposed to the air and had not run away or ^lood^ 
soaked into the ground, it continued to call aloud for uncovered 
vengeance on the murderer, but that its mouth could be ^^^^^ 
stopped and its voice stifled by a handful of earth. Hence 
Job, looking for death and passionately appealing against 
the injustice of his fate, cries out in his agony, " O earth, 
cover not my blood, and let my cry have no resting place." ' 
And in denouncing the wrath of God on Jerusalem for all 
the innocent blood shed in the city, the prophet Ezekiel ex- 
claimis, " Woe to the bloody city, to the caldron whose rust is 
therein, and whose rust is not gone out of it ! bring it out 
piece by piece ; no lot is fallen upon it. For her blood is in 

* Numbers xxxv. 33, ' Job xvi iS. 




The dread 
of un- 
whether of 
man or of 

Even the 
blood of 
may be 
to cry 
aloud for 

the midst of her ; she set it upon the bare rock ; she poured 
it not on the ground to cover it with dust ; that it might 
cause fury to come up to take vengeance, I have set her 
blood upon the bare rock, that it should not be covered/' ^ 
Here it is mentioned as a great aggravation alike of the 
guilt and of the danger of Jerusalem, that the blood shed in 
her midst still weltered in clotted pools, like rust, on her 
rocky surface instead of being mercifully covered with dust 
or allowed to soak into the ground ; for so long as it lay 
there festering in the sun, the multitudinous voices of the 
slain would ascend up to heaven, clamouring in a doleful 
chorus for vengeance on their slayers.^ The belief that 
unavenged human blood cries aloud from the ground is still 
held by the Arabs of Moab. A Bedouin of that country told 
a preaching friar that " the blood cries from the earth, and it 
continues to cry until the blood of an enemy has been shed."* 
So scrupulous indeed were the ancient Hebrews about 
leaving blood of any sort exposed to the air, that the 
Levitical law commands the hunter or fowler to cover 
up with dust the blood of the beast or fowl whiqh he 
has poured out on the ground.* The precept may well 
embody a traditional usage based on an ancient belief that 
animals, like men, acknowledged the obligation of avenging 
the death of their kind on their murderer or his kinsfolk, 
and that consequently if their blood was left uncovered, it 
would cry aloud to all beasts or birds of the same sort to 
exact retribution from the guilty hunter or fowler who had 
spilt it on the ground. At all events similar notions as to 
the practice of blood revenge by animals and birds are 
common among savages in modern times,* and they may 
well have prevailed among the Semites in antiquity, though 
we need not suppose that they were consciously present to 
the mind of the author or editor of Leviticus. It would 
appear that in the opinion of some savages not only may 

by running through the soil. 

^ A. Jaussen, Cou tunics des Arabgs 
au pays de Moab (Paris, 1908), p. 227. 

** Leviticus xvii. 13. 

' For examples I may refer the 
reader to Spirits 0/ the Corn and of the 
Wild^ ii. 204 sgq. ( The Golden Hough ^ 
Third Edition, Part v.). 

* Ezekiel xxiv. 6-8. 

' So Aeschylus tells us that "venge- 
ful gore sets hard and Vill not run 
away." See Choephor. 65 (59), Wray 
06^0$ TiTrjyev 06 diapp^Sap, with the 
commentaries of Paley and Verrall ia 
their editions. The words ou dtappvSav 
imply that the blood will not disappear 





the blood of animals cry to heaven for vengeance, but 
if its cry is not answered, the slayer of the beast may be 
compelled, like Cain, to roam an outlaw from land to land 
for the rest of his life. Thus in a legend of the Waboungou, 
a tribe of German East Africa, we hear of a skilful hunter 
who one day killed an elephant with his arrows. Thereupon a 
mysterious personage called the Great Sultan appeared to him 
and said, " The smell of spilt blood has reached even to me. 
That blood calls for vengeance. If you do not bring me the 
bones of the elephant, there can be no peace between us. 
I will tell all the Sultans to drive you from their countries, so 
that you will henceforth find no place where to build a hut." 
But the obstinate hunter refused to bring the bones of the 
elephant to the Great Sultan. Therefore the Sultan drove 
him from his kingdom, and the wretch went roving from land 
to land till the day of his death,^ 

We may smile if we please at these quaint fancies of These 
vengeful ghosts, shrieking gore, and Earth opening her mouth ^"^5,^^ 
to drink blood or to vomit out her guilty inhabitants ; never- haveserved 
thcless it is probable that these and many other notions p^ose 
equally unfounded have served a useful purpose in fortifying in the 
the respect for human life by the adventitious aid of super- nloraiity'^by 
stitious terror. The venerable framework of society rests on reinforcing 
many pillars, of which the most solid are nature, reason, and S'h^f' 
justice ; yet at certain stages of its slow and laborious con- ^^'^^• 
struction it could ill have, dispensed with the frail prop of 
superstition.* If the day should ever come when the great 
edifice has been carried to completion and reposes in simple 
majesty on adamantine foundations, it will be possible, with- 
out risk to its stability, to cut away and destroy the rotten 
timbers that shored it up in the process of building. 

* Mgr. Lechaptois, Aux Rives du evolution the fundamental institutions of 
Tanganika (Algiers, 19 13), pp. 194 J^- society (government, private property, 

marriage, and the security of human 

* In Psyche's Task (Second Edition, life) have received from superstition, 
1913) I have attempted to illustrate the that is, from the purely imaginary and 
support which in the course of their baseless fears of mankind. 



I. Introduction 




essay on 
the Great 

When the Council of the Royal Anthropological Institute 
invited me to deliver the annual Huxley lecture, I gratefully 
accepted the invitation, esteeming it a high honour to be thus 
associated with one for whom, both as a thinker and as a man, 
I entertain a deep respect, and with whose attitude towards 
the great problems of life I am in cordial sympathy. His 
own works >vill long keep his memory green ; but it is fitting 
that our science should lay, year by year, a wreath on the 
grave of one of the most honoured of its exponents. 

Casting about for a suitable subject, I remembered 
that in his later life Huxl ey devoted some of his well- 
earned leisure to examining those traditions as to the 
^arly ages of the world which are recorded in the 
Book of Genesis ; and accordingly I thought that I might 
appropriately take one of them for the theme of my dis- 
course. The one which I have chosen is the familiar story 
of the Great Flood. Huxley himself discussed it in an 
instructive essay written with all the charm of his lucid and 
r incisive style.^ His ai m was to show that, treated as a 
( record of a deluge which overwhelmed the whole world, 
\ drowning almost all men and animals, the story conflicts 
\ with the plain teaching of geology and must be rejected as 
\^a fable. I shall not attempt either to reinforce or to criticize 
his arguments and his conclusions, for the simple reason that 

^ The part of this chapter which 
deals with the ancient flood stories of 
Babylonia, Palestine, and Greece, was 
delivered as the annual Huxley lecture 
before the Royal Anthropological In- 

stitute of Great Britain and Ireland, 
November, 1916. 

* ** Hasisadra*s Adventure," CoU 
lected Essays y vol. iv. (London, 191 1), 
pp. 239-2S6. 



I am no geologist, and that for me to express an opinion TbefHasent 
on such a matter would be a mere impertinence. 1 have \^f,f 
approached the subject from a different side, namely, from diluvial. 
that of tradition. It has long been known that legends of [sajiudyin 
a great flood, in which almost all men perished, are widely comps™- 
diffused over the world ; and accordingly what I have tried folklore. 
to do is to collect and compare these le gends, and to inqui re 
what conclusions are t o be deduced froni the comparisj in. 
In short, iriy discussion of the stories is a study in com- 
parative folk-lore. My purpose is to discover how the 
narratives aroge, and how they came to be ■tn widpiiprpad 
over the earth ; with the question of their truth or falsehood 
I am not primarily concerned, though of course it cannot be 
ignored in considering the problem of their origin. The 
inquiry thus defined is not a novel one. It has often been 
attempted, especially in recent years, and in pursuing It I 
have made ample use of the labours of my predecessors, 
some of whom have discussed the subject with great learning 
and ability. In particular, I would acknowledge my debt 
to the eminent German geographer and anthropologist, the 
late Dr. Richard Andree, whose monograph on diluvial 
traditions, like all his writings, is a model of sound learning 
and good sense, set forth with the utmost clearness and 

' R. Andree, Die Fliilsagen (Bions- eharacleriicd by the union of accurate 

wick, I St) I ). Other noiable discussions leflming and good sense. On the 

of the same theme in lecent years are oilier h&nd, the works of Uscner, 

Iherollowing; H. Usener, />l>i'lH/^»^ lioklen. and Geiland aie vitinted 

it^tn (Bonn, 1S99) ; id., " Zu dm by their fancifut and improbable 

Sintflulhsagen," Kletrte S(kriftiii, iv. theories as 10 the origin of the 

(Berlin, 1913) pp. 381-396; M. legends in solar or lunar myths. But 

Winternitz, Die Flnliagen dis Allir. in spate of this defect Gerland's treatise 

ihttrnj und dir NatarBolker (Vienna, is valuable for the number of parallel 

iQot) [reprinted from MUtheilungtn legends which the author's ethnoti:^icaI 

dtr antkrepeltigischtn Gtsellschafi hi learning has collected from many races. 

men, »0l. E, Biiklen, "Die Among earlier discusiions of the same 

Sintfiutsafe, Vetsuch einer neuen Er- theme may be mentioned Philipp Butt- 

kMraa^," ArMv /ilr Rtligiaaswiacn- mann, " Ucber den Mythos det Sllnd- 

tckt^l, »}.' (1903) pp. 1-61, 97-150; flut," .1.>Mo/.>,eKJ (Berlin, 1818-1829), 

G. GttXiTiA, Der Myfhus zvn dtr Sint- i. 180-ZI4 ; Francois I.enorman t, Zc« 

A' (Botin, igis). Of these works, Origines de PHiihire d^apris la Bible, 

thai of Winternilz contain.^ a useful dc la Criaticn de P/Iomme au Diluge 

list of flood legends, with references to (ratis, 1880), pp. 3S1 -491 ; (Sir) 

the autliorities and a full analysis of Henry II, Howorlh, The Mammelh 

the principal incidents in the legends. and llie //pt>i/ [London, 18S7). 
Like the treatise of 11. Andree, it is 

io6 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

Of the Apart from the intrinsic interest of such legends as pro- 

siiTinarities f^ssed rccords of a catastrophe which destroyed at a blow 

which almost the whole human race, they deserve to be studied 

between the fo^ the sake of their bearing on a general question which is 

*^**stoms at present Jivarmly debated among anthropologists. That 

of races question isjHow are we to explain the numerous and striking 

indifferent similarities which obtain between the beliefs and customs 

parts of the 

world, of races inhabiting distant parts of the world ? Are such 

'ro^bi^ resemblances due to the transmission of the customs and 

to be ex- beliefs from one race to another, either by immediate 

hidepend^ contact or through the medium of intervening peoples ? Or 

ent origin, have they arisen independently in many different races 

by trans-" through the similar working of the human mind under 

mission of similar circumstances ?y Now, if I may presume to offer an 

and beliefs Opinion on this much-debated problem, I would say at once 

from one ^hat, put in the form of an antithesis between mutually 

race to •" 

another. exclusive views, the question seems to me absurd, f So far 
as I can judge, all experience and all probability \ire in 
favour of the conclusion, that both causes have operated 
extensively and powerfully to produce the observed simi- 
larities of custom and belief among the various races of 
mankind /in other words, many of these resemblances are 
to be explained by simple transmission, with more or less of 
modification, from people to people, and many are to be 
explained as having originated independently through the 
similar action of the human mind in response to similar 
environment ) If that is so — and I confess to thinking that 
this is the omy reasonable and probable view — it will follow 
that in attempting to account for any particular case of 
resemblance which may be traced between the customs and 
beliefs of different races, it would be futile to appeal to the 
general principle either of transmission or of independent 
origin ; each case must be judged on its own merits after an 
impartial scrutiny of the facts and referred to the one or 
the other principle, or possibly to a combination of the two, 
according as the balance of evidence inclines to the one 
side or to the other, or hangs evenly between them. 

This general conclusion, which accepts the two prin- 
ciples of transmission and independent origin as both of 
them true and valid within certain limits, is confirmed by 


the particular investigation of diluvial traditions. For This 
it is certain that legends of a great flood are found i^con^°° 
dispersed among many diverse peoples in distant regions firmed by 
of the earth, and so far as demonstration in such matters of^iiuviai 
is possible, it can be demonstrated that the similarities traditions, 
which undoubtedly exist between many of these legends 
are due partly to direct transmission from one people 
to another, and partly to similar, but quite independ- 
ent, experiences either of great floods or of phenomena 
which suggested the occurrence of great floods, in many 
different parts of the world. Thus the study of these 
traditions, quite apart from any conclusions to which it may 
lead us concerning their historical credibility, may serve a 
useful purpose if it mitigates the heat with which the con- 
troversy has sometimes been carried on, by convincing the 
extreme partisans of both principles that in this as in so 
many other disputes the truth lies wholly neither on the one 
side nor on the other, but somewhere between the two. 

§ 2. The Babylonian Story of a Great Flood 

Of all the legends of a Great Flood recorded in literature. The oldest 
by far the oldest is the Babylonian or rather the Sumerian ; a clr^t^ 
for we now know that, ancient as was the Babylonian version Fioodisthe 
of the story, it .was de rived by the Babylonians from their or rather*^ 
still more^ anci ent predecessors, the Sumeriam s, from whom Sumerian. 
the Semitic inhabitants of Babylonia appear to have derived 
the principal elements of their civilization. 

The Babylonian tradition of the Great Flood has been The 
known to Western scholars from the time of antiquity, since f*^du^n o^ 

it was re corded bv the native Ba l;>Ylnnian higfnrian ttprn^ns, the flood as 

who composed a history of his country in the fiisL-halL^f ^erosus^^ 
the third r^ntury hpf?r? ^ur ^ra Berosus wrote in Gree k and 
his work has not come down to us, but fragments of it have 
been preserved by later Greek historians, and among these 
fragments is fortunately his account of the deluge*. It runs 
as follows : — ^ 

The great flood took place in the reign of Xisuthrus, 

* Eusebius, Chronivoyttm Liber Gniecontm^ ed. C. Muller, ii. (Paris, 
PrioTf ed. A. Schoene (Berlin, 1875), 1878) pp. 501 sq. Eusebius had not 
coll. 19 sqq. ; Fragmtnta Historuorum the original work of Berosus before 





tenth King 
of Babylon, 
with his 
family and 
was saved 
from the 
flood in a 
great ship. 

the tenth king of Babylon. Now the god Cronus appeared 
to him in a dream and warned him that all men would be 
destroyed by a flood on the fifteenth day of the month 
Daesius, which was the eighth month of the Macedonian 
calendar.^ Therefore the god enjoined him to write a 
history of the world from the beginning and to bury it for 
safety in Sippar, the city of the Sun.^ Moreover, he was to 
build a ship and embark in it with his kinsfolk and friends, 
and to lay up in it a store of meat and drink, and to bring 
living things, both fowls and four-footed beasts, into the 
ship, and when he had made all things ready he was to set 
sail. And when he asked, '* And whither shall I sail ? " the 

him. He copied from Julias Africanus, 
who copied from Alexander Polyhistor 
(a contemporary of Sulla in the first 
century B.C.), who copied from Apollo- 
dorus, who may have copied from 
Berosus himself. See C. Miiller, 
Fragnunta Historicorum Graecorum^ 
ii. 496. Even the original Greek text 
of Eusebias is lost and is known only 
through an Armenian translation, of 
which a Latin version is printed by 
A. Schoene and C. Miiller, lice. A 
Greek version of the Babylonian legend 
is preserved in the chronicle of the 
Christian writer Georgius Syncellus, 
who lived at the end of the eighth and 
the beginning of the ninth century. 
The Greek version of Syncellus is 
printed side by side with the Latin 
translation of Eusebius's version in 
A. Schoene*s edition of Eusebius's 
Chronick and in C. Miiller's Fragmenta 
Historicorum Graecorum^ lice, 

* L. Ideler, Handbuck dUr mathe- 
maliseken und teehnischcn Chronologie 
(Berlin, 1825), i. 393, 402 sq, ; W. 
Smith, Dictionary of Gruk and Roman 
Antiquities, Third Edition (London, 
1890-1891), i. 338 J^., J.!/. "Calen- 
dar." The date is probably derived 
from Berosus^ himself, who, writing in 
Greek under the Macedonian empire, 
would naturally use the Macedonian 
calendar. However, we cannot say at 
what time of the year the month Daesius ' 
fell at Babylon in the time of Berosus, 
and consequently we do not knowat what 
time of the year he supposed the deluge 

to have occurred. For though the 
order of the months in the Macedonian 
calendar was the same everywhere, 
their dates fell diflferently in different 
places. See The Dying God^ p. 116, 
«. ^ In one passage {AratuSy 53) 
Plutarch tells us that the Macedonian 
month Daesius was equivalent to the 
Attic month Anthesterion, which 
roughly corresponded to our February. 
But elsewhere he says that the battle 
of Granicus was fought in the Mace- 
donian month Daesius {Alexander^ 16) 
and the Attic month Thargelion 
{CamilluSj 19), which was approxi- 
mately equivalent to our May. 

^ Ke\eu(ra( otv 5(a ypafjifidTUu viiVTiav 
dpX^i 'foi fJi^(ra Kal reXciTAj dpv^avra 
deiyou iv ir6\et iiKiov ^iinrdpois. The 
Greek is peculiar and ambiguous. 
(JpiJ^oKTo, ** having dug," might mean 
either that he was to bury the record 
in the ground or to dig it up. The 
corresponding word in the Armenian 
version of Eusebius is said to be 
equally ambiguous. I have preferred 
the former sense as more appropriate 
and as confirmed by the sequel (see 
below, p. 109). Ziinrdpois is a correction 
of Scaliger for the manuscript reading 
Xiardpoii. In modern times many 
thousands of clay tablets, containing 
records of legal transactions, have been 
found in the ancient Babylonian city 
of Sippar. See Morris Jastrow, TAe 
Religion of Babylonia and Assyria 
(Boston, 1898), p. 10. 


god answered him, " To the gods ; but first thou shalt pray 

for all good things to men." So he obeyed and built the 

ship, and the length of it was five furlongs,^ and the breadth 

of it was two furlongs ; and when he had gathered all 

things together he stored them in the ship and embarked 

his children and friends. And when the flood had come 

and immediately abated, Xisuthrus let fly some of the birds. 

But as they could find no food nor yet a place to rest, 

they came back to the ship. And again after some days 

Xisuthrus let fly the birds ; and they returned again to the 

ship with their feet daubed with clay. A third time he let 

them fly, and they returned no more to the vessel. Then 

Xisuthrus perceived that the land had appeared above the 

water ; so he parted some of the seams of the ship, and 

looking out he saw the shore, and drove the ship aground 

on a mountain, and stepped ashore with his wife, and his 

daughter, and the helmsman. And he worshipped the 

ground, and built an altar, and when he had sacrificed to 

the gods, h ^ disappeared with those who had disembarked 

from the ship. And when those who had remained in 

the ship saw that he and his company returned not, they 

disembarked likewise and sought him, calling him by name. 

But Xisuthrus himself was nowhere to be seen. Yet a voice 

from the air bade them fear the gods, for that he himself for 

his piety was gone to dwell with the gods, and that his wife, 

and his daughter, and the helmsman partook of the same 

honour.y^ And he commanded them that they should go to 

Babylon, and take up the scriptures which they had buried, 

and distribute them among men. Moreover, he told them 

that the land in which they stood was Armenia. And when 

they heard these things, they sacrificed to the gods and 

journeyed on foot to Babylon. But of the ship that grounded 

on the mountains of Armenia a part remains to this day,* 

* The Armenian text of Eusebius rocky slope, at a height of over 13,000 

stretches the length of the ship to feet, an isolated log, which he humor- 

fifteen furlongs, or nearly two miles, ously proposed to identify as one of 

which seems exorbitant when we con- the timbers of Noah's ark. See (Lord) 

sider the state of the shipbuilding James Bryce, Transcaucasia atid 

industry in the days before the flood. Ararat, Fourth Edition (London, 

No modem dock could hold such a 1896), p. 280. In this work (pp. 

vessel. 211 sqq. ) Lord Bryce has discussed at 

' When Lord Bryce ascended Mount length the traditional association of 

Ararat in 1876, he found, on a bare Mount Ararat with Noah's flood. 





Nicolaus of 
on the 

of the 
version of 
the flood 
story in the 
ruins of 

and some people scrape the bitumen off it and use it in 
charms. So when they were come to Babylon they dug up 
the scriptures in Sippar, and built many cities, and restored 
the sanctuaries, and repeopled Babylon. 

According to the Greek historian Nicolaus of Damascus, 
a • contemporary and friend of Augustus and of Herod the 
Great, " there is above Minyas in Armenia a great mountain 
called Baris, to which, as the story goes, many people 
fled for refuge in the flood and were saved ; they say too 
that a certain man, floating in an ark, grounded on the 
summit, and that remains of the timbers were preserved for 
a long time. The man may have been he who was recorded 
by Moses, the legislator of the Jews." ^ Whether Nicolaus 
of Damascus drew this information from Babylonian or 
Hebrew tradition, may be doubted ; the reference to Moses 
seems to show that he was acquainted with the narrative in 
Genesis, which he may easily have learned through his 
patron Herod. 

For many centuries the Babylonian tradition of a great 
flood was known to Western scholars only through its 
preservation in the Greek fragments of Berosus ; it was re- 
served for modern times to recover the original Babylonian 
version from the long-lost archives of Assyria. In the 
course of those excavations at Nineveh, which were one of the 
glories of the nineteenth century and which made an epoch 
in the study of ancient history, the English ^explorers were 
fortunate enough to discover extensive remains "of^ the 
l ibrary of the prreat kipg- Ashurbanipal, who reigned from 
668 to 626 B.C. in the splendid sunset^of the Assyrian 
empire, carrying the terror of his arms to the banks of the 
Nile, embellishing his capital with magnificent structures, 
and gathering within its walls from far and near a vast 
literature, historical, scientific, grammatical and religious, for 
the enlightenment of his people.^ The literature, of which 

*■ Nicolaus Damascenus, quoted by 
Josephus, Antiquit. Jud. i. 3, 6 ; 
Friigmenta Historicorum Graeconwiy 
ed. Q, MUller, ii. 415, Frag. 76. For 
Minyas some scholars would substitute 
Milyas in the text, comparing Pliny, 
Nat. Hist, V. 147, ''Attingit Galatia 
et Pamphyliac Cabaliam et Milyas 

qui circa Barim sitn/.^* The reading 
Minyas is retained by C. Mtiller and 
defended by A. Reinach, AW San- 
gariou (Paris, I9I3)» PP- 47 ^99* 

* Morris Jastrow, The Relii:;ion of 
Babylonia and A ssyria{hosioTif U.S. A. , 
1898), p. 43. 


a great part was borrowed from Babylonian originals, was 
inscribed in cuneiform characters on tablets of soft clay, 
which we re after wards baked hard and deposited in the 
library. Apparently the library was arranged in an upper 
story of the palace, which, in the last sack of the city, 
collapsed in the flames, shattering the tablets to pieces in 
its fall. Many of them are still cracked and scorched by 
the heat of the burning ruins. In later ages the ruins were 
ransacked by antiquaries of the class of Dousterswivel, who 
sought among them for the buried treasures not of learning 
but of gold, and by their labours contributed still further 
to the disruption and disintegration of the precious records. 
To complete their destruction the rain, soaking through the 
ground every spring, saturates them with water containing 
chemicals, which form in every crack and fissure crystals 
that by their growth split the already broken tablets into 
minuter fragments. Yet by jaboriously piecin g together a 
multitude of these fragmentsGeorge Smith, of the British 
Museum, was able Lu lecOMpose the now famous epic of 
Gilgamesh in twelve c antos, or rather tablets, the eleventh 
of which contains ~tHe Babylo nian st ory of the deluge. The 
great discovery was announced by Mr. Smith at a meeting 
of the Society of Biblical Archaeology on December the 
3rd, 1872.^ 

It was ingeniously conjectured by Sir Henry Rawlinson The 
that the twelve cantos of the Gilgamesh epic corresponded ^'l^amesh 
to the twelve signs of the zodiac, so that the course of the 
poem followed, as it were,* the course of the sun through the 
twelve months of the year. The theory is to some extent 
confirmed by the place assigned to the flood legend in the 
eleventh canto ; for the eleventh Babylonian month fell at 
the height of the rainy season, it was dedicated to the storm- 
god Ramman, and its name is .said to signify " month of the 
curse of rain." ^ Be that as it may, the story as it stands is 

> George Smith, The Chaldean Ac- and Edinburgh, 1885), i. 47 ; M. 

count of Genesis^ a new edition revised Jastrow, A^e/i^'on of Babylonia and 

and corrected by A. H. Sayce (London, Assyria (Boston, 1898), pp. 463, 484, 

1880), pp. I J^^. 510; id ^ Hebrew and Babylonian 

* E. Schrader, The Cuneiform In- Myths (London, 1914), p. 325 note *. 

scriptions and the Old Testament^ trans- According to Schrader, ** the Akkadian 

lated by O. C. Whitehouse (London name of the month, iti asa sfgi—As-^ 




an episode or digression destitute of all organic connexion 
with the rest of the poem. It is introduced as follows : — ^ 
The The hero of the poem, Gilgamesh, has Ingt hig H^ar frifip'^ 

journey of Engidu ^ bv death, and he himself has fallen grievously sick. 

Gilgamesh _ .^___— — , 5 , , .. ^ ■ r - - 

to consult Saddened by the past and anxiousTbr the future, nfi ffiSOlves 
his deified ^q gggj^ q^^ }^jg remote ancestor Ut-napishtim,^ son of Ubara- 


ut- Tutu, and to inquire of him how mortal man can attain to 

napishtim. gtemal life. For surely, he thought, Ut-napishtim must know 
the secret, since he has been made like to the gods and now 
dwells somewhere far aw^y in blissful immortality. A weary 
and a perilous journey must Gilgamesh accomplish to come 
at him. He passes the mountain, guarded by a scorpion 
man and woman, where the sun goes down : he ^verses a 
dark and dreadful road never trodden before by mortal man : 
he is ferried across a wide sea : he crosses the Water of 
Death by a narrow bridge, and at last he enters the presence 

Syrian ar(2>$ arratzunni^ signifies * month 
of the curse of rain,* i.e. * month of the 
judgment of the Flood.'" Further 
correspondences between the cantos 
and the months arc noted by Professor 

1 For translations or summaiies of 
the deluge legend, see Eberhard 
Schrader, TTit Cuneiform Inscriptions 
and the Old Testament, translated by 
Rev. Owen C. Whitehouse (London 
and Edinburgh, 1885-1888), i. 46 
sqq. ; M. Jastrow, The Religion of 
Babylonia and Assyria (Boston, 1898), 
pp. 495 sqq, ; id., Hebrau and Baby- 
lonian Traditions (London, 1 9 14), 
pp. 325 sqq, ; L. W. King, Babylon- 
ian Religion and Mythology (London, 
1899), pp. 127 sqq. ; P. Jensen, 
Assyrisch - Bahylonische Mythen und 
Epen (Berlin, 1900), pp. 229 sqq, ; 
W. Muss-Arnolt, in R. F. Harper's 
Assyrian and Babylonian Literature 
(New York, 1 901), pp. 350 sqq. ; 
IL Zimmern, in E. Schrader's Die 
Keilinschriften und das Alte Testament, 
Dritte Auflage (Berlin, 1902), pp. 544 
sqq. ; Alfred Jeremias, Das Alte Testa- 
ment im Lii'hte des A It en Orients, 
Zweite Auflage (Berlin, 1906), pp. 228 
sqq. ; P. Dhorme, Choix de Textes 
Religietix Assyro-Babyloniens (Paris, 
1907), pp. 100 sqq, ; Arthur Ungnad, 

in H. Gressmann's Altorientalische 
Texte und Bilder zum Alten Testa- 
mente (Tubingen, 1909), i. 50 sqq, ; 
A. Ungnad und H. Gressmann, Das 
Gilgamesch - Epos (Gottingen, 1 9 1 1 ), 
pp. 52 sqq. ; R. W. Rogers, Cunei- 
form Parallels to the Old Testa- 
ment (Oxford [19 1 2]), pp. 90 sqq. 
Of these works the translations of 
Jensen, Dhorme, and Rogers are 
accompanied by the original Baby- 
lonian text printed in Roman char- 
acters. The version in the text is 
based on a comparison of these various 

* The name is said to be Sumerian, 
meaning ** Enki (Semitic Ea) is 
Creator." See A. Ungnad und H. 
Gressmann, Das Gilgamesch- Epos, pp. 
75 sq. The name was formerly read 
as Eabani. 

' The name is said to mean ** He 
saw (///a, /?/) life," in the sense of ** He 
found life." See H. Zimmern, in E. 
Schrader's Dit Keilinschriften ufiddas 
Alte Testament^, p. 545 note 2. Com- 
pare P. Jensen, Assyrisch-Babylonische 
Mythen utui Epen, p. 466 ; A. Ungnad 
und H. Gressmann, Das Gilgamesch- 
Epos, p. 80. The name was formerly 
read as Par-napishtim, Per-napishtini, 
or Tslt-uapishtim. 



of Ut-napishtim.^ But when he puts to his great ancestor 
the question, how man may attain to eternal life, he receives 
a discouraging reply : the sage tells him t hat immorta lity 
is not for man. S urprised at this answer from one who ha( 
been a man a nd was now himself immorta l, Gifgamesh 
naturally asks his venerable relative fo explain how he had 
contrived to evade the common doom. I t is in answer to 

this P^'^t'^d qi?^c<^*^«^ »^^«- TTf-nnpi'oVi^i'm H]q th? g«^r>ry7rf^K^ 

great floods which runs as followo ! — ^ 

Ut-napishtim spoke to him, to Gilgamesh : " I will reveal 
to thee, O Gilgamesh, a hidden word, and the purpose ^ of 
the gods will I declare to thee. Shurippak, a city which 
thou knowest, which lies on the bank of the Euphrates, that 
city was old ; ^ and the gods within it, their heart prompted 
the great gods to send a flood.* There was their father 
Anu, their counsellor the warrior Enlil,^ their messenger 
Ninib, their prince Ennugi. The Lord of Wisdom, Ea, sat 
also with them, he repeated their word to the hut ® of reeds, 
saying, * O reed hut, reed hut, O wall, wall, O reed hut 
hearken, O wall attend. O man of Shurippak, son of 

* As to the journey, narrated in the 
ninth and tenth cantos of the poem, 
see M. Jastrow, The Religion of Baby- 
lonia and Assyria^ pp. 487-492; 
L. W. King, Babylonian Religion and 
Mythology^ pp. 165-171 ; A. Ungnad 
und H. Gressmann, Das Gilgamesch- 

Epos, pp. 134-139- 

* Or "decision" (M. Jastrow, R. 
W. Rogers), "secret" (P. Jensen, A. 
Jeremias, P. Dhorme, A. Ungnad), 
«* mystery" (W. Muss-Arnolt). The 
same Assyrian word {pirishtu) occurs 
again twice towards, the end of the 
canto. See below, pp. 117,118. It may 
be connected with the Hebrew verb 
parash (sh9)» " make distinct, declare," 
with which the lexicographers compare' 
the Assyrian /rtrrfj«. See W. Gcsenius, 
Hebrdisches und Aramaisches I/and- 
worterbuch}^ bcarbeitet von F. Buhl 
(Leipsic, 1905), p. 604. The "pur- 
pose" or "decision " in question is the 
resolve of the gods to bring a flood 
upon the world. 

' H. Zimmern proposed, by a slight 
change of reading, to translate " that 
city was not pious " (E. Schradef, Die 






the story of 

the great 


Keilinschriften und das A lie Testa- 
ment ^'^ p. 546, note •). This would 
assign the wickedness of the city as the 
cause of its destruction by the flood. 
But the suggested reading and render- 
ing have not been accepted by later 
editors and translators. 

* Or " the gods thereof induced the 
great gods to bring a cyclone over it " 
(M. Jastrow, Hebrew attd Babylonian 
Traditions y p. 326). 

6 Or mil, less correctly Ellil. The 
name was formerly read Bel (so Jensen 
and Dhorme, and formerly Jastrow), 
Enlil is the Sumcrian name of the god, 
Bel is his Semitic name. Together 
with Anu, the Father of the Gods, and 
Enki (the Semitic Ea), he made up the 
highest trinity of the ancient Sumerians. 
See L. VV. King, Babylonian Religion 
and Mythology y p. 14 ; A. Ungnad 
und H. Gressmann, Das Gilgamesch^ 
EpoSy p. 76. 

® Or perhaps rather "fence." So 
Dhorme translates it '•^haiede roscaux.^^ 
As to the hut or wall of reeds, see 
below, p. 122. 


is warned 
by the god 
Ea to 

build a ship 
and save 
in it. 

1 14 THE GREA T FLOOD part 1 

Ubara-Tutu, pull down thy house, build a ship, forsake thy 
possessions, take heed for thy life ! Thy gods abandon, 
save thy life, bring living seed of every kind into the ship. 
As for the ship which thou shalt build, well planned must be 
its dimensions, its breadth and its length shall bear propor- 
tions each to each, and thou shalt launch it in the ocean.' ^ 
I took heed and spake unto Ea, my lord, saying, 'The 
command, O my lord, which thou hast given, I will honour 
and will fulfil. But how shall I make answer unto the city, 
the people and the elders thereof?' Ea opened his mouth 
and spake, and he said unto me his servant, ** Thus shalt 
thou answer and say unto them : Because Enlil hates me, 
no longer may I abide in your city nor lay my head on 
Enlil's earth. Down into the deep sea must I go with Ea, 
The my lord, to dwell.' " So Ut-napishtim obeyed the god Ea 

th"sw^.''^ and gathered together the wood and all things needful for 
the building of the ship, and on the fifth day he laid down 
the hull. In the shape of a barge he built it, and on it he 
set a house a hundred and twenty cubits high, and he 
divided the house into six stories, and in each story he 
made nine rooms. Water-plugs he fastened within it ; the 
outside he daubed with bitumen, and the inside he caulked 
with pitch. He caused oil to be brought, and he slaughtered 
oxen and lambs. He filled jars with sesame-wine and oil 
and grape-wine ; he gave the people to drink like a river 
and he made a feast like to the feast of the New Year. 
The lading And when the ship was ready he filled it with all that he had 
^^^^'^^j^^^^P of silver, and all that he had of gold, and all that he had of 
embarka- living seed. Also he brought up into the ship all his family 
'*°"* and his household, the cattle of the field likewise and the 

beasts of the field, and the handicraftsmen : all of them 
he brought in. A fixed time the sun-god Shamash had 
appointed, saying, ** * At eventide the lord of darkness will 
send a heavy rain. Then enter thou into the ship and shut 
thy door.' The time appointed drew near, and at eventide 
the lord of darkness sent a heavy rain. Of the storm, I 
The saw the beginning, to look upon the storm I was afraid. I 

offhe"'"^ entered into the ship and shut the door. To the pilot of 

storm. * Or **0n a level with the deep, pro- 326). ** . . . the ocean, cover it with 

vide it with a covering" (M. Jastrow, a roof" (R. W. Rogers). Similarly A. 
Hebrffic and Babylonian Traditions^ p. Ungnad {Das Gilgamesch-Epos^ p. 53). 


the ship, even to Puzur-Amurri, the sailor, I committed the j 
(floating) palace ^ and all that therein was. When the early 
dawn appeared there came up from the horizon a black 
cloud. Ramman ^ thundered in the midst thereof, the gods 
Mujati * and Lugal * went before. Like messengers they 
passed over mountain and land ; Irragal ^ tore away the 
ship's post. There went Ninib and he made the storm to 
burst The Anunnaki lifted up flaming torches, with the 
brightness thereof they lit up the earth. The i^rhirlwind of 
Ramman ^ mounted up into the heavens, and all light was 
turned into darkness," A whole day the tempest raged, 
and the waters rose on the mountains. " No man beheld 
his fellow, no more could men know each other. In heaven 
the gods were afraid of the deluge, they drew back, they The few 
climbed up into the heaven of Anu. The gods crouched *"^ lamen. 

^ ^ tation of 

like dogs, they cowered by the walls. Ishtar cried out like the gods, 
a woman in travail, loudly lamented the queen of the gods 
with her beautiful voice : * Let that day be turned to clay, 
when • I commanded evil in the assembly of the gods 1 
Alas, that I commanded evil in the assembly of the gods, 
that for the destruction of my people I commanded battle ! 
That which I brought forth, where is it ? Like the spawn 
of fish it filleth the sea.' The gods of the Anunnaki " wept 
with her, the gods were bowed down, they sat down weeping. 

^ The ship is so called because of und H. Gressmann, Das Gilgamesch' 

its many stories and apartments. The ^fos, p. 78. 

Assyrian word here employed {ekallu) "* A minor deity, the herald of the 

is the same with the ordinary Hebrew gods. His name means ** King," a 

word for a palace or temple ('?3'n hekal), title bestowed on Marduk. Hence 

Sec E. Schrader, The Cuneiform In- some translators render it by "Marduk" 

scriptions and the Old Testament, i. in the present passage. See A. Ungnad 

56 ; P. Dhorme, Choix de Textes und H. Ciressmann, Das Gilgamesch- 

Religieux Assyro-BahylonienSy p. 1 09, Epos^ p. 78. 

note •» ; Fr. Brown, S. R. Driver, and * Irragal or Irrakal is " the Great 

Ch. A. Briggs, Hebrew and English Irra," the god of pestilence, more 

Lexicon (Oxford, 1906), p. 228. commonly known as Nergal. See 

* So L. W. King and A. Ungnad A. Ungnad und H. Gressmann, Das 

{Das Gilgamesch'Epos, p. 56). Others GilgameschEpoSy pp. 77, 78. 

read " Adad " (so Jensen, Jeremias, " So Jensen, Dhorme, and Jaslrow 

and formerly Ungnad). Ramman or {Ilebre^v and Babylonian Traditions,^ 

Adad was the god of thunder and 330- Others translate, ** The former 

storms. His name is written AN.IM. time (that is, the old race of man) has 

See A. Ungnad und H. Gressmann, been turned into clay, because," etc. 

Das Gilgame^ch- Epos, p. 79. ^ Or ** because of the Anunnaki " 

3 A minor deity, afterwards identified (P. Dhorme), "over the AnunnsJd" 

with Nabu (Nelx)). See A. Ungnad (W. Muss-Arnolt). 




The end of 
the storm 
and the 
sinking of 
the sea. 

The ship 
grounds on 

The dove 
sent forth 
from the 

The raven 
sent forth 
from the 

The disem- 
and the 

Their lips were pressed together. For six days and six 
nights the wind blew, and the deluge and the tempest over- 
whelmed the land. When the seventh day drew nigh, then 
ceased the tempest and the deluge and the storm, which had 
fought like a host Then the sea grew quiet, it went down ; 
the hurricane and the deluge ceased. I looked upon the 
sea, there was silence come,^ and all mankind was turned 
back into clay. Instead of the fields a swamp lay before 
me.* I opened the window and the light fell upon my 
cheek ; I bowed myself down, I sat down, I wept, over my 
cheek flowed my tears. I looked upon the world, and 
behold all was sea. After twelve (days ?)^ an island arose, 
to the land Nisir the ship made its way. The mount of 
Nisir* held the ship fast and let it not slip. The first day, 
the second day, the mountain Nisir held the ship fast : the 
third day, the fourth day, the mountain Nisir held the ship 
fast : the fifth day, the sixth day, the mountain Nisir held 
the ship fast. When the seventh day drew nigh, I sent out 
a dove, and let her go forth. The dove flew hither and 
thither, but there was no resting-place for her, and she 
returned. Then I sent out a swallow and let her go forth. 
The swallow flew hither and thither, but there was no resting- 
place for her, and she returned. Then I sent out a raven 
and let her go forth. The raven flew away, she beheld the 
abatement of the waters, she ate,* she waded, she croaked, 
but she did not return. Then I brought all out unto the 
four winds, I offered an offering, I made a libation on the 
peak of the mountain. By sevens I set out the vessels. 

> Or "and cried aloud" (so L. W. 
King, W. Muss-Amolt, and doubtfully 
A. Jeremias). 

* ** The swamp reached to the roofs" 
(so P. Dhorme), *• Like a roof the 
plain lay level " (R. W. Rogers). 

' "Double hours" (so P. Jensen 
and H. Zimmern). Dhorme thinks that 
the number refers to distance : the 
island appeared twelve miles or leagues 
(?) away. This interpretation is now 
accepted by M. Jastrow {Hebrew and 
Babylonian Traditions^ p. 332). 

* If Haupt and Delitsch are right, 
the name Nisir is derived from the 
same root as the Hebrew nasar (iw) 

meaning, **to guard, keep, preserve" ; 
so that Mount Nisir would be **the 
Mount of Salvation or Deliverance." 
See E. Schrader, TAe Cuneiform 
Inscriptions and the Old Testament^ 
translated by O. C. Whitehouse 
(London and Edinburgh, 1885), i. 54. 
Similarly in Greek legend, Deucalion 
is said to have dedicated an altar to 
Zeus the Deliverer on the mountain 
where he landed after the great flood. 
See below, p. 148. 

^ So P. Jensen, H. Zimmern, P. 
Dhorme, and A. Ungnad. ** She drew 
near" (K. W. Rogers). **Shc came 
near"(L. W. King). 



under them I heaped up reed, and cedar-wood, and myrtle.^ 
The gods smelt the savour, the gods smelt the sweet savour. 
The gods gathered like flies about him that offered up the 
sacrifice. Then the Lady of the gods drew nigh, she lifted 
up the great jewels which Anu had made according to her 
wish. She said, * Oh ye gods here, as truly as I will not 
forget the jewels of lapis lazuli which are on my neck, so 
truly will I remember these days, never shall I forget them ! 
Let the gods come to the offering, but Enlil ^ shall not come 
to the offering, for he took not counsel and sent the deluge, 
and my people he gave to destruction.' Now when Enlil ^ Anger of 
drew nigh, he saw the ship; then was Enlil* wroth. He EniUat 
was filled with anger against the gods, the Igigi (saying), escape 

* Who then hath escaped with his life ? No man shall live uapishUro. 
after the destruction.' Then Ninib opened his mouth and 
spake, he said to the warrior Enlil,^ * Who but Ea could have 

done this thing? For Ea knoweth every matter.' Then Ea 
opened his mouth and spake, he said to the warrior Enlil,^ 

* Thou art the governor of the gods,® warrior, but thou 
wouldst not take counsel and thou hast sent the deluge I 
On the sinner visit his sin, and on the transgressor visit his 
transgression. But hold thy hand, that all be not destroyed 1 
and forbear, that all be not confounded ! Instead of sending 
a deluge, let a lion come and minish mankind I Instead of 
sending a deluge, let a leopard ^ come and minish mankind 1 
Instead of sending a deluge, let a famine come and waste 
the land ! Instead of sending a deluge, let the Plague-god 
come and slay mankind \ I did not reveal the purpose * of 
the great gods. I caused Atrakhasis^ to see a dream, and 

* Or "incense" (so L. W. King). senseof ** wise." See P. Jensen, -<4jxyr- 

' Or "Bel." So M. Jastrow, L. VV. isch-Babylonische My then utid Epeii^ 

King, P. Jensen, and P. Dhorme. p. 320; P. Dhorme, Choix de Ttxtes 

See above, p. 113, note*. reli^ieitx Assyro-Babylonims^ p. 117. 
' Or "Thou wise one among the * The meaning of the Assyrian word 

gods "(so W. Muss-Amok, H. Zim- (^ar^arw) here translated ** leopard" is 

mem, A. Jeremias, P. Dhorme, A.Ung- uncertain. Ungnad and Rogers render 

nad, R. W. Rogers). This rendering cer- "wolf"; Jeremias prefers a panther, 

tainly gives more point, as P. Dhorme Jastrow a jackal, and Muss-Arnolt a 

observes, to what follows: "Vou so tiger. The rendering "leopard" is 

wise, yet to be so rash and unjust strongly defended by P. Dhorme. 
as to send the deluge ! " The doubtful " Or " secret." See above, p. 113. 

Assyrian word is a^^a////, which, accord- • " The very prudent one," a name 

ing to Delitsch, means "commander," or title applied to Ut-n:ipishtim. See 

" niler," but according to others has the below, pp. \i% sq. 




ment of 
Enlil and 
his recon- 
with Ut- 

of another 
of the 
flood story, 
in which 
the hero is 

thus he heard the purpose ^ of the gods/ Thereupon Enlil ^ 
arrived at a decision, and he went up into the ship. He 
took my hand and brought me forth, he brought my wife 
forth, he made her to kneel at my side, he turned towards 
us,* he stood between us, he blessed us (saying), * Hitherto 
hath Ut-napishtim been a man, but now let Ut-napishtim 
and his wife be like unto the gods, even us, and let Ut- 
napishtim dwell afar oflf at the mouth of the rivers ! ' Then 
they took me, and afar off, at the mouth of the rivers, they 
made me to dwell." 

Such is the long story of the deluge interwoven into 
the Gilgamesh epic, with which, to all appearance, it had 
originally no connexion. A fragment of another version of 
the tale is preserved on a broken tablet, which, like the 
tablets of the Gilgamesh epic, was found among the ruins of 
AshurbanipaFs library at Nineveh. It contains a part of the 
conversation which is supposed to have taken place before 
the flood between the god Ea and the Babylonian Noah, 
who is here called Atrakhasis, a name which, as we saw, is 
incidentally applied to him in the Gilgamesh epic, though 
elsewhere in that version he is named not Atrakhasis but 
Ut-napishtim. The name Atrakhasis is said to be the 

* Or *' secret." See above, p. 113. 

« Or " Bel." So M. Jastrow, L. W. 
King, P. Jensen, W. Muss-Amolt, 
H. Zimmern, A. Jeremias, and P. 
Dhorme. Ungnad and Rogers read 
« Ea " instead of Enlil (Bel). But the 
sense given by the former reading is 
incomparably Hner. Enlil (Bel) is at 
first enraged at the escape of Ut- 
napishtim and his family, but, moved 
by Ea*s eloquent pleading on their 
behalf, he experiences a revulsion of 
feeling, and entering the ship he 
magnanimously takes Ut-napishtim by 
the hand and leads him forth. The 
dramatic situation thus created is 
worthy of a great literary artist, and 
reminds us of the famous meeting of 
Achilles and Priam in Homer, ** His 
hand he placed in the old man's hand, 
and pushed him gently away " {Iliad, 
xxiv. 508). The phrase rendered 
" arrived at a decision " (so L. W. 
King, W. Muss-Arnolt, and .ipparently 
H. Zimmern) is variously translated 

" came to his senses " (so A. Jeremias 
and formerly M. Jasliow), ** then they 
took his counsel " (P. Jensen and 1*. 
Dhorme), and ** Now take counsel for 
him " (so A. Ungnad, R. W. Rogers, 
and now M. Jastrow, in Hebrnv and 
Babylonian Traditions ^ p. 334). This 
last rendering (** Now take counsel for 
hjm ") puts the words in the mouth of 
the preceding speaker Ea : so under- 
stood, they are at once feeble and 
otiose, whereas understood to refer to 
the sudden revulsion of feeling in 
Enlil (Bel), they are eminently in place 
and add a powerful stroke to the 

3 Or ** turned us face to face" (W. 
Muss-Arnolt), ** turned us toward each 
other " (R. W. Rogers), ** touched our 
face " (P. Dhorme), ** touched our fore- 
heads" (A. Ungnad, M. Jastrow, in 
Hebmu and Bahylonian Traditions, 
P* 334)1 "touched our shoulder''^ (P. 


Babylonian original which in Berosus's Greek version of 
the deluge legend is represented by Xisuthrus.^ In this 
fragment the god Ea commands Atrakhasis, saying, " Go 
in and shut the door of the ship. Bring within thy corn, 
thy goods and thy possessions, thy (wife ?), thy family, thy 
kinsfolk, and thy craftsmen, the cattle of the field, the beasts 
of the field, as many as eat grass." " In his reply the hero 
says that he has never built a ship before, and he begs that 
a plan of the ship be drawn for him on the ground, which 
he may follow in laying down the vessel.® 

Thus far the Babylonian versions of the flood legend Fragmeat 
date only from the time of Ashurbanipal in the seventh °f^*?°*h^'" 

^ * version 

century before our era, and might therefore conceivably be of ihe 
of later origin than the Hebrew version and copied from it ^{^°tonr? 
However, conclusive evidence of the vastly greater antiquity in which 
of the Babylonian legend is furnished by a broken tablet, is called 
which was discovered at Abu-Habbah, the site of the ancient Au-akhasis. 
city of Sippar, in the course of excavations undertaken by 
the Turkish Government. The tablet contains a very 
mutilated version of the flood story, and it is exactly dated ; 
for at the end there is a colophon or note recording that the 
tablet was written on the twenty-eighth day of the month 
Shabatu (the eleventh Babylonian month) in the eleventh 
year of King Ammizaduga, or about 1966 B.C. Unfortun- 
ately the text is so fragmentary that little information can be 

^ Atrakhasis, ** the very Prudent ^ **As numy as eat grass.'* So P. 

One," in the inverted form Khasis-atra Jensen, A. Jcremias, A. Ungnad, and 

is identified with Xisuthrus hy E. R. W. Rogers. Others render simply, 

Schradcr, H. Zimmem, P. Dhorme, '* all kinds of herbs," understanding ihe 

and A. Ungnad. Sec K. Schradcr, 'J^hc words as a direction to Atrakhasis to 

Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old take on board a supply of vegetables. 

Testament^ i. 56 ; H. Zimmern, in E. So P. Dhurme and M. Jastrow. 
Schrader's Die Keilinschriften und das ** P. Jensen, Assyrisch-Bahylonische 

Alte Testament^ Dritte Auflage, pp. Mythen und lipen^ pp. 255, 257 ; 

532, 551 ; P. Dhomie, Choix de A. Jeremias, Das Alte Testament im 

Textes religieux Assyro- Babyloniens^ Lithte des alien Orients ^'^ p. 233 ; P. 

pp. 119 note^**, 132 noie^; A. Dhorme, Choix de Textes religieux 

Ungnad, in H. Gressmann's Altorient' Assyro-Babyloniens^ pp. 126 sq. ; A. 

alische Te.\te und Bilder zum Alten Ungnad, in H. Gressmann's-^//r»;7V«/<7/- 

Testamente^ i. 39 note **, 46 note * ; ische Texte und Bilder zum Alten 'TeS' 

A. Ungnad und H. Gressmann, Das tamente^ i. 57 ; A. Ungnad und I J. 

Gilgamesch-EpoSy\>^. ^^f j^sg. As to Gressmann, Das Gilgamesih-Epos^ p. 

the name Atrakhasis, see further P. 69 ; R. W. Rogers, Cuneiform Taral- 

Jensen, A ssyrisch-Babylonische Mythen lels to the Old Testament, pi>. 103 sq. ; 

und Epen^ pp. 276 sq. ; H. Usener, M. Jastrow, Hebrew and Babylonian 

Die SinifltUsagen^ p. 15. Traditions^ pp. 343-345' 




of another 
very ancient 
of the 
flood story 
found at 

of another 
very ancient 
of the 
flood story 
in the 

extracted from it ; but the name of Atrakhasis occurs in it, 
together with references to the great rain and apparently to 
the ship and the entrance into it of the people who were to 
be saved. ^ 

Yet another very ancient version of the deluge legend 
came to light at Nippur in the excavations conducted by 
the University of Pennsylvania. It is written on a small 
fragment of unbaked clay, and on the ground of the style of 
writing and of the place where the tablet was found it is 
dated by its discoverer, Professor H. V. Hilprecht, not later 
than 2 100 B.C. In this fragment a god appears to announce 
that he will cause a deluge which will sweep away all man- 
kind at once ; and he warns the person whom he addresses 
to build a great ship, with a strong roof, in which he is to 
save his life, and also to bring into it the beasts of the field 
and the birds of heaven.* 

All these , yriiidnii nf tin ^cyc^A gtnr^ ^rp written in the 
Semitic language of Babylonia an d Agg^ria ; but another 
fragmentary version, found by the American excavators at 
Nippur and recently deciphered, is written in Sumerian, that 
is, in the non-Semitic languap fe of the ancient people who 
appear to have preceded the Semites in Babylonia and to 

* L. W. King, Babylonian RfUj^ion 
and Afythoioj^^ pp. 124-126; P. Jen- 
sen, Assyrisch - Babylonische Mythen 
umi Epen^ pp. 2S9, 291 ; H. Zimmern, 
in E. Schrader*s Die KeilinschHfUn 
und das A lie Testament^ p. 552 ; P. 
Dhorme, Choix de Textes ^ religieux 
Assyro-Babyloniens, pp. 1 20- 1 25; A. 
Ungnad, in H. Gressmann's Altorient- 
tdische Texte und Biider zum Alien 
Testamente^ *• 57 ^^« J A. Ungnad und 
H. Gressmann, Das Gilgamesch-Epos^ 
pp. 5 sq.y 69 sq. ; R. W. Rogers, 
Cuneiform Parallels to the Old Testa- 
nienty pp. 104-107; M. Jastrow, 
Hebrew and Babylonian Traditions^ 
pp. 340 sq. The date of King Ammi- 
zaduga, the tenth monarch of the first 
Babylonian dynasty, is variously given 
as 2100 u.c. (so n. Zimmern) or 
somewhat later than 2000 B.C. (so A. 
Ungnad, Das Gilgamesch-Epos, p. 5). 
Professor Ed. Meyer assigns the king's 
reign to the years 1812-1792 B.C. 
{Gcschichte des Altertums^^ i. 2. p. 

574) ; and accordingly R. W. Rogers 
and M. Jastrow date the king roughly 
at 1800 B.C. According to the latest 
calculation, based on elaborate as- 
tronomical data, the year of Amnii- 
zaduga's accession is now assigned 
by Mr. L. W.-King to the year 1977 
B.C., and in this dating ordinary stud- 
ents may provisionally acquiesce. Sec 
L. W. King, A History of Babylon 
(London, I9i5)» PP. lo? ^^9' 

2 A. Ungnad und H. Gressmann, 
Das Gilgamesch'EpoSy ])p. 6, 73 ; R. 
W. Rogers, Cuneiform Parallels to 
the Old Testament f pp. 108 sq. ; M. 
Jastrow, Hebrew and Balylonian Tra- 
ditions^ pp. 342 sq. These scholars 
incline to date the tablet later than 
2100 B.C. "The tablet may well be 
as old as Professor Hilprecht argues, 
but the suggestion of a date so late .is 
the early Kassite period (1700 B.C.) 
can hardly be exchideii " (R. W. 
Rogers, op. cit. p. 108). 


have founded in the lower valley of the Euphrates that 
remarkable system of civilization which we commonly call 
Babylonian.^ The city of Nippur, where the Sumerian 
version of the deluge legend has been discovered, was the 
holiest and perhaps the oldest religious centre in the country, 
and the city-god Enlil was the head of the Babylonian 
pantheon. The tablet which records the legend would seem, 
from the character of the script, to have been written about 
the time of the famous Hammurabi, king of Babylon, that 
is, about 2100 B.C. But the story itself must be very much 
older ; for by the close of the third millennium before our 
era, when the tablet was inscribed, the Sumerians as a 
separate race had almost ceased to exist, having been 
absorbed in the Semitic population, and their old tongue was 
already a dead language, though the ancient literature and 
sacred texts embalmed in it were still studied and copied by 
the Semitic priests and scribes.- Hence the discovery of a 
Sumerian version of the deluge legend raises a presumption 
that the legend itself dates from a time anterior to the 
occupation of the Euphrates valley by the Semites, who 
after their immigration into the country appear to have 
borrowed the story from their predecessors the Sumerians. 
It is of interest to observe that the Sumerian version of the 
flood story formed a sequel to an account, unfortunately 
very fragmentary, of the creation of man, according to which 1 
men were created by the gods before the animals, ^hus / 
the Sume rian story fjicrpp° Mrit^ ^^"^ u^K..^yr or..^^,irn» ;^ 

* The tablet containing the Sumerian * I^ W. King, " Recent Babylonian 

version of the story was first read by Research and its Relation to Hebrew 

Dr. Arno Poebel, of the Johns Hopkins Studies," Church Quarterly Review^ 

University, in 1 91 2. See A. Poebel, No. 162, January 191 6, pp. 274, 275. 

"The Babylonian Story of the Creation As to the date of Hammurabi (aVjoul 

and the Earliest History of the World," 2100 B.C.) see Principal J. Skinner, 

The Museum Joumai, Philadelphia, Covimentaty on Genesis (Kdinburgh, 

June 1 91 3, pp. 41 sqq, \ id., in Uni- 19 10), p. xiv note t ; S. R. Driver, 

versify of Pennsylvania^ Publications of The Book of Genesis^^^ (London, 1 1 6), 

the Babylonian Section of the University p. 156 ; R. Kiltel, Geschichte des Volkes 

Museum^ vol. iv. No. l (Philadelphia, Israel^^ i. (Gotha, 1 91 2), p. 77 ; L. 

1914), pp. 7-70 ; M. Jastrow, Hebrew W. King, A History of Babylon (Lon- 

and Babylonian Traditions^ pp. 335 don, 19 15), pp. ill, 320, who aj»;>igns 

sgq, ; L. W. King, *' Recent Babylo- the king's reign to 2 123-2081 B.C. 

nian Research and its Relation to A later date (1958- 19 16 B.C.) is 

Hebrew Studies," Church Quarterly assigned to Hammurabi's reign by Pro- 

Review, No. 162, January 1 9 16, pp. fessor Ed. "Sfcytr {Geschich/c des A Iter- 

271 sqq, tuws,^ i. 2, p. 557). 




In this 
the hero 
IS warned 
t>y Ea of 
the coming 
deluge and 
escapes in 
a ship, after 
which he 
the gods 
and is 
with im- 

Genesis, in so far as both of them treat the creation of man 
and the great flood as events closely connected with each 
other in the early history of the world ; and further the 
Sumerian narrative agrees with the Jehovistic against the 
Priestly Document in representing the creation of man as 
antecedent to the creation of the animals.^ 

Only the lower half of the tablet on which this Sumerian 
Genesis was inscribed has as yet come to light, but enough 
remains to furnish us with the main outlines of the flood 
story. From it we learn that Ziugiddu, or rather Ziudsuddu,^ 
was at once a king and a priest of the god Enki, the 
Sumerian deity who was the equivalent of the Semitic Ea ; * 
daily he occupied himself in the god's service, prostrating 
himself in humility and constant in his observance at the 
shrine. To reward him for his piety Enki informs him that 
at the request of Enlil it has been resolved in the council of 
the gods to destroy the seed of mankind by a rain-stornu 
Before the holy man receives this timely warning, his divine 
friend bids him take his stand beside a wall, saying, '' Stand 
by the wall on my left side, and at the wall I will speak a 
word with thee." These words are evidently connected with 
the curious passage in the Semitic version, where Ea begins 
his warning to Ut-napishtim, " O reed hut, reed hut, O wall, 
wall, O reed hut hearken, O wall attend." * Together the 
parallel passages suggest that the friendly god, who might 
not directly betray the resolution of the gods to a mortal 
man, adopted the subterfuge of whispering it to a wall of 
reeds, on the other side of which he had first stationed 
Ziudsuddu. Thus by eavesdropping the good man learned 
the fatal secret, while his divine patron was able afterwards 
to protest that he had not revealed the counsel of the gods. 
The subterfuge reminds us of the well-known story, how the 

* See above, pp. i sq, 

* So Mr. L. VV. King would read 
the name {Church Quarterly KevieWy 

No. 162, January 19 16, p. 277). 

' L. W. King, Babylonian Religion 
and Mythology ^ p. 14. See above, 
p. 113, note^. 

* Above, p. 113. With reference to 
the collocation of reeds and wall, it is 
well to remember that in ancient Baby- 
lonian buildings mats made of reed were 

regularly interposed between the layers 
of brick, at intervals of four or five 
feet, in order to protect the earthen 
mass from disintegration. So well 
known is this to the modem Arabs, 
that they give the name of Bmvariyya 
or "reed mats" to ancient mounds in 
which this mode of construction is dis- 
cernible. See W. K. Loftus, Travels 
and Researches in Chaldcua andSusiana 
(London, 1857), p. 168. 



servant of King Midas detected the ass's ears of his master, 
and, unable to contain himself, whi spered the secret into a 
hole in the or r^nnH anf^ fjll^H lip nir hoir ^iiiiMi 1 iiKli ^ I111I n 
bed of ree ds grew up on the spot, and rustling in the wind, pro- 
claimedtoaTl the w6fld the kmg's deformity.^ The part of the 
tablet which probably described the building of the ship and 
Ziudsuddu's embarkation is lost, and in the remaining portion 
we are plunged into the midst of the deluge. The storms 
of wind and rain are described as raging together. Then 
the text continues : " When for seven days, for seven nights, 
the rain-storm had raged in the land, when the great boat 
had been carried away by the wind-storms- on the mighty 
waters, the Sun-god came forth, shedding light over heaven 
and earth." When the light shines into the boat, Ziudsuddu 
prostrates himself before the Sun-god and sacrifices an ox 
and a sheep. Then follows a gap in the text, after which 
we read of Ziudsuddu, the King, prostrating himself before 
the gods Anu and Enlil. The anger of Enlil against men 
appears now to be abated, for, speaking of Ziudsuddu, he 
says, " Life like that of a god I give to him," and " an eternal 
soul like that of a god I create for him," which means that 
the hero of the deluge legend^ the Sumerian Noah, receives 
the boon of immortality, if not of divinity. Further, he is 
given the title of ** Preserver of the Seed of Mankind," and 
the gods cause him to dwell on a mountain, perhaps the 

* Ovid, Metamorphoses f xi. 174 sgg. 
Parallels to the story are found, with 
trifling variations of detail, in Ireland, 
Brittany, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, 
India, and among the Mongols. See 
Grimm's Household TaleSy translated 
by Margaret Hunt (London, 1884), ii. 
498 ; Patrick Kennedy, legendary 
Fictions of the Irish Celts (London, 
1866), pp. 248 5qq.\ Alfred de Nore, 
CoutumeSy Mythes et Traditions des 
Provinces de France (Paris and Lyons, 
1846), pp. 219 j^.; W. S. Karad- 
schitsch, Volksmdrchen der Serben 
(Berlin, 1854), pp. 225 sqq.\ Adolf 
Strausz, Die Bulgaren (Leipsic, 1898), 
pp. 250 sqq,\ Bernhard Schmidt, 
Griechischi Mdrchen^ Sageti mid Volks- 
/e-idSfr (I^ipsic, 1877), pp. 70 sq.y 224 
sq,\ North Indian Notes and Queries^ 

iii. No. 6 (September, 1893), P* I04» 
§ 218 (story told at Kon, in Mirzapur); 
Ghulnm Muhammad, Festivals and 
Folklore ofGilgit (Calcutta, 1905), pp. 
113 sq, {Memoirs of the Asiatic Society 
of Ben^alf vol. i. No. 7) ; Bernard 
J Ulg, Mongolische Mdrchen-Sammlung 
(Innsbruck, 1868), No. 22, pp. 182 
sqq.; Sagas from the Far East (iMn- 
don, 1873), No. 21, pp. 206 sqq. In 
some versions of the story the king's 
ears are those of a horse or a goat 
instead of an ass. In the Gilgit ver- 
sion the king's feet, not his cars, arc 
shaped like those of an ass. Benfcy 
thought that the story was borrowed 
by the East from the West. See 
Theodor Benfey, Pantschatantra (Leip- 
sic, 1859J, i. p. xxii, note ^ 




of the 
version of 
the flood 
story to 
the version 
in the 

their story 
of the 
from the 

The scene 
of the story 
in the 
epic laid at 
on the 

mountain of Dilmun, though the reading of the name is 
uncertain. The end of the legend is wanting. 

Thus in its principal features the Sumerian version of 
the deluge legend agrees with the much longer and more 
circumstantial version preserved in the Gilgamesh epic In 
both a great god (Enlil or Bel) resolves to destroy mankind 
by flooding the earth with rain ; in both another god (Enki 
or Ea) warns a man of the coming catastrophe, and the man, 
accepting the admonition, is saved in a ship ; in both the 
flood lasts at its height for seven days ; in both, when the 
deluge has abated, the man oflers a sacrifice and is Anally 
raised to the rank of the gods. The only essential difference 
is in the name of the hero, who in the Sumerian version is 
called Ziudsuddu, and in the Semitic version Ut-napishtim 
or Atrakhasis. The Sumerian name Ziudsuddu resembles 
the name Xisuthrus, which Berosus gives as that of the hero 
who was saved from the flood ; if the two names are really 
connected, we have fresh ground for admiring the fidelity 
with which the Babylonian historian followed the most 
ancient documentary sources. 

The discovery of this very interesting tablet, with its 
combined accounts of the creation and the deluge, renders it 
highly probable that the narratives of the early history of 
the world which we find in Genesis did not originate with 
the Semites, but were borrowed by them from the older 
civilized people whom, some thousands of years before our 
era, the wild Semitic hordes, swarming out of the Arabian 
desert, found in possession of the fat lands of the lower 
Euphrates valley, and from whom the descendants of these 
primitive Bedouins gradually learned the arts and habits of 
civilization, just as the northern barbarians acquired a varnish 
of culture through their settlement in the Roman empire. 

The various fragmentary versions, Babylonian and 
Sumerian, of the deluge story confirm the conclusion that 
the legend circulated independently of the Gilgamesh epic, 
into which the poet loosely inserted it as an episode. In 
the epic the original scene of the disaster is laid, as we saw, 
at the city of Shurippak on the Euphrates. Recent excava- 
tions of the German Oriental Society have revealed the site 
of the ancient city. The place is at the hill of Fara, to the 


north of Unik ; and the remains which have come to light 
there seem to show that Shurippak was among the very 
oldest Sumerian settlements yet discovered ; for the inscribed 
clay tablets which have been excavated on the spot are of a 
very archaic character, and are believed to have been written 
not much later than 3 400 B.C.' The site is now a long way 
frotn the sea and at some distance from the Euphrates ; but 
we know that in the course of ages the river has repeatedly 
changed its bed, and that the sea has retreated, or rather that 
the land has advanced, in consequence of the vast quantities of 
soil annually washed down by the Euphrates and the Tigris.' 
Apparently the ancient city perished, not by water, but by 
fire ; for the ruins are buried under a thick layer of ashes. 
After the conflagration the greater part of the hill seems to 
have remained desolate, though a small town existed on the 
spot during the Sumerian and Accadian periods. From 
about the time of Hammurabi, that is, from about 2100 n.c. 
onward, the very name of Shurippak vanishes from Baby- 
lonian history.* Thus the story of the great flood which 
destroyed the city cannot have originated later than the end 
of the third, millennium before Christ, and it may well have 
been very much older. In the Sumerian version of the 
deluge legend Shurippak is named, along with Eridu, Larak, 
and Sippar, as cities before the flood ; but in the frag- 
mentary state of the text it is impossible to say whether or 
not it was the city of Ziudsuddu, the Sumerian Noah,* 

§ 3. Tlu Hebrew Sloiy of a Great Flood 

The ancient Hebrew legend of a great flood, as it is r 
recorded in the book of Genesis,' runs thus : — 

> A. Unenaii und H. Grts^iniaiiii, girt und liorlfn, I909) pp. 398 sq. 

Das angamcsih- £/«•!, pp. l<)o ly. j a. Ungnad und H. Gressmann, 

» T. H. Huxley, *' ll.isiMidia's Dai Gilvamisih-Epoj, b. ia\. 

(Oxford, 1904) pp. n V- ■• f- Ma.. Kfy'"""'' ffT"""'/ rtj- f-««j.™0. 

rOn„>/ CV„.»V-', /-" "'■':^'"" ('"aiis- '^'■"' f^' '^' **' 

1895), pp. 552 SI/. ; Kii. Meyer, « Genesis vi. 5 -ix. 17, Keviscd V«- 

Ceukuile dts AUeitums? \. 2. (SUitt- si..n. 




warned by 
God of the 
builds an 

The con- 
of the ark. 


animals to 
be taken 
into the 

in the earthy and that every imagination of the thoughts of his 
heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that 
he had made man on the earthy and it grieved him at his heart. 
And the Lord said^ I will destroy man whom I have created 
from the face of the ground ; both man, and beast, and creeping 
thing, and fowl of the air ; for it repenteth me that I have 
made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. 

" These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a 
righteous man and perfect in his generations : Noah walked 
with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and 
Japheth. And the earth was corrupt before God, and the 
earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and, 
behold, it was corrupt ; for all flesh had corrupted his way 
upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all 
flesh is come before me ; for the earth is filled with violence 
through them ; and, behold, I will destroy them with the 
earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood ; rooms shalt thou 
make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with 
pitch. And this is how thou shalt make it : the length of 
the ark three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, 
and the height of it thirty cubits. A light shalt thou make 
to the ark, and to a cubit shalt thou finish it upward ; and 
the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with 
lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. And L 
behold,! do bring the flood of waters upon the earth, to 
destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under 
heaven ; every thing that is in the earth shall die. But I will 
establish my covenant with thee ; and thou shalt come into 
the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy. sons* wives 
with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of 
every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive 
with thee ; they shall be male and female. Of the fowl after 
their kind, and of the cattle after their kind, of every creeping 
thing of the ground after its kind, two of every sort shall 
come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto 
thee of all food that is eaten, and gather it to thee ; and it 
shall be for food for thee, and for them. Thus did Noah ; 
according to all that God commanded him, so did he. 

^' And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy 
house into the ark ; for thee have I seen righteous before 7ne 


in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee 

seven and seven^ the male and his female ; and of the beasts 

that are not clean two^ tlu male and his female ; of the fozvl 

also of the air^ seven and seven, male and female ; to keep seed 

alive upon the face of all the earth. For yet seven days, and 

I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty 

nights ; and every living thing that I have made will I destroy 

from off the face of the ground. And Noah did according unto 

all that tlie Lord commanded him. And Noah was six hundred 

years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. And 

Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives Noah, his 

with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. Of [h^tLs^s*^ 

clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, a fid of fowls, and enter into 

of every thing that creepeth upon the ground, there we?it in two ^ ^ ' 

and two unto Noah into the ark, male and female, as God 

commanded Noah, And it came to pass after the seven da-^s, 

that tlte waters of the flood were upon the earth. In the six 

hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the 

seventeenth day of the month, on the same day were all the 

fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of 

heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty 

days and forty nights. In the selfsame day entered Noah, and 

Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's 

wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the 

ark ; they, and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle 

after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon 

the earth after its kind, and every fowl after its kind, every 

bird of every sort And they went in unto Noah into the 

ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. 

And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, 

as God commanded him : and the Lord shut him in. And 

the flood was forty days upon the earth ; and the waters Duration 

increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the ^"^/lepth 

earth. And the waters prevailed, and increased greatly flood. 

upon the earth ; and the ark went upon the face of the 

waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth ; 

and all the high mountains that were under the whole heaven Destruction 

were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail ; ^^^l'^ 

and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that 

moved upon the earth, both fowl, and cattle, and beast, and 

128 THE GREAT FLOOD parti 

every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every 
man : all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, 
of all that was in the dry land, died. And eiwry living thing 
was destroyed ivhich was upon the face of the ground, both 
man, and cattle, and creeping thing, and fowl of tlu heaven ; 
and they were destroyed from the earth : and Noah only was 
left, and they that were with him in the ark. And the waters 
prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days. 
Cessation " And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and 

of the all the cattle that were with him in the ark : and God made a 

rain and . 1111 « . 

assuage- Wind to pass ovcr the earth, and the waters assuaged ; the 
ment of fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were 

the waters. . ^ 

stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained ; and the 

7uaters returned from off the earth contiimally : and after the 

end of an hundred and fifty days the waters decreased. 

The ark And thc ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth 

S^alJat' """ day of the mTmtTT uoo n the mounta ins of Ararat A nd the 

waters decreased continually until the tenth month : in the 

tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of 

the mountains seen. And it came to pass at the end of forty 

days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had 

Noah sends made 2 and he sent forth a raven, and it tvent forth to and 

^' * J f^o, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. And 

raven and ^ . . 

a dove. he Sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated 
I from off the face of the grouttd ; but the dove found no rest 

for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him to the ark, 
for the waters were on the face of the zvhole earth : and he 
put forth his hand, and took her, and brought her in unto him 
into t/te ark. And he stayed yet other seven days ; and again 
he sent forth the dove out of the ark ; and the dove came in 
to him at eventide ; and, lo, in Iter mouth an olive leaf pluckt 
off : so Noah knew that the ivaters were abated from off the 
earth. And lu stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth 
tJie dove ; and she returned not again unto him any more. 
And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in 
the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were 
dried up from off the earth : and Noah removed the covering 
of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was 
dried. And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth 
day of the month, was the earth dry. 


" And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, Noah, bis 
thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with ^!^j!^****^ 
thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with come forth 
thee of all flesh, both fowl, and cattle, and every creeping ^^ ^^* 
thing that creepeth upon the earth ; that they may breed 
abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon 
the earth. And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, 
and his sons' wives with him : every beast, every creeping 
thing, and every fowl, whatsoever moveth upon the earth, 
after their families, went forth out of the ark. And Noah 
builded an altar unto the Lord ; and took of every clean beast ^ 
and of every clean foivl, and offered burnt offerings on the 
altar. And the Lord smellcd the sweet savour ; and the Lord 
said in his hearty I tvill not again curse the ground any more 
for matJ^s sake^ for that the imagination of man's heart is evil 
from his youth ; neither will I again smite any more every 
thing livings as I have done. While the earth remaineth, 
seedtime and harvest^ and cold and heat^ and summer and 
winter^ and day and night shall not cease. And God blessed God blesses 
Noah and his sons, and said unto them. Be fruitful, and ^^^^^and 

his sons. 

multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and 
the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and 
upon every fowl of the air ; with all wherewith the ground 
teemeth, and all the fishes of the sea, into your hand are they 
delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be food 
for you ; as the green herb have I given you all. But flesh 
with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not 
eat And surely your blood, the blood of your lives, will I 
require ; at the hand of every beast will I require it : and at 
the hand of man, even at the hand of every man's brother, 
will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, 
by man shall his blood be shed : for in the image of God 
made he man. And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply ; 
bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. 

" And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, God makes 
saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and a covenant 
with your seed after you ; and with every living creature and his 
that is with you, the fowl, the cattle, and every beast of the ^°"^* 
earth with you ; of all that go out of the ark, even every 
beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with 



you ; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters 
of the flood ; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy 
the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant 
which I make between me and you and every living creature 
The bow in that is with you, for perpetual generations : I do set my bow 
the cloud, jj^ ^^ cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant be- 
tween me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when 
I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in 
the cloud, and I will remember my covenant, which is 
between me and you and every living creature of all flesh ; 
and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all 
flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud ; and I will look 
upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant 
between God and every living creature of all flesh that is 
upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token 
of the covenant which I have established between me and all 
flesh that is upon the earth." 
The story In this account of the deluge Biblical critics are now 

hiGencs^ agreed in detecting the presence of two originally distinct 
is com- and partially inconsistent narratives, which have been 
onnluiBfi. combined so as to present the superficial appearance of a 
cii&Uj actanti single homogeneous story. Yet the editorial task of uniting 
i^niuiitjnT them has been performed so clumsily that the repetitions 
narratives, and inconsistencies left standing in them can hardly fail to 
attract the attention even of a careless reader. In repro- 
ducing the text of the legend from the English Revised 
Version I have distinguished the two strands of the com- 
posite narrative by printing them in different types ; the 
analysis thus exhibited is the one now generally accepted by 

1 W. Robertson Smith, The Old Century Bible) ; \V. II. Bennett an<l 

Testament in the Jewish Church * W. F. Adeney, A Biblical Introduc- 

(London an«l Kdinburgh, 1892), pp. tion^ (London, 1908), pp. 27 sqq, ; 

329 sq, ; E. Kautsch und A. Socin, S. R. Driver, The Book of Genes is ^^ 

Die Genesis y mil ausserer Unterschci- (London, 1916), pp. 85 sqq. ; id., 

dun-;^ der Qucllcnschriftcn^ (Freiburg Introduction to the Literature of the 

i. B., 1 89 1), pp. II sqq. ; E. Kautsch, Old Testament^ (Edinburgh, 1 91 3), p. 

Die heih\v Schrift des Allen Testa- 14 ; K. Budcle, Geschichte der alt- 

ments iihcrsctzt und herausgci^eben hebriiischen Litteratur {Lc'ipii^^ 1 906), 

(Freiburg i. B. und Leipzig, 1894), pp. 47 ji/^. ; U. Gunkclj Genesis tiber- 

pp. 6 sf/q. ; J. Estlin Carpenter and setzt und erkliirt^ (Gottingen, 1910), 

G. II.irford-]5attersl)y, The Hexateuch pp. 59 J^^.; J. Skinner, Critical and 

(London, 1900), iu 9 sqq. ; W. H. Exc^^ctical Commentary on Genesis 

Bennett, Genesis^ pp. 135 sqq. {The (Edinburgh, 1910), pp. 147 sqq, ; 


Of the two versions of the legend thus artificially com- One of the 
bined, the one, printed in ordinary Roman type, is derived [^^dwiv^,^ 
from what the critics call the Priestly Document or from the 
Code (usually designated by the letter P) ; the other, ^e'and 
printed in italic type, is derived from what the critics the other 
call the Jehovistic or Jahwistic Document (usually desig- jeh™\'istic 
nated by the letter J), which is characterized by the (Jahwistic) 
use of the divine name Jehovah (Jahweh, or rather 
Yahweh). The two documents differ conspicuously in 
character and style, and they belong to different ages ; for 
while the Jehovistic narrative is probably the oldest, the 
Priestly Code is now generally admitted to be the latest, of Difftrence 
the four principal documents which have been united to jj^e^^" 
form the Hexateuch. The Jehovistic document is believed documents 
to have been written in Judea in the early times of the probable 
Hebrew monarchy, probably in the ninth or eighth century dates. 
before our era ; the Priestly Code dates from the period 
after the year 586 B.C., when Jerusalem was taken by 
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and the Jews were carried 
away by him into captivity. Both documents are in their 
form historical, but while the Jehovistic writer displays a 
genuine interest in the characters and adventures of the men 
and women whom he describes, the Priestly writer appears Theecciesi- 
to concern himself with them only so far as he deemed them ^^jlJacterof 
instruments in the great scheme of Providence for conveying the history 
to Israel a knowledge of God and of the religious and social [n^^^ 
institutions by which it was his gracious will that the Chosen i^riestiy 
People should regulate their lives. The history which he explained 
writes is sacred and ecclesiastical rather than secular and ^ythecir- 
civil ; his preoccupation is with Israel as a church rather of the age 
than as a nation. Hence, while he dwells at comparative !° ^^'^** 

, * It was 

length on the lives of the patriarchs and prophets to whom composed. 
the deity deigned to reveal himself, he hurries over whole 
generations of common mortals, whom he barely mentions 
by name, as if they were mere links to connect one religious 
epoch with another, mere packthread on which to string at 
rare intervals the splendid jewels of revelation. His attitude 

A. T. Chapman, An Introduction to C^-w^.f/V (Cambridge, 19 14), pp. 96 j^^.; 
the Pentateuch {iiximhti^^^y 191 1 ), pp. M. Jastrow, Hebrew and Babylonian 
74-81; H. E. Kyle, The Book of 7>'afiy/*<7;/j(London, I9i4),pp. 348 j^^. 


132 THE GREAT FLOOD part i 

to the past is sufficiently explained by the circumstances of 
the times in which he lived. The great age of Israel was 
over ; its independence was gone, and with it the hopes of 
worldly prosperity and glory. The rosy dreams of empire, 
which the splendid reigns of David and Solomon had con- 
jured up in the hearts of the people, and which may have 
lingered for a while, like morning clouds, even after the 
disruption of the monarchy, had long ago faded in the 
clouded evening of the nation's day, under the grim reality 
of foreign domination. Barred from all the roads of purely 
mundane ambition, the irrepressible idealism of the national 
temperament now found a vent for itself in another direction. 
Its dreams took a different cast. If earth was shut upon 
it, heaven was still open ; and like Jacob at Bethel, with 
enemies behind him and before, the dreamer beheld a ladder 
stretching up beyond the clouds, by which angelic hosts 
might descend to guard and comfort the forlorn pilgrim. 
In short, the leaders of Israel sought to console and com- 
pensate their nation for the humiliations she had to endure 
in the secular sphere by raising her to a position of supre- 
macy in the spiritual. For this purpose they constructed or 
perfected an elaborate system of religious ritual designed to 
forestall and engross the divine favour, and so to make Zion 
the holy city, the joy and centre of God's kingdom on earth. 
With these aims and ambitions the tone of public life became 
more and more clerical, its interests ecclesiastical, its pre- 
dominant influence priestly. The king was replaced by 
the high priest, who succeeded even to the purple robes and 
golden crown of his predecessor.^ The revolution which 
. thus substituted a line of pontiffs for a line of temporal 
rulers at Jerusalem, was like that which converted the Rome 
of the Caisars into the Rome of the mediaeval Popes. 
The It is this movement of thought, this current of religious 

Code^deais ^spirations setting strongly in the direction of ecclesiasticism, 
raihervfc-iih which is reflected, we may almost say arrested and crystal- 
sid</of"^ lized, in the Priestly Code. The intellectual and moral 
religion limitations of the movement are mirrored in the correspond- 
its deeper '"& limitations of the writer. It is the formal side of 
problems, religion in which alone he is really interested ; it is in the 

* \V. Rol>ertson Smith, The Old Testament in the Jeivish Church^^ p. 445. 


details of rites and ceremonies, of ecclesiastical furniture and 
garments, that he revels with genuine gusto. The deeper 
side of religion is practically a sealed book for him : its moral 
and spiritual aspects he barely glances at : into the profound 
problems of immortality and the origin of evil, which have 
agitated inquiring spirits in all the ages, he never enters. 
With his absorption in the minutiae of ritual, his indifference 
to purely secular affairs, his predilection for chronology and 
genealogy, for dates and figures, in a word, for the dry bones 
rather than the flesh and blood of history, the priestly 
historian is like one of those monkish chroniclers of the 
Middle Ages who looked out on the great world through 
the narrow loophole of a cloistered cell or the many-tinted 
glass of a cathedral window. His intellectual horizon was 
narrowed, the atmosphere in which he beheld events was 
coloured, by the medium through which he saw them. Thus 
the splendours of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, invisible 
to all eyes but his, are as if they had loomed on his heated 
imagination through the purple lights of a rose-window or 
the gorgeous panes of some flamboyant oriel. Even in the 
slow processes or sudden catastrophes which have fashioned 
or transformed the material universe he discerned little more 
than the signs and wonders vouchsafed by the deity to 
herald new epochs of religious dispensation. For him the 
work of creation was a grand prelude to the institution of 
the sabbath.^ /The vault of heaven itself, spangled with 
glorious luminaries, was a magnificent dial-plate on which 
the finger of God pointed eternally to the correct seasons of 
the feasts in the ecclesiastical calendar.^ The deluge, which 
swept away almost the whole of mankind, was the occasion 
which the repentant deity took to establish a covenant with 
the miserable survivors ; and the rainbow, glowing in iri- 
descent radiance against the murky storm-cloud, was nothing 
but the divine seal appended to the covenant as a guarantee 
of its genuine and irrevocable character.^ 

* Genesis ii. i sq, some circumstance. The commonest 

' Genesis i. 14. The Hebrew application is to the sacred seasons of 

word here translated ** seasons " the ecclesiastical year, which are fixed 

(onj^Ho) "appears never (certainly not by the moon" (Principal Skinner, in 

in P) to be used of the natural seasons his Critical and Exegetical Commentary 

of the year, but always of a time con- on Genesis^ p, 26). 

ventionally agre^ upon, or fixed by * Genesis ix. 8-17. 



PAkr I 

Legal bent 
of the 
writer ; his 




of the 



For the priestly historian was a lawyer as well as 
an ecclesiastic, and as such he took great pains to prove 
that the friendly relations of God to his people rested 
on a strictly legal basis, being authenticated by a scries 
of contracts into which both parties entered with all due 
formality. He is never so much in his element as when 
he is expounding these covenants ; he never wearies of 
recalling the long series of Israel's title-deeds. Nowhere 
does this dryasdust antiquary, this rigid ritualist, so sensibly 
relax his normal severity, nowhere does he so nearly unbend 
and thaw, as when he is expatiating on the congenial subject 
of contracts and conveyances. His masterpiece of historical 
narrative is acknowledged to be his account of the negotia- 
tions into which the widowed Abraham entered with the 
sons of Heth in order to obtain a family vault in which to 
bury his wife.^ The lugubrious nature of the transaction 
does not damp the professional zest of the narrator ; and the 
picture he has drawn of it combines the touches of no mean 
artist with the minute exactitude of a practised conveyancer. 
At this distance of time the whole scene still passes before 
us, as similar scenes may have passed before the eyes of the 
writer, and as they may still be witnessed in the East, when 
two well-bred Arab sheikhs fence dexterously over a point 
of business, while they observe punctiliously the stately forms 
and courtesies of Oriental diplomacy. But such pictures are 
rare indeed in this artist's gallery. Landscapes he hardly 
attempted, and his portraits are daubs, lacking all indivi- 
duality, life, and colour. In that of Moses, which he laboured 
most, the great leader is little more than a lay-figure rigged 
out to distribute ecclesiastical upholstery and millinery.' 

Very different are the pictures of the patriarchal age 
bequeathed to us by the author of the Jehovistic document. 
In purity of outline, lightness and delicacy of touch, and 
warmth of colouring, they are unsurpassed, perhaps un- 
equalled, in literature. The finest effects are produced by 
the fewest strokes, because every stroke is that of a master 
who knows instinctively just what to put in and what to 
leave out. Thus, while his whole attention seems to be 

* Genesis xxiii. 
' W. Robertson Smith, The Old Testament in the Jewish Churchy' p. 409. 



* Genesis ii. 7. 

* Genesfs iii. 8 sq. 
^ Genesis iii. 21. 

* Genesis vii. 16. 

* Genesis viii. 21. 

^ Genesis xi. 5 and 7. 

^ Genesis xviii. i sqq. In the 
English Authorized Version the trees 
have disappeared from the picture and 
been replaced by plains. They are 
rightly restored in the Revised Version, 
though the correct rendering oY the 
Hebrew word is perhaps rather ** tere- 
binths "'than "oaks." See below, 

Part iv. chap, xv., "Sacred Oaks and 

* As to the two documents, the 
Jehovistic (J) and the Priestly (P), see 
W. Robertson Smith, The 01^ Testa- 
ment in the Jewish Church ^^ pp. 319 

^f^'» 3S1 •^^^•» 442 sQ'j' ; J- Kstlin 
Carpenter and G. Harford -Battersby^* 
The Hexateuchy i. 33 sqq., 97 sqq.^ 
121 sqq. ; E. Kautsch, Die heilige 
Schrijt des Alten Testaments (Freiburg 
i. B. und Leipzig, 1894), ii. 150 sqq.^ 
188 sqq. ; W. H. Bennett, Genesis^ 
pp. 9 sqq., 22 sqq,, 34 sqq, ; W. H. 


given to the human figures in the foreground, who stand out 
from the canvas with lifelike truth and solidity, he contrives 
simultaneously, with a few deft, almost imperceptible touches, 
to indicate the landscape behind them, and so to complete 
a harmonious picture which stamps itself indelibly on the 
memory. The scene, for example, of Jacob and Rachel at 
the well, with the flocks of sheep lying round it in the noon- 
tide heat, is as vivid in the writer's words as it is in the 
colours of Raphael. 

And to this exquisite picturesqueness in the delineation Naive 
of human life he adds a charming naivety, an antique ^orphfsm 
simplicity, in his descriptions of the divine. He carries us of the 
back to the days of old, when no such awful gulf was sup- ^.^-^H^^^^ 
posed to yawn between man and the deity. In his pages 
we read how God moulded the first man out of clay, as a 
child shapes its mud baby ; ^ how he walked in the garden 
in the cool of the evening and called to the shamefaced 
couple who had been skulking behind trees ; ^ how he made 
coats of skin to replace the too scanty fig-leaves of our first 
parents ; ^ how he shut the door behind Noah, when the 
patriarch had entered into the ark ; * how he sniffed the 
sweet savour of the burning sacrifice ; ^ how he came down 
to look at the tower of Babel,® apparently because, viewed 
from the sky, it was beyond his reach of vision ; how he 
conversed with Abraham at the door of his tent, in the heat 
of the day, under the shadow of the whispering oak$.^ In 
short, the whole work of this delightful writer is instinct 
with a breath of poetry, with something of the freshness and 
fragrance of the olden time, which invests it with an ineffable 
and immortal charm.^ 




Verbal In the composite narrative of the Great Flood which we 

betwwn^he P^sscss in Gcnesis, the separate ingredients contributed by 

jehovisiic the Jehovistic and the Priestly documents respectively are 

Priestly distinguishable from each other both by verbal and by 

documents, material differences. To take the verbal differences first, 

the most striking is that in the Hebrew original the deity is 

uniformly designated, in the Jehovistic document by the 

name oi Jehovah {Jahiveh), and in the Priestly document by 

the name of Elohwiy which in the English version are 

rendered respectively by the words " Lord ** and " God." In 

representing the Hebrew Jehovah {Jahiveli) by " Lord," the 

English translators follow the practice of the Jews, who, in 

reading the Scriptures aloud, uniformly substitute the title 

Adonai or " Lord " for the sacred name of Jehovah, wherever 

they find the latter written in the text. Hence the English 

reader may assume as a general rule that in the passages of 

the English version, where the title " Lord " is applied to the 

Bennett and W. K. Adeney, A Biblical 
Introduction^^ pp. 20 sqq. ; S. R. 
Driver, Introduction to the Literature 
of the Old Testament^ pp. 10 sqq.^ 
1 16 sqq. ; id.^ The Book of Genes is,^^ 
Introduction, pp. iv. sqq. ; K. Budde, 
Geschichte der althebrdischen Litteratur^ 
pp. 4S-65» 183-205 ; J. Skinner, 
Critical and Exe^itical Commentary on 
Genesis, pp. xxxii-lxvii ; H. Gunkcl, 
Genesis iibersetzt und erkUirt^ (Cjollin- 
gen, 19 10), pp. Ixxx sqq.^ xcii sqq. ; 
A. T. Chapman, Introduction to the 
Pentateuch (Cambridge, 191 1), pp. 50 
sqq.t 207 sqq. ; R. Kittel, Geschichte 
des Vblhes Israel^ {Goihsi, 1909-19 12), 
>• 273-333» "• 398 sqq. ; H. E. Ryle, 
The Book of Genesis (Cambridge, 191 4), 
pp. xviii sqq. Critics seem generally 
to agree that the Priestly Code is 
the framework into which the three 
other main constituents of the Hexa- 
teuch have been fitted, and that it 
was suKstantially ** the l)ook of the 
law of Moses " which was publicly 
promulgated by Ezra at Jerusalem in 
444 B.C. and accepted by the people 
as the basis of a new reformation 
(Nchemiah viii.). But the work of 
combining the Priestly Code with the 
other documents, so as to form our 
present Hexatcuch, appears to have 

been carric<l out at a later date, per- 
haps about 400 B.C. See J, Estlin 
Carpenter and G. Harford-Battersby, 
The Ilexaieuch, i. 176 sqq. ; W. II. 
Bennett and F. W. Adeney, op. cit., 
pp. 56 sqq. Besides the Priestly Code 
(P) and the Jehovistic document (J), 
the two main constituents of the 
Hexateuch arc Deuteronomy (the D of 
the critics) and the Elohistic document 
(the E of the critics). Of these, the 
Elohistic is the older ; it Ls generally 
believed to have been composed in 
Northern Israel not very long after the 
Jehovistic document, perhaps early in 
tlie eighth century B.C. In style and 
character it is akin to the Jehovistic 
document, but the writer is not so 
great a literary artist, though his reli- 
gious and moral standpoint is somewhat 
more advanced. Unlike the Jehovistic 
writer, he uses the divine name Elohim 
for God instead of Jehovah. It is 
generally believed that the main part 
of Deuteronomy is *' the book of the 
law " which was found in the temple at 
Jerusalem in 621 B.C. and formed the 
basis of J<vsiah's reformation (2 Kings 
xxii. 8 sqq.). On these matters the 
reader will find the evidence stated and 
discussed in the works mentioned at 
the beginning of this note. 


deity, the name Jehovah stands for it in the written or printed 
Hebrew text.^ But in the narrative of the flood and through- 
out Genesis the Priestly writer avoids the use of the name 
Jehovah and substitutes for it the term Elohim, which is the 
ordinary Hebrew word for God ; and his reason for doing so 
is that according to him the divine name Jehovah was first 
revealed by God to Moses,^ and therefore could not have been 
applied to him in the earlier ages of the world. On the other 
hand, the Jehovistic writer has no such theory as to the 
revelation of the name Jehovah ; hence he bestows it on the 
deity without scruple from the creation onwards. 

Apart from this capital distinction between the documents, 
there are verbal differences which do not appear in the 
English translation. Thus, one set of words is used for 
" male and female " in the Jehovistic document, and quite a 
different set in the Priestly.^ Again, the words translated 
•'destroy "in the English version are different in the two 
documents,* and similarly with the words which the English 
translators represent by " die " ^ and ** dried." * 

But the material differences between the Jehovistic and Material 
the Priestly narratives are still more remarkable, and as they b^t^^^"nThe 
amount in some cases to positive contradictions, the proof Jehovistic 
that they emanate from separate documents may be regarded *^iestiy 
as complete. Thus in the Jehovistic narrative the clean narratives 
animals are distinguished from the unclean, and while seven Their dis- 
of every sort of clean animals are admitted to the ark, crepancies 
only a pair of each sort of unclean animals is suffered to animals. 
enter.^ On the other hand, the Priestly writer makes no. 

* See E. Kautsch, in Encyclopadia sometimes translated **give up the 
Biblica^xi. ^^20 sog., s.v. "Names"; ghost." 

A. T. Chapman, Introduction to the ° ann in J (viii. 13), P3* in P (viii. 

Pentateuch, ^^, <^\ sq. 14). ''ah the foregoing ' and other 

* Exodus vi. 2 sq, verbal differences between the two 
3 Wki »'k in J (vii. 2), najiji na^ documents are noted by Principal J. 

in P (vi. 19, vii. 9. 16). Skinner in his Critical and Exejretical 

* nro in J (vL 7, vii. 4, 23), nnc^ in Commentary on Genesis, p. 148. Com- 
V (vL'i3, 17, ix. II, 15). The former pare H. (junkel, Genesis iihcrsetzt und 
word means properly »*blot out," as it erkliirt^ (Clcittingcn, 1910), p. 138. 

is rendered in the margin of the English ^ Genesis vii. 2, compare viii. 20. 

Revised Version ; the latter is the The Hebrew phrase (.-^ynB^ ^^^i) »n vii. 

ordinary Hebrew word for ** destroy." 2 is commonly understood to mean 

^ mo in J (vii. 22), jPi in P (vi. 17, seven fairs', but in accordance with 

vii. 21). The former is the ordinary Hebrew idiom it can only mean seven 

Hebrew word for ** die " ; the latter is individuals of each sort, as my teacher 




such invidious distinction between the animals, but admits 
them to the ark on a footing of perfect equality, though at 
the same time he impartially limits them all alike to a single 
couple of each sort.^ The explanation of this discrepancy 
is that in the view of the Priestly writer the distinction be- 
tween clean and unclean animals was first revealed by God 
to Moses,^ and could not therefore have been known to his 
predecessor Noah ; whereas the Jehovistic writer, untroubled 
by any such theory, naYvely assumes the distinction between 
clean and unclean animals to have been familiar to mankind 
from the earliest times, as if it rested on a natural difference 
too obvious to be overlooked by anybody. 
Discrep- Another serious discrepancy between the two writers 

bet^eenthe ^^^^^^s to the duration of the flood. In the Jehovistic narra- 
jehovistic tive the rain lasted forty days and forty nights,^ and after- 
^iestiy wards Noah passed three weeks in the ark before the water 
writers as had subsided enough to let him land.* On this reckoning 
duration of ^^c flood lasted sixty-one days. On the other hand, in the 
the flood. Priestly narrative it was a hundred and fifty days before the 
water began to sink,^ and the flood lasted altogether for 
twelve months and ten days.® As the Hebrew months were 
lunar, twelve of them would amount to three hundred and 
fifty-four days, and ten days added to them would give a 
solar year of three hundred and sixty-four days.^ Since the 
Priestly writer thus assigns to the duration of the flood the 
approximate length of a solar year, we may safely assume 
that he lived at a time when the Jews were able to correct the 
serious error of the lunar calendar by observation of the sun. 
Again, the two writers differ from each other in the 

and friend, the Rev. Professor R. II. 
Kennctt, has kindly pointed out to me 
in a letter. See Gesenius' HebnrM 
Grammar as edited and enlarged by E, 
Kautsch^ Second English Edition, re- 
vised by A. PI Cowley (Oxford, 1910), 
P« 43^1 § 134 ^« The phrase, as was to 
be expected, is rightly understood by 
\V. Robertson Smith {The Old Testa- 
ment in the Jcivish Church^ p. 329), 
and Principal J. Skinner {Commentary 
on Genesis^ p. 152). 

^ Cienesis vi. 19 sq., vii. 15 sq. 

* Leviticus xi. ; Deuteronomy xiv. 


3 Genesis vii. 12, 17. 

* Genesis viii. 6-13. 
^ Genesis viii. 3. 

• Genesis vii. 1 1 compared with viii. 

^ S. R. Driver, The Book of Gene sis ^^^ 
p. 85 ; J. Skinner, Critical and Exe- 
getical Commentary on Genesis^ pp. 
167 sqq. ; II. Gunkel, Genesis iiber- 
setzt itnd erkliirt^ pp. 146 sq. ; A. T. 
Chapman, Tntroduetion to the Penta- 
tcUih, p. 79; H. E. Ryle, The Book 
of Genesis J p. 113. 


causes which they allege for the flood ; for whereas the Discrcp- 
Jehovistic writer puts it down to rain only,^ the Priestly ^heca^*of 
writer speaks of subterranean waters bursting forth as well the flood. 
as of sheets of water descending from heaven. . 

Lastly, the Jehovistic writer represents Noah as building Discrep- 
an altar and sacrificing to God in gratitude for his escape ^Llfdl^g 
from the flood. The Priestly writer, on the other hand, of an altar 
makes no mention either of the altar or of the sacrifice ; no offering of 
doubt because from the standpoint of the Levitical law, which sacrifice. 
he occupied, there could be no legitimate altar anywhere but 
in the temple at Jerusalem, and because for a mere layman 
like Noah to offer a sacrifice would have been an unheard-of 
impropriety, a gross encroachment on the rights of the clergy 
which he could not for a moment dream of imputing to the 
respectable patriarch. 

Thus a comparison of the Jehovistic and the Priestly Acompari- 
narratives strongly confirms the conclusion of the critics that ih" two 
the two were originally independent, and that the Jehovistic narratives 
is considerably the older. For the Jehovistic writer is clearly confirms 
ignorant of the law of the one sanctuary, which forbade the ^"^^ 
offering of sacrifice anywhere but at Jerusalem ; and as that that the 
law was first clearly enunciated and enforced by King Josiah J*-*hovistic 
in 621 B.C., it follows that the Jehovistic document must documents 
have been composed some time, probably a long time, before Qru^aii 
that date. For a like reason the Priestly document must indepen- 
have been composed some time, probably a consfderable time, fi^at^'ti^"^ 
after that date, since the writer implicitly recognizes the law Jehovistic 
of the one sanctuary by refusing to impute a breach of it to of thc^wa 
Noah. Thus, whereas the Jehovistic writer betrays a certain 
archaic simplicity in artlessly attributing to the earliest ages 
of the world the religious institutions and phraseology of his 
own time, the Priestly writer reveals the reflection of a later 
age, which has worked out a definite theory of religious 
evolution and applies it rigidly to history. 

A very cursory comparison of the Hebrew with the 
Babylonian account of the Deluge may suffice to convince us 
that the two narratives are not independent, but that one of 
them must be derived from the other, or both from a common 

^ Genesis viL 12. ^ Genesis vii. ii, compare viii. 2. 

^ Genesis viii. 20 sq. 





and the 
stories of 
the flood 
each other 
too closely 
to be inde- 

In the 
story the 
agrees more 
closely than 
the Priestly 
with the 

original. The points of resemblance between the two are far 
too numerous and detailed to be accidental. In both narra- 
tives the divine powers resolve to destroy mankind by a 
great flood ; in both the secret is revealed beforehand to a 
man by a god, who directs him to build a great vessel, in 
which to save himself and seed of every kind. It is probably 
no mere accidental coincidence that in the Babylonian story, 
as reported by Berosus, the hero saved from the flood was 
the tenth King of Babylon, and that in the Hebrew story 
Noah was the tenth man in descent from Adam. In both 
narratives the favoured man, thus warned of God, builds a 
huge vessel in several stories, makes it water-tight with pitch 
or bitumen, and takes into it his family and animals of all 
sorts : in both, the deluge is brought about in large measure 
by heavy rain, and lasts for a greater or less number of days : 
in both, all mankind are drowned except the hero and his 
family : in both, the man sends forth birds, a raven and a 
dove, to see whether the water of the flood has abated : in 
both, the dove after a time returns to the ship because it 
could find no place in which to rest : in both, the raven does 
not return : in both, the vessel at last grounds on a mountain : 
in both, the hero, in gratitude for his rescue, offers sacrifice 
on the mountain : in both, the gods smell the sweet savour, 
and their anger is appeased. 

So much for the general resemblance between the Baby- 
lonian story as a whole and the Hebrew story as a 
whole. But if we take into account the separate elements 
of the Hebrew ^tory, we shall see that the Jehovistic 
narrative is in closer agreement than the Priestly with the 
Babylonian. Alike in the Jehovistic and in the Babylonian 
narrative special prominence is given to the number seven. 
In the Jehovistic version, Noah has a seven days' warning 
of the coming deluge : he takes seven of every sort of 
clean animals with him into the ark : he allows intervals of 
seven days to elapse between the successive despatches of 
the dove from the ark. In the Babylonian version the flood 
lasts at its greatest height for seven days ; and the hero sets 
out the sacrificial vessels by sevens on the mountain. Again, 
alike in the Jehovistic and the Babylonian version, special 
mention is made of shutting the door of the ship or ark 


when the man, his family, and the animals have entered into 
it : in both alike we have the picturesque episode of sending 
forth the raven and the dove from the vessel, and in both 
alike the offering of the sacrifice, the smelling of it by the 
gods, and their consequent appeasement. On the other hand, 
ill certain particulars the Priestly narrative in Genesis 
approaches more closely than the Jehovistic to the Baby- 
lonian. Thus, in both the Priestly and the Babylonian 
version exact directions are given for the construction of the 
vessel : in both alike it is built in several stories, each of 
which is divided into numerous cabins : in both alike it is 
made water-tight by being caulked with pitch or bitumen : 
in both alike it grounds on a mountain ; and in both alike 
on issuing from the vessel the hero receives the divine 

But if the Hebrew and Babylonian narratives are closely The 
related to each other, how is the relation to be explained ? ^^^"^^^ 
The Babylonian cannot be derived from the Hebrew, since the flood 
it is older than the Hebrew by at least jeleven or twelve havTbeen 
centuries. Moreover, " as Zimmern has remarked, the very ultimately 
essence of the Biblical narrative presupposes a country liable, ^om 
like Babylonia, to inundations ; so that it cannot be doubted Babylonia; 
that the story was * indigenous in Babylonia, and transplanted Hebrews 
to Palestine.' " ^ But if the Hebrews derived the story of ^^^« . 

ir -nt^i* !.*•» acquainted 

the great flood from IJabylonia, when and how did they do with it long 
so? We have no information on the subject, and the question ^^*? ^^ 

-' ' ^ Babylonian 

can only be answered conjecturally. Some scholars of repute captivity. 
have supposed that the Jews first learned the legend in 
Babylon during the captivity, and that the Biblical narrative 
is consequently not older than the sixth century before our 
era.^ This view might be tenable if we only possessed the 
Hebrew version of the Deluge legend in the Priestly recension ; 
for the Priestly Code, as we saw, was probably composed 
during or after the captivity, and it is perfectly possible that 
the writers of it acquired a knowledge of the Babylonian 
tradition either orally or from Babylonian literature during 
their exile or perhaps after their return to Palestine ; for it 

1 S.'R. T>nwcT<, The Book 0/ Genesis ^^^ by E. Schrader, The Cmieiform In- 

p. 107. script ions and the Old Testament ^ i. 

* This is, or was, the opinion of 55. The view is rightly rejected by 

P. Ilaupt and Fr. Delitsch, as reported Schrader. 

142 THE GREAT FLOOD part i 

is reasonable to suppose that the intimate relations which the 
conquest established between the two countries may have led 
to a certain diffusion of Babylonian literature in Palestine, 
and of Jewish literature in Babylonia. On this view some 
of the points in which the Priestly narrative departs from the 
Jehovistic and approximates to the Babylonian may cort- 
ceivably have been borrowed directly by the Priestly writers 
from Babylonian sources. Such points are the details as to 
the construction of the ark, and in particular the smearing of 
it with pitch or bitumen, which is a characteristic product of 
Babylonia.^ But that the Hebrews were acquainted with the 
story of the great flood, and that too in a form closely akin 
to the Babylonian, long before they were carried away into 
captivity, is abundantly proved by the Jehovistic narrative in 
Genesis, which may well date from the ninth century before 
our era and can hardly be later than the eighth. 
How and Assuming, then, that the Hebrews in Palestine were 

when the familiar from an early time with the Babylonian legend of 
learned the the deluge, we have still to ask, how and when did they 
fl^ we^do '^^''^ ^^ ^ Two answers to the question have been given, 
not know. On the one hand, it has been held that the Hebrews may 
have brought the legend with them, when they migrated 
from Babylonia to Palestine about two thousand years 
before Christ.^ On the other hand, it has been suggested 
that, after their settlement in Palestine, the Hebrews may 
have borrowed the story from the native Canaanites, who in 
their turn may have learned it through the medium of 
Babylonian literature sometime in the second millennium 
before our era.' Which, if either, of these views is the true 
one, we have at present no means of deciding. 

1 Herodotus i. 179, with the note above, p. 121, note^. 

in George Rawlinson*s translation ^11. Gressmann, in Das Gilgamesch- 

(Fourth Edition, vol. i., London, 1880, Epos iibersetzt utid erkliit-t von A. 

p. 300). Ungnad und II. Gressmann, p. 220. 

On this theory see Principal J. Skinner, 

2 This is the view of Professor M. Critical and Exegetical Commentary 
Jastrow {HcbrcM and Babylonian Tra- on Genesis^ p. x, who objects to it 
ditions, pp. 13 sqq.\ who identifies that ** there arc no recognisable traces 
Abraham's contemporary, Amraphel, of a specifically Canaanite medium 
King of Shinar (Ciencsis xiv. i), with having l>een interposed between the 
Hammurabi, King of Babylon, thus Babylonian originals and the Hebrew 
dating Abraham and his migration accounts of the Creation and the Flood, 
from Babylonia to Palestine about 2100 such as we may surmise in the case of 
B.C. As to Hammurabi's date, see the Paradise myth." 


In later times Jewish fancy tricked out the story of the Fanciful 
flood with many new and often extravagant details designed *JJ^jfj\* h"' 
apparently to satisfy the curiosity or tickle the taste of a the jews to 
degenerate age, which could not rest satisfied with the noble [^^ ^^^ ?^ 
simplicity of the narrative in Genesis. Amongthese tawdry latcnimes. 
or grotesque additions to the ancient legend we read how 
men lived at ease in the days before the flood, for by a 
single sowing they reaped a harvest sufficient for the needs 
of forty years, and by their magic arts they could compel the 
sun and moon to do them service. Instead of nine months 
children were in their mothers* wombs only a few days, and 
immediately on their birth could walk and talk and set even 
the demons at defiance. It was this easy luxurious life that 
led men astray and lured them into the commission of those 
sins, especially the sins of wantonness and rapacity, which 
excited the wrath of God and determined him to destroy the 
sinners by a great flood. Yet in his mercy he gave them 
due warning ; for Noah, instructed by the deity, preached to 
them to mend their ways, threatening them with the flood as 
the punishment of their iniquity ; and this he did for no less 
than one hundred .and twenty years. Even at the end of 
that period God gave mankind another week's grace, during 
which, strange to say, the sun rose in the west every morning 
and set in the east every night. But nothing could move 
these wicked men to repentance ; they only mocked and 
jeered at the pious Noah when they saw him building the 
ark. He learned how to make it from a holy book, which The book 
had been given to Adam by the angel Razicl and which R^^jei*'^"^^^ 
contained within it all knowledge, human and divine. It 
was made of sapphires, and Noah enclosed it in a golden 
casket when he took it with him into the ark, where it served 
him as a time-piece to distinguish night from day ; for so 
long as the flood prevailed neither the sun nor the moon shed 
any light on the earth. Now the deluge was caused by the 
male waters from the sky meeting the female waters which 
issued forth from the ground. The holes in the sky by 
which the upper waters escaped were made by God when 
he removed two stars out of the constellation of the Pleiades ; 
and in order to stop this torrent of rain God had afterwards 
to bung up the two holes with a couple of stars borrowed 




taken into 
the ark. 

Og, King 
of Bashan. 
on the top 
of the ark ; 

in the ark. 

from the constellation of the Bear. That is why the Bear 
runs after the Pleiades to this day : she wants her children 
back, but she will never get them till after the Last Day. 

When the ark was re^dy, Noah proceeded to gather 
the animals into it. They came trooping in such numbers 
that the patriarch could not take them all in, but 
had to sit at the door of the ark and make a choice ; the 
animals which lay down at the door he took in, and the 
animals which stood up he shut out Even after this prin- 
ciple of natural selection had been rigidly enforced, the 
number of species of reptiles which were taken on board 
was no less than three hundred and sixty -five, and the 
number of species of birds thirty-two. No note was taken, 
at least none appears to have been recorded, of the number 
of mammals, but many of them were among the passengers, 
as we shall see presently. Before the flood the unclean animals 
far outnumbered the clean, but after the flood the proportions 
were reversed, because seven pairs ^ of each of the clean sorts 
were preserved in the ark, but only two pairs of the unclean. 
One creature, the reemy was so huge that there was no room for 
it in the ark,so Noah tethered it to the outride of the vessel,and 
the animal trotted behind. The giant Og, king of Bashan, was 
also much too big to go into the ark, so he sat on the top of 
it, and in that way escaped with his life. With Noah himself 
in the ark were his wife Naamah, daughter of Enosh, and 
his three sons and their wives. An odd pair who also found 
refuge in the ark were Falsehood and Misfortune. At first 
Falsehood presented himself alone at the door of the ark, 
but was refused a passage on the ground that there was no 
admission except for married couples. So he went away, 
and meeting with Misfortune induced her to join him, and 
the pair were received into the ark. When all were aboard, 
and the flood began, the sinners gathered some seven hundred 
thousand strong round about the ark and begged and prayed 
to be taken in. When Noah sternly refused to admit them, 
they made a rush at the door as if to break it in, but the 
wild beasts that were on guard round about the ark fell upon 
them and devoured some of them, and all that escaped the 
beasts were drowned in the rising flood. A whole year the 

* But see above, p. 137, note^ 


ark floated on the face of the waters ; it pitched and tossed 
on the heaving billows, and all inside of it were shaken up 
like lentils in a pot The lions roared, the oxen lowed, the 
wolves howled, and the rest bellowed after their several 
sorts. But the great difficulty with which Noah had to 
struggle in the ark was the question of victuals. Long after- xhe diffi- 
wards his son Shem confided to Eliezer, the servant of ^"'^^ °^ 
Abraham, the trouble his father had had in feeding the animals in 
whole menagerie. The poor man was up and down, up and ^^'^ ^^' 
down, by day and by night. For the daylight animals had 
to be fed by day and the nocturnal animals by night ; and 
the giant Og had his rations served out to him through a 
hole in the roof Though the lion suffered the whole time 
from a fever, which kept him comparatively quiet, yet he 
was very surly and ready to fly out on the least pro- 
vocation. Once when Noah did not bring him his dinner 
fast enough, the noble animal gave him such a blow with his 
paw that the patriarch was lame for the rest of his natural 
life and therefore incapable of serving as a priest. It was on 
the tenth day of the month Tammuz that Noah sent forth 
the raven to see and report on the state of the flood. But 
the raven found a corpse floating on the water and set to 
work to devour it, so that he quite forgot to return and hand 
in his report A week later Noah sent out the dove, which 
at last, on its third flight, brought back in its bill an olive 
leaf plucked on the Mount of Olives at Jerusalem ; for the 
Holy Land had not been ravaged by the deluge. When he 
stepped out of the ark Noah wept to see the widespread 
devastation wrought by the flood. A thank-offering for his 
delivery was offered by his son Shem, for the patriarch him- 
self was still suffering from the effects of his encounter with 
the lion and could not officiate in person.^ 

Froni another late account we learn some interesting Another 

Icitc Tewisli 

particulars as to the internal arrangements of the ark and version of 
the distribution of the passengers. The beasts and cattle ^^ ^^^^ 
were battened down in the hold, the middle deck was occupied 
by the birds, and the promenade deck was reserved for Noah 
and his family. But the men and the women were kept 
strictly apart The patriarch and his sons lodged in the cast 

* L. Ginzberg, TTie Legends of the Jews ^ i. (Philadelphia, 1909) pp. 151-167. 
VOL.1 L 




end pf the ark, and his wife and his sons' wives lodged in 
the west end ; and between them as a barrier was interposed 
the dead body of Adam, which was thus rescued from a 
watery grave. This account, which further favours us with 
the exact dimensions of the ark in cubits and the exact 
day of the week and of the month when the passengers 
got aboard, is derived from an Arabic manuscript found in 
the hbrary of the Convent of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai. 
The author would seem to have been an Arab Christian, 
who flourished about the time of the Mohammedan con- 
quest, though the manuscript is of later date.^ 

legend of 
a flood as 
told by 

and Pyrrha, 
warned by 
Zeus of the 
flood, saved 
in an ark, 

re- peopled 
the world 
by throwing 
over their 

§ 4. Ancient Greek Stories of a Great Flood 

Legends of a destructive deluge, in which the greater 
part of mankind perished, meet us in the literature of ancient 
Greece. As told by the mythographer Apollodorus, the 
story runs thus : " Deucalion was the son of Prometheus. 
He reigned as king in the country about Phthia and married 
Pyrrha, the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora, the first 
woman fashioned by the gods. But when Zeus wished to 
destroy the men of the Bronze Age, Deucalion by the advice 
of Prometheus constructed a chest or ark, and having stored 
in it what was needful he entered into it with his wife. But 
Zeus poured a great rain from the sky upon the earth and 
washed down the greater part of Greece, so that all men 
perished except a few, who flocked to the high mountains 
near. Then the mountains in Thessaly were parted, and all 
the world beyond the Isthmus and Peloponnese was over- 
whelmed. But Deucalion in the ark, floating over the sea 
for nine days and as many nights, grounded on Parnassus, 
and there, when the rains ceased, he disembarked and 
sacrificed to Zeus, the God of Escape. And Zeus sent 

* Studia Siftaitica^ No. viii., Apo- 
crypha Arabica^ edited .ind translated 
into English by Margaret Dunlop 
Gibson (London and Cambridge, 
1 901), pp. 23-30, with the Editor's 
Introduction, pp. vii sqq. Accordini; 
to this account the ark was 300 cubits 
long by 50 cubits broad and 30 cubits 

high. It was Friday the 17th of 
March or, according to others, of May, 
when the body of Adam was brought 
into the ark ; and all the passengers, 
both animal and human, got on board 
the next day. The flood fell, and 
Noah and his company quitted the ark, 
on a day in Nisan (April). 


Hermes to him and allowed him to choose what he would, -^ 
and he chose men. And at the bidding of Zeus he picked A 
up stones and threw them over his head ; and the stones 
which Deucalion threw became men, and the stones which 
Pyrrha threw became women. That is why in Greek people 
are called laoi from laas^ * a stone.' " ^ 

In this form the Greek legend is not older than about Heiianicus 
the middle of the second century before our era, the time on^Dcu"^*^ 
when Apollodorus wrote, but in substance it is much more caiions 
ancient, for the story was told by Heiianicus, a Greek *^^" 
historian of the fifth century B.C., who said that Deucalion's 
ark drifted not to Parnassus but to Mount Othrys in 
Thessaly.^ The other version has the authority of Pindar, 
who wrote earlier than Heiianicus in the fifth century B.C. ; 
for the poet speaks of Deucalion and Pyrrha descending 
from Parnassus and creating the human race afresh out of 
stones.* According to some, the first city which they 
founded after the great flood was Opus, situated in the fertile 
Locrian plain between the mountains and the Euboic Gulf. 
But Deucalion is reported to have dwelt at Cynus, the port of Deucalion's 
Opus, distant a few miles across the plain : and there his ^^^ ^^ 

* ' f > Cynus on 

wife's tomb was shown to travellers down to the beginning the Euboic 
of our era. Her husband's dust is said to have rested at 
Athens.* The coast of Locris, thus' associated with traditions 
of the great flood, is rich in natural beauties. The road runs 
at the foot of the mountains, which are of soft and lovely 
outlines, for the most part covered with forest ; while the low 
hills and glades by the sea are wooded with pines, plane- 
trees, myrtles, lentisks, and other trees and shrubs, their 
luxuriant verdure fed by abundant springs. Across the blue 
waters of the gulf the eye roams to the island of Eubcua, 
with its winding shores and long line of finely cut mountains 
standing out against the sky. The home of Deucalion was 
on a promontory jutting into the gulf. On it, and on the 
isthmus which joins it to the land, may still be seen the 
mouldering ruins of Cynus : a line of fortification walls, built 
of sandstone, nins round the edge of the height, and the 

' Apollodoius, />W/4»///A«/, i. 7. 2. 3 Pindar, Olymp, ix. 64 sqq, 

- Scholiast on I'indar, Olymp. ix. 
64 ; Fragmetita Ilistovicorufii (Jrae- * Strabo, ix. 4. 2, p. 425, cd. 

cortwtf ed. C. Miillcr, i. 48. Casaubon. 




ark vari- 
ously said 
to have 

and on a 

summit is crowned by the remains of a mediaeval tower. 
The ground is littered with ancient potsherds.^ 

Deucalion's It is said that an ancient city on Parnassus was over- 
whelmed by the rains which caused the deluge, but the 
inhabitants, guided by the howling of wolves, found their 
way to the peaks of the mountain, and when the flood had 
subsided they descended and built a new city, which they 
called Lycorea or Wolf-town in gratitude for the guidance 

in ArgoUs. of the wolves.* Lucian speaks of Deucalion's ark, with the 
solitary survivors of the human race, grounding on what was 
afterwards the site of Wolf-town, while as yet all the rest 
of the world was submerged.' But according to another 
account, the mountain to which Deucalion escaped was a 
peak in Argolis, which was afterwards called Nemea from 
the cattle which cropped the greensward on its grassy slopes. 
There the hero built an altar in honour of Zeus the Deliverer, 
who had delivered him from the great flood.* The mountain 
on which he is said to have alighted is probably the table- 
mountain, now called Phouka, whose broad flat top towers 
high above the neighbouring hills and forms a conspicuous 
landmark viewed from the plain of Argos.* 

The Megarians told how in Deucalion's flood Megarus, 
son of Zeus, escaped by swimming to the top of Mount 
Gerania, being guided by the cries of some cranes, which 
flew over the rising waters and from which the mountain 

Aristotieon afterwards received its new name.* According to Aristotle, 
writing in the fourth century B.C., the ravages of the deluge 
in Deucalion's time were felt most sensibly " in ancient 
Hellas, which is the country about Dodona and the river 
Achelous, for that river has changed its bed in many places. 
In those days the land was inhabited by the Selli and the 
people who were then called Greeks {Graikoi) but are now 
named Hellenes."^ Some peopte thought that the sanctuary 

the Apesas of the ancients (Pausanias, 
"• 5« 3» with the note in my com- 
mentary), which again appears to be 
connected with Zeus Aphest'os (De- 
liverer), to whom Deucalion built an 
altar on the mountain. 

** Pausanias, i. 40. i (Gerania from 
^erafwi, ** cranes "). 

^ Aristotle, Meteorolog. i. 14, p. 
352, ed. Im. Bekker (Berlin, 1831). 

story of 
the flood. 

the flood. 

^ Ludwig Ross, Wanderungen in 
Criechenland {W^XXCy 1851), i. 94 J^. 

^ Pausanias, x. 6. 2. 

' Lucian, Timon^ 3. Elsewhere he 
refers to the ark and to the creation of 
men out of stones {De Saltatione^ 39). 

* Etyvwlogicum Magnum^ p. 176, 
s,v, 'A^<rioj, referring to the Second 
Book of Arrian's Bithyniaca, 

^ The modern Phouka seems to be 


of Zeus atDodona was founded by Deucalion and Pyrrha, who 
dwelt among the Molossians of that country.^ In the fourth 
century B.C. Plato also mentions, without describing, the Platoon 
flood which took place in the time of Deucalion and Pyrrha, * 
and he represents the Egyptian priests as ridiculing the 
Greeks for believing that there had been only one deluge, 
whereas there had been many.^ The Parian chronicler, who 
drew up his chronological table in the year 265 B.C.,* dated 
Deucalion's flood one thousand two hundred and sixty-five Deucalion's 
years before his own time ; * according to this calculation ?J^ ^*1^ 

^ ' o . in 1539 B.C. 

the cataclysm occurred in the year 1539 B.C 

At a later age the Roman poet Ovid decked out the Ovid's 
tradition of the great flood in the pinchbeck rhetoric which a^ounrof 
betrayed the decline of literary taste. He tells us that Deucalion's 

■If )od 

Jupiter, weary of the wickedness and impiety of the men of jupuir 
the Iron Age, resolved to destroy the whole of mankind at resolves to 
one fell swoop. His first idea was to overwhelm them under wkked 
the flaming thunderbolts which he brandished in his red men of the 
right hand ; but on reflection he laid these dangerous by a flood, 
weapons aside, lest the upper air and heaven itself should 
catch fire from the great conflagration which they would 
kindle on earth ; and in this prudent resolution he was con- 
firmed by an imperfect recollection of an old prophecy that 
the whole world, sky and earth alike, was destined to perish 
in a grand and final combustion. Accordingly he decided 
on the safer course of turning on the celestial taps and 
drowning the whole wicked race under the tremendous 
shower bath. So he shut up the North Wind in the cave 
of Aeolus^ to prevent him from sweeping the murky clouds Description 
from the blue sky, and he let loose the South Wind, who ^^^^^ 
flew abroad, rigged out in all the stage properties calculated 
to strike terror into the beholder. He flapped his dripping 
wings : his dreadful face was veiled in pitchy blackness : 
mists sat on his forehead, his beard was soaking wet, and 
water ran down from his hoary hair. In his train the sky 
lowered, thunder crashed, and the rainbow shone in spangled 
glory against the dark rain-clouds. To help the sky-god in 

' Plutarch, Pyrrhus, I. (Berlin, 1825-1826), i. 380 j^^. 
* Plato, TimaeuSj pp. 22A, 23B. * M armor Pari tim^ 6 sqq., in Frag 

' L. Ideler, Handbuch dcr mathe- vienta Ilistoricorum Graciorum^ ed. C 

matischcn und techm'schen Chronologic MuUcr, i. 542. 

15© THE GREAT FLOOD part i 

his onslaught on mankind his sea-blue brother Neptune 
summoned an assembly of the rivers and bade them roll in 
flood over the land, while he himself fetched the earth a 
swashing blow with his trident, causing it to quake like 
a jelly. The fountains of the great deep were now opened. 
The deluge poured over the fields and meadows, whirling 
away trees, cattle, men and houses. Far and wide nothing 
was to be seen but a shoreless sea of tossing, turbid water. 
The farmer now rowed in a shallop over the field where he 
had lately guided the oxen at the plough-tail, and peering 
down he could discern his crops and the roof of his farm- 
house submerged under the waves. He dropped his anchor 
on a green meadow, his keel grated on his own vineyard, and 
he fished for trout in the tops of the tall elms. Seals now 
lolled and sprawled where goats had lately nibbled the 
herbage, and dolphins gambolled and plunged in the woods. 
When at last nothing remained above the waste of waters 
but the two peaks of Parnassus, toppling over the heaving 
Deucalion billows and reaching up above the clouds, Deucalion and his 
Pa«iassus ^^^^ drifted in a little boat to the mountain, and landing 
adored the nymphs of the Corycian cave and the prophetic 
goddess Themis, who managed the business of the oracle 
before it was taken over by Apollo. A righteous and god- 
fearing man was Deucalion, and his wife was just such 
another. Touched with compassion at the sight of the 
honest pair, the sole survivors of so many thousands, Jupiter 
now dispersed the clouds and the deluge, revealing the blue 
sky and the green earth to each other once more. So 
Neptune also laid aside his trident, and summoning the 
bugler Triton, his back blue with the growth of the purple- 
shell, he ordered him to sound the " Retire." The bugler 
obeyed, and putting the shell to his lips he blew from his 
puffed cheeks such a blast that at the sound of it all the 
waves and rivers fell back and left the land high and dry. 
This was all very well, but what were Deucalion and Pyrrha 
to do now, left solitary in a desolate world, where not a 
sound broke the dreadful silence save the melancholy lapping 
On the o^ the wavcs on the lonely shore ? They shed some natural 
advice of tcars, and then wiping them away they resolved to consult 

the Delphic , ' . ,^ ' .^ ,, , , ,i i-i 

oracle the Oracle. So, pacing sadly by the yellow turbid waters of 


the Cephisus, they repaired to the temple of the goddess. Deucalion 
The sacred edifice presented a melancholy spectacle, its walls ^eate^"^ * 
still overgrown with moss and sea-weed, its courts still deep mankind 
in slime ; and naturally no fire flamed or smouldered on the of stones, 
defiled altars. However, the goddess was fortunately at 
home, and in reply to the anxious inquiries of the two sup- 
pliants she instructed them, as soon as they had quitted the 
temple, to veil their heads, unloose their robes, and throw 
behind their backs the bones of their great parent This 
strange answer bewildered them, and for a long time they 
remained silent Pyrrha was the first to find her voice, and 
when at last she broke silence it was to declare respectfully 
but firmly that nothing would induce her to insult her 
mother's ghost by flinging her bones about Her husband, 
more discerning, said that perhaps by their great parent the 
goddess meant them to understand the earth, and that by 
her bones she signified the rocks and stones embedded in the 
ground. They were not very hopeful of success, but nothing 
else occurring to them to do, they decided to make the attempt. 
So they carried out the instructions of the oracle to the letter, 
and sure enough the stones which Deucalion threw turned 
into men, and the stones which Pyrrha threw turned into 
women. Thus was the earth repeopled after the great flood.^ 

Any one who compares the laboured ingenuity of this 
account of the deluge with the majestic simplicity of the 
corresponding narrative in Genesis is in a position to 
measure the gulf which divides great literature from its 
tinsel imitation. 

In his account of the catastrophe Ovid so far followed Other 
ancient Greek tradition as to represent Deucalion and Pyrrha JJ^sociaTod 
landing on the peak of Parnassus. Later Roman writers with 
carried the pair much further afield ; one of them landed flood. 
the voyagers on Mount Athos,^ and another conveyed them 
as far as Mount Etna.^ 

Various places in Greece, as we have seen, claimed the Athenian 
honour of having been associated in a particular manner Deucalion's" 
with Deucalion and the great flood. Among the claimants, flood. 

* Ovid, Metamorphoses^ i. 1 25-4 1 5. i. 9 5/.). 
The fish sticking in the tops of the ^ Servius, on Virgil, Eclog. vi. 41. 

elms are borrowed from Horace {Odes^ ' liyginus, Fabuiae, 153. 





grave of 
at Athens. 

Festival of 
the Water- 
bearing at 
Athens in 
honour of 
the victims 
of the flood. 

as might have been expected, were the Athenians, who, 
pluming themselves on the vast antiquity from which they 
had inhabited the land of Attica, had no mind to be left out 
in the cold when it came to a question of Deucalion and the 
deluge. They annexed him accordingly by the simple ex- 
pedient of alleging that when the clouds gathered dark on 
Parnassus and the rain came down in torrents on Lycorea, 
where Deucalion reigned as king, he fled for safety to Athens, 
and on his arrival founded a sanctuary of Rainy Zeus, and 
offered thank-offerings for his escape.^ In this brief form of 
the legend there is no mention of a ship, and we seem to be 
left to infer that the hero escaped on foot. Be that as it 
may, he is said to have founded the old sanctuary of Olympian 
Zeus and to have been buried in the city. Down to the 
second century of our era the local Athenian guides pointed 
with patriotic pride to the grave of the Greek Noah near the 
later and far statelier temple of Olympian Zeus, whose ruined 
columns, towering in solitary grandeur above the modern 
city, still attract the eye from far, and bear silent but eloquent 
witness to the glories of ancient Greece.^ 

Nor was this all that the guides had to show in memory 
of the tremendous cataclysm. Within the great precinct 
overshadowed by the vast temple of Olympian Zeus they led 
the curious traveller to a smaller precinct of Olympian Earth, 
where they pointed to a cleft in the ground a cubit wide. 
Down that cleft, they assured him, the waters of the deluge 
ran away, and down it every year they threw cakes of wheaten 
meal kneaded with honey .^ These cakes would seem to have 
been soul-cakes destined for the consumption of the poor 
souls who perished in the great flood ; for we know that a 
commemoration service or requiem mass was celebrated every 
year at Athens in their honour. It was called the Festival 
of the Water-bearing,* which suggests that charitable people 

* Martnor Parium, 6 sq., in His- 
toricorum Graecorum Fragmcnta^ ed. 
C. Muller, i. 542. 

^ Pausanias, i. 18. 8. The tomb of 
Deucalion at Athens is mentioned also 
by Strabo, ix. 4. 2, p. 425, ed. Casau- 

3 Pausanias, i. 18. 7. 

* Plutarch, Sulla, 14; Etymohgicum 

Magnum, p. 774, s.v, vSpo<f>opla ; 
Ilesychius, j.z/. v5po<p6pia. The festival 
fell at the new moon in the month of 
Anthesterion (Plutarch, I.e.). Compare 
the Scholiasts on Aristophanes, Ackaf- 
fi/ansy 1076, and on Erogs, 218; 
August Mommsen, Eesie der Stadt 
At hen im Altertum (Leipsic, 1 898), 
pp. 424 sq. 


not only threw cakes but poured water down the cleft in the 
ground to slake the thirst as well as to stay the hunger of 
the ghosts in the nether world. 

Another place where the great flood was commemorated Story of 
by a similar ceremony was Hierapolis on the Euphrates. fl^<^^oid"at 
There down to the second century of our era the ancient HierapoUs 
Sefiiitic deities were worshipped in the old way under a Euphrates, 
transparent disguise imposed on them, like modem drapery 
on ancient statues, by the nominally Greek civilization 
which the conquests of Alexander had spread over the East. 
Chief among these aboriginal divinities was the great Syrian 
goddess Astarte, who to her Greek worshippers masqueraded 
under the name of Hera. Lucian has bequeathed to us a 
very valuable description of the sanctuary and the strange 
rites performed in it.^ He tells us that according to the 
general opinion the sanctuary was founded by Deucalion, in 
whose time the great flood took place. This gives Lucian 
occasion to relate the Greek story of the deluge, which 
according to him ran as follows. The present race of men, 
he says, are not the first of human kind ; there was another 
race which perished wholly. We are of the second breed, 
which multiplied after the time of Deucalion. As for the 
folk before the flood, it is said that they were exceedingly 
wicked and lawless ; for they neither kept their oaths, nor 
gave hospitality to strangers, nor respected suppliants, where- 
fore the great calamity befell them. So the fountains of the 
deep were opened, and the rain descended in torrents, the 
rivers swelled, and the sea spread far over the land, till there 
was nothing but water, water everywhere, and all men per- 
ished. But Deucalion was the only man who, by reason of 
his prudence and piety, survived and formed the link between 
the first and the second race of men ; and the way in which 
he was saved was this. He had a great ark, and into it he 
entered with his wives and children ; and as he was entering 
there came to him pigs, and horses, and lions, and serpents, 
and all other land animals, all of them in pairs. He received 
them all, and they did him no harm ; nay, by God*s help . 
there was a great friendship between them, and they all sailed 

^ De dea Syria, The modern of this treatise rests, in my judgment, 
scepticism as to Lucian's authorship on no firm foundation. 

154 THE GREAT FLOOD parti 

' in one ark so long as the flood prevailed on the earth. Such, 

says Lucian, is the Greek story of Deucalion's deluge ; but 

the people of Hierapolis, he goes on, tell a marvellous thing. 

The chasm They say that a great chasm opened in their country, and all 

rweivedthe ^^ water of the flood ran away down it. And when that 

water of happened, Deucalion built altars and founded a holy temple 

* ^ * of Hera beside the chasm. " I have seen the chasm," he 

proceeds, "and a very small one it is under the temple. 

Whether it was large of old and has been reduced to its 

present size in course of time, I know not, but what I saw is 

Water undoubtedly small. In memory of this legend they perform 

ffierapo^L ^^ following ceremony ; twice a year water is brought from 

in memory the sea to the temple. It is brought not by the priests only, 

^ ^ ^ ' but by all Syria and Arabia, ay and from beyond the 

Euphrates many men go to the sea, and all of them bring 

water. The water is poured into the chasm, and though the 

chasm is small yet it receives a mighty deal of water. In 

doing this they say that they comply with the custom which 

Deucalion instituted in the sanctuary for a memorial at once 

Prayers of calamity and of mercy." ^ Moreover, at the north gate 

from^e ^^ ^^^ great temple there stood two tall columns, or rather 

tops of two obelisks, each about three hundred and sixty feet high ; and 

HierapoHs. ^wice a year a man used to ascend one of them and remain 

• for seven days in that airy situation on the top of the obelisk. 

Opinions differed as to why he went there, and what he did 

up aloft. Most people thought that at that great height he 

was within hail of the gods in heaven, who were near enough 

to hear distinctly the prayers which he offered on behalf of 

the whole land of Syria. Others, however, opined that he 

clambered up the obelisk to signify how men hdd ascended 

to the tops of mountains and of tall trees in order to escape 

from the waters of Deucalion's flood.^ 

Deucalion, In this late Greek version of the deluge legend the 

the^k.and resemblances to the Babylonian version are sufficiently close ; 

* Luclan, De dea Syria^ 1 2 sq. In tion is correct the name Sisythes may 

the opening words of this passage {ol be, as scholars suppose, a variant of 

fjJkv Sjv TToyO^oi AevKaXiojva rbv ICtcnJ^ea Xisuthrus, the name of the hero in 

rb ipbu etaoffdai \^yov<ri) the name Berosus's Greek version of the flood 

^KTvOea is an emendation of Butt- legend. See above, pp. 107 sqq. ; 

mann's for the MS. reading ZKvOifl.. and H. Usener, Z>/V Sintjlutsagertj pp. 

See Ph. Buttmann, Myihologtts (Berlin, 47 sq, 

1828-1829), i. 191 sq. If theemenda- 3 Lucian, De dea Syria, 28. 


and a still nearer trait is supplied by Plutarch, who says 
that Deucalion let loose a dove from the ark in order to 
judge by its return or its flight whether the storm still con- 
tinued or had abated.^ In this form the Greek legend of 
the great flood was unquestionably coloured, if not moulded, 
by Semitic influence, whether the colours and the forms were 
imported from Israel or from Babylon. 

But Hierapolis on the Euphrates was not the only place Phrygian 
in Western Asia which Greek tradition associated with the i«*g<^ndof 

a flood 

deluge of Deucalion. There was, we are told, a certain associated 
Nannacus, king of Phrygia, who lived before the time of !^"^ ^^"^^ 
Deucalion, and, foreseeing the coming catastrophe, gathered 
his people into the sanctuaries, there to weep and pray. 
Hence " the age of Nannacus " became a proverbial ex- 
pression for great antiquity or loud lamentations.^ Accord- 
ing to another account Nannacus or Annacus, the Phrygian, 
lived over threcf hundred years, and when his neighbours, 
apparently tired of the old man, inquired of the oracle how 
much longer he might be expected to live, they received the 
discouraging reply that when the patriarch died, all men would 
perish with him. So the Phrygians lamented bitterly, which 
gave rise to the old proverb about " weeping for Nannacus." * 
The Greek satyric poet Herodas puts the proverb in the 
mouth of a mother, who brings her brat to the school- • 
master to receive a richly deserved thrashing ; and in so 
doing she refers sorrowfully to the cruel necessity she was 
under of paying the school fees, even though she were to 
" weep like Nannacus." ^ When the deluge had swept away After the 
the whole race of mankind, and the earth had dried up again, mankind 
Zeus commanded Prometheus and Athena to fashion images are said to 
of mud, and then summoning the winds he bade them breathe creatwi 
into the mud images and make them live. So the place was ^f'^^**^ ^"^ 
called Iconium after the images {eikones) which were made iconium. 
there.^ Some have thought that the patriarchal Nannacus 
or Annacus was no other than the Biblical Enoch or 
Hanoch,* who lived before the flood for three hundred 

* IMutarch, De solUrtia animalium^ ' Stephanus By/anliiis, s,v. 'Uovtoy. 

'3- VI- * Ilcrodas, Mimes, iii. 10. 

* Suidas, s.v. s\a,vv<iKo%\ /enubius, r .. ^ t. >. * 
CmL vi. 10; Macarius, Cent. ii. 23, Stephanus Byzaniius, ..7'. i^o.^.o.'. 

viii. 4 ; Apostolius, Cent, xv. 100. * TJ^^n. 




The story 
of Noah's 

and sixty-five years and was then removed from the world 
in a mysterious fashion.^ But against this identification 
it is to be said that the name Nannacus would seem to be 
genuine Greek, since it occurs in Greek inscriptions of the 
island of Cos.* 

Another city of Asia Minor which appears to have 
boasted of its connexion with the great flood was Apamea 
represented Cibotos in Phrygia. The surname of Cibotos, which the city 
Apam^° assumed, is the Greek word for chest or ark*; and on coins 
Cibotos of the city, minted in the reigns of Severus, Macrinus, and 

in Phrvciii 

Philip the Elder, we see the ark floating on water with two 
passengers in it, whose figures appear from the waist upwards ; 
beside the ark two other human figures, one male and the 
other female, are represented standing ; and lastly, on the 
top of the chest are perched two birds, one of them said to 
be a raven and the other a dove carrying an olive-branch. 
As if to remove all doubt as to the ideiltification of the 
legend, the name Noe, the Greek equivalent of Noah, is 
inscribed on the ark. No doubt, the two human figures 
represent Noah and his wife twice over, first in the ark, and 
afterwards outside of it* These coin types prove unques- 
tionably that in the third century of our era the people of 
Apamea were acquainted with the Hebrew tradition of the 
Noachian deluge in the form in which the story is narrated in 
the Book of Genesis. They may easily have learned it from 
their Jewish fellow-citizens, who in the first century before 
our era were so numerous or so wealthy that on one occasion 
they contributed no less than a hundred pounds weight -of 

* Genesis v. 23 sq. The identifica- 
tion, first suggested by Ph. Butt man 
{Myiholo^ts, Berlin, 1828- 1829, i. 175 
sqq.f 187 j^.), is accepted by E. Babelon. 
See E. Babelon, ** La tradition Phry- 
gienne du Deluge," Revue de VHistoire 
dcs Religions^ xxiii. (1891) p. 180. 
Buttmann even identified Aeacus, the 
righteous hero of Aegina, with Nannacus 
and Enoch. 

2 11. Collitz und F. Bechtel, Saturn- 
lung tier griechischen Dialckt-Inschrif- 
ieuy iii. i. (Gottingen, 1899), p. 342, 
Inscr. No. 3623 c. 51 ; G. Ditlen- 
berger, Syiioge hiscriptiouum Grae^ 
carum^^ (Leipsic, 1898-1 901), ii. p. 

732, No. 885. 

3 StralK), xi. 6. 3, and 8. 13, pp. 
569* 576, ed. Casaubon ; Pliny, Nat, 
Hist, V. 106. Adolphe Reinach pre- 
ferred to suppose that the name is a 
native Asiatic word assimilated by 
popular etymology to a Greek one. 
He compared Kibyra, Kibyza, Kybislra, 
and Kybela. See his AW Sangariou 
(Paris, I9I3)» PP- 3^ sq. 

* Barclay V. Head, Historia Nu- 
morum (Oxford, 1 887), p. 558; K. 
Babelon, ** La tradition Phrygienne tlu 
Deluge,'* Rez'ue de VHistoire dcs Re- 
ligions, icxiii. (1 89 1) pp. 180 sq. 


gold to be sent as an offering to Jerusalem.^ Whether 
at Apamea the tradition of the deluge was purely Jewish in 
origin, or whether it was grafted upon an old native legend of 
a great flood, is a question on which scholars are not agreed.* 

Though the deluge associated with the name of Deucalion Greek 
was the most familiar and famous, it was not the only one J^orded 
recorded by Greek tradition. Learned men, indeed, dis- three great 
tinguished between three such great catastrophes, which had the days of 
befallen the world at different epochs. The first, we are told, Ojjyges. 
took place in the time of Ogyges, the second in the time of and *°"' 
Deucalion, and the third in the time of Dardanus.* Ogyges i^'^rdanus 
or Ogygus, as the name is also spelled, is said to have founded Uveiy. of 
and reigned over Thebes in Boeotia,* which, according to the ^ J{^» 
learned Varro, was the oldest city in Greece, having been associated 
built in antediluvian times before the earliest of all the ^^ ^*^^ 

name of 

floods.^ The connexion of Ogyges with Boeotia in general Ogyges, 
and with Thebes in particular is further vouched for by the Theb«^ 
name Ogygian which was bestowed on the land,* on the city,^ was 
and on one of its gates.^ Yet the Athenians, jealous of the to^i^the 
superior antiquity which this tradition assigned to their earliest 
hated rival, claimed the ancient Boeotian hero as an aboriginal 

* Cicero, Pro FlaccOy 28. We know favour of an aboriginal flood legend 

from Josephus {Antiquit, Jud, xii. at Apamea appear to me to carry little 

3. 4) that Antiochus the Great issued weight, resting rather on a series of 

orders for transplanting two thousand doubtful combinations than on any 

Jewish families from Mesopotamia and solid evidence. 

Babylonia to Lydia and Phrygia, and ' Nonnus, Ditmys, iii. 202-219; 

for settling them there as colonists on Scholiast on Plato, Timaeusy p. 22 A. 

very liberal terms. This may well have That the deluge of Ogyges was prior 

been the origin of the Jewish settlement to the deluge of Deucalion is affirmed 

at Apamea, as E. Babelon has pointed also by Augustine {De civitate Dei, 

out (**La tradition Phrygienne du xviii. 8) and Servius (on Virgil, ^r/o^. 

Deluge," Revue de VHistoire de la vi. 41), neither of whom, however, 

Religion, xxiii. (1891) pp. 177 sq,). mentions the deluge of Dardanus. 

' The view that the flood legend of * Pausanias, ix. 5. i ; Servius, on 

Apamea was purely Jewish, without Virgil, Eclog, vi. 41, *^^ sub Ogyge^ 

any basis of local tradition, is main- rege Thebanorum,^^ 

tained by E. Babelon (** La tradition * Varro, Rerum Rusticarum, iii. i. 

Phrygienne du Deluge," Revue de * Stralw, ix. 2. 18, p. 407, ed. 

VHistoire des Religiofis, xxiii. (189 1) Casaubon ; Stephanus Byzantius, s,v, 

pp. 174-183). On the other hand the Bot&n-fa. 

composite character of the Apamean ^ Pausanias, ix. 5. I ; Apollonius 

legend is maintained by II. Uscner Rhodius, Argonaut, iii. 1178; Fes- 

{Die Sintflutsagetty pp. 48-50) and tus, De verbortim significatiottey s.v, 

advocated, with a great array of learn- **Og>'gia," p. 179, cd. C. O. Mliller. 

ing, by Adolphe Reinach in his treatise * Kuripidcs, Phoenissaey 1 1 13 ; Pau- 

No^ Sangarioti (Paris, 1913). I con- sanias, ix. 8. 5; Scholiast on ApoUo- 

fcss that the arguments adduced in nius Hhodius, -r^/jwmw/. iii. 1178. 




by ancient 
writers to 
the flood of 

African us 
on the date 
of Ogyges' 

of their country ;^ one tradition describes Ogyges as a king 
of Attica,*^ and another represents him as the founder and 
king of Eleusis.* So great was the devastation wrought in 
Attica by the flood that the country remained without kings 
from the time of Ogyges down to the reign of Cecrops.* If 
we may trust the description of a rhetorical poet, the whole 
earth was submerged by the deluge, even the lofty peaks of 
Thessaly were covered, and the snowy top of Parnassus itself 
was lashed by the snowy billows.^ With regard to the date 
of the catastrophe, some writers of antiquity profess to give 
us more or less exact information. The learned Roman 
scholar Varro tells us that the Boeotian Thebes was built 
about two thousand one hundred years before the time when 
he was writing, which was in or about the year 36 B.C. ; and 
as the deluge, according to him, took place in the lifetime of 
Ogyges but after he had founded Thebes, we infer that in 
Varro's opinion the great flood occurred in or soon after the 
year 2136 B.C.* Still more precise is the statement of Julius 
Africanus, a Christian author who drew up a chronicle of the 
world from the Creation down to tlie year 221 A.D. He 
affirms that the deluge of Ogyges happened just one thousand 
and twenty years before the first Olympiad, from which 
the Greeks dated their exact reckoning ; and as the first 
Olympiad fell in the year 776 B.C., we arrive at the year 
1796 B.C. as .the date to which the Christian chronicler 
referred the great Ogygian flood. It happened, he tells 

* Africanus, quoted by Eusebius, 
Praeparatio Evangelicay x. lo. 4. 

2 Scholiast on I*lato, Timaeus^ p. 

22 A. 

3 Africanus, quoted by Eusebius, 
Praeparatio Rvangelica^ x. lo. 7 ; 
Eusebius, Chronic.^ ed. A. Schocne, 
vol. ii. p. 17 ; Isidorus Ilispalensis, 
OrigineSy xiii. 22. 3. Some said that 
the hero Elcusis, from whom the city 
took its name, was a son of Ogygus 
(Pausiinias, i. 38. 7). 

* Africanus, quoted by Eusebius, 
Praeparatio Evangelical x. 10. 9. 
Among the authorities cited by Afri- 
canus (in Eusebius, op. at. x. 10. 5) 
are ihe Attic historians Hcllanicus and 

» Xonnus, Dionys, iii. 206-208. 

• Varro, Perittn Rusticarum^ iii. 
I. 3. In his preface to this treatise 
on agriculture (bk. i. ch. i.) Varro 
indicates that it was written in his 
eightieth year ; and as he was born in 
1 16 B.C., he must have been composing 
the work in question in or about 36 B.C. 
From Arnobius {Acti^ersns GenieSy v. 8) 
we learn that Varro reckoned less than 
two thousand years from Deucalion's 
flood to the consulship of Hirtius and 
Pansa in 43 B.C., which seems to show 
that he dated Deucalion's flood fully a 
hundred years later than that of Ogyges. 
Compare the commentary of Meursius 
on Varro, printed in J. (i. Schneider's 
edition of the Scriptores A'ei Ruslicac 
Veteres Latini (Leipsic, 1 794-1796), 
vol. i. part 2, p. 491. 



us, in the reign of Phoroneus, king of Argos. He adds 
for our further information that Ogyges, who survived the 
deluge to which he gave his name, was a contemporary 
of Moses and flourished about the time when that great 
prophet led the children of Israel out of Egypt ; and he 
clinches his chain of evidence by observing that at a time 
when God was visiting the land of Egypt with hailstorms 
and other plagues, it was perfectly natural that distant parts 
of the earth should simultaneously feel the effects of the 
divine anger, and in particular it was just and right that 
Attica should smart beneath the rod, since according to some 
people, including the historian Theopompus, the Athenians 
were in fact colonists from Egypt and therefore shared the 
guilt of the mother-country.^ According to the Church Eusebius 
historian Eusebius, the great flood in the time of Ogyges datcs^of 
occurred about two thousand two hundred years after the the floods 
Noachian deluge and two hundred and fifty years before the ^nd ^^^ 
similar catastrophe in the days of Deucalion.^ It would seem Deucalion* 
indeed to have been a point of honour with the early 
Christians to claim for the flood recorded in their sacred 
books an antiquity far more venerable than that of any 
flood described in mere profane writings. We have seen 
that Julius Africanus depresses Ogyges from the age of 
Noah to that of Moses ; and Isidore, the learned bishop of 
Seville at the beginning of the seventh century, heads his 
list of floods with the Noachian deluge, while the second 
and third places in order of time are assigned to the floods 
of Ogyges and Deucalion respectively ; according to him, 
Ogyges was a contemporary of the patriarch Jacob, while 
Deucalion lived in the days of Moses. The bishop was, 
so far as I am aware, the first of many writers who have 
appealed to fossil shells imbedded in remote mountains as 
witnesses to the truth of the Noachian tradition." 

* Julius Africanus, quoted by Euse- 
bius, Praeparatio Evaui^elicay x. lo. 
That the dehige of Og)'ges happened 
in the reign of Phoroneus, king of 
Argos, is mentioned also by the Chris- 
tian writers Tatian {Orafio ad G ratios , 
p. 150, ed. J. C. T. Otto) and Clement 
of Alexandria {Strom, i. 21 § 102, p. 
379, ed. Potter). Compare H. Fynes 

Clynton, Fasti Helienici, i. (Oxford, 
1834) pp. 5-8. 

2 Eusebius, Chronicled, A. Schoenc, 
vol. i. col. 71. 

3 Isidorus Hispalcnsis, OrigineSy 
xiii. 22, *^ cu/us indiiiuni hactenus 
vidimus in lapidibus^ quos in remotis 
montihus conchis etostreisconcretos^ saepe 
etiam cavatos aguis viserc soiemus.^^ 


i6o THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

The story If Ogygcs was Originally, as seems probable, a Boeotian 

of Ogyges^ rather than an Attic hero, the story of the deluge in his time 
perhaps may well have been suggested by the vicissitudes of the 
h!i Se^ Copaic Lake which formerly occupied a large part of Central 
annual Bocotia.^ For, having no outlet above ground, the lake 


of the depended for its drainage entirely on subterranean passages 
Copaic Qj. chasms which the water had hollowed out for itself in the 
course of ages through the limestone rock, and according as 
these passages were clogged or cleared the level of the lake 
rose or fell. In no lake, perhaps, have the annual changes 
Yearly been more regular and marked than in the Copaic ; for while 
iheC^M.?c ^" winter it was a reedy mere, the haunt of thousands of 
Lake in wild fowl, in Summer it \yas a more or less marshy plain, 
where cattle browsed and crops were sown and reaped. So 
well recognized were the vicissitudes of the seasons that 
places on the bank of 'the lake such as Orchomenus, Lebadea, 
and Copae, had summer roads and winter roads by which 
they communicated with each other, the winter roads follow- 
ing the sides of the hills, while the summer roads struck 
across the plain. With the setting in of the heavy autumnal 
rains in November the lake began to rise and reached its 
greatest depth in February or March, by which time the 
mouths of the emissories were completely submerged and 
betrayed their existence only by swirls on the surface of the 
mere. Yet even then the lake presented to the eye anything 
but an unbroken sheet of water. Viewed from a height, such 
as the acropolis of Orchomenus, it appeared as an immense 
fen, of a vivid green colour, stretching away for miles and 
miles, overgrown with sedge, reeds, and canes, through which 
the river Cephisus or Melas might be seen sluggishly oozing, 
while here and there a gleam of sunlit water, especially 
towards the north-east corner of the mere, directed the eye 
to what looked like ponds in the vast green swamp. Bare 
grey mountains on the north and cast, and the beautiful 
wooded slopes of Helicon on the south, bounded the fen. 
In spring the water began to sink. Isolated brown patches, 
where no reeds grew, were the first to show as islands in the 
mere ; and as the season advanced they expanded more and 
more till they met. By the middle of summer great 

* Ed. Meyer, Geschichte des Altcrthums^ ii. (Stuttgart, 1896) p. 194. 


stretches, especially in the middle and at the edges, were 
bare. In the higher parts the fat alluvial soil left by the 
retiring waters was sown by the peasants and produced crops 
of com, rice, and cotton ; while the lower parts, overgrown 
by rank grass and weeds, were grazed by herds of cattle and 
swine. In the deepest places of all, the water often stagnated 
the whole summer, though there were years when it retreated 
even from these, leaving behind it only a bog or perhaps a 
stretch of white clayey soil, perfectly dry, which the summer 
heat seamed with a network of minute cracks and fissures. 
By the end of August the greater part of the basin was 
generally dry, though the water did jiot reach its lowest 
point till October. At that time what had lately been a fen 
was only a great brown expanse, broken here and there by 
a patch of green marsh, where reeds and other water-plants 
grew. In November the lake began to fill again fast 

Such was the ordinary annual cycle of changes in the An 
Copaic Lake in modern times, and we have no reason to "Icien^ve 
suppose that it was essentially different in antiquity. But inundation 
at all times the water of the lake has been liable to be raised copidc ' 
above or depressed below its customary level by unusually ^-^^ 
heavy or* scanty rainfall in winter or by the accidental clog- given rise 
ging or opening of the chasms. As we read in ancient ^VIJ^a^ 
authors of drowned cities on the margin of the lake,^ so a ofOgyges. 
modern traveller tells of villagers forced to flee before the 
rising flood, and of vineyards and corn-fields seen under 
water. ^ One such inundation, more extensive and de- 
structive than any of its predecessors, may have been 
associated ever after .with the name of Ogyges. 

Among the dead cities whose ruins are scattered The ruins 
in and around the wide plain that was once the Copaic andpaTaoj 
Lake, none is more remarkable or excites our curiosity more ofGiaina 


keenly than one which bears the modern name of Goulas or and now 

1 Strabo, ix. 2. 1 8, p. 407, ed. 247; and especially A. Philippson, stj^"*^*^ 

Casaubon ; Pausanias, ix. 24. 2. ** Der Kopais-See in Griechenland und *h*»^Daic 

seine Umgebung," Zcitschrift der TaW^ 

' On the Copaic Lake in antiquity GeseUschaft fur ErdkuncU zu Berlin^ 

see the excellent account in Strabo, xxix. (1894) pp. 1-90. I have allowed 

ix. 2. 16-18, pp. 406 sq. Compare myself to quote from the description of 

Pausanias, ix. 24. I sq. For modern the lake in my commentary on Pau- 

accounts of it see C. Neumann und J. sanias (vol. v. pp. no sqq.), where I 

Partsch, Physikalischc Geo^aphU von have cited the mudcrn literature on the 

Griechenland (Brcslau, 1885), pp. 244- subject. 


i62. THE GREAT FLOOD parti 

Gla. Its ancient name and history are alike unknown : even 
legend is silent on the subject. The extensive remains 
occupy the broad summit of a low rocky hill or tableland 
which rises abruptly on all sides from the dead flat of the 
surrounding country. When the lake was full, the place 
must have been 'an island, divided by about a mile of shallow 
and weedy water from the nearest point in the line of cliffs 
which formed the eastern shore of the lake. A fortification 
wall, solidly built of roughly squared blocks of stone, encircles 
the whole edge of the tableland, and is intersected by four 
gates flanked by towers of massive masonry. Within the 
fortress are the ruins of other structures, including the remains 
of a great palace constructed in the style, though not on the 
plan, of the prehistoric palaces of Mycenae and Tiryns. The 
fortress and palace of Gla would seem to have been erected 
in the Mycenaean age by a people akin in civilization, if not 
in race, to the builders of Tiryns and Mycenae, though less 
skilled in the science of military engineering ; for the > 
walls do not exhibit the enormous stones of Tiryns, and 
the gates are arranged on a plan far less formidable to an 
assailant than the gates of the two Argive citadels. The 
scanty remains of pottery and other domestic furniture on 
the plateau appear to indicate that it was occupied only for 
a short tinie, and the traces of fire on the palace point to the 
conclusion that its end was sudden and violent. Everything 
within the place bears the imprint of a single plan and a 
single period : there^ is no trace of an earlier or a later settle- 
ment. Created at a blow, it would seem to have perished 
at a blow and never to have been inhabited again. In its 
solitude and silence, remote from all human habitations, 
looking out from its grey old walls over the vast Copaic 
plain to the distant mountains which bound the horizon on 
all sides, this mysterious fortress is certainly one of the most 
impressive sights in Greece.^ 
Was Gla Can it be that this ancient and forgotten town, once 

Oryg^^^ lapped on all sides by the waters of the Copaic Lake, was 
before he the home of the legendary Ogyges, and that he forsook it, 


Thebes? ^ t^ r ^^ r % , ^ . / 

* For a fuller account of the place, my commentary on Fausanias (vol. v. 
which I have described from personal pp. 120 sg^.), 
observation, I may refer the reader to 


perhaps in consequence of an inundation, to migrate to the 
higher and drier site which was afterwards known as Thebes ? 
The hypothesis would go some way to explain the legends 
which gathered round his memory ; but it is no more than 
a simple guess, and as such I venture to hazard it. 

The . theory which would explain the great flood of The third 
Ogyges by an extraordinary inundation of the Copaic Lake, f^jfj^ 
is to some extent supported by an Arcadian parallel. We with the 
have seen that in Greek legend the third great deluge was iT^da^us, 
associated with the name of Dardanus. Now according to who is said 
one account, Dardanus at first reigned as a king in Arcadia, been driven 
but was driven out of the country by a erreat flood, which ^y ^^ ^™ 


submerged the lowlands and rendered them for a long time and to 
unfit for cultivation. The inhabitants retreated to the *^^«fl«* 

to Samo- 

mountains, and for a while made shift to live as best they thrace. 
might on such food as they could procure ; but at last, con- 
cluding that the land left by the water was not sufficient to 
support them all, they resolved to part ; some of them re- 
mained in the country with Dimas, son of Dardanus, for 
their king ; while the rest emigrated under the leadership of 
Dardanus himself to the island of Samothrace.^ According Dardanus 
to a Greek tradition, which the Roman Varro accepted, the ha^bwn 
birthplace of Dardanus was Pheneus in north Arcadia.^ The ^™ ^^ 
place is highly significant, for, if we except the Copaic area, which. 
no valley in Greece is known to have been from antiquity ^'"8 •" 
subject to inundations on so vast a scale and for such long encirciedby 
periods as the valley of Pheneus.^ The natural conditions »nountains. 

* '' has always 

in the two regions are substantially alike. Both are basins been 
in a limestone country without any outflow above ground : f^^^^a-^^ 
both receive the rain water which pours into them from the tions. 
surrounding mountains : both are drained by subterranean 
channels which the water has worn or which earthquakes 
have opened through the rock ; and whenever these outlets 
are silted up or otherwise closed, what at other times is 
a plain becomes converted for the time being into a lake. 
But with these substantial resemblances are combined some 
striking differences between the two landscapes. For while 

* Dionysius Ilalicarnasensis, Anti- ^ C. Neumann und J. Partsch, 

quitates Romanae^ i. 61. Physikalische Geo^raphie von Griechen- 

' Servius, on Virgil, Aen, iii. 167, Ai/i</ (Breslau, 1885), p. 252. 

i64 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

the Copaic basin is a vast stretch of level ground h'ttle above 
sea-level and bounded only by low cliffs or gentle slopes, 
the basin of Pheneus is a narrow upland valley closely shut 
in on every side by steep frowning mountains, their upper 
slopes clothed with dark pine woods and their lofty summits 
capped with snow for many months of the year. The river 
which drains the basin through an underground channel is 
the Ladon, the most romantically beautiful of all the rivers 
of Greece. Milton's fancy dwelt on "sanded Ladon*s lilied 
banks " ; even the prosaic Pausanias exclaimed that there 
was no fairer river either in Greece or in foreign lands ; ^ 
and among the memories which I brought back from 
Greece I recall none with more delight than those of 
the days I spent in tracing the river from its birthplace in 
the lovely lake, first to its springs on the far side of the 
mountain, and then down the deep wooded gorge through 
which it hurries, brawling and tumbling over rocks in sheets 
of greenish-white foam, to join the sacred Alpheus. Now 
the passage by which the Ladon makes its way underground 
from the valley of Pheneus has been from time to time 
blocked by an earthquake, with the result that the river has 
ceased to flow. When I was at the springs of the Ladon in 
189s, I learned from a peasant on the spot that three years 
before, after a violent shock of earthquake, the water ceased 
to run for three hours, the chasm at the bottom of the pool 
was exposed, and fish were seen lying on the dry ground. 
After three hours the spring began to flow a little, and three 
days later there was a loud explosion, and the water burst 
forth in immense volume. Similar stoppages of the river 
have been reported both in ancient and modern times ; and 
whenever the obstruction has been permanent, the valley of 
Pheneus has been occupied by a lake varying in extent 
and depth with the more or less complete stoppage 
Aiterna- of the subterranean outlet. According to Pliny there had 
tionsofthe ^^^^^p down to his day five chang^es in the condition of the 

valley of y js 

Pheneus valley frorti wet to 'dry and from dry to wet, all of them 

I^^^Tddrv c^^*^^^ ^y earthquakes,^ In Plutarch's time the flood rose 

in ancient' SO high that the wholc valley was under water, which pious 

timcr"^^'" folk attributed to the somewhat belated wrath of Apollo at 

^ Pausanias, viii. 25. 13, '-* Pliny, Nat. Hist, xxxi. 54. 


Hercules, who had stolen the god's prophetic tripod from 
Delphi and carried it off to Pheneus about a thousand years 
before.^ However, later in the same century the waters had 
again subsided, for the Greek traveller Pausanias found the 
bottom of the valley to be dry land, and knew of the former 
existence of the lake only by tradition." At the beginning 
of the nineteenth century the basin was a swampy plain, for 
the most part covered with fields of wheat or barley. But 
shortly after the expulsion of the Turks, through neglect of 
the precautions which the Turkish governor had taken to 
keep the mouth of the subterranean outlet open, the channel 
became blocked, the water, no longer able to escape, rose in 
its bed, and by 1830 it formed a deep lake about five miles 
long by five miles wide. And a broad lake of greenish-blue 
water it still was when I saw it in the autumn of 1 89S,with the 
pine-clad mountains descending steeply in rocky declivities 
or sheer precipices to the water's edge, except for a stretch of 
level ground on the north, where the luxuriant green of vine- 
yards and maize-fields contrasted pleasingly with the blue of 
the lake and the sombre green of the pines. The whole 
scene presented rather the aspect of a Swiss than of a Greek 
landscape. A few years later and the scene was changed. 
Looking down into the valley from a pass on a July after- 
noon, a more recent traveller beheld, instead of an expanse 
of sea-blue water, a blaze of golden corn with here and there 
a white point of light showing where a fustanella'd reaper 
was at his peaceful toil. The lake had disappeared, perhaps 
for ever ; for we are told that measures have now been taken 
to keep the subterranean outlets permanently open, and so 
to preserve for the corn the ground which has been won 
from the water.^ 

A permanent mark of the height to which the lake of The watcr- 
Pheneus attained in former days and at which, to all appear- "Jou^^llllns*' 
ance, it must have stood for many ages, is engraved on the at Pheneus, 
sides of the mountains which enclose the basin. It is a 

* Plutarch, De sera numitiis vin- 144-146; J. fT. Baker - Penoyrc, 

dicta^ 12. ** Pheneus and the Phcneatike," 

^ Pausanias, viii. 14. i^. Journal of Hellettic Studies^ xxii. 

3 C. Neumann und J. Partsdi, (1902) pp. 228-240. For further 

Physikalischc Geo^^raphic von Gridhcn- details I may refer the reader to my 

land, pp. 252 S(f.\ A. Philippson, commentary on Pausanias (vol. iv. pp. 

Der Pclopcnncs (Berlin, 1892)*, pp. 230 J^y., 262 j^., 2S7 ly^.). 




dations of 
the valley 
of Phenetis 

to the story 
of the 
flood of 

sharply drawn line running round the contour of the mountains 
at a uniform level of not less than a hundred and fifty feet 
above the bottom of the valley. The trees and shrubs 
extend down the steep slopes to this line and there stop 
abruptly. Below the line the rock is of a light-yellow colour 
and almost bare of vegetation ; above the line the rock is of 
a much darker colour. The attention of travellers has been 
drawn to this conspicuous mark from antiquity to the pre- 
sent day. The ancient traveller Pausanias noticed it in the 
second century of 6ur era, and he took it to indicate the line 
to which the lake rose at the time of its highest flood, when 
the city of Phencus was submerged.^ This interpretation has 
been questioned by some modern writers, but there seems 
to be little real doubt that the author of the oldest extant 
guide-book to Greece was substantially right ; except that 
the extremely sharp definition of the line and its permanence 
for probably much more than two thousand years appear to 
point to a long-continued persistence of the lake at this high 
level rather than to a mere sudden and temporary rise in a 
time of inundation. " It is evident," says the judicious 
traveller Dodwell, " that a temporary inundation could not 
effect so striking a difference in the superficies of the rock, 
the colour of which must have been changed from that of 
the upper parts by the concreting deposit of many ages." ^ 

In a valley which has thus suffered so many alternations 
between wet and dry, between a broad lake of sea-blue water 

^ Pausanias, viii. 14. i. Leake, Travels in the Morea (London, 

* E, Dodwell, Classical and Topo- 1830), iii. 147 sqq. ; E. Pouillon 

graphical 7 our through Greece {Lou^otif Boblaye, Recherches G^ographiques sur 

1 819), iu 436. This is the view also 
of the latest writer on the subject, Mr. 
Baker - Penoyre. See his article, 
**Pheneus and the Pheneatike," Jour- 
nal of Hellenic Studies^ xxii. (1902) 
pp. 231 sqq. The German geologist, 
Mr. A. Philippson, took the line to 
mark the level to which the lake rose 
in 1830 {Der Pelopontus^ p. 146), 
But as the lake suddenly fell again in 
1834, it seems 'naidiy possible that a 
flood lasting for only a few years should 
have scored its record so deep on the 
sides of the mountains. As to the 
water-line see further* vSir William Cell, 
Narrative of a Journey in the Morea 
(London, 1823), p. 374 ; \V. M. 

les ruines de la Mor^e (Paris, 1835), 
p. 153 note 2; E. Curlius, Pehponiusos 
(Gotha, 1851), ii. 188 sq. ; \V. G. 
Clark, Peloponnesus (London, 1858), 
pp. 317 sq. The height of the water- 
line has been variously estimated. 
Dodwell and Curtius put it at several 
hundreds of feet ; VV. G. Clark guessed 
that it might he about fifty feet above 
the level of the lake when he saw it. 
I roughly estimated the line by the eye 
at 200 or 300 feet above the lake, the 
level of which was probably lower than 
at the time of W. G. Clark's visit. 
Mr. Baker- Pcnoyre's estimate of the 
height is 150 feet above the Ixjttom of 
the valley. 


and broad acres of yellow corn, the traditions of great floods 
cannot be lightly dismissed ; on the contrary everything 
combines to confirm their probability. The story, therefore, 
that Dardanus, a native of Pheneus, was compelled to emi- 
grate by a great inundation which swamped the lowlands, 
drowned the fields, and drove the inhabitants to the upper 
slopes of the mountains, may well rest on a solid foundation 
of fact And the same may be true of the flood recorded 
by Pausanias, which rose and submerged the ancient city of 
Pheneus at the northern end of the lake.^ 

From his home in the highlands of Arcadia, the emigrant According 
Dardanus is said to have made his way to the island of ^° °°*^ . . 

^ account the 

Samothrace. According to one account, he floated thither great flood 
on a raft ; ' but according to another version of the legend, ^^^^nus 
the great flood overtook him, not in Arcadia, but in Samo- in Samo- 
thrace, and he escaped on an inflated skin, drifting on the whence he 
face of the waters till he landed on Mount Ida, where he escaped to 
founded Dardania or Troy.* Certainly, the natives of Samo- samo- 
thrace, who were c^reat sticklers for their antiquity, claimed ^^racwn 

111 11 r X ' X r 1 . tradition 

to have had a deluge of their own before any other nation of a great 
on earth. They said that the sea rose and covered a great ^^^^ 

•^ ^ caused by 

part of the flat land in their island, and that the survivors the bursting 
retreated to the lofty mountains which still render Samo- ^^^^^ 
thrace one of the most conspicuous features in the northern which liii 
Aegean and are plainly visible in clear weather from Troy.'^ divided the 
As the sea still pursued them in their retreat, they prayed Black Sea 
to the gods to deliver them, and on being saved they set up M^editer^ 
landmarks of their salvation all round the island and built r^wcan. 
altars on which they continued to sacrifice down to later ages. 
And many centuries after the great flood fishermen still 
occasionally drew up in their nets the stone capitals of 
columns, which told of cities drowned in the depths of the 

* Pausanias, viii. 14. i. and Roman Geography , ii. 901, s.v. 
2 Dionysius Halicarnasensis, AnU- "Samothrace." Seen from the neigh- 

quitates Romanae, i. 61. 3. bouring island of Imbros, the mighty 

, e I. 1- 4. r»i * T- mass of Samothrace rises from the sea 

** Scholiast on Plato, Ttmaeus. p. ,-, .u • i r xt 

' ' ' like the side of a Norwegian mountain, 

which indeed it closely resembles when 

* Lycophron, Cassandra, 72 sqq., the clouds and mists hang low on it in 
with the scholia of Tzelzes ; Scholia winter. See Alan G. Ogil vie, ** Notes 
on liomer, Iliad, xx. 215 (p. 558, ed. ^^ j^e Geography of Imbros," The 
Im. Bekker, Berlin, 1825). Geographical Journal, xlviii. (1916) p. 

* W. Smith, Dictionary of Greek 144. 

1 68 



The Samo- 
by geology, 
proves that 
the Black 
Sea was 
once really 
from the 
ranean by 
a barrier 
of land. 

sea. The causes which the Samothracians alleged for the 
inundation were very remarkable. The catastrophe hap- 
pened, according to I hem, not through a heavy fall of rain, 
but through a sudden and extraordinary rising of the sea 
occasioned by the bursting of the barriers which till then 
had divided the Black Sea from the Mediterranean. At 
that time the enormous volume of water dammed up behind 
these barriers broke bounds, and cleaving for itself a passage 
through the opposing land created the straits which are now 
known as the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, through which 
the waters of the Black Sea have ever since flowed into the 
Mediterranean. When the tremendous torrent first rushed 
through the new opening in the dam, it washed over a great 
part of the coast of Asia, as well as the flat lands of 

Now this Samothracian tradition is to some extent con- 
firmed by modern geology. " At no very distant period," 
we are told, "the land of Asia Minor was continuous with 
that of Europe, across the present site of the Bosphorus, 
forming a barrier several hundred feet high, which dammed 
up the waters of the Black Sea. A vast extent of eastern 
Europe and of western central Asia thus became a huge 
reservoir, the lowest part of the lip of which was probably 
situated somewhat more than 200 feet above the sea-level, 
along the present southern watershed of the Obi, which flows 
into the Arctic Ocean. Into this basin, the largest rivers of 
Europe, such as the Danube and the Volga, and what were 
then great rivers of Asia, the Oxus and Jaxartes, with all the 
intermediate affluents, poured their waters. In addition, it 
received the overflow of Lake Balkash, then much larger ; 
and, probably, that of the inland sea of Mongolia. At that 
time, the level of the Sea of Aral stood at least 60 feet 
higher than it does at present. Instead of the separate 
Black, Caspian, and Aral seas, there was one vast Ponto- 
Aralian Mediterranean, which must have been prolonged into 
arms and fiords along the lower valleys of the Danube, and 
the Volga (in the course of which Caspian shells are now 

* Dio<lorus Siculiis, v. 47. Amonj^ 
the proofs of the j;reat anti(iiiity of ihe 
Samothracians, according to liiis his- 

torian, was their archaic dialect, of 
which many examples survived in their 
religious ritual down to liis time. 



found as far as the Kuma), the Ural, and the other affluent 
rivers — while it seems to have sent its overflow, northward, 
through the present basin of the Obi." ^ This enormous 
reservoir or vast inland sea, bounded and held up by a high 
natural dam joining Asia Minor to the Balkan Peninsula, 
appears to have existed down to the Pleistocene period ; and 
the erosion of the Dardanelles, by which the pent-up waters 
at last found their way into the Mediterranean, is believed 
to have taken place towards the end of the Pleistocene period 
or later.^ But man is now known for certain to have inhabited 
Europe in the Pleistocene period ; some hold that he inhabited 
it in the Pliocene or even the Miocene period.* Hence it 
seems possible that the inhabitants of Eastern Europe should 
have preserved a traditional memory of the vast inland 
Ponto-Aralian sea and of its partial desiccation through the 
piercing of the dam which divided it from the Mediterranean, 
in other words, through the opening of the Bosphorus and 
the Dardanelles. If that were so, the Samothracian tradition 

» T. II. Huxley, "The Aryan 
Question," Collected Essays ^ \q\. vii. 
(London, 1906) pp. 300 stf. 

a T. II. . Huxley, »' Ilasisadra's 
Adventure," Collected Essays^ vol. iv, 
(London, 191 1) pp. 275, 276. 

^ Sir Charles Lyell, The Stuilenfs 
Elements of Geoloj^', Third Edition 
(London, 1878), pp. \2^ sgq. ; A. de 
Quatrefages, The Ihintan Species 
(London, 1879), pp. 142-153; Sir 
John Lubbock (Lord Avebury), Pre- 
historic Tivies^ Fifth Edition (London 
and Edinburgh, 1890), pp. 422 sqq. ; 
W. J. Sollas, Ancient Hunters (Lon- 
don, 1915), pp. 59-86; Arthur Keith, 
The Antiquity of Man (London, 

'9i5)t PP- 509-5"» J*- ^' Osborn, 
Men of the Old Stone A^^c (London, 
19 16), p. 60. Of these writers. Pro- 
fessors Keith and Osborn definitely 
pronounce in favour of man's existence 
in the Pliocene ])eriod ; indeed Pro- 
fessor Keith admits the possibility of a 
still greater antiquity of the human 
si>ecies on earth. He says (p. 5iO» 
** The human origin of eoliths is ^ill 
being called in question, but the more 
these shaped flints of Pliocene date are 
investigated and discussed, the greater 

becomes the number of those who re- 
gard them as the work of the hands 
and brain of Pliocene man. It is also 
maintained that flints, similar in shape 
and chipping, have been discovered in 
deposits of Miocene and even of 
Oligocene age. If it \)Q proved that 
such are of human origin, then we 
must extend still further the period 
covered by the antiquity of man. 
There is not a single fact known to me 
which makes the existence of a human 
form in the Miocene period an 
impossibility." Professor Sollas sums 
up his conclusion (p. 85) as follows : 
" We have seen that the order 
of succession in time of fossil re- 
mains of the Mammalia and especially 
of apes and men suggests that man, in 
the strictest sense. Homo Sapiens^ is a 
creature of Pleistocene time ; as we 
look Ixick wards into the past we lose 
sight of him before the close of that 
age and encounter in his place forms 
specifically and even generically dis- 
tinct ; that other species of the human 
fannly might have already come into 
existence in the Pliocene epoch seems 
I)ossible, but scarcely in the Miocene, 
and still less in the Oligocene ejxKrh." 


170 THE GREAT FLOOD part i 

might be allowed to contain a large element of historical 
truth in regard to the causes assigned for the catastrophe. 
On the On the other hand geology seems to lend no support to 

geology" ' ^^ tradition of the catastrophe itself. For the evidence tends 
proves that to prove that the strait of the Dardanelles was not opened 
ingofthe suddenly, like the bursting of a dam, either by the pressure 
barrier was of the water or the shock of an earthquake, but that on the 
strophicbut Contrary it was created gradually by a slow process of erosion 
gradually which must have lasted for many centuries or even thousands 

effectei^ ^ 

by a slow of years ; for the strait " is bounded by undisturbed Pleis- 
process of tocenc Strata forty feet thick, through which, to all appear- 
ance, the present passage has been quietly cut." ^ Thus the 
lowering of the level of the Ponto-Aralian sea to that of the 
Mediterranean can hardly have been sudden and catastrophic, 
accompanied by a vast inundation of the Asiatic and Euro- 
pean coasts ; more probably it was effected so slowly and 
gradually that the total amount accomplished even in a 
generation would be imperceptible to ordinary observers or 
even to close observers unprovided with instruments of pre- 
Hence cision. Hence, instead of assuming that Samothracian 
thra^n°' tradition preserved a real memory of a widespread inunda- 
story of tion Consequent on the opening of the Dardanelles, it seems 
fl<»d*was safer to suppose that this story of a great flood is nothing 
probably but the guess of somc early philosopher, who rightly divined 
genuine ^he Origin of the straits without being able to picture to 
tradition, himself the extreme slowness of the process by which nature 
thespecu- had excavated them. As a matter of fact, the eminent 
lationof physical philosopher Strato, who succeeded Theophrastus as 
phiio- head of the Peripatetic school in 287 B.C., actually main- 
sopher. taincd this view on purely theoretical grounds, not alleging 
it as a tradition which had been handed down from antiquity, 
but arguing in its favour from his observations of the natural 
features of the Black Sea. He pointed to the vast quantities 
of mud annually washed down by great rivers into the Euxine, 
and he inferred that but for the outlet of the Bosphorus the 
basin of that sea would in time be silted up. Further, he 
conjectured that in former times .he same rivers had forced 
for themselves a passage throu^^^h the Bosphorus, allowing 

* T. H. Huxley, ** Hasisadra's / i venture," Collected Essays^ vol. iv. 
(London, 191 1) p. 281. 


their collected waters to escape first to the Propontis, and 
then from it through the Dardanelles to the Mediterranean. 
Similarly he thought that the Mediterranean had been of old 
an inland sea, and that its junction with the Atlantic was 
effected by the dammed up water cutting for itself an opening 
through the Straits of Gibraltar.^ Accordingly we may con- 
clude that the cause which the Samothracians alleged for the 
great flood was derived from an ingenious speculation rather 
than from an ancient tradition. 

There are some grounds for thinking that the flood story Like the 
which the Greeks associated with the names of Deucalion ^™^- 


and Pyrrha may in like manner have been, not so much a story of the 
reminiscence of a real event, as an inference founded on the ?.™'J?* 

' story ot 

observation of certain physical facts. We have seen that in Deucalion's 
one account the mountains of Thessaly are said to have been perhaps^n 
parted by the deluge in Deucalion's time, and that in another iuference 
account the ark, with Deucalion in it, is reported to have certain 
drifted to Mount Othrys in Thessaly. These references physical 


seem to indicate Thessaly as the original seat of the legend ; ^. 
and the indication is greatly strengthened by the view which legend of 
the ancients took of the causes that had moulded the natural ^^'^^'^ * 
features of the country. Thus Herodotus relates a tradition associated 
that in ancient times Thessaly was a great lake or inland Thessaly, 
sea, shut in on all sides by the lofty mountains of Ossa and which was 
Pelion, Olympus, I^indus, and Othrys, through which there ally saw to 
was as yet no opening to allow the pent-up waters of the ***^« ^^" 
rivers to escape. Afterwards, according to the Thessalians, lake, tin 
the sea-god Poseidon, who causes earthquakes, made an Poseidon 
outlet for the lake through the mountains, by cleaving the opening for 
narrow gorge of Tempe, through which the river Peneus J^e^orV" 
has ever since drained the Thessalian plain. The pious of Tempe. 
historian intimates his belief in the truth of this local tradi- 
tion. "Whoever believes," says he, "that Poseidon shakes 
the earth, and that chasms caused by earthquakes are his 
handiwork, would say, on seeing the gorge of the Peneus, 
that Poseidon had made it. For the separation of the 
mountains, it seems to me, is certainly the effect of an earth- 

' Strabo, i. 3. 4, pp. 49-50, cd. i, 24 ; E. H. Bunbury, Hislojy of 
Casaubon. Compare Sir Charles Lyell, Attcignt Geography- (London, 1S83), 
PrtPtcipUs 0/ Geology^'^ (London, 1875), i. 658 sg. 





quake." ^ The view of the father of history was substantially 
accepted by later writers of antiquity,'^ though one of them 
would attribute the creation of the gorge and the drainage 
of the lake to the hero Hercules, among whose beneficent 
labours for the good of mankind the construction of water- 
works on a gigantic scale was commonly reckoned.^ More 
cautious or more philosophical authors contented themselves 
with referring the origin of the defile to a simple earthquake, 
without expressing any opinion as to the god or hero who 
may have set the tremendous disturbance in motion.* 

Yet we need not wonder that popular opinion in this 
fhe scenery '^Sitter should incline to the theory of divine or heroic agency, 
ofTempe for in truth the natural features of the pass of Tempe are 

would . 

naturally ^ell fitted to impress the mind with a religious awe, with a 
suggest the sense of vast primordial forces which, by the gigantic scale of 

idea that ,. ,^ ,,. 

the gorge their Operations, present an overwhelmmg contrast to the 
*****. , puny labours of man. The traveller who descends at morn- 

ongmated f ' 

in some ing into the deep gorge from the west, may see, far above 
stro ^hT-**" ^^"^' ^^ snows of Olympus flushed with a golden glow under 
whereas the beams of the rising sun, but as he pursues the path down- 
showfihat ^^irds the summits of the mountains disappear from view, 
liketheDar- and he is Confronted on either hand only by a stupendous 
was^cr^'ted ^^ of mighty precipiccs shooting up in prodigious grandeur 
by the slow and approaching each other in some places so near that they 
water. almost seem to meet, barely leaving, room for the road and 
river at their foot, and for a strip of blue sky overhead. The 
cliffs on the side of Olympus, which the traveller has con- 
stantly before his eyes, since the road runs on the south or 
right bank of the river, are indeed the most magnificent and 
striking in Greece, and in rainy weather they are rendered 
still more impressive by the waterfalls that pour down their 
sides to swell the smooth and steady current of the stream. 
The grandeur of the scenery culminates about the middle of 
the pass, where an enormous crag rears its colossal form high 
in air, its soaring summit crowned with the ruins of a Roman 
castle. Yet the sublimity of the landscape is tempered and 
softened by the richness and verdure of the vegetation. In 

' Herodotus, vii. 129. 

2 Philostralus, Iinas;. ii. 14, 

3 Diodorus Siculus, iv. iS. 6. 

* Stralx), ix. 5. 2, j). 430, cd. 
Casaubon ; Seneca, Natitr, Quaes/, vi. 
25- 2. . 


some parts of the defile the cliffs recede sufficiently to leave 
little grassy flats at their foot, where thickets of evergreens 
— the laurel, the myrtle, the wild olive, the arbutus, the agnus 
castus — are festooned with wild vines and ivy, and variegated 
with the crimson bloom of the oleander and the yellow gold 
of the jasmine and laburnum, while the air is perfumed by 
the luscious odours of masses of aromatic plants and flowers. 
Even in the narrowest places the river bank is overshadowed 
by spreading plane-trees, which stretch their roots and dip 
their pendent boughs into the stream, their dense foliage 
forming so thick a screen as almost to shut out the sun. 
The scarred and fissured fronts of the huge cliffs themselves 
are tufted with dwarf oaks and shrubs, wherever these can 
find a footing, their verdure contrasting vividly with the bare 
white face of the limestone rock ; while breaks here and there 
in the mountain wall open up vistas of forests of great oaks 
and dark firs mantling the steep declivities. The overarching 
shade and soft lu.xuriance of the vegetation strike the traveller 
all the more by contrast if he comes to the glen in hot 
summer weather after toiling through the dusty, sultry plains 
of Thessaly, without a tree to protect him from the fierce 
rays of the southern sun, without a breeze to cool his brow, 
and with little variety of hill and dale to relieve the dull 
monotony of the landscape.^ No wonder that speculation 
should have early busied itself with the origin of this grand 
and beautiful ravine, and that primitive religion and science 
alike should have ascribed it to some great primeval cata- 
clysm, some sudden and tremendous outburst of volcanic 
energy, rather than to its true cause, the gradual and age- 
long erosion of water.^ 

* E. Dodwcll, Classical and topo- xliv. 6; Pliny, Nat. Hist. iv. 31; 

graphical Tour through C^r^^f-er (London, Catullus, Ixiv. 285 sqq. ; Ovid, Meta- 

18 19), ii. 109 sqq. ; Sir William Gell, morf>h. i. 568 sqq. Of these descrip- 

The Itinerary o/Greecc{\.OT\doi\, 1819), tions that of Aelian is the most copious 

pp. 275 sqq. ; W. M. Leake, Travels and most warmly coloured. lie dwells 

I// A^i^rM^rr// C/ife-rtf (London, 1835), iii. with particular delight on the luxuri- 

390 sqq. ; C. Bursian, Geographic von ance of the vegetation. 

GriechenlanU (Leipsic, 1862-1872), i. * "That Olympus and Ossa were 

58 sqq. ; Christopher Wordsworth, torn asunder and the waters of the 

Greece^ Pictorial^ Descriptive^ and Thessalian basin poured forth, is a very 

Historical^ New Edition, revised by ancient notion, and an often cited * con- 

H. F. Tozer (London, 1882), pp. 295 firmation ' of Deucalion's flood. It 

sqq. For ancient descriptions of Tempe has not yet ceased to be in vogue, 

see Aelian, Var. Hist, iii, i ; Livy, apparently because those who entertain 


174 THE GREAT^FLOOD parti 

Hence the Hcncc wc may with some confidence conclude that the 

*?°^ °f . cleft in the Thessalian mountains, which is said to have been 

Deucalion s 

flood may rent by Deucalion's flood, was no other than the gorge of 
not be a Xcmpe. Indeed, without being very rash, we may perhaps 
tradition, go farther and conjecture that the story of the flood itself 
a^mytrof^ jwas suggested by the desire to explain the origin of the deep 1 
obscrva- land narrow defile. For once men had pictured to them- ^ 
selves a great lake dammed in by the circle of the Thessalian 
mountains, the thought would naturally occur to them, what 
a vast inundation must have followed the bursting of the 
dam, when the released water, rushing in a torrent through 
the newly opened sluice, swept over the subjacent lowlands 
carrying havoc and devastation in its train ! If there is any 
truth in this conjecture, the Thessalian story of Deucalion's 
flood and the Samothracian story of the flood of Dardanus 
stood exactly on the same footing : both were mere inferences 
drawn from the facts of physical geography : neither of them 
contained any reminiscences of actual events. In short, both 
were what Sir Edward Tylor has called myths of observation 
rather than historical traditions.^ 

§ S- Other European Stories of a Great Flood 

Fewdiiuviai Apart from the ancient Greek stories of a great flood, it 

legends in jg remarkable that v^ry few popular traditions of a un iversal 

or widespread deluge have ^ h^<*" vecf^rAf^A \n F^^^^p^ An 

Icelandic Icelandic version of the tradition occurs in the Younger 

delude of ^^^^i* ^^e great collection of ancient Norse myths and legends 

blood in which was put together by Snorri Sturluson about 1222 A.D.^ 

giwiuwcre ^^ there read how the god Bor had three divine sons, Odin, 

drowned. Wili, and We, and how these sons slew the giant Ymir. 

From the wounds of the dying giant there gushed such a 

stream of blood that it drowned all the other giants except 

one, named Bergelmir, whp escaped with his wife in a boat. 

it are not aware ihai modern geological vol. iv. pp. 281 sq.\ 

investigation has conclusively proved * (Sir) Edward B. Tylor, Researches 

that the gorge of the Peneus is as typi- into the Early History of Mankind 

cal an example of a valley of erosion (London, 1878), pp. 306 sqq. 

as any to be seen in Auvergne or in - Encyclopedia Britannicay Ninth 

Colorado" (T. II. Huxley, " Hasis- Edition, vol. vii. (Edinburgh, 1877) 

adra'S Adventure," Collected Essays^ p. 649, s.v. "Edda." 



and from whom the later race of giants is descended. After- But this 
wards the sons of Bor took the carcase of the giant Ymir ^l^JJ^r^ 
and fashioned the world out of it, for down to that time the cosmogonic 
world, as we see it now, did not exist. Out of his flowing diUwiai, 
blood they made the ocean, the seas, and all waters ; out of and 
his flesh the earth ; put of his bones the mountains ; out of [h^™ ^ 
his teeth and broken bones the rocks and stones ; and out Babylonian 
of his skull the vault of the sky, which they set up on four recorded 
horns, with a dwarf under each horn to prpp it up.^ How- ^yBerosus. 
ever, this Norse tale differs from the Babylonian, the Hebrew, 
and the Greek in dating the great flood before the creation 
of the world and of mankind ; it hardly therefore belongs to 
the same class of legends.^ In it the formation of the world 
out of the body and blood of a giant has been compared to 
the Babylonian cosmogony recorded by Berosus, according 
to which the god Bel made the world by splitting a giantess 
in two and converting one half of her into the earth and the 
other half of her into the sky, after which he cut off his own 
head, and from the flowing blood mingled with earth the 
other gods moulded the human race.^ Tiie resemblance 
between the two cosmogonies is fairly close, but whether, as 
some think, this proves a direct Babylonian influence on the 
Norse legend may be doubted.* 

A Welsh legend of a deluge runs thus. Once upon a Welsh 
time the lake of Llion burst and flooded all lands, so that ^^5®"*^°^ 

— „ ,,„_-_-»-««_.__«_^ a deluge. 

the whole human race was dfOWtted, ail except Dwyfan and 
Dwyfach, who escaped in a naked or mastless ship and re- 
peopled the island of Prydain (Britain). The ship also 
contained a male and a female of every sort of living 
creature, so that after the deluge the animals were able to 
propagate their various kinds and restock the world.^ 

* Die Edda^ iihersetzt und mit 
Erlduicrungcn begleiici von Karl Sim- 
rock, Achte Auflage (Stuttgart, 1882), 
p. 253 ; J. Grimm, Deutsche ^fytho- 
loRie^ i. (Berlin, 1875) pp. 463 sqq. 
In this Norse legend the word trans- 
lated ** boat " (//?^r) is obscure ; it might 
also mean "cradle." See K. Simrock, 
HancU>uch der deutschcn Mytholo^^ie^ 
FUnfte Auflage (Bonn, 1878), pp. 
20 sq, 

2 Compare K. Simrock, Ilandbuch 

der deutschen Mythologie^^ p. 20. 

3 Euscbius, Chronicon^ ed. A. 
Schoene, vol. i. col. 16. 

* Eujjen Mogk, ** Mythologie," in 
H. Paul's Grimdriss der Germanischen 
Philologie^ iii. (Strasburg, 1900) p. 


fi Edward Davies, The Mythology 
and Rites of the British Druids ( Lon- 
don, 1809), p. 95; (Sir) John Rhys, 
Celtic Folklore^ Welsh and Manx 
(Oxford, 1901), ii. 429 (referring to the 

176 ., 


lARl I 

Lithuanian A Lithuanian story of a great flood is also reported. 

^cai flood. ^"^ ^^y ^^ chanced that the supreme god Pramzimas was 
looking out of a window of his heavenly house, and survey- 
ing the world from this coign of vantage he could see nothing 
but war and injustice among mankind. The sight so vexed 
his righteous soul that he sent two giants, Wandu and Wejas, 
down to the sinful earth to destroy it. Now the two giants 
were no other than Water and Wind, and they laid about 
them with such hearty good will, that after twenty nights 
and twenty days there was very little of the world left stand- 
ing. The deity now looked out of the window again to see 
how things were progressing, and, as good luck would have 
it, he was eating nuts at the time. As he did so, he threw 
down the shells, and one of them happened to fall on the 
top of the highest mountain, where animals and a few pairs 
of human beings had sought refuge from the flood. The 
nutshell came, in the truest sense of the word, as a godsend; 
everybody clambered into it, and floated about on the surface 
of the far-spreading inundation. At this critical juncture 
the deity looked out of the window for the third time, and, 
his wrath being now abated, he gave orders for the wind to 
fall and the water to subside. So the remnant of mankind 
were saved, and they dispersed over the earth. Only a single 
couple remained on the spot, and from them the Lithuanians 
are descended. But they were old and naturally a good 
deal put out by their recent experience ; so to comfort them 
God sent the rainbow, which advised them to jump over the 
bones of the earth nine times. The aged couple did as they 
were bid ; nine times they jumped, and nine other couples 
sprang up in consequence, the ancestors of the nine Lithu- 
anian tribes.^ 

late Triads, iii. 13 and iii. 97). Sir 
John RlTys adds (pp. 440 sq.) : " From 
the names Dwyfun and Dwyfach 1 infer 
that the writer of Triad iii. 13 has de- 
veloped his universal deluge on the 
basis of the scriptural account of it, for 
those names belonr;ed in ail probability 
to wells and rivers : in other terms, 
thcv were the names of water divinities. 
At any rate there seems to l>e some 
evidence that two springs, whose waters 
flow into Bala Lake, were ai one lime 

called Dwyfan and Dwyfach, these 
names being borne both by the springs 
themselves and the rivers flowing from 

* J. Grimm-, Diutsche MythoIo;^ni^^ 
i. 4801^., referring to Dzit^je starozytue 
ttarodu litewskieja^o^ przez Th. Narbutta 
(Wilno, 1S35), i. 2. According to H. 
Usencr {Die Sinfflittsagen^ p. 3) the 
genuineness of this Lithuanian legend 
is not above suspicion. 


The gipsies of Transylvania are reported to tell the fol- stc 
lowing legend of a deluge. There was a time, they say, when ^^^ 
men lived for ever, and knew neither trouble nor cold, neither the 
sickness nor sorrow. The earth brought forth the finest 5 j 
fruits : flesh grew on many trees, and milk and wine flowed 
in many rivers. Men and animals lived happily with each 
other, and they had no fear of death. But one day it hap- 
pened that an old man came into the country and begged 
a cottager to give him a night's lodging. He slept in the 
cottage and was well entertained by the cottager's wife. 
Next day, on taking his leave, the old man gave his host a 
small fish in a little vessel, and said, *' Keep this fish and do 
not eat it In nine days I will return, and if you give me 
the fish back, I will reward you." Then away he went. 
The housewife looked at the little fish and said to her 
husband, "Goodman, how would it be if we roasted the fish?" 
Her husband answered, " I promised the old man to give him 
back the fish. You must swear to me to spare the fish and 
to keep it till the old man returns." The wife swore, saying, 
" I will not kill the fish, I will keep it, so help me God ! " 
After two days the woman thought, " The little fish must 
taste uncommonly well, since the old man sets such store on 
it, and will not let it be roasted, but carries it with him about 
the world." She thought about it a long time, till at last 
she took the little fish out of the vessel, and threw it on the 
hot coals. Hirdly had she done so than the first flash of 
lightning came down from heaven and struck the woman 
dead. Then it began to rain. The rivers overflowed their beds 
and swamped the country. On the ninth day the old man 
appeared to his host and said, " Thou hast kept thine oath 
and not killed the fish. Take thee a wife, gather thy kins- 
folk together, and build thee a boat in which ye can save 
yourselves. All men and all living things must be drowned, 
but ye shall be saved. Take with thee also animals and 
seeds of trees and herbs, that ye may afterwards people the 
earth again." Then the old man disappeared, and the man 
did as he was bidden. It rained for a whole year, and 
nothing was to be seen but water and sky. After a year the 
water sank, and the man, with his wife and kinsfolk, and the 
animals, disembarked. They had now to work, tilling and 


178 THE GREAT FLOOD tart i 

sowing the earth, to gain a living. Their life was now labour 
and sorrow, and worse than all came sickness and death. 
So they multiplied but slowly, and many, many thousands 
of years passed before mankind was as numerous as they had 
The been before the flood, and as they are now.^ The incident 

incident of of the fish in this story reminds us of the fish which figures 

the fish in . i.i . ti*i y r no 

the story prommently in the ancient Indian legend of a great flood ;" 
*^*^/^ . and accordingly it seems possible that, as Dr. H. von 

analogy in « 

the ancient WHslocki bcHeves,' the ancestors of the gipsies brought the 

st^o'ryofthe '^S^"^ \s\>}\ them to Transylvania from their old home in 

flood. India. 

Vogui story A story of a grpat flood has also been recorded among 

flood^"^' the Voguls, a people of the Finnish or Ugrian stock, who 
inhabit the country both on the east and the west of the 
Ural Mountains, and who therefore belong both to Asia and 
Europe.* The story runs thus. After seven years of drought 
the Great Woman said to the Great Man, " It has rained 
elsewhere. How shall we save ourselves ? The other giants 
are gathered in a village to take counsel. What shall we 
do ? " The Great Man answered, " Let us cut a poplar in 
two, hollow it out, and make two boats. Then we shall 
weave a rope of ^villow roots five hundred fathoms long. 
We shall bury one end of it in the earth and fasten the other 
to the bow of our boats. Let every man with children em- 
bark in the boat with his family, and let them be covered in 
with a tarpaulin of cowhide, let victuals be made ready for 
seven days and seven nights and put under the tarpaulin. 
And let us place pots of melted butter in each boat." Having 
thus provided for their own safety, the two giants ran about 
the villages, urging the inhabitants to build boats and weave 
ropes. Some did not know how to set about it, and the 
giants showed them how it should be done. Others preferred 
to seek a place of refuge, but they sought in vain, and the 
Great Man, to whom they betook themselves because he was 
their elder, told them that he knew no place of refuge large 
enough to hold them. " See," said he, " the holy water will 

1 II. V. WHslocki, ]'om wamienuien ^ Op. cit. p. 269. 
Zi^euftcnvlke (llam])urg, 1890), pp. * Encychpirdia Bntannuay Ninth 
267-269. Edition, xxii. 8, s.v.^ "Siberia;" J. 

Deniker, /'//<• Ratf^s of Man ( Tendon, 

2 See below, pp. 183 sqq. 1900), p. 351. 



soon be on us ; for two days we have heard the rumble of 
its waves. Let us embark without delay." The earth was 
soon submerged, and the people who had not built boats 
perished in the hot water. The same fate befell the owners 
of boats whose ropes were too short, and likewise those who 
had not provided themselves with liquid butter wherewith to 
grease the rope as it ran out over the gunwale. On the 
seventh day the water began to sink, and soon the survivors 
set foot on dry ground. But there were neither trees nor 
plants on the face of the earth ; the animals had perished ; 
even the fish had disappeared. The survivors were on the 
point of dying of hunger, when they prayed to the great 
god Numi-tarom to create anew fish, animals, trees, and 
plants, and their prayer was heard.^ 

Some curious relics of the great flood are still pointed Relics of 
out in Savoy. Here and there a huge iron or bronze ring a^^^' 
may be seen fixed into a steep rock in some apparently inac- pointed out 
cessible position. Tradition runs that when the water of the *" ^°^' 
deluge had covered all the low-lying parts of Savoy, such 
persons as were lucky enough to own boats fastened them to 
these rings, which afforded them a temporary security. There 
are three of these rings in the Mont de Salive, which over- 
looks Julien in the Haute-Savoie, and there is another in the 
mountains of Voirons. Again, in the Passo del Cavollo there 
is a well-known stone bearing great hoof- marks. These, 
the peasants say, were made by a horse, for which Noah 
could find no room in the ark. When the flood rose, the 
animal leaped on to this rock, which was the highest he 
could see ; and as fast as the drowning people tried to 
clamber up it, the horse beat them off, till the water over- 
whelmed him also.^ 

§ 6. Supposed Persian Stories of a Great Flood 

Some scholars have held that in ancient Persian litera- 
ture they can detect the elements of diluvial traditions. 

* Francois Lenormant, T,fs Ori^'ines d Ethnographies vol. i. pp. 12 sq, 
de niistoire daprh la Bible: de la 

Cr/aiion de rifomme an D^ltige {Ytix'is^ ' P'stella Canziani, CostumeHy Tra- 

1880), pp. 455 sq.^ (juoling l.ucicn ditions and Songs of Savoy (I^ndoii, 

Adam in Revue de Philologie et 191 1), p. 98. 




of a flood 
the world, 
before the 
of man on 

story relates 
how the 
to destroy 
most living 
by a severe 
winter and 
deep snow, 
and how, 
warned by 
them, the 
sage Yima 
took refuge 
from the 
calamity in 
a blissful 
into which 
he gathered 
the seeds 
of men, of 
and of fire. 

Thus in the Bundahis^ a Pahlavi work on cosmogony, 
mythology, and legendary history, we read of a conflict 
which the angel Tistar, an embodiment of the bright star 
Sirius, waged with the Evil Spirit apparently in the early 
ages of the world. When the sun was in the sign of Cancer, 
the angel converted himself successively into the forms of a 
man, a horse, and a bull, and in each form he produced rain 
for' ten days and nights, every drop of the rain being as big 
as a bowl ; so that at the end of the thirty days the water 
stood at the height of a man all over the world, and all 
noxious creatures, the breed of the Evil Spirit, were drowned 
in the caves and dens of the earth. It is the venom of these 
noxious creatures, diffused in the water, which has made the 
sea salt to this day.^ But this story has all the appearance 
of being a cosmogonic myth devised to explain why the sea 
is salt ; it is certainly not a diluvial tradition of the ordinary 
type, since nothing is said in it about mankind ; indeed we 
are not even given to understand that the human race had 
come into existence at the time when the angelic battle with 
the principle of evil took place." 

Another ancient Persian story recorded in the Zend- 
Avesia, has sometimes been adduced as a diluvial tradition. 
We read that * Yima was the first mortal with whom the 
Creator Ahura Mazda deigned to converse, and to whom 
the august deity revealed his law. For nine hundred winters 
the sage Yima, under the divine superintendence, reigned 
over the world, and during all that time there was neither 
cold wind nor hot wind, neither disease nor death ; the earth 
was replenished with flocks and herds, with men and dogs 
and birds, and with red blazing fires. But as there was 
neither disease nor death mankind and animals increased at 

^ Pahlavi Texts^ translated by E. W. 
West (Oxford, iSSo), pp. 25-28 {Sacred 
Books of the Easty vol. v. ) ; Fr. 
Spiegel, Erdnische AUerthumskiinde 
(Leipsic, 1871- 1878), i. 479-481. As 
to Tistar or Tisirya, the angel of Sirius, 
see The Zettd-Avestay Part ii., trans- 
lated by J. Darmesteter (Oxford, 1883), 
pp. 92 sqq. [Sacred Books of the East^ 
vol. xxiii.). 

* This is also the view of the eminent 

Iranian scholar, Fr. Spiejjel {Erdnische 
AUerthumskundey i. 48) and of R. 
Andree, Die Flutsagen^ p. 15, who 
says, ** This seems to me so clear and 
simple, that I cannot understand how 
any one can here assume Semitic influ- 
ence." Fran9ois Lenormant also treats 
the story as a cosmogonic myth, which 
has no reference to humanity and no 
connexion with the Hiblical narrative 
{Les Origiues de PHistoire d^aprh la 
Bible y pp. 430 sqq.). 


such an alarming rate that on two occasions, at intervals of 
three hundred years, it became absolutely necessary to enlarge 
the earth^jn order to find room for the surplus population. 
The necessary enlargement was successfully carried out by 
Vima with the help of two instruments, a golden ring and 
a gold-inlaid dagger, wRich he had received as insignia of 
royalty at the hands o| the Creator. However, after the 
third enlargement it would seem that either the available 
space of the universe or the patience of the Creator was 
exhausted ; for he called a council of the celestial gods, 
and as" a result of their mature deliberations he informed 
Yima that " upon the material world the fatal winters are 
going to fall, that shall bring the fierce, foul frost ; upon the 
material world the fatal winters are going to fall, that shall 
make s«iow- flakes fall thick, even an aredvi deep on the 
highest tops of mountains. And all the three sorts of beasts 
shall perish, those that live in the wilderness, and those that 
live on the tops of the mountains, and those that live in the 
bosom of the dale, under the shelter of stables." Accord- 
ingly the Creator warned Yima to provide for himself a 
place of refuge in which he could find safety from the 
threatened calamity. He was told to make a square 
enclosure ( Vara), as long as a riding-ground on every side, 
and to convey into it the seeds of sheep and oxen, of men, 
of dogs, of birds, and of red blazing fires. " There thou 
shalt establish dwelling places, consisting of a house with 
a balcony, a courtyard, and a gallery. Thither thou shalt 
bring the seeds of men and women, of the greatest, best, and 
finest kinds on this earth ; thither thou shalt bring the seeds 
of every kind of cattle, of the greatest, best, and finest kinds 
on this earth. Thither thou shalt bring the seeds of every 
kind of tree, of the greatest, best, and finest kinds on this 
earth ; thither thou shalt bring the seeds of every kind of 
fruit, the fullest of food and sweetest of odour. All those 
seeds shalt thou bring, two of every kind, to be kept in- 
exhaustible there, so long as those men shall stay in 
the enclosure ( Vara), There shall be no humpbacked, 
none bulged forward there ; no impotent, no lunatic ; no 
poverty, no lying ; no meanness, no jealousy ; no decayed 
tooth, no leprous to be confined, nor any of the brands 




But this 
story is not 
strictly a 
of a flood. 

wherewith Angra Mainyu stamps the bodies of mortals." 
Yima obeyed the divine command, and made the enclosure, 
and gathered into it the seeds of men and animals, of trees 
and fruits, the choicest and the best. On that blissful abode 
the sun, moon, and stars rose only once a year, but on the 
other hand a whole year seemed only as one day. Every 
fortieth year to every human couple were born two children, 
a male and a female, and so it was also with every sort of 
cattle. And the men in Yima's enclosure lived the happiest 

In all this it is hard to see any vestige of a flood story. 
The destruction with which the animals are threatened is to 
be the effect of severe winters and deep snow, not of a 
deluge ; and nothing is said about repeopling the world 
after the catastrophe by means of the men and animals who 
had been preserved in the enclosure. It is true that the 
warning given by the Creator to Yima, and the directions 
to bestow himself and a certain number of animals in a 
place of safety, resemble the warning given by God to 
Noah and the directions about the building and use of the 
ark. But in the absence of any reference to a deluge we 
are not justified in classing this old Persian story with 
diluvial traditions.^ 

^ The Zfnd-Avesta^ Part i., trans- 
lated by J. Darmesteter (Oxford, 1880), 
pp. 1 1 -20 {Sacred Books 0/ tJu East^ 
vol. iv.); Fr. Spiegel, Erdnische 
Alterthtimskunde^ i. 478 sq. 

* In this opinion I am supported by 
the authority of Yi. Spiegel {Erdnische 
Afterthumskunde, i. 479). On the other 
hand the story is treated as a variation 
of the Babylonian flood legend by Fr. 
Lenormant {Les^Oris^hies de VHi^toire 
d^aprh la Bible : de la Creation de 
Vllomme au D^lui:;ey Paris, iSSo, p. 
430), and by M. Winternitz {Die Flut- 
sa-^cHy pp. 32S sq.). According to James 
I).irniesteter {The Zcfui-Ai^'csta, Part i., 
Oxford, 1880, pp. 10 sq.) *'the tale in 
the first part refers to Yima as the first 
man, the first king, and the founder of 
civilisation ; the tale in the second part 
is a combination of the myths of Yima, 

as the first dead and the king of the 
dead over whom he rules in a region 
of bliss, and of old myths al)out the 
end of the world. The world, lasting 
a long year of twelve millenniums, was 
to end by a dire winter, like the Eddie 
Fimbul winter, to be followed by an 
everlasting spring, when men, sent back 
to earth from the heavens, should enjoy, 
in an eternal earthly life, the same happi- 
ness that they had enjoyed after their 
death in the realm of Yima. But as in 
the definitive form which was taken by 
Mazdean cosmology the world was made 
to end by fire, its destruction by winter 
was no longer the last incident of its 
life, and therefore, the Var of Yima, 
instead of remaining, as it was origin- 
ally, the paradise that gives back to 
earth its inhabitants, came to be nothing 
more than a sort of Noah's aik." 



§ 7. Ancient Indian Stories of a Great Flood 

No legend of a great flood is to be found in the Vedic The story 
hymns, the most ancient literary monuments of India, which ao^^^u 


appear to have been composed at various dates between i 500 *? ^^^ l^^*" 
and 1000 B.C., while the Aryans were still settled in the literature 
Punjab and had not yet spread eastward into the valley pf.i»«i»a ; 
of the Ganges. But in the later Sanscrit literature a well- recorded 
marked story of a deluge repeatedly occurs in forms which ^s^atatha 
combine a general resemblance with some variations of Brahmana, 
detail. The first record of it meets us in the Satapatha probably 
BrahtPtana, an important prose treatise on sacred ritual, not later 
which is believed to have been written not long before the sixth 
rise of Buddhism, and therefore not later than the sixth century 

_ B C 

century before Christ. The Aryans then occupied the 
upper valley of the Ganges as well as the valley of the 
Indus ; but they were probably as yet little affected by the 
ancient civilizations of Western Asia and Greece. Certainly 
the great influx of Greek ideas and Greek art came centuries 
later with Alexander's invasion in 326 B.C.^ As related in 
the Satapatha Brahmana the story of the great flood runs 
as follows : — 

** In the morning they brought to Manu water for wash- The story 
ing, just as now also they are wont to bring water for washing flood^if^Uie 
the hands. When he was washing himself, a fish came into ^^^apatha 
his hands. It spake to him the word, * Rear me, I will save j^ 
thee ! * * Wherefrom wilt thou save me ? ' * A flood will carry warned by 
away all these creatures: from that I will save thee I ' * How ^im^ir^^ 
am I to rear thee ? * It said, * As long as we are small, there from the 
is great destruction for us : fish devours fish. Thou wilt first s^jp^ *" ^ 
keep me in a jar. When I outgrow that, thou wilt dig a pit 
and keep me in it. When I outgrow that, thou wilt take 

^ The Imperial Gautteer of India^ 
The Indian Empire (Oxford, 1909), 
i. 402 J^^., 417 sq, (\V. Crooke), ii. 
206 sqq.y 229 sq, (A. A. Macdonell). 
The Satapatha Brahmana belong to a 
series of priestly treatises on ritual and 
theology, which form the most ancient 
body of Sanscrit prose literature ; they 
are, however, a good deal later than 
the Vedic hymns, and are believed to 

have been composed between 800 and 
500 B.C. See, in addition to the fore- 
going authorities, A. Weber, Akadcm- 
ische Vorlestmgen titer ludische Litera- 
tures^ schichie (Berlin, 1876), pp. 1 2 sqq. ; 
J. Kggeling, The Satapatha Brahmana^ 
Part i. (Oxford, 1882) Introduction, 
pp. i. sqq. ( The Sacred Books of the 
East, vol. xii. ). 

1 84 




How after 

the flood 


obtained a 




me down to the sea, for then I shall be beyond destruction.* 
It soon became a ghasha (a large fish) ; for that grows largest 
of all fish. Thereupon it said, * In such and such a year that 
flood will come. Thou shalt then attend to me by preparing 
a ship ; ^ and when the flood has risen thou shalt enter into 
the ship, and 1 will save thee from it' After he had reared 
it in this wav, he took it down to the sea. And in the same 
year which the fish had indicated to him, he attended to the 
advice of the fish by preparing a ship ; * and when the flood 
had risen, he entered into the ship. The fish then swam up 
to him, and to its horn he tied the rope of the ship, and 
by that means he passed swiftly up to yonder northern 
mountain. It then said, * I have saved thee. Fasten the 
ship to a tree ; but let not the water cut thee off", whilst 
thou art on the mountain. As the water subsides, thou 
mayest gradually descend!' Accordingly he gradually de- 
scended, and hence that slope of the northern mountain is 
called * Manu's descent* The flood then swept away all 
these creatures, and Manu alone remained here. 

" Being desirous of offspring, he engaged in worshipping 
and austerities. During this time he also performed a pdka^ 
sacrifice : he offered up in the waters clarified butter, sour 
milk, whey, and curds. Thence a woman was produced in 
a year : becoming quite solid she rose ; clarified butter 
gathered in her footprint Mitra and Varuna met her. 
They said to her, * Who art thou ? * * Manu*s daughter,' she 
replied. * Say thou art ours,' they said. * No,* she said, * I am 
the daughter of him who begat me.' They desired to have a 
share in her. She either agreed or did not agree, but passed 
by them. She came to Manu. Manu said to her, * Who 
art thou ? * * Thy daughter,' she replied. * How, illustrious 
one, art thou my daughter ? ' he asked. She replied, * Those 
offerings of clarified butter, sour milk, whey, and curds, which 
thou madest in the waters, with them thou hast begotten 
me. I am the blessing : make use of me at the sacrifice ! 
If thou wilt make use of me at the sacrifice, thou wilt become 
rich in offspring and cattle. Whatever blessing thou shalt 

1 ** Build a ship then and worship * " Manu had built a ship, and wor- 

me" (Max Miillcr) ; "Thou shalt,. ship|x;d the fish " (Max Miiller) ; «»he 

therefore, coiisiruct a ship and resort constructed a ship and resorted to him '* 

to me" (J. Muir). (J. Muir). 



invoke through me, all that shall be granted to thee ! ' He 
accordingly made use of her as the benediction in the middle 
of the sacrifice ; for what is intermediate between the fore- 
offerings and the after-offerings, is the middle of the sacrifice. 
With her he went on worshipping and performing austerities, 
wishing for offspring. Through her he generated this race, 
which is this race of Manu ; and whatever blessing he invoked 
through her, all that was granted to hiim." ^ 

The next record of the flood legend in Sanscrit literature The story 
m^ts us in the Mahabluirata^ the vast Indian epic, which, in fl^^i^*^^ 
the form in which we now possess it, is about eight times as Maha- 
long as the Iliad and Odyssey put together. The nucleus of ^^^^^^ 
this huge compilation may date from the fifth century before 
Christ ; through successive expansions it attained its present 
enormous bulk in the early centuries of our era. The evi- 
dence of inscriptions proves that by the year 500 A.D. the poem 
was complete.^ As told in the epic, the legend runs thus : — 

" There was a great sage \risht\ Manu, son of Yivasvat, 
majestic, in lustre equal to Prajapati. In energy, fiery How the 
vigour, prosperity, and austere fervour he surpassed both '^^-^^i^sage 
his father and his grandfather. Standing with uplifted arm, rescued a 
on one foot, on the spacious Badari, he practised intense ^^l^'^^ed 
austere fervour. This direful exercise he performed, with by it of the 
his head downwards, and with unwinking eyes, for ten deluge^ 
thousand years. Once, when, clad in dripping rags, with 
matted hair, he was so engaged, a fish came to him on 
the banks of the ChlrinI, and spake : * Lord, I am a small 
fish ; I dread the stronger ones, and from them you must 
save me. For the stronger fish devour the weaker ; this has 
been immemorially ordained as our means of subsistence. 
Deliver me from this flood of apprehension in which I am 
sinking, and I will requite the deed.' Hearing this, Manu, 

* The Satapaiha Brdhmana, trans- 
lated by Julius Eggelinj;, Part i, 
(Oxford, 1882) pp. 216-219 {7^he 
Sacred Books of the East^ vol. xii.). 
For other translations of the legend 
see F. Max Miiller, History of Sanscrit 
Literature (London and Edinburgh, 
1859), pp. 425-427; id, India^ what 
can it tecuh us'f (London, 1892) pp. 
134 sqq, ; J. Muir, Original Sanskrit 

Texts, vol. i. Third Edition (London, 
1890), pp. 182-184; H. Usener, Die 
Sintjiutsagen, pp. 26 sq. (Ad. Weber's 
(German translation). 

- A. A. Macdoncll, ** Sanskrit 
Literature," in The Imperial Gazetteer 
of India, The Indian Empire (Oxford, 
1909), ii. 234 sqq, ; H. Oldenberg, 
Die Literatur des alten Indicn (Stutt- 
gart and Berlin, 1903), pp. 146 sqq. 




How, on 
the advice 
of the fish, 
in a ship 

seven sages 
and many 
kinds of 

filled with compassion, took the fish in his hand, and bring- 
ing hini to the water threw hinn into a jar bright as a moon- 
beam. In it the fish, being excellently tended, grew ; for 
Manu treated him like a son. After a long time he became 
very large, and could not be contained in the jar. Then, 
seeing Manu, he said again : * In order that I may thrive, 
remove me elsewhere.* Manu then took him out of the jar, 
brought him to a large pond, and threw him in. There he 
continued to grow for very many years. Although the pond 
was two yojanas long, and one yojana broad, the lotus-eyed 
fish found in it no room to move ; and again said to Manu : 
* Take me to Ganga, the dear queen of the ocean-monarch ; 
in her I shall dwell ; or do as thou thinkest best, for I must 
contentedly submit to thy authority, as through thee I have 
exceedingly increased.' Manu accordingly took the fish and 
threw him into the river Ganga. There he waxed for some 
time, when he again said to Manu : * From my great bulk I 
cannot move in the Ganga ; be gracious and remove me 
quickly to the ocean.' Manu took him out of the Ganga ; 
and cast him into the sea. Although so huge, the fish was 
easily borne, and pleasant to touch and smell, as Manu 
carried him. When he had been thrown into the ocean he 
said to Manu : * Great lord, thou hast in every way preserved 
me :- now hear from me what thou must do when the time 
arrives. Soon shall all these terrestrial objects, both fixed 
and moving, be dissolved. The time for the purification of 
the worlds has now arrived. I therefore inform thee what 
is for thy greatest good. The period dreadful for the universe, 
moving and fixed, has come. Make for thyself a strong ship, 
with a cable attached ; embark in it with the seven sages 
\risliis\ and stow in it, carefully preserved and assorted, all 
the seeds which have been described of old by Brahmans. 
When embarked in the ship, look out for me : I shall come 
recognizable by my horn. So shalt thou do ; I greet thee and 
depart. These great waters cannot be crossed over without 
me. Distrust not my word.' Manu replied, * I shall do as 
thou hast said.* After taking mutual leave they departed 
each on his own way. Manu then, as enjoined, taking with 
him the sqeds, floated on the billowy ocean in the beautiful 
ship. He then thought on the fish, which, knowing his 


desire, arrived with all speed, distinguished by a horn. How Manu 
When Manu saw the horned leviathan, lofty as a mountain, sw* ^^^le 
he fastened the ship's cable to the horn. Being thus attached, to the horn 
the fish dragged the ship with great rapidity, transporting it ^^o^^^'g 
across the briny ocean which seemed to dance with its waves fish towed 
and thunder with its waters. Tossed by the tempests, the IhepeSof 
ship whirled like a reeling and intoxicated woman. Neither Himavat. 
the earth, nor the quarters of the world appeared ; there was 
nothing but water, air, and sky. In the world thus con- 
founded, the seven sages \rishis\ Manu, and the fish were 
beheld. So, for very many years, the fish, unwearied, drew 
the ship over the waters ; and brought it at length to the 
highest peak of Himavat. He then, smiling gently, said to 
the sages^ * Bind the ship without delay to this peak.' They 
did so accordingly. And that highest peak of Himavat is 
still known by the name of Naubandhana (* the Binding of 
the Ship '). The friendly fish (or god, animisha) then said How the 
to the sages, * I am the Prajapati Brahma, than whom nothing f^fygaied 
higher can be reached. In the form of a fish I have delivered itself as 
you from this great danger. Manu shall create all living BraifiSii? 
beings, gods, demigods [asjtras\ men, with all worlds, and all and 
things moving and fixed. By my favour and through severe Mamu^to 
austere fervour, he shall attain perfect insight into his creative ^j^^^ all 
work, and shall not become bewildered.' Having thus spoken, beings.both 
the fish in an instant disappeared. Manu, desirous to call ^"^^ ^^ 
creatures into existence and bewildered in his work, performed 
a great act of austere fervour ; and then began visibly to 
create all living beings. This which I have narrated is 
known as the Matsyaka Purana (or * Legend of the Fish ')." ^ 

In this latter version Manu is not a common man but a 
great seer, who by his religious austerities and the favour of 
the Supreme Being is promoted to the dignity of Creator of 
the world and of all living things, including gods and men. 

The same legend is repeated, with minor variations, in Thestoryof 
the later class of Sanscrit books known as the PurCiuas. ^Jj^ flood m 

the Sanscrit 

These are epic works, didactic in character and sectarian in Purnnas. 
purpose, generally designed to recommend the worship of 

* J. Muir, Original Sanskrit TextSy German translation of the passage in 
vol. i. Third Edition (London, 1890), H. Usencr's Die Sintjluisageti (Bonn, 
pp. 199-201. Compare H. Jacobi*s 1899), pp. 29-31. 


Vishnu, though some of them inculcate the religion of Siva. 
So far as they deal with the legends of ancient days, they 
derive their materials mainly from the Mahabharata, The 
Vdyu Purdna^ which may be the oldest of them, is believed 
to date from about 320 A.D.^ In the Matsyu ("Fish") 
Piirdna the legend of the deluge runs thus : — 
The story of " Formerly a heroic king called Manu, the patient son of 
theA^^w the Sun, endowed with all good qualities, indifferent to pain 
Purdna, and pleasure, after investing his son with royal authority, 
practised intense austere fervour, in a certain region of 
Malaya (Malabar), and attained to transcendent union with 
the Deity {yoga). When a million years had elapsed, 
Brahma became pleased and disposed to bestow a boon, 
which he desired Manu to choose. Bowing before the father 
of the world the monarch said, * I desire of thee this one 
incomparable boon, that when the dissolution of the universe 
arrives I may have the power to preserve all existing things, 
whether moving or stationary.' * So be it,* said the Soul of 
all things, and vanished on the spot ; when a great shower 
of flowers, thrown down by the gods, fell from the sky. 
Manu saves Once as, in his hermitage, Manu offered the oblation to the 
fs warned Manes, there fell upon his hands, along with some water, a 
by it of the S'apharl fish (a carp), which the kind-hearted king perceiving, 
flood?^ strove to preserve in his water-jar. In one day and night 
the fish grew to the size of sixteen fingers, and cried, * Pre- 
serve me, preserve me.* Manu then took and threw him 
into a large pitcher, where in one night he increased three 
cubits, and again cried, with the voice of one distressed, to 
the son of Vivasvat, * Preserve me, preserve me, I have sought 
refuge with thee.' Manu next put him into a well, and 
when he could not be contained even in that, he was thrown 
into a lake, where he attained to the size of a yojana ; but 
still cried in humble tones, * Preserve me, preserve me.' 
When, after being flung into the Ganga, he increased there 
also, the king threw him into the ocean. When he filled the 
entire ocean, Manu said, in terror, * Thou art some god, or 
thou art Vasudeva ; how can any one else be like this ? 
Whose body could equal two hundred thousand yojanas ? 

* A. A. Macdonell, "Sanskrit of India ^ The Indian Empire [S^ySox^y 
Literature," in The Imperial Gazetteer 1909), ii. 236 sq. 


Thou art recognised under this form of a fish, and thou 
tormentest me, Ke^ava ; reverence be to thee, Hrishlke^a, 
lord of the world, abode of the universe ! ' Thus addressed, 
the divine Janardana, in the form of a fish, reph'ed : * Thou 
hast well spoken, and hast rightly known me. In a short 
time the earth with its mountains, groves, and forests, shall 
be submerged in the waters. This ship has been constructed He is told 
by the company of all the gods for the preservation of the [^ ^^^hT^^ 
vast host of living creatures. Embarking in it all living with all 
creatures, both those engendered from moisture and from ci^u,res 
eggs, as well as the viviparous, and plants, preserve them and plants, 
from calamity. When driven by the blasts at the end of Jo ^v^ 
the yiiga} the ship is swept along, thou shalt bind it to this ^^em from 
horn of mine. Then at the close of the dissolution thou 
shalt be the Prajapati (lord of creatures) of this world, fixed 
and moving. When this shall have been done, thou, the 
omniscient, patient sage \rishi\ and lord of the Manvantara^ 
shalt be an object of worship to the gods.* 2nd. Adhyaya : 
Suta said : Being thus addressed, Manu asked the slayer of 
the Asura, * In how many years shall the (existing) Man- 
vantara^ come to an end? And how shall I preserve 
the living creatures ? or how shall I meet again with 
thee?' The fish answered: * From this day forward a 
drought shall visit the earth for a hundred years and more, 
with a tormenting famine. Then the seven direful rays of 
the sun, of little power, destructive, shall rain burning char- 
coal. At the close of the yuga the submarine fire shall burst 
forth, while the poisonous flame issuing from the mouth of 
Sankarshana (shall blaze) from Patala, and the fire from 
Mahadeva's third eye shall issue from his forehead. Thus 
kindled the world shall become confounded. When, con- 
sumed in this manner, the earth shall become like ashes, the 
aether too shall be scorched with heat Then the world, 
together with the gods and planets, shall be destroyed. The 
seven clouds of the period of dissolution, called Saitivartta, 
Bhimanada, Drona, Chanda, Balahaka, Vidyutpataka, and 
Sonambu, produced from the steam of the fire, shall inundate 

1 A great mundane period. See J. 43 sqq. 
Muir, Onj^nal Sanstn't Texts^ vol. i. ^ ^.\^ great mundane period, vastly 

Third Edition (London, 1890), pp. longer than a r/f^a. See J. Muir, /.^, 

I90 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

the earth. The seas agitated, and joined together, shall 
reduce these entire three worlds to one ocean. Taking this 
celestial ship, embarking on it all the seeds, and through 
contemplation fixed on me fastening it by a rope to my 
horn, thou alone shalt remain, protected by my power, when 
even the gods are burnt up. The sun and moon, I Brahma 
with the four worlds, the holy river Narmada [Nerbudda], 
the great sage Markandeya, Mahadcva, the Vedas, the 
Purana, with the sciences, — these shall remain with thee at 
the close of the Manvantara, The world having thus become 
one ocean at the end of the Chakshusha manvantara^ I shall 
give currency to the Vedas at the commencement of thy 
creation.' Suta continued : Having thus spoken, the divine 
Being vanished on the spot ; while Manu fell into a state of 
The deluge Contemplation {yoga) induced by the favour of Vasudeva, 
M^u^°^"^ When the time announced by Vasudeva had arrived, the 
draws all predicted deluge took place in that very manner. Then 
into'thT Janardana appeared in the form of a horned fish ; (the 
ship. serpent) Ananta came to Manu in the shape of a rope. 

Then he who was skilled in duty {i.e. Manu) drew towards 
himself all creatures by contemplation {yoga) and stowed 
them in the ship, which he then attached to the fish's horn 
by the serpent-rope, as he stood upon the ship, and after he 
had made obeisance to Janardana. I shall now declare the 
Parana which, in answer to an enquiry from Manu, was 
uttered by the deity in the form of the fish, as he lay in a sleep 
of contemplation till the end of the universal inundation : 
Listen." The Matsya Purana says nothing more about the 
progress and results of the deluge.^ 

Another ancient Indian work of the same class, the 

Bhdgavata Purana^ gives the same story with variations as 

follows : — 

The story " At the close of the past Kalpa " there occurred an occa- 

of the flood sional dissolution of the universe arising from Brahma's 

Bhdgavata noctumal rcpose ; in which the Bhurloka and other worlds 

1 J. M-uir, Ancient Sanscrit Texts y years. At the end of each such period 

vol. i. Third Edition (London, 1890), the universe was supposed to collapse 

pp. 205-207. and to remain in a state of dissolution 

for a night of the same length, till the 

' A Kalpa was counted a day of the Creator awoke from his sleep and 

great god Brahma. It was equivalent created the woild anew. See J. Muir, 

to a period of 4,320,000,000 human op. cit. i. 43 sqq. 


were submerged in the ocean. When the creator, desirous 

of rest, had under the influence of time been overcome by 

sleep, the strong Hayagriva coming near, carried off the 

Vedas which had issued from his mouth. Discovering this 

deed of the prince of the Danavas, the divine Hari, the Lord, 

took the form of a S'apharl fish. At that time a certain 

great royal sage \rishi\ called Satyavrata, who was devoted 

to Narayana, practised austere fervour, subsisting on water. 

He was the same who in the present great Kalpa is the son 

of Visvasvat, called S'raddhadeva,^ and was appointed by 

Hari to the office of Manu. Once, as in the river Kritamala How the 

he was offering the oblation of water to the Pitris [ancestral J^ ^^ 

spirits], a S'apharl fish came into the water in the hollow of a fish and 

his hands. The lord of Dravida, Satyavrata, cast the fish in ^y u to 

his hands with the water into the river. The fish very [^"« 


piteously cried to the merciful king, * Why dost thou abandon from the 
me poor and terrified to the monsters who destroy their coming 

* deluge by 

kindred in this river ? ' [Satyavrata then took the fish from embarking 
the river, placed it in his waterpot, and as it grew larger and Jy^h^^'^nts 
larger, threw it successively into a larger vessel, a pond, and seeds, 
various lakes, and at length into the sea. The fish objects 
to be left there on the plea that it would be devoured ; but 
Manu replies that it can be no real fish, but Vishnu himself; 
and with various expressions of devotion enquires why he 
had assumed this disguise.] The god replies : * On the 
seventh day after this the three worlds Bhurloka, etc., shall 
sink beneath the ocean of the dissolution. When the universe 
is dissolved in that ocean, a large ship, sent by me, shall 
come to thee. Taking with thee the plants and various seeds, 
surrounded by the seven sages \f'ishis\ and attended by all 
existences, thou shalt embark on the great ship, and shalt 
without alarm moVe over the one dark ocean, by the sole 
light of the sages \rishis\. When the ship shall be vehemently 
shaken by the tempestuous wind, fasten it by the great serpent 
to my horn — for I shall come near. So long as the night of 
Brahma lasts, I shall draw thee with the sages \rishis\ and 
the ship over the ocean/ [The god then disappears after 
promising that Satyavrata shall practically know his great- 
ness and experience his kindness, and Satyavrata awaits the 

* "Manu is called S'raddhadeva in the Mahahharata also." 

192 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

predicted events.] Then the sea, augmenting as the great 
clouds poured down their waters, was seen overflowing its 
shores and everywhere inundating the earth. Meditating on 
the injunctions of the deity, Satyavrata beheld the arrival of 
the ship, on which he embarked with the Brahmans, taking 
along with him the various kinds of plants. Delighted, the 
Munis said to him, * Meditate on Ke^ava ; he will deliver us 
from this danger, and grant us prosperity.' Accordingly 
when the king had meditated on him, there appeared on the 
ocean a golden fish, with one horn, a million yojamis long. 
Binding the ship to his horn with the serpent for a rope, as 
he had been before commanded by Hari, Satyavrata landed 
Madhusudana. [The hymn follows.] When the king had 
thus spoken, the divine primeval Male, in the form of a fish, 
moving on the vast ocean declared to him the truth ; the 
celestial collection of Puranas, with the Sankhya, Yoga, the 
ceremonial, and the mystery of the soul. Seated on the ship 
with the sages [f'ishis\ Satyavrata heard the true doctrine of 
the soul, of the eternal Brahma, declared by the god. When 
Brahma arose at the end of the past dissolution, Hari restored 
to him the Vedas, after slaying Hayagrlva. And King 
Satyavrata, master of all knowledge, sacred and profane, 
became, by the favour of Vishnu, the son of Vivasvat, the 
Manu in this Kalpa^ ^ 
Sioryofaie Yet another ancient Indian version of the deluge legend 
flood in the meets US in the Agni Purdna : it runs thus : — 
Purdna. " Vasishtha said: * Declare to me Vishnu, the cause of 

How Manu ^j^p creation, in the form of a Fish and his other incarnations ; 

save<l a fish ' 

and was and the Puranic revelation of Agni, as it was originally heard 
warned by ^^^^ Vishnu.' Agni replied I * Hear O Vasishtha, I shall 

It to escape ~ . . ' 

from the relate to thee the Fish-incarnation of Vishnu, and his acts 
deiuire^in when so incarnate for the destruction of the wicked, and pro- 
a ship. tection of the good. At the close of the past Kalpa there 
occurred an occasional dissolution of the universe caused by 
Brahma's sleep, when the Bhurloka and other worlds were 
inundated by the ocean. Manu, the son of Vivasvat, prac- 
tised austere fervour for the sake of worldly enjoyment as 
well as final liberation. Once, when he was offering the 

* J. Muir, Ancient Sanskrit TextSy vol. i. Third Edition (London, 1890), 
pp. 209 sq. 


libation of water to the Pitris [ancestral spirits] in the river 
Kritamala, a small fish came into the water in the hollow of 
his hands, and said to him when he sought to cast it into 
the stream, * Do not throw me in, for I am afraid of alligators 
and other monsters which are here.' On hearing this Manu 
threw it into a jar. Again, when grown, the Fish said to 
him, * Provide me a large place.* Manu then cast it into a 
larger vessel (?). When it increased there, it said to the 
king, * Give me a wide space.' When, after being thrown 
into a pond, it became as large as its receptacle, and cried 
out for greater room, he flung it into the sea. In a moment 
it became a hundred thousand yojanas in bulk. Beholding 
the wonderful t'ish, Manu said in astonishment : * Who art 
thou ? Art thou Vishnu ? Adoration be paid to thee, O 
Narayana. Why, O Janardana, dost thou bewilder me by thy 
illusion ? ' The Fish, which had become incarnate for the 
welfare of this world and the destruction of the wicked, when 
so addressed, replied to Manu, who had been intent upon its 
preservation : * Seven days after this the ocean shall inundate 
the world. A ship shall come to thee, in which thou shalt 
place the seeds, and accompanied by the sages \rishis'\ shalt 
sail during the night of Brahma. Bind it with the great 
serpent to my horn, when I arrive.* Having thus spoken the 
Fish vanished. Manu awaited the promised period, and 
embarked on- the ship when the sea overflowed its shores. 
(There appeared) a golden Fish, a million yojanas long, with 
one horn, to which Manu attached the ship, and heard from 
the Fish the Matsya Purdna, which takes away sin, together 
with the Veda. Ke^ava then slew the Danava Hayagriva 
who had snatched away the Vedas, and preserved its mantras 
and other portions." ^ 

§ 8. Modern Indian Stories of a Great Flood 

The Bhils, a wild jungle tribe of Central India, relate Story of a 
that once upon a time a pious man {dhobt), who used to ^Ji^ by^il 
wash his clothes in a river, was warned by a fish of the Bhiis of 
approach of a great deluge. The fish informed him that, jndia.^ 
out of gratitude for his humanity in always feeding the 

' J. Muir, Ancient Sanskrit Texts^ vol. i. Third Edition (London, 1890), 
pp. 211 sq. 


194 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

fish, he had come to give him this warning, and to 
urge him to prepare a large box in which he might 
escape. The pious man accordingly made ready the box 
and embarked in it with his sister and a cock. After 
the deluge Rama sent out his messenger to inquire into the 
state of affairs. The messenger heard the crowing of the 
cock and so discovered the box. Thereupon Rama had the 
box brought before him, and asked the man who he was and 
how he had escaped. The man told his tale. Then Rama 
made him face in turn north, east, and west, and swear that 
the woman with him was his sister. The man stuck to it 
that she was indeed his sister. Rama next turned him to 
the south, whereupon the man contradicted his former state- 
ment and said that the woman was his wife. After that, 
Rama inquired of him who it was that told him to escape, 
and on learning that it was the fish, he at once caused the 
fish's tongue to be cut out for his pains ; so that sort of fish 
has been tongueless ever since. Having executed this judg- 
ment on the fish for blabbing, Rama ordered the man to 
repeople the devastated world. Accordingly the man mar- 
ried his sister and had by her seven sons and seven daughters. 
The firstborn received from Rama the present of a horse, 
but, being unable to ride, he 'left the animal in the plain and 
went into the forest to cut wood. So he became a wood- 
man, and woodmen his descendants the Bhils have been 
from that day to this.^ In. this Bhil story the warning of 
the coming flood given by the fish to its human benefactor 
resembles the corresponding incident in the Sanscrit story 
of the flood too closely to be independent. It may be 
questioned whether the Bhils borrowed the story from the 
Aryan invaders, or whether on the contrary the Aryans 
may not have learned it from the aborigines whom they en- 
countered in their progress through the country. In favour 
of the latter view it may be pointed out that the story of 
the flood does not occur in the most ancient Sanscrit, litera- 
ture, but only appears in books written long after the settle- 
ment of the Aryans in India. 

* The Ethnographical Survey of the by Captain C. E. Luard (Lucknow, 
Central India Agency y Monograph II., 1909)) p- 17. 
The Jungle Tribes of Malwa^ compiled 


The Kamars, a small Dravidian tribe of the Raipur Dis- story of a 
trict and adjoining States, in the Central Provinces of India, foj^V^^ 
tell the following story of a great flood. They say that in Kamars of 
the beginning God created a man and woman, to whom in p^^^^ 
their old age two children were born, a boy and a girl. But lodia. 
God sent a deluge over the world in order to drown a jackal 
which had angered him. The old couple heard of the coming 
deluge, so they shut up their children in a hollow piece of 
wood with provision of food to last them till the flood should 
subside. Then they closed up the trunk, and the deluge 
came and lasted for twelve years. The old couple and all other 
living things on earth were drowned, but the trunk floated on 
the face of the waters. After twelve years God created two 
birds and sent them to see whether his enemy the jackal had 
been drowned. The birds flew over all the corners of the 
world, and they saw nothing but a log of wood floating on 
the surface of the water. They perched on it, and soon 
heard low and feeble voices coming from inside the log. It 
was the children saying to each other that they had only 
provisions for three days left. So the birds flew away and 
told God, who then caused the flood to subside, and taking 
out the children from the log of wood he heard their story. 
Thereupon he brought them up, and in due time they were 
married, and God gave the name of a different caste to ^vt,ry 
child who was born to them, and from them all the inhabit- 
ants of the world are descended.^ In this story the incident 
of the two birds suggests a reminiscence of the raven and the 
dove in the Biblical legend, which may have reached the 
Kamars through missionary influence. 

The Hos or Larka Kols, an aboriginal race who inhabit Story of a 
Singbhum, in south-western Bengal, say that after the world ^'^[^by^he 
was first peopled mankind grew incestuous and paid no heed Hos and 
either to God or to their betters. So Sirma Thakoor, or Bengal ° 
Sing Bonga, the Creator, resolved to destroy them all, and he 
carried out his intention, some say by water, others say by 
fire. However, he spared sixteen people, and from them 
presumably the present race of mortals is descended.^ A 

' R. V. Russell, Tribes and Castes Hodesiim (impro|)erIy called Kolehan)," 

of the Central Provinces of India Jotimal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal ^ 

(Ix>ndon, 1916), in. 326 sq. ix. (Calcutta, 1840) Part ii. \. 79S. 

' Lieut. Tickell, ** Memoir on the 

196 THE GREAT FLOOD part i 

fuller version of this legend is reported to be current among 
the Mundaris or Mundas, a tribe of Kols akin to the Hos, 
who inhabit the tableland of Chota Nagpur to the north of 
Singbhum. According to the Mundas, God created mankind 
out of the dust of the ground. But soon mankind grew 
wicked ; they would not wash themselves, or work, or do any- 
thing but dance and sing perpetually. So it repented Sing 
Bonga that he had made them, and he resolved to destroy 
them by a great flood. For that purpose he sent down a 
stream of fire-water {Sengle-Daa) from heaven, and all men 
died. Only two, a brother and a sister, were saved by hiding 
under a tirii tree ; hence the wood of a tirtl tree is black 
and charred with fire to this day. But God thought better 
of it, and to stop the fiery rain he created the snake Lurbing, 
which puffed its soul up into the shape of a rainbow, thereby 
holding up the showers. So when the Mundaris see a rain- 
bow they say, " It will rain no more. Lurbing has destroyed 
the rain." ' 
Story of a The Santals, another aboriginal race of Bengal, have also 

great fire- ^ lePfend that in the early ages of the world almost the whole 

flood told ^ 1 t /- r « 

by the human race was destroyed by fire from heaven. There are 
^n^ af °^ various traditions concerning this great calamity. Some say 
that it occurred soon after the creation of the first man and 
woman. Others assign it to a later period, and mention 
different places as the scene of the catastrophe. Different 
reasons, too, are alleged for the visitation. Some say it was 
sent by God as a punishment for the sins of the people ; 
others affirm that two discontented members of the Marndi 
tribe invoked the vengeance of the Creator Thakur upon 
those who had offended them. The account which dates the 
event immediately after the creation makes no reference to 
the causes which operated to bring it about. It runs as 

^ R. Andree, Die Flutsagen, pp. 25 cover a trace, and it appears incom- 

sq.^ citing Nottrott, Die Gossnerische patible with their tradition of the origin 

Mission un/er den A oA/s {liaWCf iSy 4), of different races. Ltirdeftg is in llmir 

p. 59. However, compare Colonel E. languiige a serpent, properly a water- 

T. Dal ton, Descriptive Ethnoh^ of snake, and the name is poetically given 

Ben,i^a/ (Calcutta, 1872), pp. 188 i^^. : by them to the rainbow, and l)y a 

** It has been s;iid that the Hos and simple reasoning on cause and effect, 

Mundas, like the Karens, have a tradi- they say *the serpent stops the rain,* 

tion of the destruction of the human but it requires stronger imaginative 

race, all but two persons, by deluge, powers than I possess to eliminate from 

but of this I have not been able to dis- this a tradition of the deluge." 


follows. When Pilchu Haram and Pilchu Budhi, the first 
man and woman, had reached adolescence, it rained fire-rain 
for seven days and seven nights. They sought refuge from 
the burning liquid in a cave in a rock, from which, when the 
flood was over, they came forth unscathed. Jaher-era then 
came and inquired of them where .they had been. They 
answered, " We were underneath a rock." The following 
verse, we are told, completes the description : — 

" Seven days and sez'en flights it rained fire-rainy 
Where were you, ye tiuo human beings : 
Where did you pass the time ? " 

The Other Santal story, which explains the fire-flood by Another 
the discontent of the Marndi tribe, is as follows. When the ^^^Sit'^ 
different social distinctions and duties were assigned to the fire-flood. 
various tribes, the Marndis were overlooked. Two members 
of the tribe, by name Ambir Singh and Bir Singh, who 
dwelt on Mount Here, were incensed at the slight thus put 
upon their fellows, and they prayed that fire from heaven 
might descend and destroy the other tribes. Their prayer 
was answered : one half of the country was destroyed, and 
one half of the population perished. The house in which 
Ambir Singh and Bir Singh lived was of stone, with a door 
of the same material. It therefore resisted the fire which 
was devastating the country far and wide, and the two inmates 
escaped unhurt. At this point the reciter of the tale sings 
the following verses : — 

" Thou art shut in with a stone door, 
Ambir Singh^ thou art shut in with a stone door, 
Ambir Singh, the country is burning, 
Ambir Singh, the country is burnt upP 

When Kisku Raj heard of what had happened, he inquired 
who had done it. They told him it was the work of Ambir 
Singh and Bir Singh. Fie at once ordered them into his 
presence and asked why they had brought such a disaster 
upon the people. They answered, ** In the distribution of 
distinctions and offices all were considered but ourselves.*' 
To that Kisku Raj replied, " Yes, yes, do not act thus, and 
you also shall receive an oflfice." Then they caused the fire 
to be extinguished. So Kisku Raj, addressing them, said. 




A third 
version of 
the firc- 

stories of a 

" I appoint you treasurers and stewards over all the property 
and possessions of all kings, princes, and nobles. All the 
rice and the unhusked rice will be under your charge. From 
your hands will all the servants and dependents receive their 
daily portion." Thus was the fire-flood stayed, and thus did 
the Marndi tribe attain. to its present rank. 

Yet a third Santal version of the fire-flood story has it 
that, while the people were at Khojkaman, their iniquity rose 
to such a pitch that Thakur Jiu, the Creator, punished them 

flood story, j^^ sending fire-rain upon earth. Out of the whole race two 
individuals alone escaped destruction by hiding in a cave on 
Mount Haradata.^ 

The Lepchas of Sikhim have a tradition of a great flood 
during which a couple escaped to the top of a mountain 
called Tendong, near Darjeeling.* Captain Samuel Turner, 
who went on an embassy from India to the court of the 
Teshoo Lama at the close of the eighteenth century, reports 
that according to a native legend Tibet was long ago almost 
totally inundated, until a deity of the name of Gya, whose 
chief temple is at Durgeedin, took compassion on the sur- 
vivors, drew off the waters through Bengal, and sent teachers 
to civilize the wretched inhabitants, who were destined to 
repeople the land, and who up to that time had been very 
little better than monkeys.^ The Singphos of Assam relate 
that once on a time mankind was destroyed by a flood 
because they omitted to offer the proper sacrifices at the 

andLushaiSgij^ygj^l-gj. Qf buffaloes and pigs. Only two men, Khun litang 

Oi Assam. 

and Chu liyang, with their wives, were saved, and being 
appointed by the gods to dwell on Singrabhum hill, they 
became the progenitors of the present human race.^ The 
Lushais of Assam have a legend that the king of the water 
demons fell in love with a woman named Ngai-ti (Loved One), 
but she rejected his addresses and ran away ; so he pursued 

Stories of 
a flood 
told by the 

* Rev. A. Campbell, D.I)., **The 
Traditions of the Santals," The Journal 
of the Bihar and Orissa Research 
Society^ ii. (Bankipore, I9l6)pp. 23-25. 

2 Sir Joseph Hooker, Himalayan 
Journals (London, 1891), chapter v. 
p. 86 (Minerva Library edition). 

3 Captain Samuel Turner, An Ac- 
count 0/ an Embass}' to the Court of 

the Teshoo Lama in Tibet^ containing 
a Narrative of a Journey through 
Boo tan and part of Tibet (London, 
1800), p. 224. Durgeedin is perhaps 
Darjeeling. If that is so, the legends 
briefly recorded by Hooker and Turner 
may coincide. 

* A . Baslian, Die Voelker des Oest- 
iichen Asien^ L (Leipsic, 1 866) p. 87. 


her, and surrounded the whole human race with water on the 
top of a hill called Phun-lu-buk, which is said to be far away 
to the north-east. As the water continued to rise, the people 
took Ngai-ti and threw her into the flood, which thereupon 
receded. In flowing away, the water hollowed out the deep 
valleys and left standing the high mountains which we see 
to this day ; for down to the time of the great flood the 
earth had been level.^ Again, the Anals of Assam say that story of a 
once upon a time the whole world was flooded. All the 5°^^°'*^ 
people were drowned except one man and one woman, who Anals of 
ran to the highest peak of the Leng hill, where they climbed ^^*™* 
up a high tree and hid themselves among the branches. 
The tree grew near a large pond, which was as clear as the 
eye of a crow. They spent the night perched on the tree, 
and in the morning, what was their astonishment to find 
that they had been changed into a tiger and a tigress ! 
Seeing the sad plight of the world, the Creator, whose name 
is Pathian, sent a man and a woman from a cave on a hill 
to repeople the drowned world. But on emerging from the 
cave, the couple were terrified at the sight of the huge tiger 
and tigress, and they said to the Creator, " O Father, you 
have sent us to repeople the world, but we do not think that 
we shall be able to carry out your intention, as the whole 
world is under water, and the only spot on which we could 
make a place of rest is occupied by two ferocious beasts, 
which are waiting to devour us ; give us strength to slay 
these animals." After that, they killed the tigers, and lived 
happily, and begat many sons and daughters, and from them 
the drowned world was repeopled.^ 

A long story of a great flood is told by the Ahoms of Shan story 
Assam, a branch of the great Shan race of Indo-China, from aq^/J^ 
which their ancestors crossed over the Patkoi mountains by the 
about 1228 A.D. to settle in their present abode.^ The Assam. *^ 
Ahom, or rather Shan, legend runs as follows : — 

Long, long ago there were many worlds beneath the sky, 

* Lieut. -Colonel J. Shakespear, The "^ Census of Jndiay iSgi^ Assam ^ by 

Z«J^<?/ A^/^i C/awj (London, 1912), p. E. A. Gait (Shillong, 1892), p. 280. 
95. Compare Colonel P. R. Gurdon, "The 

Oiigin of the Ahoms," Journal of the 

2 Lieut. -Colonel J. Shakespear, The Royal Asiatic Society for igrj (Lon- 
Lushei Kuki Clatis^ pp. 176 sq, don, 19 13), pp. 2 83- 28 7. 

200 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

How by but in the world of men, the middle world, there was as yet 
neglecting ^^ j.^^^ ^f j^j^gs (the Shans). The earth was like a wild 

sacrifices, mountainous jungle. On a time, bamboos cracked and 
exciSTihc opened, and from them came forth animals. They lived in 
wrath of deep forests, far from the haunts of men. Thereafter, a king 
god.^ ^^^ ^"^ queen from heaven, Hpi-pok and Hpi-mot, came down 
to earth and found their way to Mong-hi on the Cambodia 
River's banks. They were the ancestors of the kingly race 
of Shans. But a time came when they made no sacrificial 
offerings to their gods. Therefore the storm-god, Ling- 
lawn, was angry at their impiety, and he sent down great 
cranes to eat them up. The cranes came, but could not eat 
all the people up, because there were so many of them. 
Then the storm-god sent down great tawny lions, but they 
too found more Shans than they could devour. Next he 
sent down great serpents to swallow the whole impious 
race ; but all the people, from palace to hamlet, from the 
oldest to the youngest, attacked the serpents with their 
swords, and killed them. The storm-god was enraged, he 
snorted threateningly, and the battle was not over. 
How there The old year passed, and from the first to the third 

was a very month of the new year, which was the nineteenth of the 


drought cycle, there was a great drought. In the fourth month 

and the (March, well on ia the dry season) the parched earth cracked 

died. open in wide seams, and many people died of thirst and 

famine. But in whatever country they were, there they 

must stay. There was no water, and they could not pass 

from one country to another. The water dried up in the 

deepest ponds and in the broadest rivers ; where elephants 

had bathed, the people now dug wells for drinking water. 

What had been their watering-places, where many people 

had gathered together like swarms of bees in their search 

for water, now stank with the bodies of the dead. 

How the Then Ling-lawn, the storm-god, called his counsellors — 

siorna-god Kaw-hpa and Hseng-kio, old Lao-hki, Tai-long and Bak- 

the long, and Ya-hseng-hpa, the smooth talker, and many others. 

tTwarn^he ^^ ^"^ court they gathered together. Entering his palace 

sage Lip- they bowed down to worship. Over the head of the god 

the^coming ^*^^ *^" umbrella, widely spread and beautiful as a flower. 

flood. They talked together in the language of men (Shan), and 


they took counsel to destroy the human race. " Let us 
send for Hkang-hkak," said 'they. He was the god of 
streams and of ponds, of crocodiles and of all water animals. 
Majestically came he in, and the storm-god gave him in- 
structions, saying, " Descend with the clouds. Tarry not. 
Straightway report to Lip-long the distinguished lord." 

Soon thereafter the water-god Hkang-hkak appeared How the 
before the sage Lip-long, who had been consulting his a^fj^fi^^on' 
chickeq bones. The omens were evil. When the sage which 10 
came down from his house, the sky was dry as an oven. ^i^ancTa 
He knew that some great calamity was impending. On <^ow from 
meeting the water-god, therefore, the sage was not surprised 
to hear him say that Ling-lawn, the storm- god, was about 
to send a flood to overwhelm the earth. The divine mes- 
senger declared that the people of every land would be 
destroyed, that trees* would be uprooted and houses sub- 
merged or float bottom up on the water. Even great cities 
would be overwhelmed. None could escape. Every living 
thing would be drowned. But against the coming of the 
flood the sage was commanded to make a strong raft, bind- 
ing it firmly together with ropes. A cow, too, he was to 
take with him on the raft, and though all things else should 
be destroyed, yet would he and the cow escape. He might 
not even warn his loving wife and dear children of the coming 

Musing on the water-god's sad instructions, the sage went How the 
homeward with bowed head in deep dejection. He caught ^^^*^j^j 
up his little son in his arms and wept aloud. He longed to , the sage for 
tell his eldest son, but he feared the cruel vengeance of the ^^ ^^^ 
gods. Too sore at heart to eat, he went down in the morn- 
ing hungry and bent to the river's bank. There he toiled 
day by day, gathering the parts of his raft and firmly bind- 
ing them side by side. Even his own wife and children 
jeered at his finished but futile task. From house to house 
the scoffers mocked and railed. *' Quit it, thou fool, thou 
ass," they cried ; " if this come to the ear of the governors, 
they will put thee out of the way ; if it come to the ear of 
the king, he will command thy death." Over the great 
kingdoms then reigned Hkun Chao and Hkun Chu. 

A few days more and the flood came, sweeping on and 

202 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

How the increasing in violence like the onward rush of a forest fire. 

and ^""^ Fowls died in their coops. The crying of children was 

destroyed hushcd in death. The bellowing of bulls and the trumpet- 

thh^ but"^ ^"S of elephants ceased as they sank in the water. There 

the sage was confusion and destruction on every side. All animals 

cow. were swept away, and the race of men perished. There was 

no one left in the valleys or on the mountains. The strong 

raft, bearing the sage Lip-long and the cow, alone floated 

safe upon the water. Drifting on, he saw the dead bodies 

oif his wife and children. He caught and embraced them, 

and let them fall back again into the water. As he cast 

them from him into the deep he wept bitterly ; bitterly 

did he lament that the storm-god had not given him 

leave to warn them of the impending doom. Thus perished 

the kingly race (the Shans). Paying their ferry-hire, their 

spirits passed over to the mansions of heaven. There they 

heard' the reverberations of the celestial drums. They 

came by tens of thousands, and eating cold crab they were 

refreshed. When they reached the spirit-world they looked 

round and said, " Spirit-land is as festive and charming as a 

city of wine and women." 

How the But now the stench of dead bodies, glistering in the 

storm-god g^j^ filled the earth. The storm-god Ling-lawn sent down 

sent down 11111 

the fire-god serpents innumerable to devour them, but they could not, so 
ihe^fiooT "^^"y were the corpses. The angry god would have put 
the serpents to death, but they escaped by fleeing into a 
cave. Then he sent down nine hundred and ninety-nine 
.thousand tigers, but even they could make little headway 
in the consumption of the corpses and retired discomfited. 
More angry than ever, the god hurled showers of thunder- 
bolts at the retreating tigers, but they too fled into caves, 
growling so fiercely that the very sky might have fallen. 
Then the storm-god sent down Hsen-htam and Ilpa-hpai, 
the god of fire. As they descended, riding their horses, 
they viewed all the country round. Alighting on a moun- 
tain they could see but three elevations of land. They sent 
forth a great conflagration, scattering their fire everywhere. 
The fire swept over all the earth, and the smoke ascended 
in clouds to heaven. 

When he saw the fire coming, the sage Lip-long snatched 


up a stick and knocked down the cow at one blow. With How the 
his sword he ripped up her belly and crawled in. There he ^^ ^ 
saw seed of the gourd plant, white as leavened bread. The from the 
fire swept over the dead cow, roaring as it went When it pj^n^uie 
was gone. Lip-long came forth, the only living man beneath seeds of a 
the sun. He asked the great water-god Hkang-hkak what go,^d vine. 
he should do, and the god bade him plant the seed of the 
gourd on a level plot of ground. He did so, and one gourd- 
vine climbed up a mountain and was scorched by the fierce 
rays of the sun. Another vine ran downward, and, soaked 
in the water of the flood, it rotted and died. A third vine, 
springing upwards with clinging tendrils, twined about the 
bushes and trees. News of its rapid growth reached the 
ears of Ling-lawn, the storm-god, and he sent down his 
gardener to care for the vine. The gardener made haste 
and arrived in the early morning at cock-crow. He dug 
about and manured the vine. He trailed up its branches 
with his own hand. When the rainy season came, the vine 
grew by leaps and bounds. It spread far and wide, coiling 
itself like a serpent about the shrubs and trees. It blossomed 
and bore fruit, great gourds such as no man may see again. 

Then Ling-lawn, the rain-god, sent down Sao-pang, the How from 
god of the clear sky, to prepare the earth for human habita- ^^^ gourds 
tion. From him went forth waves of heat to dry up what mauicind, 
remained of the flood. When the earth was dry once more ^f^sts, 
and fit for habitation, the storm-god threw thunderbolts to plants were 
break the gourds in pieces. A bolt struck and broke open restored to 
a gourd. The people within the gourd cried out, " What is 
this? a bolt from a clear sky; let us go forth to till the 
land." Stooping low, they came forth. Again, another 
bolt struck another gourd, breaking it open, and the Shans 
therein said, " What shall we do, lord?" He replied, " You 
shall come forth to rule many lands." Thus the thunder- 
bolts struck gourd after gourd, and from them came rivers 
of water, animals, both tame and wild, domestic fowls and 
birds of the air, and every useful plant. So was the earth 
filled again with life in all its varied forms.^ 

According to another version of the Shan legend, the Another 
persons who survived the deluge were seven men and seven version of 

^ ^ the Shau 

* W. \V. Cochrane, The Shans y i. (Rangoon, 1915) pp> 121 -125. legend. 

204 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

women, who were more righteous than their neighbours and 

escaped death by crawling into the dry shell of a gigantic 

gourd, which floated on the face of the waters. On emerging 

from this ark of safety, they were fruitful and replenished the 

drowned earth.^ 

Tradition The secluded Alpine valley of Cashmeer, which by its 

that the delightful cHmate and beautiful scenery, at once luxuriant 

Cashmeer aCnd sublime, has earned for itself the title of the Earthly 

was once Paradise of India, is almost completely surrounded by the 

occupied ' * ' ^ 

by a great lofty mountaiu-ranges of the Himalayas, their sides belted 
that the"* with magnificent forests, above which extend rich Alpine 
water was pastures close up to the limit of eternal snow. A native 
awavbythe tradition, recorded by the early chroniclers of Cashmeer, 
inierposi- relates that the whole of the valley was once occupied by a 
\5?shnu. great lake. One of the oldest of these annals, called the 
Nilamata Punxna, claims to give the sacred legends regarding 
the origin of the country, together with the special ordin- 
ances which Nila, the lord of the Cashmeerian Nagas, laid 
down for the regulation of its religious worship and cere- 
monies. In this chronicle, which may date from the sixth 
or seventh century of our era, we read how at the begin- 
ning of the present Kalpa^ or great era of the world, the 
valley was filled by a lake called Satlsaras, that is, the Lake 
of Satl. Now in the period of the seventh Manu, a certain 
demon named Jalodbhava or " water-born," resided in the 
lake and caused great distress to all neighbouring countries 
by the devastations which he spread far and wide. But it 
so happened that the wise Kasyapa, the father of all Nagas, 
went on pilgrimage to the holy places of northern India, and 
there he learned of the ravages of the demon from his son 
Nila, the king of the Cashmeerian Nagas. The sage pro- 
mised to punish the evil-doer, and accordingly repaired to 
the seat of the great god Brahman to implore his help. His 
prayer was granted. At Brahman's command, the whole 
host of gods set off for the lake and took up their posts on 
the lofty peaks of the Naubandhana Mountain, overlooking 
the lake ; that is, on the very same mountain on which, 
according to the Mahabharata^ Manu anchored his ship after 
the great flood. But it was vain to challenge the demon to 

* W. W. Cochrane, The Shans^ i. 120. 



single combat ; for in his own element he was invincible, and 
he was too cunning to quit it and come forth. In this 
dilemma the god Vishnu called upon his brother Balabhadra 
to drain the lake. His brother did so by piercing the moun- 
tains with his weapon, the ploughshare ; the water drained 
away, and in the dry bed of the lake the demon, now ex- 
posed to the assaults of his enemies, was attacked by Vishnu, 
and after a fierce combat was slain by the deity with his 
war- disc. After that King Kasyapa settled the land of 
Cashmeer, which had thus been born of the waters. The 
gods also took up their abode in it, and the various goddesses 
adorned the country in the shape of rivers.^ And a land of 
rivers and lakes it has been from that day to this. The 
same legend is told in a briefer form by the Cashmeerian 
chronicler Kalhana, who wrote in the middle of the twelfth 
century of our era, and whose work displays an extremely 
accurate knowledge both of the topography of the valley and 
of the popular legends still current among the natives.* And 
the same story is told, in nearly the same form, by the 
Mohammedan writers Beddia and Dien : ^ it is alluded to, 
in a Buddhistic setting, by the famous Chinese pilgrim of 
the sixth century, Hiuen Tsiang, who lived as an honoured 
guest for two full years in the happy valley ; * and it sur- 
vives to this day in popular tradition.^ 

Now there are physical facts which seem at first sight to iTiere is 
support the belief that in comparatively late geological times f^ence 
the valley of Cashmeer was wholly or in great part occupied that the 
by a vast lake ; for undoubted lacustrine deposits are to be c^hmecr 
seen on some of the tablelands of the valley.^ Moreover, was once 
" the aspect of the province confirms the truth of the legend, by^a^e. 
the subsidence of the waters being distinctly defined by 
horizontal lines on the face of the mountains : it is also not 

1 (Sir) M. A. Stein, KalhaftcCs Raja- 
tarahg'mly a CkronicU of the Kings of 
Kaimiry translated with an Introduc- 
tiony Commentary and Appendices 
(Westminster, 1900), ii. 388 sq. 
Compare M. Winternitz, Die Flutsagen 
dts Aitertkums und der Natunwlker^ 
p. 307 n.^. As to the Ni lama/a 
Pur&naj see M. A. Stein, op, cit. ii. 
376 sqq, 

' As to the legend see M. A. 

Stein, op. cit. vol. i. p. 5 (Book i. §§ 
25-27 of the RajcUarahgit}i) ; as to 
Kalhana and his chronicle, see id. vol. 
i. Introduction, pp. 6 sqq.^ vol. ii. pp. 
366 sqq. 

3 C. Freiherr von IlUgel, Kaschmir 
und das Reich der Sieky ii. (Stuttgart, 
1840) pp. 16 sq. 

* M. A. Stein, op. cit. ii. 355, 389. 

* M. A. Stein, op. cit. ii. 389. 

* M. A. Stein, ot. cit. ii. 389 sq. 

2o6 THE GRRA T FLOOD part i 

at all unlikely to have been the scene of some great con- 
vulsion of nature, as indications of volcanic action are not 
unfrequent : hot springs are numerous : at particular seasons 
the ground in various places is sensibly hotter than the 
atmosphere, and earthquakes are of common occurrence." ^ 
Arc we then to suppose that a tradition of the occupation of 
the Vale of Cashmeer by a great lake has survived among 
the inhabitants from late geological times to the present 
day ? It is true that in Cashmeer the popular local, tradi- 
tions appear to be peculiarly tenacious of life and to outlive 
the written traditions of the learned. From the experience 
gained on his antiquarian tours, Sir Marc Aurel Stein is 
convinced that, when collected with caution and critically 
sifted, these local legends may safely be accepted as supple- 
ments to the topographical information of our written 
records ; and their persistence he attributes in large measure 
to the secluded position of the valley and to the naturally 
conservative habits of life and thought, which mountain 
barriers and consequent isolation tend everywhere to foster 
in Alpine countries. Certainly for ages Cashmeer remained, 
like Tibet, a hermit land, little known to the outer world 
and jealously exclusive of strangers. The army of Alex- 
ander, on its victorious march through India, passed almost 
within sight of the gates of Cashmeer ; yet the great captain, 
thirsting for new worlds to conquer, seems to have heard no 
whisper of the earthly paradise that lay beyond these snow- 
capped mountains.^ 
Yet the Yet we may reasonably doubt whether any memory of 

story of the 2^j^ cvcut SO remote as the comparative desiccation of the 
existence of valley of Cashmeer should survive in human tradition even 

the lake 

'^ "J^w * ^' ^^oo'^cfoft and G. Trebcck, take always much care to keep w strong 

P. ^* Travels in the IlinialayaH Proz'inces of hold upon the entrances and roads 

from the Hindustan ami the Punjab ; in Ixidakh leading into it. In consequence it is 

natural ^"^ Kashmir; in Peshazvar, Kabtil^ very difficult to have any commerce 

features Kunditz^ and Bokhara (hondon, 1841), with them. In former times they used 

of the "• 109- t<> allow one or two foreigners to enter 

country '^ M. A. Stein, o/>. cit. ii. 351, 385. their country, particularly Jews, but at 

than a As to the cxclusivencss of the Cash- present they do not allow any Hindu 

genuine mcerians in the Middle Ages, the great whom they do not know personally to 

tradition. Arab geograi)her Albiruni, in his work enter, much less other people." See 

on India, writes as follows :'* They are All)iruni's /w<//tf, English Edition, by 

particularly anxious about the natural Dr. Edward C. Sachau (London, ibS8), 

strength of their country, and therefore i. 206. 


under circumstances so favourable to its preservation. It is 
far more likely that the legend owes its origin to a natural 
inference, based partly on observation of me general features • 
of the country, partly on a knowledge of the drainage opera- 
tions, which within the memory of man have extended the 
area of arable land and reduced the area covered by lakes 
and marshes. " To any one, however ignorant of geology, 
but acquainted with the latteV fact," says Sir Marc Aurel 
Stein, " the picture of a vast lake originally covering the 
whole valley might naturally suggest itself. It would be 
enough for him to stand on a hillside somewhere near the 
Volur, to look down on the great lake and the adjoining 
marshes, and to glance then beyond towards that narrow 
gorge of Baramula where the mountains scarcely seem to 
leave an opening. It is necessary to bear in mind the 
singular flights of Hindu imagination as displayed in the 
Purdffas^ Mdhdttnyas and similar texts. Those acquainted 
with them will, I think, be ready to allow that the fact of 
that remarkable gorge being the single exit for the drainage 
of the country might alone even have sufficed as a starting- 
point for the legend." * 

Thus we may fairly conclude that, like the Samothracian Suchstones 
legend of a great flood caused by the bursting of the Black '^'sh no 
Sea and its consequent union with the Mediterranean, the of human 
Cashmeer legend furnishes no evidence of human tradition \^^^^*<>" 

^ dating from 

stretching back into the mists of geological time, but is remote 
simply the shrewd guess of intelligent observers, who used ^^°^**^^ 
their wits to supplement the evidence of their eyes. How- 
ever, it is to be observed that the Cashmeer story hardly 
falls under the head of flood legends, since it recounts the 
desiccation rather than the inundation of a mountain basin. 
No doubt if the event really happened as it is said to have 
done, it must have caused a tremendous flood in the low- 
lands beyond the valley ; but as the disastrous consequences 
can only have concerned other people, the Cashmeerians 
naturally say nothing about it. 

* M. A. Stein, ^/. t//. ii. 390, 




Stories of 
a great 
flood told 
by the 
Karens and 
or Ching- 
paws of 

How the 
race was 
after the 
caused by 
the great 

§ 9. Stori^L of a Great Flood in Eastern Asia 

According to wie Karens of Burma the earth was of old 
deluged with water, and two brothers saved themselves from 
the flood on a raft. The waters rose till they reached to 
heaven, when the younger brother saw a mango-tree hanging 
down from the celestial vault. With great presence of mind 
he clambered up it and ate of the fruit, but the flood, suddenly 
subsiding, left him suspended in the tree. Here the narrative 
breaks off* abruptly, and we are left to conjecture how he 
extricated himself from his perilous position.^ The Chingpaws 
or Singphos of Upper Burma, like their brethren in Assam, 
have a tradition of a great flood. They say that when the 
deluge came, a man Pawpaw Nan-chaung and his sister 
Chang-hko saved themselves in a large boat. They had 
with them nine cocks and nine needles. After some days 
of rain and storm they threw overboard one cock and one 
needle to see whether the waters were falling. But the cock 
did not crow and the needle was not heard to strike bottom. 
They did the same thing day after day, but with no better 
result, till at last on the ninth day the last cock crew and 
the last needle was heard to strike on a rock. Soon after 
the brother and sister were able to leave their boat, and they 
wandered about till they came to a cave inhabited by two 
elves or fairies {nats\ a male and a female. The elves bade 
them stay and make themselves useful in clearing the jungle, 
tilling the ground, hewing wood, and drawing water. The 
brother and sister did so, and soon after the sister gave birth 
to a child. While the parents were away at work, the old 
elfin woman, who was a witch, used to mind the baby ; and 
whenever the infant squalled, the horrid wretch would threaten, 
if it did not stop bawling, to make mince meat of it at a place 
where nine roads met The poor child did not understand 
the dreadful threat and persisted in giving tongue, till one 
day the old witch in a fury snatched it up, hurried it to the 
meeting-place of nine roads, and there hewed it in pieces, 
and sprinkled the blood and strewed the bits all over the 

» Rev. E. B. Cross, "On the 
Karens," Journal of the Afnerican 
Oriental Society^ vol. iv. no. 2 (1854), 

p. 304, quoting Mr. Mason (the Rev. 
1'. Mason, D.D.). 



roads and the country round about But some of the titbits 
she carried back to her cave and made into a savoury curry. 
Moreover, she put a block of wood into the baby's empty 
cradle. And when the mother came back from her work in 
the evening and asked for her child, the witch said, " It is 
asleep. Eat your rice." So the mother ate the rice and 
curry, and then went to the cradle, but in it she found 
nothing but a block of wood. When she asked the witch 
where the child was, the witch replied tartly, " You have eaten 
it" The poor mother fled from the house, and at the crpss- 
roads she wailed aloud and cried to the Great Spirit to give 
her back her child or avenge its death. The Great Spirit 
appeared to her and said, " I cannot piece your baby together 
again, but instead I will make you the mother of all nations 
of men." And then from one road there sprang up the Shans, 
from another the Chinese, from others the Burmese, and the 
Bengalees, and all the races of mankind ; and the bereaved 
mother claimed them all as her children, because they all 
sprang from the scattered fragments of her murdered babe.^ 

The Bahnars, a primitive tribe of Cochin China, tell how Story of a 
once on a time the kite quarrelled with the crab, and pecked ^f^ by^ 
the crab's skull so hard that he made a hole in it, which may Bahnars of 
be seen down to this very day. To avenge this injury to cwna? 
his skull, the crab caused the sea and the rivers to swell till 
tSie waters reached the sky, and all living beings perished 
except two, a brother and a sister, who were saved in a huge 
chest. They took with them into the chest a pair of every 
sort of aniifial, shut the lid tight, and floated on the waters 
for seven days and seven nights. Then the brother heard a 
cock crowing outside, for the bird had been sent by the spirits 
to let our ancestors know that the flood had abated, and that 
they could come forth from the chest So the brother let 
all the birds fly away, then he let loose the animals, and 

1 (Sir) J. George Scott and J. P. 
Hardiman, Gazetteer of Upper Burma 
and the Shan States (Rangoon, 1900- 
190 1), Part i. vol. i. pp. 417 sq. For 
a somewhat fuller version of the legend 
see Ch. Gilhodes, " Mythologie et Re- 
ligion des Katchins (Birmanie)," An- 
thropoid iii. (1908) pp. 683-686. The 
story has also been briefly recorded by 


Major C. R. Macgregor, who travelled 
through the country of the Singphos. 
See his article, ** Journey of the Ex- 
pedition under Colonel Woodthorpe, 
R. E., from Upper Assam to the Ira- 
wadi and return over the Patkoi 
Range," Proceedings of the Royal Geo- 
graphical Society^ New Series, ix. 
(1887) p. 23. 

2 lo THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

last of all he and his sister walked out on the dry land. 
They did not know how they were to live, for they had 
eaten up all the rice that was stored in the chest. However, 
a black ant brought them two grains of rice : the brother 
planted them, and next morning the plain was covered with 
a rich crop. So the brother and sister were saved.^ 

A legend of a deluge has been recorded by a French 
missionary among the Bannavs, one of the savage tribes 
which inhabit the mountains and tablelands between Cochin 
China, Laos, and Cambodia. " If you ask them respecting 
the origin of mankind, all they tell you is, that the father of 
the human race was saved from an immense inundation by 
means of a large chest in which he shut himself up ; but of 
the origin or creator of this father they know nothing. Their 
traditions do not reach beyond the Deluge ; but they will tell 
you that in the beginning one grain of rice sufficed to fill a 
saucepan and furnish a repast for a whole family. This is 
a souvenir of the first age of the world, that fugitive period 
of innocence and happiness which poets have called the 
golden age." * The tradition is probably only an abridged 
form of the deluge legend which, as we have just seen, is 
recorded by another French missionary among the Bahnars, 
who may be supposed to be the same with the Bannavs. 
As to the racial affinity of the tribe, the missionary writes : 
" To what race do the Bannavs belong ? That is the 
first question I asked myself on arriving here, and I must 
confess that I cannot yet answer it ; all I can say is, 
that in all points they differ from the Anmmites and 
Chinese ; neither do they resemble the Laotians or Cam- 
bodians, but appear to have a common origin with the C^dans, 
Halangs, Reungao, and GiaraTe, their neighbours. Their 
countenances, costumes, and belief are nearly the same ; and 
the language, although it differs in each tribe, has yet many 
words common to all ; the construction, moreover, is perfectly 

* Guerlach, " Moeurs et supersti- Gesellschaft fiir Erdkunde zu Berlin^ 

tions des sauvages Ba-hnars," Les i. {1866) p. 42. 

Afissions Cathoh'gueSy xix. (Lyons, ^ Henri Mouhot, Travels in the Cen- 

1887) p. 479. Compare Combes in tral Paris of Indo-China {Siafn)^ Cam- 

Annales de la Propagation de la Poiy bodia, and Laos (London, 1864), ii. 28 

xxvii. (1855) pp. 432 sq. ; A. Bastian, sq.^ quoting the letter of a French mis- 

** Beitriige zur Kenntniss dcr Gebirgs- sionary, M. Comte, who lived among 

stamme in Kambodia," Zeitschrift der tliese savages for several years. 


identical. I have not visited the various tribes of the 
south, but from all I have heard I conclude that these 
observations apply to them also, and that all the savages 
inhabiting the vast country lying between Cochin China, Laos, 
and Cambodia, belong to the same great branch of the 
human family."^ 

The Benua-Jakun, a primitive aboriginal tribe of the story of a 
Malay Peninsula, in the State of Johor, say that the ground ^5^^^ 
on which we stand is not solid, but is merely a skin covering Benua- 
an abyss of water. In ancient times Pirman, that is the {^"r.^n 
deity, broke up this skin, so that the world was drowned the Malay 
and destroyed by a great flood. However, Pirman had ^^*^ 
created a man and a woman and put them in a ship of 
pulai wood, which was completely covered over and had no 
opening. In this ship the pair floated and tossed about for 
a time, till at last the vessel came to rest, and the man and 
woman, nibbling their way through its side, emerged on dry 
ground and beheld this our world stretching away on all 
sides to the horizon. At first all was very dark, for there 
was neither morning nor evening, because the sun had not 
yet been created. When it grew light, they saw seven small 
shrubs of rhododendron and seven clumps of the grass called 
sambau. They said one to another, " Alas, in what a sad 
plight are we, without either children or grandchildren ! " 
But some time afterwards the woman conceived iif the calves 
of her legs, and from her right calf came forth a male, and 
from her left calf came forth a female. That is why the 
offspring of the same womb may not marry. All mankind 
are the descendants of the two children of the first pair.^ 

In Kelantan, a district of the Malay Peninsula, they say Another 
that one day a feast was made for a circumcision, and all story of a 

/. , . , A- 1 • 1 gve^\^ flood 

manner of beasts were pitted to fight against one another, told in the 
There were fights between elephants, and fights between p^.^^ 
buffaloes, and fights between bullocks, and fights between 
goats ; and at last there were fights between dogs and cats. 
And when the fights took place between dogs and cats, 

' M. Comte (missionary), quoted by o{]o\iOTe" Journal oj the Indian A riht- 

H. Mouhot, Travels in the Central /^r/rt^'o, i. (1847) p. 278; W. W. Skeat 

Parts of IndO'China (Siam)^ Cambodidy and C. O. Blagden, Pagan Races of 

ind LaoSt ii. 25. the Malay Peninsula {hoi\<\ou^ 1906), 

* J. R. Logan, "The Orang Binua ii. 355-357. 





Lolos, an 
race of 

a great flood came down from the mountains, and over- 
whelmed the people that dwelt in the plains. And they 
were all drowned in that flood, save only some two or three 
menials who had been sent up into the hills to gather fire- 
wood. Then the sun, moon, and stars were extinguished, 
and there was a great darkness. And when light returned, 
there was no land but a great sea, and all the abodes of men 
had been overwhelmed.^ 

The legend of a great flood plays an important part in 
the traditionary lore of the Lolos, an aboriginal race who 
occupy the almost impregnable mountain fastnesses of 
Yunnan and other provinces of South- Western China, where 
they have succeeded in maintaining their independence 
against the encroachments of the Chinese. A robust and 
warlike people, they not only make raids into Chinese terri- 
tory for the purpose of levying blackmail and carrying off 
prisoners, whom they hold to ransom, but they actually 
maintain a large population of slaves entirely composed of 
Chinese captives. Yet in spite of their hostility to the 
Chinese, with whom they never intermarry, they appear to 
belong to the same race ; at least they speak a monosyllabic 
language of extreme simplicity, which belongs to the Tibeto- 
Burman branch of the Tibeto-Chinese family. They are 
so far from being savages that they have even invented 
a mode of writing, pictographic in origin, in which they 
have recorded their legends, songs, genealogies, and religious 
ritual. Their manuscripts, copied and recopied, have been 
handed down from generation to generation.^ They bear 
family surnames, which are said always to signify a plant or 
an animal ; the members of each family believe that they 
are descended from the species of animal or plant whose 
name they bear, and they will neither eat nor even touch it 
These facts suggest the existence of totemism among the 

' Walter Skeat, Fables and Folk- 
iaUs from an Eastern Forest (Cam- 
bridge, 1 90 1), pp. 62 sq. 

2 E. C. Baber, "China, in some of 
its Physical and Social Aspects,'* Pro- 
ceedings of the Royal Geographical 
Society^ N.s., v. (1883) p. 445 ; A. 
Henry, **The Lolos and other Tribes 
of Western China," Journal of tJie 

Anthropological Institute^ xxxiii. (1 903) 
pp. 96, 98 sqq. Their script is 
arranged in vertical columns, which 
are read from left to right, instead of, 
as in Chinese, from right to left. As 
to the affinity of the Lolo language 
with Chinese, see E. A. Gait in Census 
of India, 'Q^'i vol. i. Part i. (Cal- 
cutta, 191 3) pp. 329 sq. 


lolos. At the same time the Lolos believe in patriarchs Their 
^who now live in the sky, but who formerly dwelt on earth, long-iived 
^here they attained to the great ages of six hundred and patriarchs, 
sixty and even nine hundred and ninety years, thereby ofd^uhf" 
surpassing Methusaleh himself in longevity. Each family, ^"^ ^^ ^ 
embracing the persons united by a common surname, pays 
its devotions to a particular patriarch. The most famous of 
these legendary personages is a certain Tse-gu-dzih, who 
enjoys many of the attributes of divinity. He it was who 
brought death into the world by opening the fatal box which 
contained the seeds of mortality ; and he too it was who 
caused the deluge. The catastrophe happened thus. Men 
were wicked, and Tse-gu-dzih sent down a messenger to 
them on earth, asking for some flesh and blood from a mortal. 
No one would give them except only one man, Du-mu by 
name. So Tse - gu - dzih in wrath locked the rain - gates, 
and the waters mounted to the sky. But Du-mu, who 
complied with the divine injunction, was saved, together with 
his four sons, in a log hollowed out of a Pieris tree ; and 
with them in the log were likewise saved otters, wild ducks 
and lampreys. From his four sons are descended the 
civilized peoples who can write, such as the Chinese and the 
Lolos. But the ignorant races of the world are the descend- 
ants of the wooden figures whom Du-mu constructed after 
the deluge in order to repeople the drowned earth. To this 
day the ancestral tablets which the Lolos worship on set days 
of the year and on all the important occasions of life, are 
made out of the same sort of tree as that in which their great 
forefather found safety from the waters of the deluge ; and 
nearly all the Lolo legends begin with some reference to him 
or to the great flood. In considering the origin of this flood 
legend it should be mentioned that the Lolos generally keep a 
Sabbath of rest every sixth day, when ploughing is forbidden, 
and in some places women are not allowed to sew or wash 
clothes. Taken together with this custom, the Lolo tradi- These Lolo 
tions of the patriarchs and of the flood appear to betray traditions 

* IT- y seem to 

Christian influence ; and Mr. A. Henry may well be right in betray 
referring them all to the teaching of Nestorian missionaries ; ,^3"^^^ 
for Nestorian churches existed in Yunnan in the thirteenth 
century when Marco Polo travelled in the country, and the 





of a great 


seems to 
contain the 
cence of 
a local 
caused by 
the Yellow 

Nestorian Alopen is said to have arrived in China as early 
as 635 A.D.^ 

The Chinese have a tradition of a great flood which 
happened in the reign of the emperor Yao, who reigned in 
the twenty-fourth century before our era. In his distress the 
emperor addressed his prime minister, saying, " Ho ! Pre- 
sident of the Four Mountains, destructive in their overflow 
are the waters of the inundation. In their vast extent they 
embrace the hills and overtop the great heights, threatening 
the heavens with their floods, so that the lower people groan 
and murmur ! Is there a capable man to whom I can assign 
the correction of this calamity ? " All the court replied to 
the emperor, saying, " Is there not Khwan ? " But the 
emperor answered, " Alas ! how perverse is he I He is dis- 
obedient to orders, and tries to injure his peers." The prime 
minister rejoined, " Well, but try whether he can accomplish 
the work." So the emperor employed Khwan, and said to 
him, " Go, and be reverent ! " Thus put on his mettle 
Khwan worked assiduously for nine years, but he laboured 
in vain, for at the end of the nine years the work was still 
unaccomplished, the floods were still out. Yet did his 
son Yu afterwards cope successfully with the inundation, 
accomplishing all that he had undertaken and showing 
his superiority to other men.^ This Chinese tradition has 
been by some people forcibly identified with the Biblical 
account of the Noachian deluge, but in truth it hardly belongs 
to the clas? of diluvial legends at all, since it obviously 
records merely a local, though widespread, inundation, not a 

* A. Henry, ** The Lolos and other 
Tril)es of Western China," Journal of 
the Anthropological hnitilutCy xxxiii. 
(1903) pp. 103, 105 sq. As to the 
spread of Nestorian Christianity among 
the Tartars on the borders of China, 
see J. L. Mosheim, EcclciiastUal His- 
tory (London, 18 19), ii. 372 sgq. 
According to that historian (pp. 373 
sq.) it is certain that the monarchs of 
the Karit nation, "which makes a 
large part of the empire of the Mogul, 
and is by some denominated a province 
of the Turks, and by others a tribe of 
Tartars," embraced Christianity in the 
tenth century, and that a considerable 

part of Tartary lived under the spiritual 
jurisdiction of bishops who were sent 
thither by the Nestorian pontiff. . See 
further Gibbon, Decline and Fall 0/ the 
Roman Empire^ ch. xlvii. (vol. vi. pp. 
68 j^^., London, 1838), who says (p. 70) 
that ''under the reign of the caliphs, 
the Nestorian church was diffused from 
China to Jerusalem and Cyprus ; and 
tlieir numbers, with those of the 
Tacol»itcs, were computed to surpass 
the Greek and Latin communions." 

2 The Sacred Boohs of China^ trans- 
lated by James Legt^e, Part i. (Oxford, 
1879) pp. 34 sq.^ 49 ( The Sacred Books 
0/ the East^ vol. iii.). 



universal cataclysm in which the greater part of mankind 
perished. The event it describes may well have been a- real 
flood caused by the Yellow River, a great and very rapid 
stream, partially enclosed by artificial and ill -constructed 
banks and dykes, which in modern times have often burst 
and allowed the water to spread devastation over the 
surrounding country. Hence the river is a source of per- 
petual anxiety and expense to the Chinese Government ; and 
it is the opinion of a modern observer that a repetition of 
the great flood of Yao's time might still occur and lay the 
most fertile and populous plains of China under water.^ 

That the Chinese were totally unacquainted with tradi- That the 
tions of a universal deluge may be affirmed on the high have^^ 
authority of a Chinese emperor. In the ninth century of traditions 
our era an Arab traveller, named Ibn-Wahab, of Koraishite vereaS™ 
origin, of the family of Habbar Ben el-Aswad, made his deluge was 
way by sea from Bassorah to India and thence to China, affirmt^^by 
Arrived there, he sought an interview with the Chinese * Chinese 
emperor, alleging as part of his credentials that he was of inadiscus- 
the family of the Prophet Mohammed. The emperor caused sionwith 
inquiries to be instituted on this point, and being satisfied as traveller. 
to the truth of the allegation, he admitted the traveller to 
his presence and held a long conversation with him through 
an interpreter. The Arab has recorded at some length 
what passed between him and his august interlocutor. 
Amongst other things the emperor asked him, through the 
interpreter, whether he could recognize his Lord, that is to 
say, the Prophet Mohammed, if he should see him. " How 
can I see him ? " said the Arab, " he is with God." " I do 
not mean it literally," replied the emperor, " but in a repre- 
sentation." The Arab answered that he could. The 
emperor then ordered a box to be brought ; and when it 
was before him, he took a casket out of it, and said to the 
interpreter, " Show him his Lord." The Arab looked. 
" And I saw," he tells us, " in the casket, the images of the 
prophets. My lips muttered benedictions upon them. The 
king did not know that I knew them ; hence, he said to 

' John Francis Davis, The Chinese hoy. Twelfth Edition (London, 1S75) 
(London, 1845-1851), i. 137, 140 j^.; i. 10 sq. ; R. Andrea, Die Flutsagen 
Sir Charles Lyell, Principles of Geo- pp. 35-38. 




ale story 
of a great 

the interpreter, * Ask him why he moves his lips.' He in- 
terrogated me, and I answered him that I was pronouncing 
benedictions upon the prophets. He asked me further how 
I recognized them, and I told him that I knew them by 
the attributes with which they were represented. * This,' 
I exclaimed, * is Niih in the ark ; he has been saved with 
those who were with him whilst God submerged the whole 
earth, and all that was on it' He smiled and said, * It is 
Niih, as thou saycst, but it is not true that the whole earth 
was inundated. The flood occupied only a part of the 
globe, and did not reach our country. Your traditions are 
correct, as far as that part of the earth is concerned which 
you inhabit ; but we, the inhabitants of China, of India, of 
es-Sind, and other nations, do not agree with your account ; 
nor have our forefathers left us a tradition agreeing with 
yours on this head. As to thy belief that the whole earth 
was covered with water, I must remark that this would be 
so remarkable an event that the terror would keep up its 
recollection, and all the nations would have handed it down 
to their posterity.* I endeavoured to answer him, and to 
bring forth arguments against his assertion in defence of my 
statement." ^ The Arab has not reported the arguments 
with which he maintained the truth of the Noachian 


tradition, but we may surmise that they did not succeed in 
shaking the incredulity of the sceptical emperor. 

The Kamchadales have a tradition of a great flood 
which covered the whole land in the early days of the world. 
A remnant of the people saved themselves on large rafts 
made of tree-trunks bound together ; on these they loaded 
their property and provisions, and on these they drifted 

* El-Mas'iidrs Historical Encyclo- 
p<tdia, etttitUd * * Meadows oj Gold and 
Mines of Gems^''' translated from the 
Arabic by Alois Sprenger, i. (London, 
1 841) pp. 335 sg. Compare Ancient 
Accounts of India and China by Two 
Mohammedan 7rcn;ellers, who went to 
those parts in the ninth century ^ trans- 
lated from the Arabic by Eusebius 
Renaiidoi (London, 1733), PP* 54 ^^-J 
John Pinkerton, General Collection of 
Voyages and Travels (London, 1808- 
1814), vii. 204 sq. Mohammed 

acknowledged Noah to be a great 
prophet, but the references in the 
Koran to the deluge and the ark, 
though frequent enough, are all com- 
paratively slight and cursor}'. See 
The Koran^ chapters vii., x., xi., xxiii., 
XX vi., xxix,, liv., Ixxi. ; The Quf^dn^ 
translated by E. H. Palmer (Oxford, 
1880), Part i. pp. 144 sq.y 200 sq.^ 
207-210, Part ii. pp. 66, 94, 119, 255 
J^., 302-304 ( The Sacred Books of the 
East, vols. vi. and ix.). 


about, dropping stones tied to straps instead of anchors in 
order to prevent the flood from sweeping them away out to 
sea. When at last the water of the deluge sank, it left the 
people and their rafts stranded high and dry on the tops of 
the mountains.^ 

In a Chinese Encyclopaedia there occurs the following Mongolian 
passage: ^^ Eastern Tartary. — In travelling from the shore ^^^^^ 
of the Eastern Sea toward Che-lu, neither brooks nor ponds 
are met with in the country, although it is intersected by 
mountains and valleys. Nevertheless there are found in the 
sand very far away from the sea, oyster-shells and the shields 
of crabs. The tradition of the Mongols who inhabit the 
country is, that it has been said from time immemorial that 
in remote antiquity the waters of the deluge flooded the 
district, and when they retired, the places where they had 
been made their appearance covered with sand."* 

§ 10. Stories of a Great Flood in the Indian Archipelago 

The Battas or Bataks of Sumatra say that in the Story of a 
beginning of time the earth rested on the head, or rather on ^5?^ 
the three horns, of Naga Padoha, a monster who is described Battas or 
as a serpent with the horns of a cow, but who appears to Sumatra. 
have been also provided with hands and feet When Naga 
Padoha grew weary of supporting the earth on his horns, he 
shook his head, and the earth sank into the water. There- 
upon the high god Batara Guru set about recovering it 
from the watery abyss. For that purpose he sent down his 
daughter Puti-orla-bulan ; indeed she requested to be de- 
spatched on this beneficent mission. So down she came, 
riding on a white owl and accompanied by a dog. But she 
found all the nether world so covered with water that there 
was no ground for the soles of her feet to rest upon. In 
this emergency her divine father Batara Guru came to the 
rescue of his child, and let Mount Bakarra fall from heaven 
to be an abode for her. It may be seen in the land of the 

* G. W. Steller, Beschreibung von Edition (London, 1878), pp. 328 sq.^ 

dem Lande Kamtschatka (Frankfort referring to Mimoires concemattt Us 

and Leipsic, 1774), p. 273. Chifuns^ vol. iv. p. 481, and to G. 

' (Sir) E. B. Tylor, Researches into Klemm, Allgemeitu CuHur-Gesckichte^ 

the Early History of Mankind^ Third vi. 467. 

2i8 THE GREAT FLOOD part i 

Battas to this day, and from it gradually sprang all the rest 
of the habitable earth. Batara Guru's daughter had after- 
wards three sons and three daughters, from whom the whole 
of mankind are descended, but who the father of them all 
may have been is not revealed by the legend. The restored 
earth was again supported on the horns of Naga Padoha ; 
and from that time forward there has been a constant 
struggle between him and Batara Guru, the monster always 
trying to rid himself of his burden, and the deity always 
endeavouring to prevent him from so doing. Hence come 
the frequent earthquakes, which shake the world in general 
and the island of Sumatra in particular. At last, when the 
monster proyed obstreperous, Batara Guru sent his son 
Layang-layang mandi (which mean^ the diving swallow ^) 
to tie Naga Padoha*s hands and feet. • But even when he 
was thus fettered, the monster continued to shake his head, 
so that earthquakes have not ceased to happen. And he 
will go on shaking himself till he snaps his fetters. Then 
the earth will again sink into the sea, and the sun will 
approach to within an ell of this our world. The men of 
that time will, according to their merit, either be transported 
to heaven or cast into the flaming cauldron in which Batara 
Guru torments the wicked until they have expiated their 
sins. At the destruction of the world, the fire of the 
cauldron will join with the fire of the sun to consume the 
material universe.^ 
Another A less grandiose version of the Batta belief, which in the 

th^Ba °^ preceding form unites the reminiscence of a universal flood 
story. with the prophecy of a future destruction of the earth by 

water and fire, is recorded by a modern traveller, who visited 
the Battas in their mountain home. According to him, the 
people say that, when the earth grew old and dirty, the 
Creator, whom they call Debata, sent a great flood to destroy 
every living thing. The last human pair had taken refuge 
on the top of the highest mountain, and the waters of the 
• deluge had already reached to their knees, when the Lord of 
All repented of his resolution to make an end of mankind. 
So he took a clod of earth, kneaded it into shape, tied it to 

* In German, die Taucherschwalbe. Kawi - Sprcuhe auf der Insel Java 

* W. von Humboldt, Uber die (Berlin, 1836-1839), i. 239-241. 


a thread, and laid it on the rising flood, and the last pair 
stepped on' it and were saved. As the descendants of the 
couple nnultiplied, the clod increased in size till it became the 
earth which we all inhabit at this day.^ 

The natives of Nias, an island to the west of Sumatra, story of a 
say that in days of old there was a strife between the moun- great flood 
tains of their country as to which of them was the highest, natives of 
The strife vexed their great ancestor Balugu Luomewona, ^*^- 
and in his vexation he went to the window and said, " Ye 
mountains, I will cover you all ! " So he took a golden 
comb and threw it into the sea, and it became a huge crab, 
which stopped up the sluices whereby the waters of the sea 
usually run away. The consequences of the stoppage were 
disastrous. The ocean rose higher and higher till only the 
tops of two or three mountains in Nias still stood above the 
heaving billows. All the people who with their cattle had 
escaped to these mountains were saved, and all the rest were 
drowned. That is how the great ancestor of the islanders 
settled the strife between the mountains ; and the strife is 
proverbial among his descendants to the present day.^ 

The natives of Engano, another island to the west of story of a 
Sumatra, have also their story of a great flood. Once on a ^j^^i,^^ 
time, they say, the tide rose so high that it overflowed the natives of 
island and every living being was drowned, except one ^^an^* 
woman. She owed her preservation to the fortunate circum- 
stance that, as she drifted along on the tide, her hair caught 
in a thorny tree, to which she was thus enabled to cling. 
When the flood sank, she came down from the tree, and saw 
with sorrow that she was left all alone in the world. Be- 
ginning to feel the pangs of hunger, she wandered inland in 
the search for food, but finding nothing to eat, she returned 
disconsolately to the beach, where she hoped to catch a 
fish. A fish, indeed, she saw ; but when she tried to catch 
it, the creature glided into one of the corpses that were float- 
ing on the water or weltering on the shore. Not to be 

* J. Freiherr von Brenner, Besuch VolkenkuncU^ xxvi. (1880) p. 115 ; II. 
bd den KannibaUn Sumatras ( Wurz- Sundermann, Die Insel Nias (Barmen, 
burg, 1894), p. 218. I905)» PP- 70 ^9- According to the 

latter writer it was not Balugu Luo- 

* L. N. H. A. Chatelin, ** Gods- mewona but his wife, Silewe nazarata, 
dienst en bijgeloof der Niassers," Tijd- who caused the flood by throwing her 
schrift tfoor Indische Taal- Land- en golden comb into the sea. 

220 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

balked, the woman picked up a stone and struck the corpse 
a smart blow therewith. But the fish leaped from its 
hiding-place and made off in the direction of the interior. 
The woman followed, but hardly had she taken a few steps 
when, to her great surprise, she met a living man. When 
she asked him what he did there, seeing that she herself 
was the sole survivor of the flood, he answered that some- 
body had knocked on his dead body, and that in consequence 
he had returned to life. The woman now related to him 
her experiences, and together they resolved to try whether 
they could not restore all the other dead to life in like 
manner by knocking on their corpses witti stones. No 
sooner said than done. The drowned men and women 
revived under the knocks, and thus was the island repeopled 
after the great flood.^ 
Story of a The Ibans or Sea Dyaks of Sarawak, in Borneo, are fond 

toW bythe ^^ telling a story which relates how the present race of men 
Sea Dyaks survived a great deluge, and how their ancestress discovered 
the art of making fire. The story runs thus. Once upon a 
time some Dyak women went to gather young bamboo shoots 
for food. Having got them, they walked through the jungle 
till they came to what they took to be a great fallen tree. 
So they sat down on it and began to pare the bamboo shoots, 
when to their astonishment the trunk of the tree exuded 
drops of blood at every cut of their knives. Just then up 
came some men, who saw at once that what the women were 
sitting on was not a tree but 'a gigantic boa-constrictor in a 
state of torpor. They soon killed the serpent, cut it up, and 
carried the flesh home to eat While they were busy frying 
the pieces, strange noises were heard to issue from the frj'ing- 
pan, and a torrential rain began to fall and never ceased fall- 
ing till all the hills, except the highest, were submerged and 
the world was drowned, all because these wicked men had 
killed and fried the serpent. Men and animals all perished 
in the flood, except one woman, a dog, a rat, and a few small 
creatures, who fled to the top of a very high mountain. 
There, seeking shelter from the pouring rain, the woman 

*' O. L. Helfrich, " Nadere bijdrage kenkundc van Nederlandsch-Indie, Xymi, 
tot de kennis van het Engganeesch," (1916) pp. 543 sq, 
Bijdragcn tot dU Taal- Land- en Vol- 


noticed that the dog had found a warm place under a creeper ; How the 
for the creeper was swaying to and fro in the wind and was ^^L 
warmed by rubbing against the trunk of the tree. She took fire was 
» the hint, and rubbing the creeper hard against a piece of b^he" 
wood she produced fire for the first time. That is how the friction of 
art of making fire by means of the fire-drill was discovered ag^^t^a 
aft^ the great flood. Having no husband the woman took ^*^**- 
the fire-drill for her mate, and by its help she gave birth to 
a son called Simpang-impang, who, as his name implies, 
was but half a man, since he had only one arm, one leg, 
one eye, one ear, one cheek, half a body, and half a nose. 
These natural defects gave great offence to his playmates the 
animals, and at last he was able to supply them by striking 
a bargain with the Spirit of the Wind, who had carried off 
some rice which Simpang-impang had spread out to dry. 
At first, when Simpang-impang demanded compensation for 
this injury, the Spirit of the Wind flatly refused to pay him 
a farthing ; but being vanquished in a series of contests with 
Simpang-impang, he finally consented, instead of paying him 
in gongs or other valuables, of which indeed he had none, to 
make a whole man of him by supplying him with the missing 
parts and members. Simpang-impang gladly accepted the 
proposal, and that is why mankind have been provided with 
the usual number of arms and legs ever since.^ 

Another Dyak version of the story relates how, when Another 
the flood began, a certain man called Trow made a boat out of agrea7 
of a large wooden mortar, which had hitherto served for flood and 
pounding rice. In this vessel he embarked with his wife, a repeopiing 
dog, a pig, a fowl, a cat, and other live creatures, and so °^^® 
launched out on the deep. The crazy ship outrode the storm, 
and when the flood had subsided, Trow and his wife and the 
animals disembarked. How to repeople the earth after the 
destruction of nearly the entire human race was now the 
problem which confronted Trow ; and in order to grapple 
with it he had recourse to polygamy, fashioning for him- 

* Rev. J. Perham, xn Journal of the '^icDougoWy The Pagan Tribes 0/ Borneo 

Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic (Ix)ndon, 1 91 2), ii. 144- 147. This 

Society y No. 6, December i88o(Singa- Dyak story of the flood is told more 

pore, i88i)» pp. 289-291; H. Ling briefly by Leo Nyuak, ** Religious rites 

Roth, The Natives of Sararivak and and customs of the Iban or Dyaks 

British North Bo7'neo (hondon, 1896), of Sarawak," Anthropos^ i. (1906) p. 

i. 301 sq, ; Charles Hose and WiUiam 17. 

222 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

self new wives out of a stone, a log, and anything else 
that came to hand. So he soon had a large and flourish- 
ing family, who learned to till the ground and became the 
Ot-Danom ancestors of various Dyak tribes.^ The Ot-Danoms, a tribe 
^^^'y fl^ of Dutch Borneo in the valley of the Barito, tell of a great 
deluge which drowned many people. Only one mountain 
peak rose above the water, and the few people who were 
able to escape to it in boats dwelt on it for three months, 
till the flood subsided and the dry land appeared once 
Story of a The Bare'e-spcakiug Toradjas of Central Celebes also tell 

gn»t flood Qf ^ flood which once covered the highest mountains, all 
theBaree- but the Summit of Mount Wawo mPebato, and in proof 
Torad°a^ of ^^ their story they point to the sea-shells which- are to 
Celebes be found on the tops of hills two thousand feet and more 
above the level of the sea. Nobody escaped the flood except 
a pregnant woman and a pregnant mouse, who saved them- 
selves in a pig's trough and floated about, paddling with 
a pot-ladle instead of an oar, till the waters sank down 
and the earth again became habitable. Just then the 
woman, looking about for rice to sow, spied a sheaf of rice 
hanging from an uprooted tree, which drifted ashore on the 
spot where she was standing. With the help of the mouse, 
who climbed up the tree and brought down the sheaf, she 
was able to plant rice again. But before she fetched down 
the sheaf, the mouse stipulated that as a recompense for her 
services mice should thenceforth have the right to eat up 
part of the harvest. That is why the mice come every year 
to fetch the reward of their help from the fields of ripe rice ; 
only they may not strip the fields too bare. ' As for the 
woman, she in due time gave birth to a son, whom she took, 
for want of another, to be her husband. By him she had a 
son and daughter, who became the ancestors of the present 
race of mankind.* In Minahassa, a district of northern 

^ H. Ling Roth, The Natives of ii. 151. 
Sarawak and British North Borneo ' N. Adrian! en Alb. C. Kruijt, 

(London, 1896), i. 300, quoting C. T. De Barege -sprekende Torotija^s van 

C. Grant, A Tour amongst the Dyaks Midiien Celebes (Hatavia, 19 1 2-1 9 14), 

0/ Sarawak (London, 1864), p. 68. i. 20, 247, ii. 258, iii. 386. The 

^ C. A. L. M. Schwaner, Bortieo^ narrative, as told in these passages, 

Beschrijving van hct Stroomgebied van presents some trifling variations. Thus, 

den Barito (Amsterdam, 185 3- 1854), in one passage the woman is already 



Celebes, there is a mountain called Lankooe, and the natives a reminis- 
say that on the top of that mountain the dove which Noah ^bifcaf^^^ 
sent out of the ark plucked the olive-branch which she story in 
brought back to the patriarch.^ The story is clearly due to ^*"^^^^ 
Mohammedan or Christian influence. In a long Malay 
poem, taken down in the island of Sunda, we read how 
Noah and his family were saved in the ark from the great 
flood, which lasted forty days, and during the prevalence 
of which all mountains were submerged except Goonoong 
Padang and Goonoong Galoonggoong.^ 

The Alfoors of Ceram, a large island between Celebes story of a 
and New Guinea, relate that after a great flood, which over- ^^^ ?^ 

' ** ' aiid of the 

whelmed the whole world, the mountain Noesakoe appeared repeopiing 
above the sinking tide, its sides clothed with great trees, of "^l^^^^^ 
which the leaves were shaped like the female organs of Alfoors of 
generation. Only three persons survived on the top of the ^^' 
mountain, but the sea-eagle brought them tidings that other 
mountain peaks had emerged from the waters. So the three 
persons went thither, and by means of the remarkable leaves 
of the trees they repeopled the world.* The inhabitants of story of a 
Rotti, a small island to the south-west of Timor, say that in ^^ b^^the 
former times the sea flooded the earth, so that all men and natives 6c 
animals were drowned and all plants and herbs beaten down °"'* 
to the earth. Not a spot of dry ground was left. Even 
the high mountains were submerged, only the peak of Laki- 
mola, in Bilba, still rose solitary over the waves. On that 
mountain a man and his wife and children had taken refuge. 
After some months the tide still came creeping up and up 
the mountain, and the man and his family were in great 

a mother at the time of the flood and 
saves her son along with herself in the 
pig's trough. In others it seems that 
the mouse did not escape with the 
woman in the trough, but appeared 
opportunely just at the time when its 
help was wanted. 

I J. G. F. Riedel, *»De Minahasa 
in 1825," Tijdschrift voor In di si he 
TculI' Land- en Volkenkunde^ xviii. 
(1872) p. 491. 

« C. M. Pleyte, '* De Patapaan 
Adjar soeka rdsi, anders gezegd de 

kleuzenarij op den Goenoeng Padang," 
Tijdschrift voor Indische Taal- Land- 
en Volkenkunde^ Iv. (191 3) pp. 332- 


3 A. Bastian, Die CuUurldnder des 
cUten America (Berlin, 1878), i. 509 
«J ; R. Andree, Die Flutsageity p. 
3 1 ; G. Gerland, Der My thus von dcr 
Sint/lut^ P- 63, referring to P. v. Crab, 
Pe Moluksche Eilanden (Batavia, 
1862), pp. 212 sq. Compare P. Four- 
nicr, '* De zuidkust van Ceram," Tijd- 
schrift voor Indische Taal- Land- en 
Voikenkunde, xvi. (1866) p. 153. 




festival of 
giving to 

Story of a 
great flood 
told by the 
natives of 

fear, for they thought it would soon reach them. So they 
prayed the sea to return to his old bed. The sea answered, 
" I will do so, if you give me an animal whose hairs I cannot 
count." The man thereupon heaved first a pig, then a goat, 
then a dog, and then a hen into the flood, but all in vain ; 
the sea could number the hairs of every one of them, and it 
still came on. At last he threw in a cat : this was too much 
for the sea, it could not do the sum, and sank abashed 
accordingly. After that the osprey appeared and sprinkled 
some dry earth on the waters, and the man and his wife 
and children descended the mountain to seek a new home. 
Thereupon the Lord commanded the osprey to bring all 
kinds of seed to the man, such as maize, millet, rice, beans, 
pumpkins, and sesame, in order that he might sow them and 
live with his family on the produce. That is the reason 
why in Rotti, at the end of harvest, people set up a sheaf of 
rice on the open place of the village as an offering to Mount 
Lakimola. Everybody cooks rice, and brings it with betel- 
nuts, coco-nuts, tobacco, bananas, and breadfruit as an obla- 
tion to the mountain ; they feast and dance all kinds of 
dances to testify their gratitude, and beg him to grant a good 
harvest next year also, so that the people may have plenty 
to eat.^ 

The Nages, in the centre of the East Indian island 
of Flores, say that Dooy, the forefather of their tribe, 
was saved in a ship from the great flood. His grave 
is under a stone platform, which occupies the centre 
of the public square at Boa Wai, the tribal capital. 
The harvest festival, which is attended not only by the 
villagers but also by people from far and near, takes place 
round this grave of their great ancestor. The people 
dance round the grave, and sacrifices of buffaloes are offered. 
The spirits of all dead members of the tribe, wherever they 
may be, whether in the air, or in the mountains, or in the 
caves and dens of the earth, are invited to attend the 
festival and are believed to be invisibly present at it. On 
this occasion the civil chief of the tribe is gorgeously 
arrayed in golden jewellery, and on his head he wears the 

* J. Fanggidaej, ** Rottineesche Verhalen," Bijdragen tot de Taal- Land- en 
Volketikunde van Ncdcrlandsch-Indie^ Iviii. (1905) pp. 427 sq. 


golden model of a ship with seven masts in memory of the 
escape of their great ancestor from the flood.^ . 

Stories of a great flood are told also by some of the stories of a 
wild tribes of Mindanao, one of the Philippine Islands. One ^5^*^^^ 
such tale is said to be current among the Atds of the Davao Philippine 
District, who are supposed to be descendants of an invad- ^^^*°*^^'^ 
ing people that intermarried with the Negritoes and other 
aboriginal tribes. Their legend of the deluge runs thus. 
The greatest of all the spirits is Manama, who made the first 
men from blades of grass, weaving them together until they 
assumed the human form. In this manner he created eight 
persons, male and female, who later became the ancestors of 
the Atds and all the neighbouring tribes. Long afterwards 
the water covered the whole earth, and all the Atds were 
drowned except two men and a woman. The waters 
carried them far away, and they would have perished if a 
great eagle had not come to their aid. The bird offered to 
carry them on its back to their homes. One of the men 
refused, but the other man and the woman accepted the 
offer and returned to Mapula.^ Another version of the 
story is told by the Mandayas, another wild tribe of the same 
district, who inhabit a rugged, densely wooded region, 
where the mountains descend almost to the water's edge, 
forming high sheer cliffs at their base. They say that 
many generations ago a great flood happened, which 
drowned all the inhabitants of the world except one preg- 
nant woman. She prayed that her child might be a boy. 
Her prayer was answered, and she gave birth to a boy 
whose name was Uacatan. When he grew up, he took his 
mother to wife, and from their union all the Mandayas are 

Further, stories of a great flood are current among the stories of a 
wild tribes which occupy the central mountains and eastern f^f^ by^^ 
coasts of Formosa ; and as these tribes apparently belong the wild 

tribes of 
^ G. Bcker, " Het oogst- en offer- 2 Fay-Cooper Cole, The Wild Tribes 

feest bij den Nage-stam te Boa Wai of Davao District^ Mindanao {Q,\\\z?i!go^ 

(Midden-Fiores)," Bijdragen tot de i()\ '^)y\>. 16^ (Field Musettm of Natural 

Taal- Land' enVolkenkiinde van Neder- History^ Publication 170). 

landsch- Indie ^ Ixvii. (191 3) pp. 623 

sqq. The brief reference to the flood ^ Fay-Cooper Cole, op. cit. pp. 165, 

occurs on page 625. 173. 


• » r 

226 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

by race and language to the Malayan family,^ their traditions 
of a deluge may appropriately find a place here, though the 
large island which is their honne lies off the coast of China. 
The stories have been recorded by a Japanese gentleman, 
Mr. Shinji Ishii, who resided for some years in Formosa for 
the sake of studying the natives. He has very kindly 
placed his unpublished manuscripts at my disposal for the 
purposes of this work. 
The Ami One of the tribes which inhabit the eastern coast of 

Formosa. Formosa are the Ami. They are supposed to have been 
the last to arrive in this part of the island. Unlike the 
rest of the aborigines, they trace the descent of blood and 
property through their mothers instead of through their 
fathers, and they have a peculiar system of age-grades, that 
is, they classify all members of the tribe in a series of ranks 
according to their respective ages.^ Among these people 
Mr. Ishii discovered the story of a great flood in several 
different versions. One of them, recorded at the village of 
Kibi, runs as follows : — 
Ami story In ancient times there existed the god Kakumodan 

fl!^^^^^ Sappatorroku and the goddess Budaihabu. They descended 
to a place called Taurayan, together with two children, the 
boy Sura and the girl Nakao. At the same time they 
brought with them a pig and a chicken, which they reared. 
But one day it happened that two other gods, named Kabitt 
and Aka, were hunting near by, and seeing the pig and the 
chicken they coveted them. So they went up to the house 
and asked Kakumodan to give them the creatures, but 
having nothing to offer in exchange they met with a flat 
; ; : refusal. That angered them, and to avenge the affront they 

* plotted to kill Kakumodan. To assist them in carrying out 

this nefarious design they called in a loud voice on the four 
sea-gods, Mahahan, Mariyaru, Marimokoshi, and Kosomatora, 

^ C. Imbault-Huart, Vile FormosCy present abode. See C. Imbault- 

Histoire ct Description (Paris, 1893), Huart, op, cit, p. 261. 
p. 255. From a comparison of the 

Formosan language with that of the ^ Shinji Ishii, ** The Island of For- 

natives about Manila, it has been mosa and its Primitive Inhabitants," 

suggested that the ancestors of the pp. 13, 20; reprinted from The Trans- 

Formosans may have migrated from actions of the Japan Society ^ London^ 

the Philippine Islands on their way xiv. (1916). As to age-grades, see 

from the Malay Archipelago to their below, vol. ii. pp. 318 sqq. 


who readily consented to bear a hand. " In five days from 
now " they said, " when the round moon appears, the sea 
will make a booming sound : then escape to a mountain 
where there are stars." So on the fifth day, without waiting 
for the sound, Kabitt and Aka fled to the mountain where 
there were stars. When they reached the summit, the sea 
suddenly began to make the sound and rose higher and 
higher, till soon Kakumodan's house was flooded. But 
Kakumodan and his wife escaped from the swelling tide, for 
they climbed up a ladder to the sky. Yet so urgent was 
the danger and so great their haste, that they had no time 
to rescue their two children. Accordingly, when they had 
reached their place of safety up aloft, they remembered 
their offspring, and feeling great anxiety on their account 
they called them in a loud voice, but no voice answered. 
However, the two children, Sura and Nakao, were not 
drowned. For when the flood overtook them, they em- 
barked in a wooden mortar, which chanced to be lying in 
the yard of the house, and in that frail vessel they floated 
safely to the Ragasan mountain. The brother and sister 
now found themselves alone in the world ; and though they 
feared to offend the ancestral gods by contracting an in- 
cestuous marriage, they nevertheless became man and wife, 
and their union was blest with five children, three boys and 
two girls, whose names are recorded. Yet the pair sought 
to mitigate or avert the divine wrath by so regulating their 
conjugal intercourse that they came into contact with each 
other as little as possible ; and for that purpose they inter- 
posed a mat between them in the marriage bed. The first 
grain of millet was produced from the wife's ear during her 
first pregnancy, and in due time husband and wife learned 
the proper ritual to be observed in the cultivation of that 

At the village of Baran a somewhat different version of Another 
the story was recorded by Mr. Ishii. According to this latter \^^]!^\ 
version the great flood was due not to a rising of the sea, flood story. 
but to an earthquake, followed by the bursting forth of hot 
subterranean waters. They say that at that time the moun- 
tains crumbled down, the earth gaped, and from the fissure a 
hot spring gushed forth, which flooded the whole face of the 




How two 
sisters and 
a brother 
escaped in 
a wooden 

How the 
world was 
after the 
great flood. 

earth. Many people were drowned ; indeed few living things 
survived the ravages of the inundation. However, two sisters 
and a brother escaped in a wooden mortar, which floated 
with them southward along the coast to a place called 
Rarauran. There they landed and climbed to the top of 
Mount Kaburugan to survey the country round about. Then 
they separated, the sisters going to the south and the brother 
to the west, to search for a good land ; but finding none they 
returned once more to Rarauran. Again they ascended the 
mountain, and the brother and his younger sister reached the 
summit, but the elder sister was so tired that she remained 
behind half-way up. When her brother and her younger 
sister searched for her, they found to their sorrow that she 
was turned into a stone. After that they desired to return 
to their native land, from which they had drifted in the 
wooden mortar. But when they came to examine the mortar, 
they found it so rotten and leaky that they dared not venture 
to put to sea in it again. So they wandered away on foot. 
One day the forlorn wanderers were alarmed by the sight of 
smoke rising at a distance. Expecting nothing less than a 
second eruption and a second flood, they hurried away, the 
brother taking his sister by the hand to hasten her steps. 
But she was so weary with wandering that she could not go 
a step farther and fell to the ground. So there they were 
forced to stay for many days. Meantime the symptoms 
which had alarmed them had ceased to threaten, and they 
resolved to settle on the spot. 

But they were now all alone in the land, and they re- 
flected with apprehension on the misery of the childless old 
age which seemed in store for them. In this dilemma, as 
there was nobody else for them to marry, they thought they 
had better marry each other. Yet they felt a natural delicacy 
at doing so, and in their perplexity they resolved to submit 
their scruples to the judgment of the sun. So next morning, 
when the sun was rising out of the sea, the brother inquired 
of it in a loud voice whether he might marry his sister. The 
sun answered, apparently without hesitation, that he might. 
The brother was very glad to hear it, and married his sister 
accordingly. A few months afterwards the wife conceived, 
and, with her husband's help, gathered china-grass, spun it 


into yam, and wove the yarn into clothes for the expected 
baby. But when her time came, to the bitter disappointment 
of both parents, she was delivered of two abortions that were 
neither girl nor boy. In their vexation they tore up the 
baby-linen and threw it, with the abortions, into the river. 
One of the abortions swam straight down the river, and the 
other swam across the river ; the one became the ancestor 
of fish, and the other the ancestor of crabs. Next morning 
the brother inquired of the moon why fish and crabs should 
thus be born from human parents. The moon made answer, 
" You two are brother and sister, and marriage between you 
is strictly prohibited. As neither of you can find another 
spouse, you must place a mat between you in the marriage 
bed." The advice was accepted, and soon afterwards the 
wife gave birth to a stone. They were again painfully sur- 
prised, and said, "The moon is mocking us. Who ever 
heard of a woman giving birth to a stone ? " In their im- 
patience they were about to heave the stone into the river, 
when the moon appeared and checked them, saying, "Although 
it is a stone, you must take great care of it" They obeyed 
the injunction and kept the stone very carefully. Afterwards 
they descended the mountain and settled in a rich fat land 
called Arapanai. In time the husband died, and the wife 
was left with no other companion than the white stone to 
which she had given birth. But the moon, pitying her loneli- 
ness and grief, informed the woman that soon she would have 
a companion. And sure enough, only five days later, the 
stone swelled up, and four children came forth from it, some 
of them wearing shoes and others barefooted. Those that 
wore shoes were probably the ancestors of the Chinese. 

A third version of the Ami story was recorded by Mr. a third 
Ishii at the village of Pokpok. Like the preceding versions, version of 
it relates how a brother and sister escaped in a wooden story. 
mortar from a destructive deluge, in which almost all living 
beings perished ; how they landed on a high mountain, 
married, begat offspring, and founded the village of Pokpok 
in a hollow of the hills, where they thought they would be 
secure against another deluge. 

The Tsuwo, a tribe of head-hunters in the mountainous 
interior of Formosa, have also a story of a great flood, which 




Story of a 
great flood 
told by the 
Tsuwo of 

How fire 
was re- 
after the 
great flood. 

they told to Mr. Ishii at the village of Paichana. When their 
ancestors were living dispersed in all directions, there occurred 
a mighty inundation whereby plain and mountains alike were 
covered with water. Then all the people fled and took refuge 
on the top of Mount Niitaka-yama, and there they stayed 
until the flood subsided, and the hills and valleys emerged 
once more from the watery waste. After that the survivors 
descended in groups from the mountains and took their 
several ways over the land as chance or inclination prompted 
them. They say that it was while they dwelt on the 
top of the mountain, during the great flood, that they first 
conceived the idea of hunting for human heads. At first 
they resorted to it simply as a pastime, cutting off the head 
of a bad boy and hoisting it on the point of a bamboo, to 
the great amusement of the bystanders. But afterwards, 
when they had descended from the mountain and settled in 
separate villages, the young men of each village took arms 
and went out to decapitate their neighbours in grim 
earnest That, they say, was the origin of the practice of 

The Tsuwo of the same village also tell how they obtained 
fire during the great flood. For in their hurried retreat to the 
mountain they had no time to take fire with them, and for a 
while they were hard put to it by the cold. Just then some 
one spied a sparkle like the twinkling of a star on the top of 
a neighbouring mountain. So the people said, "Who will go 
thither and bring fire for us?" Then a goat came forward and 
said, " I will go and bring back the fire." So saying, the noble 
animal plunged into the swelling flood and swam straight 
for the mountain, guided by the starlike twinkling of the fire 
on its top. The people awaited its return in great anxiety. 
After a while it reappeared from out the darkness, swimming 
with a burning cord attached to its horns. Nearer and nearer 
it drew to the shore, but at the same time lower and lower 
burned the fire on the cord. Would the goat reach the 
bank before the flame had burned itself out ? The excite- 
ment among the people was intense, but none dared to dive 
into the angry surges and swim to the rescue of the animal. 
Tired with its long and strenuous exertions, the goat swam 
more and more feebly, till at last it drooped its head, the 


water closed over it, and the fire was out. After that the 
people despatched a taoron (?) on. the same errand, and it 
succeeded in bringing the fire safe to land. So pleased were 
the people at its success, that they all gathered round the 
animal and patted it. That is why the creature has such a 
shiny skin and so tiny a body to this day. 

Further, the Tsuwo of the same village relate how the How the 
great flood was drained by the disinterested exertions of a ^^s^d^^d 
wild pig, and how the natural features of the country were away, and 
artificially moulded when all the water had run away. They country 
say that they tried various plans for draining the water, but received its 
all in vain, until a large wild pig came forward and said, " I fo7m" 
will go into the water, and by breaking a bank in a lower reach thereafter. 
of the river, I may cause the flood to abate. In case I should 
be drowned in the river I would beg you, of your kindness, to 
care for my orphan children, and to give them potatoes every 
day. If you consent to this proposal, I am willing to risk 
my life in your service." The people gladly closed with this 
generous offer; the pig plunged into the water, and swimming 
with the current, disappeared in the distance. The efforts 
of the animal were crowned with success, for very soon after- 
wards the water of the flood suddenly sank, and the crests 
of the mountains began to appear above it. Rejoiced at 
their escape, the people resolved to make a river with the 
help of the animals, apparently for the purpose of preventing 
a recurrence of the great flood. As they descended from 
Mount Niitaka-yama, where they had taken refuge, a great 
snake offered to act as their guide, and by gliding straight 
down the slope he hollowed out a bed for the stream. Next 
thousands of little birds, at the word of command, came each 
with a pebble in its beak, and by depositing the pebbles in 
the channel of the river they paved it, as we see it to this 
day. But the banks of the river had still to be formed, and 
for this purpose the services of the animals were enlisted. By 
treading with their feet and working with a will all together, 
they soon fashioned the river banks and valleys. The only 
bird that did not help in this great work was the eagle ; 
instead of swooping down he flew high in air, and as a 
punishment he has never since been allowed to drink of the 
river water, but is obliged to slake his thirst at the puddles 

232 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

in the hollow trunks of trees. In this way the valleys and 
rivers were fashioned, but there was jas yet no plain. Then 
the goddess Hipararasa came from the south and made a 
plain by crushing the mountains. She began in the south 
. and worked up along the western part, levelling the moun- 
tains as she went. But when she came to the central range 
she was confronted by an angry bear, which said, " We are 
fond of the mountains. If you make them into a plain, 
we shall lose our dwelling-places." With that he bit and 
wounded the child of the goddess. Surprised by this 
attack, the goddess desisted from her work of destruction 
in order to tend her wounded child. Meantime the earth 
hardened, so that not even the power of God could level 
the mountains. That is why the central range still stands 
in Formosa. 
Stories of a The Bunun, another tribe in the interior of Formosa, 
i^ by the whose territory borders on that of the Tsuwo to the east, 
Bunun of tell stories of a great flood in which a gigantic snake and 
orm sa, ^^^ figure prominently. They say that once upon a time, 
in the land where their ancestors lived there fell a heavy 
rain for many days, and to make matters worse a huge snake 
lay across the river, blocking up the current, so that the 
whole land was flooded. The people escaped to the top of 
the highest mountain, but such was the strength of the rising 
tide that they trembled at the sight of it. Just then a crab 
appeared opportunely and cut the body of the snake clean 
through with its nippers. So the flood soon subsided ; but 
many people were drowned and few survived. In another 
version of the Bunun story the cause of the flood is related 
somewhat diff'erently. A gigantic crab tried to devour a 
big snake, clutching it fast in its nippers. But the snake 
contrived to shake off* its assailant and escape to the sea. 
At once a great flood occurred ; the waves washed the 
mountains, and the whole world was covered with water. 
The ancestors of the Bunun took refuge on Mount Usabeya 
(Niitaka-yama) and Mount Shinkan, where they made shift 
to live by hunting, till the water subsided and they returned 
to their former abode. There they found that their fields 
and gardens had been washed away ; but fortunately a stalk 
of millet had been preserved, the seeds were planted, and on 


the produce the people subsisted. They say that many 
mountains and valleys were formed by the great flood, for 
before that time the land had been quite flat. 

The primitive inhabitants of the Andaman Islands, in story of a 
the Bay of Bengal, have a legend of a great flood, which fj|^by°^ 
may be related here, though their islands do not strictly the natives 
belong to the Indian Archipelago. They say that some Andaman 
time after they had been created, men grew disobedient and islands. 
regardless of the commands which the Creator had given 
them at their creation. So in anger he sent a great flood 
which covered the whole land, except perhaps Saddle Peak 
where the Creator himself resided. All living creatures, 
both men anfi animals, perished in the waters, all save two 
men and two women, who, having the good luck to be in a 
canoe at the time when the catastrophe occurred, contrived 
to escape with their lives. When at last the waters sank, 
the little company landed, but they found themselves in a 
sad plight, for all other living creatures were drowned. 
However, the Creator, whose name was Puluga, kindly helped 
them by creating animals and birds afresh for their use. 
But the difficulty remained of lighting a fire, for the flood How 
had extinguished the flames on every hearth, and all things "ja^kind 
were of course very damp. Hereupon the ghost of one fire after 
of their friends, who had been drowned in the deluge, *^® «i«iug«- 
opportunely came to the rescue. Seeing their distress he 
flew in the form of a kingfisher to the sky, where he found 
the Creator seated beside his fire. The bird made a dab at 
a burning brand, intending to carry it off in his beak to his 
fireless friends on earth, but in his haste or agitation he 
dropped it on the august person of the Creator himself, who, 
incensed at the indignity and smarting with pain, hurled the 
blazing brand at the bird. It missed the mark and whizzing 
past him dropped plump from the sky at the very spot where 
the four people were seated moaning and shivering. That 
is how mankind recovered the use of fire after the great 
flood. When they had warmed themselves and had leisure 
to reflect on what had happened, the four survivors began to 
murmur at the Creator for his destruction of all the rest of 
mankind ; and their passion getting the better of them they 
even plotted to murder him. From this impious attempt 

234 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

they were, however, dissuaded by the Creator himself, who 
told them, in very plain language, that they had better not 
try, for he was as hard as wood, their arrows could make no 
impression on him, and if they dared so much as to lay 
a finger on him, he would have the blood of every mother's 
son and daughter of them. This dreadful threat had its 
effect : they submitted to their fate, and the mollified Creator 
condescended to explain to them, in milder terms, that men 
had brought the great flood on themselves by wilful dis- 
obedience to his commands, and that any repetition of the 
offence in future would be visited by him with condign 
punishment That was the last time that the Creator ever 
appeared tp men and conversed with them face to face ; since 
then the Andaman Islanders have never seen him, but to 
this day they continue to do his will with fear and trembling.^ 

§ 1 1. Stories of a Great Flood in Australia 

Story of a The Kurnai, an aboriginal Australian tribe of Gippsland, 

toiTbyThe ^" Victoria, say that a long time ago there was a very great 
Kurnai of flood ; all the country was under water, and all the black 
iciona. people were drowned except a man and two or three women, 
who took refuge in a mud island near Port Albert. The 
water was all round them. Just then the pelican, or Bunjil 
Borun, as the Kurnai call the bird, came sailing by in his 
canoe, and seeing the distress of the poor people he went to 
help them. One of the women was so beautiful that he fell 
in love with her. When she would have stepped into the 
canoe, he said, " Not now, next time " ; so that after he had 
ferried all the rest, one by one, across to the mainland, she 
was left to the last. Afraid of being alone with the ferry- 
man, she did not wait his return on his last trip, but swam 
ashore and escaped. However, before quitting the island, 
she dressed up a log in her opossum rug and laid it beside 
Why the fire, so that it looked just like herself. When the pelican 

^'^ arrived to ferry her over, he called, " Come on, now." The 
black and log made no reply, so the pelican flew into a passion, and rush- 


1 E. H. Man, On the Aboriginal Jndia^ ^901^ vol. iii. Thd Andaman 

Inhabitants of the Andaman /stands and A^icobar Islands (Calcutta, 1903), 

(London, N.D.), pp. 98 sq. Compare p. 63. 

Sir Richard C. Temple, in Census of 


ing up to what he took to be the woman, he lunged out with 
his foot at her and gave the log a tremendous kick. Natur- 
ally he only hurt his own foot, and what with the pain and 
the chagrin at the trick that had been played him, he was 
very angry indeed and began to paint himself white in order 
that he might fight the husband of the impudent hussy who 
had so deceived him. He was still engaged in these warlike 
preparations, and had only painted white one half of his 
black body, when another pelican came up, and not knowing 
what to make of such a strange creature, half white and half 
black, he pecked at him with his beak and killed him. That 
is why pelicans are now black and white ; before the flood 
they were black all over.^ 

According to the aborigines about Lake Tyers, in story of a 
Victoria, the way in which the great flood came about was fjf^ by^ 
this. Once upon a time all the water in the world was aborigines 
swallowed by a huge frog, and nobody else could get a drop ^y^^ [^ 
to drink. It was most inconvenient, especially for the fish, Victoria; 
who flapped about and gasped on the dry land. So the sw^ow!^^ 
animals laid their heads together and came to the conclusion ^^ ^^« 

water and 

that the only way of making the frog disgorge the waters was made 

was to tickle his fancy so that he should laugh. Accord- f° disgorge 

ingly they gathered before him and cut capers and played 

pranks that would have caused any ordinary person to die 

of laughing. But the frog did not even smile. He sat there 

in gloomy silence, with his great goggle eyes and his swollen 

cheeks, as grave as a judge. As a last resort the eel stood up 

on its tail and wriggled and danced about, twisting itself into 

the most ridiculous contortions. This was more than even 

the frog could bear. His features relaxed, and he laughed 

till the tears ran down his cheeks and the water poured out 

of his mouth. However, the animals had now got more 

than they had bargained for, since the waters disgorged by 

the frog swelled into a great flood in which many people 

perished. Indeed the whole of mankind would have been 

^ A. W. Howitt, in R. Brough the ancestors of the Kumai turned into 

Smyth's Aborigines of Victoria (Mel- animals, birds, reptiles, and fishes. 

bourne and London, 1878), i. 477 See A. W. Howitt, "The Jeraeil, or 

sq, I id.. Native Tribes of Souih-East Initiation Ceremonies of the Kurnai 

Australia (London, 1904), p. 486. IrCa^,^'' Journal of the Anthropological 

It is said that after the deluge some of Institute, xiv. (1885) p. 3r4. 




drowned, if the pelican had not gone about in a canoe 

picking up the survivors and so saving their lives.^ 

Other Another legend of a deluge current among the aborigines 

^'fl"*d°^d ^^ Victoria relates how, many long ages ago, the Creator 

by the Bundjel was very angry with black people because they did 

ofVictoria ^^^^* ^^ ^^ caused the ocean to swell by the same process 

and South by which Strepsiades in Aristophanes supposed that Zeus 

ustraiia. j^j^^g ^^y^ Iq f^^jj {^q^^ the clouds ; ^ and in the rising flood all 

black people were drowned, except those whom Bundjel loved 
and catching up from the water fixed as stars in the sky. 
Nevertheless one man and one woman escaped the deluge 
by climbing a high tree on a mountain ; so they lived and 
became the ancestors of the present human race.^ The 
Narrinyeri of South Australia say that once on a time a 
man's two wives ran away from him. He pursued them to 
Encounter Bay, and there seeing them at a distance he cried 
out in anger, " Let the waters arise and drown them." On 
that a terrible flood swept over the hills and overtaking the 
fugitives overwhelmed them, so that they died. To such a 
height did the waters rise that a certain man named Nepelle, 
who lived at Rauwoke, was obliged to drag his canoe to the 
top of the hill which is now called Point Macleay. The 
dense part of the Milky Way is said to be his canoe floating 
in the sky/ 
Story of a The natives about Mount Elliot, on the coast of Queens- 

Sw by^t^ land, say that in the time of their forefathers there happened 
natives of a great flood, which drowned most of them ; only a few 
land!"*^ were saved who contrived to escape to the top of a very 
high mountain, called Bibbiringda, which rises inland from 
the northern bay of Cape Cleveland.^ 

* R. Brough Smyth, Abori^hus of 
Victoria^ i. 429 sq. ; E. M. Curr, The 
Australian Race (Melbourne and Lon- 
don, 1886-1887), iii. 547 S(j. Com- 
pare 7^he Magic Art attd the Evolution 
of Kings ^ i. 292 sq.^ where part of the 
legend is given from Miss Mary E. B. 
Ilowitt's Folklore and Legends of some 
Victorian Tribes (in manuscript). 

* Aristophanes, Clouds, 373. 

' R. Brough Smyth, Aborigines of 
Victoria, i. 429. 

* Rev. G. Taplin, "The Narrinyeri," 
in J. I). Woods, Native Tribes of 
South Australia (Adelaide, 1S79), 

p. 57. 

^ E. M. Curr, The Australian Face, 

ii. 450. For some other references to 

floods in the traditions of the Australian 

aborigines, see A. Oldfield, **The 

Aborigines of Australia," Transactions 

of the Ethnological Society of London^ 

New Series, iii. (London, 1 865) pp. 

234 sq. ; E. M. Curr, The Australian 

Race, iii. 420. 


§ 1 2. Stories of a Great Flood in New Guinea and 


In the Kabadi district of British New Guinea the natives stories of a 
have a tradition that once on a time a certain man Lohero f^J^^^*^ 
and his younger brother were angry with the people about natives of 
them, and they put a human bone into a small stream. Guinea. 
Soon the great waters came forth, forming a sea, flooding all 
the low land, and driving the people back to the mountains, 
till step by step they had to escape to the tops of the highest 
peaks. There they lived till the sea receded, when some of 
them descended to the lowlands, while others remained on 
the ridges and there built houses and formed plantations.^ 
The Valmans of Berlin Harbour, on the northern coast of 
New Guinea, tell how one day the wife of a very good man 
saw a great fish swimming to the bank. She called to her 
husband, but at first he could not see the fish. So his wife 
laughed at him and hid him behind a banana-tree, that he 
might peep at it through the leaves. When he did catch 
sight of it at last, he was horribly afraid, and sending for his 
family, a son and two daughters, he forbade them to catch 
and eat the fish. But the other people took bow and arrow 
and a cord, and they caught the fish and drew it to land. 
Though the good man warned them not to eat of the fish, 
they did it notwithstanding. When the good man saw that, 
he hastily drove a pair of animals of every sort up into the 
trees, and then he and his family climbed up into a coco-nut 
tree. Hardly had the wicked men consumed the fish than 
water burst from the ground with such violence that nobody 
had time to save himself. Men and animals were all drowned. 
When the water had mounted to the top of the highest tree, 
it sank as rapidly as it had risen. Then the good man 
came down from the tree with his family and laid out new 

The natives of the Mamberano River, in Dutch New 
Guinea, are reported to tell a story of a great flood, caused 
by the rising of the river, which overwhelmed Mount Vanessa, 

1 J. Chalmers ami W. Wyatt Gill, giose Anschauunjjen und Gebriiuche der 

Work and Adi'enture in New Guinea Bewohner von Ik*rlinhafen (Deutsch- 

(London, 1885), P* ^^4- Neuguinea),** Globus^ Ixxviii. (1900) 

* P. Chr. Schleiermacher, *' Kcli- p. 6. 




on stones 
of a flood 
in New 

and from which only one man and his wife escaped, together 
with a pig, a cassowary, a kangaroo, and a pigeon. The 
man and his wife became the ancestors of the present race 
of men ; the beasts and birds "became the ancestors of the 
existing species. The bones of the drowned animals still 
lie on Mount Vanessa.^ 
R.Neuhauss On the subject of deluge legends in New Guinea the 
following remarks of a judicious and well-informed writer 
deserve to be borne in mind. " New Guinea," he says, " is 
the classic land of earthquakes, and ten years never pass 
without the occurrence somewhere of a tremendous convul- 
sion, such as the sinking of whole districts or the inroad of 
destructive flood-waves. Thus, for example, the sea is said 
to have formerly reached to the top of Saddle Mountain. 
Stories of a flood are therefore common in New Guinea, and 
have originated in the country itself under the impression 
of these natural phenomena. Now the Papuan hears the 
Biblical story of the flood, in which his fancy is particularly 
taken by the many great animals, of each of which a pair 
was saved. The terrestrial animals of his own country are 
hardly worth the saving, and the birds can escape from the 
flood without the help of man. But since in the Biblical 
flood large animals were saved, of which pictures are shown 
to the native, animals which afford much better eating than 
wretched rats and mice, the black man modifies his own 
flood legends accordingly. It cannot surprise us, therefore, 
that legends with a Biblical colouring already existed in 
New Guinea when the first mission settled therein 1886; 
for the neighbourhood of the Malay Archipelago, where 
missionaries had been much longer resident, facilitated the 
importation of the stories. Besides, a mission had been 
established in the island of Rook as early as about the 
middle of the nineteenth century ; and Rook has been in 
constant communication with the mainland of New Guinea 
by means of the neighbouring Siassi Islands. The Bismarck 
Archipelago also, where missionaries have long been at 
work, deserves to be considered with reference to the im- 

^ Max Moszkowski, ** Die Volker- lagertcn Inseln," Z^/jfAr^/wriS'M/w- 
stamme am Mamberamo in Holland- logie^ xliii. ( 1 9 ii ) pp. 340 sq. 
ischen Neuguinea und auf vorge- 


portation of Biblical stories into Northern New Guinea 
(Kaiser-Wilhelmsland) ; for a perpetual intercourse of ideas 
is kept up between the two countries by the seafaring Siassi 
and Tami."^ 

The Fijians have a tradition of a great deluge, which Fijian 
they call Walavu-levu : some say that the flood was partial, a'^^°" ^^ 
others that it was universal. The way in which the cata- flood, 
strophe came about was this. The great god Ndengei had 
a monstrous bird called Turukawa, which used to wake 
him punctually by its cooing every morning. One day 
his two grandsons, whether by accident or design, shot 
the bird dead with their bows and arrows, and buried the 
carcase in order to conceal the crime. So the deity overslept 
himself, and being much annoyed at the disappearance of his 
favourite fowl, he sent out his messenger Uto to look for it 
everywhere. The search proved fruitless. The messenger 
reported that not a trace of the bird was to be found. But 
a second search was more successful, and laid the guilt of the 
murder at the door of the god's grandsons. To escape the 
rage of their incensed grandfather the young scapegraces 
fled to the mountains and there took refuge with a tribe of 
carpenters, who willingly undertook to build a stockade 
strong enough to keep Ndengei and all his catchpolls at 
bay. They were as good as their word, and for three months 
the god and his minions besieged the fortress in vain. At 
last, in despair of capturing the stockade by the regular 
operations of war, the baffled deity disbanded his army and 
meditated a surer revenge. At his command the dark clouds How the 
gathered and burst, pouring torrents of rain on the doomed Ndengei 
earth. Towns, hills, and mountains were submerged one caused a 
after the other ; yet for long the rebels, secure in the height p^p^e'^^ 
of their town, looked down with unconcern on the rising tide saved in 
of waters. At last when the surges lapped their wooden great 
walls and even washed through their fortress, they called for ^^^• 
help to a god, who, according to one account, instructed 
them to form a float out of the fruit of the shaddock ; accord- 
ing to others, he sent two canoes for their use, or taught 

> R. Neuhauss, Deutsch Neu- Guinea man New Guinea, in which he has 
(Berlin, 191 1), i. 414. The writer's travelled widely, 
observations apply particularly to Ger- 




them how to build a canoe for themselves and thus ensure 
their own safety. It was Rokoro, the god of carpenters, 
who with his foreman Rokola came to their rescue. The 
pair sailed about in two large double canoes, picking up the 
drowning people and keeping them on board till the flood 
subsided. Others, however, will have it that the survivors 
saved themselves in large bowls, in which they floated about. 
Whatever the minor variations may be in the Fijian legend, 
all agree that even the highest places were covered by the 
deluge, and that the remnant of the human race was saved 
in some kind of vessel, which was at last left high and dry 
by the receding tide on the island of Mbengha. The number 
of persons who thus survived the flood was eight Two 
tribes were completely destroyed by the waters ; one of them 
consisted entirely of women, the members of the other had 
tails like those of dogs. Because the survivors of the flood 
landed on their island, the natives of Mbengha claimed to 
rank highest of all the Fijians, and their chiefs always acted 
a conspicuous part in Fijian history : they styled themselves 
" Subject to heaven alone *' {Ngaii-duva-ki'langi). It is said 
that formerly the Fijians always kept great canoes ready for 
use against another flood, and that the custom was only dis- 
continued in modern times.^ 

The Melanesians of the New Hebrides say that their 
great legendary hero Qat disappeared from the world in a 
from which deluge. They show the very place from which he sailed 
Oat*^^^*^ away on his last voyage. It is a broad lake in the centre 
escaped in of the island of Gaua. In the days of Qat the ground now 
occupied by the lake was a spacious plain clothed with 
forest. Qat felled one of the tallest trees in the wood and 
proceeded to build himself a canoe out of the fallen trunk. 
While he was at work on it, his brothers would come and 
jeer at him, as he sat or stood there sweating away at his 

story of a 
great flood, 

a canoe. 

^ Thomas Williams, Fiji and the 
Fijians (London, i860), i. 252 ; 
Horatio Hale, United States Exploring 
Expeditiony Ethnography and Philology 
(Philadelphia, 1846), p. 55; Charles 
Wilkes, Narrative of the United States 
Exploring Expedition^, New Edition 
(New York, 1851), iii. 82 sq. ; J. E. 
Erskine, Journal of a Cruise among 

the Islands of the Western Pacific 
(London, 1853), pp. 244 j^. ; Berthold 
Sceman, Viti^ an Account of a Govern- 
ment Mission to the Vitian or Fijian 
Islands in the years 1860-1S61 (Cam- 
l.ridge, 1862), pp. 394 sq. The 
mythical cause of the flood, namely the 
slaughter of the god's favourite bird, is 
told in detail only by the last writer. 


unfinished canoe in the shadow of the dense tropical forest. 
** How will you ever get that huge canoe through the thick 
woods to the sea ? " they asked him mockingly. " Wait and 
see," was all he deigned to answer. When the canoe was 
finished, he gathered into it his wife and his brothers and all 
the living creatures of the island, down to the smallest ants, 
and shut himself and them into the vessel, which he provided 
with a covering. Then came a deluge of rain ; the great 
hollow of the island was filled with water, which burst through 
the circle of the hills at the spot where the great waterfall 
of Gaua still descends seaward, with a thunderous roar, in a 
veil of spray. There the canoe swept on the rushing water 
through the barrier of the hills, and driving away out to sea 
was lost to view. The natives say that the hero Qat took 
away the best of everything with him when he thus vanished 
from sight, and still they look forward to his joyful return. 
When Bishop Patteson and his companions first landed on 
Mota, the happy natives took him for the long-lost Qat and 
his brethren. And some years afterwards, when a small 
trading vessel was one day seen standing in for the island of 
Gaua and making apparently for the channel down which 
the water of the great cascade flows to mingle with the sea, 
the old people on the island cried out joyfully that Qat was 
come again, and that his canoe knew her own way home. 
But alas ! the ship was cast away on the reef, and Qat has 
not yet come home.' 

§ 1 3. Stories of a Great Flood in Polynesia and Micronesia 

Legends of a great flood in which a multitude of people stories of a 
perished are told by the natives of those groups of islands ^^^^e 
which under the general names of Polynesia and Micronesia islands of 
are scattered widely over the Pacific. " The principal facts,'* 
we are told, " arc the same in the traditions prevailing among 
the inhabitants of the different groups, although they diff*er 
in several minor particulars. In one group the accounts 

* R. H. Codrington, llie Mchviesians in the canoe ; hut it is certain that the 

(Oxford, 1891), pp. 166 sq. The story is older than any knowledge of 

writer adds,. ** It is likely now that Noah's ark among the people." 
the story will be told of eight persons 


242 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

state, that in ancient times Taaroa, the principal god (accord- 
ing to their mythology, the creator of the world), being angry 
with men on account of their disobedience to his will, over- 
turned the world into the sea, when the earth sank in the 
waters, excepting a few auruSy or projecting points, which, 
remaining above its surface, constituted the principal cluster 
of islands. The memorial preserved by the inhabitants of 
Eimeo states, that after the inundation of the land, when the 
water subsided, a man landed from a canoe near Tiataepua, 
in their island, and erected an altar, or marae^ in honour of 
his god." ^ 
Tahitian In Tahiti the legend ran as follows. Tahiti was destroyed 

story of a {^y ^^ ^^^, ^^ man, nor hog, nor fowl, nor dog survived. 

great flood, ' » o» * o 

from which The grovcs of trees and the stones were carried away by the 

fa husband ^^^'^^^ They were destroyed, and the deep was over the land. 

and M^ife). But two persons, a husband and a wife, were saved. When 

i^th some ^^ Apod came, the wife took up her young chicken, her 

animals, young dog, and her kitten ; the husband took up his young 

onahtgr P^g' [These were all the animals formerly known to the 

mountain, natives; and as the term ^fanaua^ * young,' is both singular and 

plural, it may apply to one or more than one chicken, etc.]. 

The husband proposed that they should take refuge on Mount 

Orofena, a high mountain in Tahiti, saying that it was lofty 

and would not be reached by the sea. But his wife said that 

the sea would reach to Mount Orofena, and that they had 

better go to Mount O Pitohito, where they would be safe 

from the flood. So to Mount O Pitohito they went ; and 

she was right, for Orofena was overwhelmed by the sea, but 

O Pitohito rose above the waste of waters and became their 

abode. There they watched ten nights, till the sea ebbed, 

and they saw the little heads of the mountains appearing 

above the waves. When the sea retired, the land remained 

without produce, without man, and the fish were putrid in 

the caves and holes of the rocks. They said, " Dig a hole 

for the fieh in the sea." The wind also died away, and when 

all was calm, the stones and the trees began to fall from the 

heavens, to which they had been carried up by the wind. 

For all the trees of the land had been torn up and whirled 

1 W. Ellis, Polynesian Researches^ Second Edition (London, 1 832-1 836), 
i. 386 sq. 


aloft by the hurricane. The two looked about, and the 
woman said, " Wc two are safe from the sea, but death, or 
hurt, comes now in these stones that are falling. Where 
shall we abide ? " So the two dug a hole, lined it with grass, 
and covered it over with stones and earth. Then they crept 
into the hole, and sitting there they heard with terror the 
roar and crash of the stones falling down from the sky By 
and by the rain of stones abated, till only a few stones fell 
at intervals, and then they dropped one by one, and finally 
ceased altogether. The woman said, " Arise, go out, and see 
whether the stones are still falling." But her husband said, 
** Nay, I go not out, lest I die." A day and a night he 
waited, and in the morning he said, " The wind is tiuly dead, 
and the stones and the trunks of trees cease to fall, neither 
is there the sound of the stones." They went out, and like 
a small mountain was the heap of fallen stones and tree 
trunks. Of the land there remained the earth and the rocks, 
but the shrubs were destroyed by the sea. They descended 
from the mountain, and gazed with astonishment : there were 
no houses, nor coco-nuts, nor palm-trees, nor bread-fruit, nor 
hibiscus, nor grass : all was destroyed by the sea. The two 
dwelt together. The woman brought forth two children ; 
one was a son, the other a daughter. They grieved that 
there was no food for their children. Again the mother 
brought forth, but still there was no food ; then the bread- 
fruit bore fruit, and the coco-nut, and every other kind 
of food. In three days the land was covered with food ; 
and in time it swarmed with men also, for from those two 
persons, the father and the mother, all the people are 

In Raiatea, one of the Leeward Islands in the Tahitian Raiatcan 
group, tradition ran that shortly after the peopling of the ^^a^ 
world by the descendants of Taata, the sea-god Ruahatu from which 
was reposing among groves of coral in the depths of ocean, wiife^and"' 
when his repose was rudely interrupted. A fisherman, ch»*d were 

,,..•. I.J** /"^ri saved on an 

paddling his canoe overhead, m ignorance or forgetfulness island. 
of the divine presence, let down his hooks among the branch- 
ing corals at the bottom of the clear translucent water, and 
they became entangled in the hair of the sleeping god. 

* W. Ellis, Polynesian Researches^ i. 387-389. 




The coral 
isle where 

of the 
race found 
refuge from 
the tlood. 

With great difficulty the fisherman wrenched the hooks out 
of the ambrosial locks and began pulling them up hand-over- 
hand. But the god, enraged at being disturbed in his nap, 
came also bubbling up to the surface, and popping his head 
out of the water upbraided the fisherman for his impiety, and 
threatened in revenge to destroy the land. The affrighted 
fisherman prostrated himself before the sea-god, confessed 
his sin, and implored his forgiveness, beseeching that the 
judgment denounced might be averted, or at least that he 
himself might escape. Moved by his penitence and impor- 
tunity, Ruahatu bade him return home for his wife and child 
and go with them to Toamarama, a small island situated 
within the reefs on the eastern side of Raiatea. There he 
was promised security amid the destruction of the surround- 
ing islands. The man hastened home, and taking with him 
his wife and child he repaired to the little isle of refuge in 
the lagoon. Some say that he took with him also a friend, 
who was living under his roof, together with a dog, a pig, 
and a pair of fowls ; so that the refugees numbered four 
souls, together with the only domesticated animals which 
were then known in the islands. They reached the harbour 
of refuge before the close, of day, and as the sun set the 
waters of the ocean began to rise, and the inhabitants of the 
adjacent shore left their dwellings and fled to the moun- 
tains. All that night the waters rose, and next morning 
only the tops of the high mountains appeared above the 
widespread sea. Even these were at last covered, and all 
the inhabitants of the land perished. Afterwards the waters 
retired, the fisherman and his companions left their retreat, 
took up their abode on the mainland, and became the pro- 
genitors of the present inhabitants.^ 

The coral islet in which these forefathers of the race 
found refuge from the great flood is not more than two feet 
at the highest above the level of the sea, so that it is difficult 
to understand how it could have escaped the inundation, 
while the lofty mountains which tower up thousands of feet 
from the adjacent shore were submerged. This difficulty, 
however, presents no stumbling-block to the faith of the 
natives ; they usually decline to discuss such sceptical doubts, 

* W. Ellis, Polynesian Researihes, i. 389-391. 


and point triumphantly for confirmation of their story to the 
coral, shells, and other marine substances which are occa- 
sionally found near the surface of the ground on the tops of 
their highest mountains. These must, they insist, have been 
deposited there by the waters of the ocean when the islands 
were submerged.^ 

It is significant, as we shall see later on, that in these in these 
Tahitian legends the flood is ascribed solely to the rising of Tfthitian 

^ ^ t> legends the 

the sea, and not at all to heavy rain, which is not even flood is 
mentioned. On this point the Rev. William Ellis, to whom ^J^J,*^ 
we owe the record of these legends, makes the following the rising 
observations: " I have frequently conversed with the people not to the 
on the subject, both in the northern and southern groups, fail of rain. 
but could never learn that they had any accounts of the 
windows of heaven having been opened, or the rain having 
descended. In the legend of Ruahatu, the Toamarama of 
Tahiti, and the Kai of Kahinarii in Hawaii, the inundation 
is ascribed to the rising of the waters of the sea. In each 
account, the anger of the god is considered as the cause of 
the inundation of the world, and the destruction of its 
inhabitants." ^ 

When Mr. Ellis preached in the year 1822 to the Hawaiian 
natives of Hawaii on the subject of Noah's deluge, they ^fr^"fl^*^/ 
told him of a similar legend which had been handed 
down among. them. ** They said they were informed by 
their fathers, that all the land had once been overflowed by 
the sea, except a small peak on the top of Mouna-Kea, 
where two human beings were preserved from the destruction 
that overtook the rest, but they said they had never before 
heard of a ship, or of Noah, having been always accustomed 
to call it kai a Kahindrii (sea of Kahindrii)." ^ 

A somewhat later version of the Hawaiian legend runs Another 
thus. " A tradition of the flood likewise exists, which states "ge'l^^foJa 
that all the land, except the summit of Mauna-kea, was over- great Hood. 
flowed by copious rains and risings of the waters. Some of 
the inhabitants preserved themselves in a canoe, which finally 
rested upon that mountain ; after which the waters fell, and 
the people went forth, and again dwelt in the land. This 

* W. Ellis, Polynesian Researches^ 2 \v. Ellis, op. at, i. 392 sq, 

L 391. 3 \v. Kllis, op, cit, iv. 441 sq. 




one of the 

Story of the 
mation of 
into its 
through a 
the gods of 
the sea and 
the rain. 

flood is called Kaiakahnialii^ the great deluge of Hinaliu' ' 
In this later version there are two not unimportant variations 
from the earlier. First, the deluge is said to have been partly 
caused by rain, whereas in the earlier version there is no 
mention of rain, and in it the flood is attributed to the rising 
of the sea alone. Second, in the later version the survivors are 
reported to have saved themselves in a canoe, whereas in the 
earlier version no canoe is mentioned, the survivors being 
merely said to have escaped to the mountain. In both points 
the later version agrees with the Biblical legend and has 
probably been influenced by it. 

Mangaia, one of the Hervey Group, is an island which 
rises from deep water as a ring of live coral. The unbroken 
reef which surrounds it is covered by the sea at half tide. 
Inward from this ring of live coral rises a second ring of 
dead coral, from one to two miles wide, which falls away 
perpendicularly on the landward side, thus forming a sort of 
Cyclopean wall which runs right round the island. The 
interior of the island is composed of dark volcanic rock and 
red clay, which descend in low hills from a flat-topped centre 
known as the Crown of Mangaia. There is no lagoon. The 
streams, after fertilizing thousands of taro plantations, find 
their way to the sea by subterranean channels through the 
inner ring of dead coral." Such is Mangaia at the present 
time. But the natives say that it was ngt always so. 
Originally, if we may believe them, the surface of the island 
was everywhere a gentle uniform slope from the centre to 
the sea without a single hollow or valley. The process by 
which the island was transformed into the present shape is 
said to have been as follows. 

Aokeu, a son of Echo, disputed warmly with Ake who 
should perform the most wonderful thing. Ake's home is 
the ocean, and his constant employment is to tread down 
its flooring ; thus he ever deepens its vast basin, and enables 
it to hold more of his favourite element Ake was confident 
that he could easily beat Aokeu, who was ignobly bom of 
the continual drippings of purest w^ater from the stalactite 

* James Jackson Jarves, History of 
the Hawaiian or Sandwich Islands 
(Boston, 1843), p. 2S. 

2 Rev. W. Wyatt Gill, Life in the 
Southern Isles (London, N.D., preface 
dated 1876), pp. 7 jy. 


roof of a narrow cavern. His name means " Red Circle," 
and he is so called because after heavy rains the water 
washes down the red clay and tinges the ocean round the 
island with a crimson band. 

To make sure of success Ake summoned to his help How the 
Raka, the god of the winds, who drove a fearful hurricane .^aci^ 
over sea and land, as if he would bury the island in the the island 
depths. The two twin children of the blustering storm-god 
also lent their aid. One of them, Tikokura, is seen in the 
line of huge curling, foaming billows, which break in thunder 
on the reef, threatening to dash the solid coral itself into shivers. 
The other twin-child of the wind-god is Tane-ere-tue ; he 
manifests himself in the great storm-wave, which is rarely 
seen, but never without striking terror into the beholder. 
On rushed these mighty monsters, secure of victory. 
They swamped the rocks near the sea to the height of a 
hundred feet above the level of the sea. In proof of it you 
may see to this day numberless clam and other shells, as 
well as " coral-borers " {ungakod) imbedded in the solid rock, 
which is burrowed and worn, even at its highest points, into 
a thousand fantastic shapes by the action of the sea. 

Meantime, Aokeu on his side had not been idle. He How the 
caused the rain — his favourite element — to fall in sheets for [*"»"^^ 


five days and nights without intermission. The red clay out the 
and small stones were washed down into the ocean, dis- th^^iand. 
colouring its waters a long way from the land. On every 
side the channels deepened until the narrow valleys were 
formed ; but still the wind howled and the rain poured 
incessantly, till the deep valleys, walled in on the seaward 
side by perpendicular rocks, where the principal taro-grounds 
may now be seen, gradually assumed their present dimensions. 
The flat summit of the central hill, Rangimotia, the Crown of 
Mangaia, alone rose above the water, to mark the original 
height of the island. 

At the outset, Rangi, the first ruler of Mangaia, had been HowRangi 
warned of the desperate strife of the elements which was *"^ ^ ^"^'^ 

^ people 

about to take place ; and, with his few people, awaited at escaped 
Rangimotia the issue of the contest. With deep concern he H^on^th* 
saw on the one hand the wild ocean covering the belt of top of a 
rocks which surrounds the island, and, on the other hand, "*°"° '°' 

248 THE GEE A T FLOOD i'ar i i 

a vast lake of fresh water rising rapidly and rushing 
tumultuously to meet the advancing ocean. Everywhere an 
immense expanse of water met the eye of Rangi, save only 
the long narrow strip of level soil upon which he and his 
people tremblingly stood. Already the rising tide lapped 
their feet. What if it should rise a little higher ? Rangi 
resolved to appeal to the great god Rongo to save him and 
his beloved island from destruction. To reach the temple 
{marae) of the god, which faced the rising sun, Rangi had to 
wade through the waters, which reached to his chin, along a 
ridge of hills to a point callec} Teunu, lying due cast. Just 
there is a spot called " the standing-place of Rongo," because 
that god hearkened to his grandson's prayer, and looking at 
the war of waters — the flood from the land meeting and 
battling with the flood from the sea — he cried, "It is enough 
{A tiro) ! " The eye of Vatea, the Sun, opened at the same 
moment above the scene of conflict ; the god saw and pitied 
mankind. Then the sea sullenly sank to its former level : the 
rain ceased to fall : the waters of the interior were drained away ; 
and the island assumed its present agreeable diversity of hill 
and vale. Hence the proud title of the high god of Mangaia, 
" Rongo, the warder-off* of mad billows " {Rongo arai kca). 
victory Mankind were saved, and the land became better adapted 

min-god. ^^^" ^^^^ ^^ their abode. Aokeu, lord of rain, was acknow- 
ledged victor ; for the ocean had expended its fury in vain 
on the rocky heights near the sea, they still stood firm, and 
in vain had the twin-sons of the wind-god sought to storm 
the heights of the island. But the turbid floods, rushing 
down from the hills, flowed far away into the ocean, every- 
where marking their triumphant progress with the red clay 
of the mountains of Mangaia. So real was this war of the 
elements to the men of former days that they disputed as 
to the route which Rangi took in wading through the flood 
to the temple of Rongo, some holding that he took the 
straight road, others that he followed a more circuitous path 
to avoid a dip in the hills. ^ 

This story of a great flood is interesting, because it 
appears to be a simple myth invented to explain the peculiar 
physical features of the island. Had the writer who records 

* Rev. W. Wyatt Gill, Life in the Southern Isles, pp. 79-83. 


the tale not also described the aspect of the island, with This 
which he was familiar, we should probably have failed to ^ory^of^a^ 
perceive the purely local origin of the story, and might have flood is a 
been tempted to derive it from some distant source, perhaps jJJfJnded to 
even to find in it a confused reminiscence of Noah and the expiaiuthe 
ark. It is allowable to conjecture that many other stories ukncL 
of a great flood could similarly be resolved into merely local 
myths, if we were better acquainted with those natural features 
of the country which the tales were invented to explain. 

A somewhat different story of a great flood is told in Another 
Rakaanga, an outlying island of the Hervey Group. They ^^^^ ^^^ 
say that once on a time a certain chief named Taoiau was told in 
greatly incensed with his people for not bringing him the the Hervey 
sacred turtle. So in his wrath he roused all the mighty islands. 
sea-gods, on whose good-will the islands depend for their 
existence. Amongst them in particular was one who sleeps 
at the bottom of mid-ocean, but who on that occasion, moved 
by the king's prayer, stood up in anger like a vast upright 
stone. A dreadful hurricane burst forth ; the ocean rose and 
swept over the whole island of Rakaanga. The few in- 
habitants of those days escaped destruction by taking refuge 
on a mound, which was pointed out to the missionary who 
has recorded the tale. There was no mountain to which they 
could fly for safety, since the island is a low atoll covered 
with forests of coco-nut palms. The memorable event was 
long known as "the overwhelming of Taoiau."^ 

In Samoa it is, or used to be, a universal belief that of Samoan 
old the fish swam where the land now is ; and tradition adds oTa great 
that when the waters abated, many of the fish of the sea were flood. 
left on the land and were afterwards changed into stones. 
Hence, they say, in the bush and on the mountains there are 
stones in plenty which were once sharks and other inhabit- 
ants of the deep.^ According to another Samoan tradition 
the only survivor of the deluge was a certain Pili, who was 
either a man or a lizard, and by marriage with a bird, the 
stormy petrel, begat offspring whose names are recorded.^ 
The natives of Nanumanga or Hudson's Island, in the South Nanu- 

1 Kev. \V. Wyatt Gill, Life in the ncsia (London, 1861), pj). 249 .f^. story of a 

Southnn Isles, pp. 83 sq.; as to the "' W. v. l>iil(»\v, " Sanioanischc great flood. 

island, ib. p. 12. Sch<tpfungssnye uiul Urjjeschichtc," 

* G. TMrntv, Nitteiecu Years in Poly- Globus, Ixxi. (1897) p. 377. 

250 THE GREAT FLOOD part i 

Pacific, also tell of a deluge, and how it was dispelled by the 
sea-serpent, who, as a woman, married the earth as a man, and 
by him became the ancestress of the present race of mortals.^ 
Maori The Maoris of New Zealand have a long legend of the 

dduge °^ ^ deluge. They say that when men multiplied on the earth 
and there were many great tribes, evil prevailed everywhere, 
the tribes quarrelled and made war on each other. The 
worship of the great god Tane, who had created man and 
woman, was neglected and his doctrines openly denied. Two 
great prophets, indeed, there were who taught the true doctrine 
concerning the separation of heaven and earth, but men scoffed 
at them, saying that they were false teachers and that heaven 
and earth had been from the beginning just as we see them 
How a now. The names of these two wise prophets were Para- 
great flood whenua-mea and Tupu-nui-a-uta. They continued to preach 

of ram was ^ ^ ^ 

caused till the tribes cursed them, saying, "You two can eat the 

cantations ^^^^^ ^^ your history as food for you, and you can eat the 

of two heads of the words of that history." That grieved the pro- 

who saved P^cts, when men said the wicked words " Eat the heads," 

themselves and they grew angry. So they took their stone axes and 

from°ii oiT ^"^ down trees, and dragged the trunks to the source of the 

a raft. Tohinga River, and bound them together with vines and 

ropes, and made a very wide raft. Moreover, they built a 

house on the raft, and put much food in it, fern-root, and 

sweet potatoes, and dogs. Then they recited incantations 

and prayed that rain might descend in such abundance as 

would convince men of the existence and power of the god 

Tane, and would teach them the need of worship for life and 

for peace. After that the two prophets embarked on the 

raft, along with two men called Tiu and Reti and a woman 

named Wai-puna-hau. But there were other women also on 

the raft. Now Tiu was the priest on the raft, and he prayed 

and uttered incantations for rain. So it rained in torrents for 

four or five days, and then the priest repeated incantations 

to make the rain cease, and it ceased. But still the flood rose; 

next day it reached the settlement, and on the following day 

the raft was lifted up by the waters, and floated down the River 

Tohinga. Great as a sea was now the inundation, and the 

^ G. Turner, Samoa, a hundred years ago and long before (London, 1884), 
p. 288. 


raft drifted to and fro on the face of the waters. When 
they had tossed about for seven moons, the priest Tiu said 
to his companions, " We shall not die, we shall land on the 
earth " ; and in the eighth month he said moreover, " The 
sea has become thin ; the flood has begun to subside." The 
two prophets asked him, ** By what do you know ? " He 
answered, " By the signs of my staff." For he had kept his 
altar on one side of the deck, and there he performed his 
ceremonies, and repeated his incantations, and observed his 
staff. And he understood the signs of his staff, and he said 
again to his companions, " The blustering winds of the past 
moons have fallen, the winds of this month have died away, 
and the sea is calm." In the eighth month the raft no longer 
rolled as before ; it now pitched as well as rolled, so the 
priest knew that the sea was shallow, and that they were 
drawing near to land. He said to his companions, ** This is 
the moon in which we shall land on dry earth, for by the 
signs of my staff I know that the sea is becoming less deep." 
All the while they floated on the deep they repeated incanta- 
tions and performed ceremonies in honour of the god Tane. 
At last they landed on dry earth at Hawaiki. They thought 
that they might find some of the inhabitants of the world still 
alive, and that the earth would look as it had looked before 
the flood. But all was changed. The earth was cracked and 
Assured in some places, and in others it had been turned 
upside down and confounded by reason of the flood. And 
not one soul was left alive in the world. They who came 
forth from the raft were the solitary survivors of all the tribes 
of the earth. When they landed, the first thing they did was 
to perform ceremonies and repeat incantations. They wor- How on 
shipped Tane, and the Heaven (Rangi), and Rehua, and all the }rom"he 
gods; and as they worshipped them they offered them seaweed, raft after 
a length of the priest's two thumbs for each god. Each god {^cy 
was worshipped in a different place, and for each there was worshipped 
an altar, where the incantations were recited. The altar was ami^made 
a root of grass, a shrub, a tree, or a flax-bush. These were ^^ ^y 
the altars of the gods at that time ; and now, if any of the 
people of the tribes go near to such altars, the food they have 
eaten in their stomachs will swell and kill them. The chief 
priest alone may go to such holy spots. If common folk 

252 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

were to go to these sacred places and afterwards cook food 
in their village, the food would kill all who ate it It would 
be cursed by the sin of the people in desecrating the sanctit>' 
of the altars, and the punishment of the eaters would be death. 
When the persons who were saved on the raft had performed 
all the ceremonies needful for removing the taboo under which 
they laboured, they procured fire by friction at one of the 
sacred places. And with the fire the priest kindled bundles 
of grass, and he put a bundle of burning grass on each altar 
beside the piece destined for the god ; and the priests pre- 
sented the seaweed to the gods as a thank-offering for the 
rescue of the people from the flood and for the preservation 
of their lives on the raft.^ 
Other Other Maori stories of a great flood associate the cata- 

storiesof a strophe with a certain legendary hero called Tawhaki, They 
great flood say that once upon a time two of his brothers-in-law attacked 
wiih^the^ and wounded him and left him for dead. But he recovered 
name of from his wounds and quitted the place where his wicked 
Tawhaki brothers-in-law lived. Away he went with all his own warriors 
and their families, and he built a fortified village upon the top 
of a very lofty mountain, where he could easily defend himself, 
and there they all dwelt secure. ** Then he called aloud to 
the gods, his ancestors, for revenge, and they let the floods 
of heaven descend, and the earth was overwhelmed by the 
waters and all human beings perished, and the name given 
to that event was *The overwhelming of the Mataaho,' 
and the whole of that rac^ perished."^ Some say that 
Tawhaki was a man, who went up to the top of 
a mountain, and, having there transfigured himself by 
putting off his earthly raiment and put on a garment of 
lightning, was worshipped as a god, and all the tribes 
chanted incantations and offered sacrifices to him. In his 
divine character he once, in a fit of anger, stamped on 
the floor of heaven, so that it cracked and the celestial 
waters burst through and flooded the earth.^ Others say 

^ John White, The Antient History Mytholoi^j (London, 1S55), pp. 60 

of the Maori (Wellington and London, sq. 

1887 1889),!. 172-178. I have much 3 John White, The Ancient History 

abridged the original lej^end. A briefer of the Maoris i. 55; R. Taylor, Te 

version is recorded by the same writer Ika A Miui^ or Xeiu Zealand and its 

{op, cit, i. 180 sif,). Inhabitants^ Second Edition (London, 

2 Sir George Grey, Polynesian 1870), pp. loi, 115 note t. 


that it was Tawhaki's mother who caused the deluge by 
weeping so copiously . that her tears, failing on the earth, 
inundated it and drowned all men.^ 

In Micronesia as well as Polynesia the story of a great Micro- 
flood has been recorded. The Pelew Islanders say that once "f a^^i^ 
on a time a man went up into the sky, whence the gods with flood told 
their shining eyes, which are the stars, look down' every p^j^J^ 
night upon the earth. The cunning fellow stole one of these islanders. 
bright eyes and brought it home with him, and all the money 
of the Pelew Islanders has been made out of that starry eye 
ever since. But the gods were very angry at the theft, and 
down they came to earth to reclaim their stolen property and 
to punish the thief. They disguised themselves in the like- How the 
ness of ordinary men,. and begged for food and lodging from dh!g„ised 
door to door. But men were churlish and turned them away jis men, 
without a bite or a sup. Only one old woman received them old woman 
kindly in her cottage, and set before them the best she had ^^^ how 

she W AR 

to eat and drink. So when they went away they warned saved from 
the old woman to make a raft of bamboo ready against the ^^^ ^^^^ 
next full moon, and when the night of the full moon came 
she was to lie down on the raft and sleep. She did as she 
was bidden. Now with the full moon came a dreadful storm 
and rain, and the sea rose higher and higher, and flooded the 
islands, rent the mountains, and destroyed the abodes of 
men ; and people knew not how to save themselves, and they 
all perished in the rising flood. But the good old dame, fast 
asleep on the raft, was borne on the face of the waters and 
drifted till her hair caught in the boughs of a tree on the top 
of Mount Armlimui. There she lay, while the flood ebbed 
and the water sank lower and lower down the sides of the 
mountain. Then the gods came down from the sky to seek 
for the good old woman whom they had taken under their 
protection, but they found her dead. So they summoned 
one of their women-folk from heaven, and she entered into 
the dead body of the old woman and made her live. After 
that the gods begat five children by the resuscitated old 
wife, and having done so they left the earth and returned to 
heaven ; the goddess who had kindly reanimated the corpse 
of the ancient dame also went back to her mansion in the 

' John White, The Ancient History of the Maon\ i, II3 j^. 

254 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

sky. But the five children of the divine fathers and the 
human mother repeopled the Pelew Islands, and from them 
the present inhabitants are descended.^ 

§ 14. Stories of a Great Flood in South America 

Story of a At the time of their discovery the Indians of Brazil, in 

Sidbythe ^'^^ neighbourhood of what was afterwards Rio de Janeiro, 
Indians of had a legend of a universal deluge in which only two 
brothers with their wives were saved. According to one 
account, the flood covered the whole earth and all men 
perished except the ancestors of those Indians, who escaped 
by climbing up into high trees ; ^ others, however, thought 
that the survivors were saved in a canoe.* 
The story As reported by the Frenchman Andr^ Thevet, who 

ihe Indians travelled in Brazil about the middle of the sixteenth century, 
about Cape the story related by the Indians about Cape Frio ran thus. 
A certain great medicine-man, by name Sommay, had two sons 
called Tamendonare and Ariconte. Tamendonare tilled the 
ground and was a good father and husband, and he had a 
wife and children. But his brother Ariconte cared for none 
of these things. He busied himself only with war, and his 
one desire was to subdue neighbouring peoples and even his 
own righteous brother. One day this truculent warrior, 
returning from a battle, brought to his peaceful brother the 
amputated arm of a slain foe, and as he did so he said 
proudly to his brother, ** Away with you, coward that you 
are. I'll have your wife and children, for you are not strong 
enough to defend them." The good man, grieved at his 
brother's pride, answered with stinging sarcasm, "If you are 
as valiant as you say, why did not you bring the whole car- 
cass of your enemy ? " Indignant at the taunt, Ariconte 

* Karl Semper, Die Palan-Inseln 53 sq, 

(I^ipsic, 1873), pp. 195 sq. Accord- * J. Lery (Lerius), Historia Nttvi- 

ing to another version of the story the gatiouis in Brasiliam^ quae et America 

anger of the gods was kindled, not by dicitur (1586), p. 238 [wrongly num- 

thc theft of one of their eyes, but by bered 220]. 

the murder of one of their number. ^ The Captivity of Hans Stade of 

The rest of the story agrees substantially Hesse ^ in a.D. iS47''5S5i O'^ong the 

with the one given in the text. See Wild Tribes of Eastern Brazil^ trans- 

J. Kubary, "Die Religion der Pelauer," lated by Albert Tootal and annotated 

in Adolf Bastian's AlUrlei aus Volks- by (Sir) Richard F. Burton (London, 

und Menschenkunde (Berlin, 1888), i. the Hakluyt Society, 1874), p. 148, 


threw the arm at the door of his brother's house. At the 
same moment the village in which they dwelt was trans- 
ported to the sky, but the two brothers remained on earth. 
Seeing that, in astonishment or anger Tamendonare stamped How the 
on the ground so forcibly that a great fountain of water JI^J^j^^ 
sprang from it and rose so high that it out-topped the hills a quarrel 
and seemed to mount above the clouds ; and the water con- two*^" 
tlnued to spout till it had covered the whole earth. On i>rothers. 
perceiving their danger, the two brothers hastened to ascend Jhe 
the highest mountains, and there sought to save themselves *>rothers 
by climbing the trees, along with their wives. Tamendonare ^^^ves 
climbed one tree, called pindona, of which the French escaped 
traveller saw two sorts, one of them with larger fruit and climbing 
leaves than the other. In his flight from the rising flood he ^*^* 
dragged up one of his wives with him, while his brother 
with his wife climbed another tree called geniper. While 
they were all perched among the boughs, Ariconte gave ' 
some of the fruit of the tree to his wife, saying, ** Break off" 
some of the fruit and let it fall." She did so, and they 
perceived by the splash that the water was still high, and 
that it was not yet time for them to descend into the valley. 
The Indians believe that in this flood all men and women 
were drowned, except the two brothers and their wives, and 
that from these two pairs after the deluge there came forth 
two different peoples, to wit, the Tonnasseares, surnamed 
Tupinambo, and the Tonnaitz Hoyanans, surnamed Tominu, 
who are at perpetual feud and war with each other. The 
Tupinambo, wishing to exalt themselves and to make them- 
selves out better than their fellows and neighbours, say, " We 
are descended from Tamendonare, while you are descended 
from Ariconte," by which they imply that Tamendonare 
was a better man than Ariconte.^ 

A somewhat different version of the same legend was Another 
recorded by the Jesuit Simon de Vasconcellos. In it only o^the" 
a single family is said to have been saved, and no mention Brazilian 
is made of the bad brother. Once upon a time, so runs the ^^^^' 
tale, there was a clever medicine-man or sorcerer named 
Tamanduare. To him the great god Tupi revealed the 

* Andre Thevct, I.a CosmographU UniverseUc (Paris, 1575), ii. 914 sq. 
[wrongly numbered for 947 5q,\ 

256 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

coming of a great flood which would swamp the earth, so 
that even the high trees and mountains would be submerged. 
Only one lofty peak would rise above the waters, and on its 
top would be found a tall palm-tree with a fruit like a coco- 
nut. To that palm the sorcerer was warned to turn for 
refuge with his family in the hour of need. Without delay 
Tamanduare and his family betook themselves to the top of 
the lofty peak. When they were safely there, it began to 
rain, and it rained and rained till all the earth was covered. 
The flood even crept up the mountain and washed over the 
summit, and the man and his family climbed up into the 
palm-tree and remained in the branches so long as the 
inundation lasted, and they subsisted by eating the fruit of 
the palm. When the water subsided, they descended, and 
being fruitful they proceeded to repeople the drowned and 
devastated world.^ 
Story of a The Caingangs, or Coroados, an Indian tribe of Rio 

fold by the Grande do Sul, the most southerly province of Brazil, have 
Caingangs, a tradition of a great flood which covered the whole earth 
Coroados, inhabited by their forefathers. Only the top of the coastal 
ofSouthern range called Serra do Mar still appeared above the water. 
The members of three Indian tribes, namely the Caingangs, 
the Cayurucres, and the Games, swam on the water of the 
flood toward the mountains, holding lighted torches between 
their teeth. But the Cayurucres and the Camcs grew weary, 
they sank under the waves and were drowned, and their 
souls went to dwell in the heart of the fnountain. However, 
the Caingangs and a few of the Curutons made shift to reach 
the mountain, and there they abode, some on the ground, 
and some on the branches of trees. Several days passed, 
and yet the water did not sink, and they had no foo.d to eat. 
They looked for nothing but death, when they heard the 
song of the saracuras, a species of waterfowl, which flew to 
them with baskets of earth. This earth the birds threw into 
the water, which accordingly began slowly to sink. The 

* Carl Tcschauer, S.J., ** Mythen (referring to Simam de Vasconcellos, 

und alte Volkssiv^cn aiis Hrasilien," Notirias curiosas do Brasil^ p. 52) ; 

Anthropos^ i. (1006) p. 738; Maxi- J. Ci. Miiller, Grschichte der Amerika- 

milian Prinz zu Wied-Xeuwied, Rcise. nischen Urreli^ioucn (Bale, 1867), P* 

nach Bras Hit ft in den Jahren tSti; bis 267. 
iSiy (Frankfort, 1820 1821), ii. 59 


people cried to the birds to hurry, so the birds called the 
ducks to their help, and working together they soon cleared 
enough room and to spare for all the people, except for such 
as had climbed up the trees : these latter were turned into 
monkeys. When the flood subsided, the Caingangs de- 
scended and settled at the foot of the mountain. The 
souls of the drowned Cayurucres and Games contrived to 
burrow their way out from the bowels of the mountain in 
which they were imprisoned ; and when they had crept forth 
they kindled a fire, and out of the ashes of the fire one of 
the Cayurucres moulded jaguars, and tapirs, and ant-bears, 
and bees, and animals of many other sorts, and he made 
them live and told them what they should eat. But one of 
the Games imitated him by fashioning pumas, and poisonous 
snakes, and wasps, all in order that these creatftres should 
fight the other animals which the Gayurucres had made, as 
they do to this day.^ 

A story of a great flood is told also by the Garayas, story of a 
a tribe of Brazilian Indians, who inhabit the valley of the STdbythe 
Araguaya River, which, with the Tocantins, forms the most Carayas of 
easterly of the great southern tributaries of the Amazon. 
The tribe is said to differ from all its neighbours in manners 
and customs as well as in physical characteristics, while its 
language appears to be unrelated to any other known lan- 
guage spoken by the Indians of Brazil.^ The Caraya story 
of a deluge runs thus. Once upon a time the Garayas 
were out hunting wild pigs and drove the animals into their 
dens. Thereupon they began to dig them out, killing each 
pig as it was dragged forth. In doing so they came upon 
a deer, then a tapir, and then a white deer. Digging still 
deeper, they laid bare the feet of a man. Horrified at the 
discovery, they fetched a mighty magician, who knew all 
the beasts of the forest, and he contrived to draw the man 
out of the earth. The man thus unearthed was named 
Anatiua, and he had a thin body but a fat paunch. He 

1 C. 'leschauer, S.J., **Die Cain- 16 sq.). 
gang oder Coroados-Indi«xner im brasi- ^ P. Ehrenreich, Beitrdge zur Vol- 

lianischen Staate Rio Grande do Sol," kerkundc Hranlicns (Berlin, 189 1), pp. 

Anthropos^ ix. (1914) pp. 32 sq. The 3, 9 {Verdffentlichtingen aits dem konig- 

Caingangs or Coroados were formerly lichen Museutn fur Vl>lkerkunde^ vol, 

known as the Guayanas {of>. cit, pp. ii. Heft 1/2). 


258 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

now began to sing, '* I am Anatiua. Bring me tobacco to 
smoke." But the Carayas did not understand what he said. 
They ran about the wood, and came back with all kinds of 
flowers and fruits, which they offered to Anatiua. But he 
refused them all, and pointed to a man who was smoking. 
Then they understood him and offered him tobacco. He 
took it and smoked till he fell to the ground senseless. So 
they carried him to the canoe and brought him to the village. 
There he awoke from his stupor and began to dance and 
sing. But his behaviour and his unintelligible speech 
frightened the Carayas, and they decamped, bag and bag- 
gage. That made Anatiua very angry, and he turned him- 
self into a great piranha and followed them, carrying with 
him many calabashes full of water. He called to the 
Carayas to halt, but they paid no heed, and in his rage 
he smashed one of the calabashes which he was carry- 
ing. The water at once began to rise, but still the Carayas 
pursued their flight. Then he broke another calabash, and 
then another and another, and higher and higher rose the 
water, till the whole land was inundated, and only the 
mountains at the mouth of Tapirape River projected above 
the flood. The Carayas took refuge on the two peaks of 
that range. Anatiua now called all fish together to drag 
the people down into the water. Thajakji, th^ pintado^ and 
the pacu tried to do so, but none of them succeeded. At 
last the bicudo (a fish with a long beak-like snout) contrived 
to scale the mountain from behind and to tear the Carayas 
down from its summit. A great lagoon still marks the spot 
where Aey fell. Only a few persons remained * on the top 
of the mountain, and they descended when the water of 
p. Ehren- the flood had run away.^ On this story the writer who 
Caraya* ^ records it remarks that " though in general regularly 
flood story, recurring inundations, as on the Araguaya, do not give 
rise to flood stories, as Andree has rightly pointed 

^ P. Ehrenreich, Beitriic^e zur J^ol- the Carayas were guided by an animal 

kerhinde Brastliens [htxMn^ 1891), pp. {^^ Mai fori ^ prime iro bichu^ das erstt 

40 J^. Comp^iTQ id. ^ Die Afyf/wn iind oder oberste^ ausgezeicktutste Ticr''\ 

Legenden der Siidamerikanischen Ur- See W. Kissenberth, *'Ober die haupt- 

w//'<rr (Berlin, 1905), p. 28 (Supple- sachlichsten Ergebnisse der Araguaya- 

ment to vol. xxxvii. of the Zeitschrifi Reise," Zeitschrift fur Ethnohgie^ 

fiir Etkfwhgie), According to another xliv. (191 2) p. 49. 
account, in their escape to the mountains 


out,^ yet the local conditions are here favourable to the crea- 
tion of such a story. The traveller, who, after a long voyage 
between endless low river-banks, suddenly comes in sight of 
the mighty conical mountains on the Tapirape River, tower- 
ing abruptly from the plain, can easily understand how the 
Carayas, who suffer much from inundations, came to tell 
their story of the flood. Perhaps on some occasion when 
the inundation rose to an unusual height, these mountains 
may really have served as a last refuge to the inhabitants 
of the surrounding district" And he adds, ** As in most 
South American legends of a flood, this particular flood is 
said to have been caused, not by rain, but by the breaking 
of vessels full of water." ^ 

The Ipurina, a warlike tribe on the Purus River, one of story of a 
the great rivers which flow into the Upper Amazon from the fJi^by^the 
south, tell of a destructive deluge of hot water. They say ipurina of 
that formerly there was a great kettle of boiling water in the p^^usr'^ 
sun. About it perched or fluttered a countless flock of 
storks. Some of the birds flew over the world collecting 
everything that mouldered or decayed to throw it into the 
kettle. Only the hard, indestructible pamkuba wood they 
left alone. The storks surrounded the kettle and waited 
till something appeared on the surface of the boiling water, 
whereupon they snapped it up. Now the chief of the storks, 
indeed the creator of all birds, was Mayuruberu. When the 
water in the kettle was getting low, he cast a round stone 
into it The kettle was upset, the hot liquid poured down 
on earth and burned everything up, including the woods 
and even the water. Mankind indeed survived, but of the 
vegetable world nothing escaped but the cassia. The 
ancestor of the Ipurina was the sloth. He climbed the 
cassia-tree to fetch down the fruits, for men had nothing 
else to subsist upon. On earth it was very dark, for the 
sun and moon were hidden. The sloth plucked the fruit - 
and threw down the kernels. The first kernel fell on hard 

1 R. And ree, Z>iV /7tt/j«^c'«, p. 146, formation of such a tradition. The 

** A local event, such as the inunda- periodical rise of the Nile, and the 

tion of a river in special circumstances, mi|;hty swelling of the Abyssinian 

may give rise to the tradition of a rivers, have never occasioned flood 

flood ; whereas regularly recurring in- legends." 

nndations, which may be expected at ^ P. Ehrenrcich, Beitr(i^:^c zttr llol^ 

definite seasons, arc no cause for the kerkunde BrasiliiuSy p. 41. 

26o THE GREAT FLOOD parti 

earth, the second in water, the third in deep water, and so 
on. At the fall of the first kernel, the sun appeared again, 
but still very small, hardly an inch across ; at the fall of the 
second, it was larger ; at the fall of the third, it measured a 
span across ; and so on until it expanded to its present 
dimensions. Next the sloth begged Mayuruberu to give 
him seeds of useful fruits. So Mayuruberu appeared with a 
great basketful of plants, and the Ipurina began to till their 
fields. He who would not work was eaten by Mayuruberu. 
Every day Mayuruberu received a man to devour. Thus 
the world gradually became such as it is at the present 
time. The kettle still stands in the sun, but it is empty.^ 
Story of a Again, the Pamarys, Abederys, and Kataushys, on the 

gr^t flood rjver Purus, relate that once on a time people heard a rumbling 
other above and below the ground. The sun and moon, also, turned 

^ftiie"^ red, blue, and yellow, and the wild beasts mingled fearlessly 
river with men. A month later they heard a roar and saw dark- 

^^"^ ness ascending from the earth to the sky, accompanied by 
thunder and heavy rain, which blotted out the day and the 
earth. Some people lost themselves, some died, without 
knowing why ; for everything was in a dreadful state of con- 
fusion. The water rose very high, till the earth was sunk 
beneath the water and only the branches of the highest trees 
still stood out above the flood. Thither the people had fled for 
refuge, and there, perched among the boughs, they perished 
of cold and hunger ; for all the time it was dark and the rain 
fell. Then only Uassu and his wife were saved. When 
they came down after the flood they could not find a single 
corpse, no, not so much as a heap of bleached bones. After 
that they had many children, and they said one to the other, 
" Go to, let us build our houses on the river, that when the 
water rises, we too may rise with it" But when they saw 
that the land was dry and solid, they thought no more about it. 
* Yet the Pamarys build their houses on the river to this day,^ 
Story of a '^^^ Jibaros, an Indian tribe on the upper waters of the 

great flood Amazon, in the territories of Peru and Ecuador, have 
jtbarosof^ also a tradition, more or less confused, of a great deluge 

the Upper 

Amazon. , p phrenreich, Beitrage zur Vol- und Volkssagcn aus Brasilien," An- 

kerkunde BrasilicnSy pp. ^i sg. thropos^ i. (1 906) p. 739. 

3 Carl Teschauer, SJ., »* Mythen 


which happened long ago. They say that a great cloud 
fell from heaven, which turned into rain and caused the 
death of all the inhabitants of the earth ; only an old man 
and his two sons were saved, and it was they who re- 
peopled the earth after the deluge, though how they contrived 
to. do so without the assistance of a woman is a detail about 
which our authority does not deign to enlighten us. How- 
ever that may be, one of the two sons who survived was 
cursed by his father, and the Jibaros are descended from 
him. The curse may be a reminiscence of the story of Noah 
and his sons recorded in Genesis, of which the Jibaros may 
have heard through missionaries. The difficulty of propa- 
gating the human species without the help of the female sex 
would seem to have struck the acuter minds among the 
Jibaros, for according to some of them the survivors of the 
deluge were a man and a woman, who took refuge in a cave 
on a high mountain, together with samples of all the various 
species of the animal kingdom. This version provides, with 
commendable foresight, for the restoration of animals as well 
as of men after the great flood. Yet another version of the 
story told by the Jibaros solves the problem of population 
in a more original manner. Nobody, they say, escaped the 
flood but two brothers, who found refuge in a mountain which, 
strange to tell, rose higher and higher with the rise of the 
waters. When the flood had subsided, the two brothers 
went out to search for food, and on their return to the hut 
what was their surprise to find victuals set forth ready for 
them I To clear up the mystery, one of the brothers hid 
himself, and from his place of concealment he saw two parrots 
with the faces of women enter the hut and prepare the meal. 
Darting out from his ambush he seized one of the birds and 
married it or her, and from this marriage sprang three boys 
and three girls, who became the ancestors of the Jibaros.^ 

The Muratos, a branch of the Jibaros in Ecuador, have Story of a 
their own version of the deluge story. They say that once ^f^by^the 
on a time a Murato Indian went to fish in a lagoon of the Muratos of 
Pastaza River ; a small crocodile swallowed his bait, and '^"^ ^^' 

1 Dr. Rivet, "Leslndiens Jibaros," identical with the Canari story of a 
/J Anthropologies xix. (1908) pp. 235 flood. See below, pp. 268 sq. 
sq. The last of these versions is clearly 

262 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

the fisherman killed the young animal. The crocodile's 
mother, or rather the mother of crocodiles in general, was 
angry and lashed the water with her tail, till the water over- 
flowed and flooded all the neighbourhood of the lagoon. All 
the people were drowned except one man, who climbed a 
palm-tree and stayed there for many days. All the time it 
was as dark as night From time to time he dropped a 
fruit of the palm, but he always heard it splash in the water. 
At last one day the fruit which he let fall dropped with a 
simple thud on the ground ; there was no splash, so he knew 
that the flood had subsided. Accordingly he descended from 
the tree, built a house, and set about to till a field. He was 
without a wife, but he soon provided himself with one by 
cutting off" a piece of his own body and planting it in the 
ground ; for from the earth thus fertilized there sprang up a 
woman, whom he married.^ 
Story of a The incident of a moving mountain, which meets us 

STd b^°h^ in the Jibaro story of the flood, recurs in another Indian 
Arau- narrative of the great catastrophe. The Araucanians of 
Chiir*^ °^ Chili have a tradition of a great deluge, in which only a few 
persons were saved. These fortunate survivors took refuge 
on a high mountain called Thegtheg, the thundering, 
or the sparkling, which had three points and possessed the 
property of floating on water. " From hence," says the 
Spanish historian, " it is inferable that this deluge was in 
consequence of some volcanic eruption, accompanied by 
terrible earthquakes, and is probably very different from that 
of Noah. Whenever a violent earthquake occurs, these 
people fly for safety to those mountains which they fancy to 
be of a similar appearance, and which of course, as they sup- 
pose, must possess the same property of floating on the 
water, assigning as a reason, that they are fearful after an 
earthquake that the sea will again return and deluge the 
world. On these occasions, each one takes a good supply of 
provisions, and wooden plates to protect their heads from 
being scorched, provided the Thegtheg, when raised by the 
waters, should be elevated to the sun. Whenever they are 
told that plates made of earth would be much more suitable 
for this purpose than those of wood, which are liable to be 

1 Dr. Rivet, ** Les Indiens Jibaros," IS Anthropologic ^ xix. (1908) pp. 236 sq. 


burned, their usual reply is, that their ancestors did so before 
them." * 

The Ackawois of British Guiana tell a story of the Story of a 
great flood which is enriched by a variety of details. They ^^by*the 
say that in the beginning of the world the great spirit Ackawois 
Makonaima created birds and beasts and set his son Sigu Guiana! 
to rule over them. Moreover, he caused to spring from 
the earth a great and very wonderful tree, which bore a 
different kind of fruit on each of its branches, while round 
its trunk bananas, plantains, cassava, maize, and corn of all 
kinds grew in profusion ; yams, too, clustered round its 
roots ; and in short all the plants now cultivated on earth 
flourished in the greatest abundance on or about or under 
that marvellous tree. In order to diffuse the benefits of the 
tree all over the world, Sigu resolved to cut it down and 
plant slips and seeds of it everywhere, and this he did with 
the help of all the beasts and birds, all except the brown 
monkey, who, being both lazy and mischievous, refused to 
assist in the great work of transplantation. So to keep him 
out of mischief Sigu set the animal to fetch water from the 
stream in a basket of open-work, calculating that the task 
would occupy his misdirected energies for some time to come. 
In the meantime, proceeding with the labour of felling the 
miraculous tree, he discovered that the stump was hollow 
and full of water in which the fry of every sort of fresh-water 
fish was swimming' about. The benevolent Sigu determined 
to stock all the rivers and lakes on earth with the fry on so 
liberal a scale that every sort of fish should swarm in every 
water. But this generous intention was unexpectedly frus- 
trated. For the water in the cavity, being connected with How the 
the great reservoir somewhere in the bowels of the earth, ^^J|^^ 
began to overflow ; and to arrest the rising flood Sigu by the 
covered the stump with a closely woven basket. This had thcbrown 
the desired effect But unfortunately the brown monkey, monkey. 
tired of his fruitless task, stealthily returned, and his curiosity 
being aroused by the sight of the basket turned upside down, 
he imagined that it must conceal something good to eat. 
So he cautiously lifted it and peeped beneath, and out poured 

* J. Ignatius Molina, The Geop-aphical^ Natural^ afid Civil History of Chili 
(London, 1809), ii. 93 sq. 

264 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

the flood, sweeping the monkey himself away and inundating 
the whole land. Gathering the rest of the animals together 
Sigu led them to the highest point of the country, where grew 
some tall coco-nut palms. Up the tallest of these trees he 
caused the birds and climbinganimals to ascend ; and as for the 
animals that could not climb and were not amphibious, he shut 
them up in a cave with a very narrow entrance, and having 
sealed up the mouth of it with wax he gave the animals inside 
a long thorn with which to pierce the wax and so ascertain 
when the water had subsided. After taking these measures for 
the preservation of the more helpless species, he and the rest 
of the creatures climbed up the palm-tree and ensconced them- 
selves among the branches. During the darkness and storm 
which followed, they all suffered intensely from cold and 
hunger ; the rest bore their sufferings with stoical fortitude, 
but the red howling monkey uttered his anguish in such 
horrible yells that his throat swelled and has remained dis- 
tended ever since ; that, too, is the reason why to this day 
How the he has a sort of bony drum in his throat Meanwhile Sigu 
sinking of fj.Qj^ W\Ti^ to time let fall seeds of the palm into the water 

the flood ^ 

was to judge of its depth by the splash. As the water sank, the 

UieTiash^ interval between the dropping of the seed and the splash in 
of seeds the water grew longer ; and at last, instead of a splash, the 
fhe water" listening Sigu heard the dull thud of the seeds striking the 
soft earth. Then he knew that the flood had subsided, and 
he and the animals prepared to descend. But the trumpeter- 
bird was in such a hurry to get down that he flopped straight 
into an ants' nest, and the hungry insects fastened on his legs 
and gnawed them to the bone. That is why the trumpeter- 
bird has still such spindle shanks. The other creatures pro- 
fited by this awful example and came down the tree cautiously 
and safely. Sigu now rubbed two pieces of wood together to 
make fire, but just as he produced the first spark, he happened 
to look away, and the bush-turkey, mistaking the spark for a fire- 
fly, gobbled it up and flew off. The spark burned the greedy 
bird's gullet, and that is why turkeys have red wattles on 
their throats to this day. The alligator was standing by at 
the time, doing no harm to anybody ; but as he was for some 
reason an unpopular character, all the other animals accused 
him of having stolen and swallowed the spark. In order to 


recover the spark from the jaws of the alligator Sigu tore 
out the animars tongue, and that is why alligators have no 
tongue to speak of down to this very day.^ 

The Arawaks of British Guiana believe that since its story of the 
creation the world has been twice destroyed, once by fire destruction 
and once by flood. Both destructions were brought on it world by 
by Aiomun Kondi, the great " Dweller on High," because of ^^^^0,^ 
the wickedness of mankind. But he announced beforehand by the 
the coming catastrophe, and men who accepted the warning of b^^i^ 
prepared to escape from the great fire by digging deep into Guiana, 
a sand-reef and there making for themselves a subterranean 
chamber with a roof of timber supported' on massive pillars 
of the same material. Over it all they spread layers of earth 
and a thick upper coating of sand. Having carefully removed 
everything combustible from the neighbourhood, they retired 
to this underground dwelling and there stayed quietly till the 
roaring torrent of flame, which swept across the earth's sur- 
face, had passed over them. Afterwards, when the destruc- 
tion of the world by a deluge was at hand, a pious and wise 
chief named Marerewana was informed of the coming flood 
and saved himself and his family in a large canoe. Fearing 
to drift away out to sea or far from the home of his fathers, 
he had made ready a long cable of bush-rope, with which he 
tied his bark to the trunk of a great tree. So when the 
waters subsided he found himself not far from his former 

The Macusis of British Guiana say that in the beginning story of a 
the good spirit Makunaima, whose name means " He who ^^ ^y^e 
works in the night," created the heaven and the earth. Macusis of 
When he had stocked the earth with plants and trees, he Gui^a. 
came down from his celestial mansion, climbed up a tall tree, 
and chipped off the bark with a big stone axe. The chips 
fell into the river at the foot of the tree and were changed 
into animals of all kinds. When he had thus provided for 
the creation of animals, the good spirit next created man ; 
and when the man had fallen into a sound sleep he awoke to 
find a woman standing at his side. Afterwards the tvil spirit 

1 Rev. W. II. Brett, The Indian 1SS3), pp. 379-381. 
Tribes of Guiana (London, 186S), pp. 

378-384; (Sir) Everard F. im Tluirn, 2 Rcv. W. II. Brett, The Indian 

Amongthelftdians of Guiana (London^ Tribes of Guiana^ pp. 398/^. 

266 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

got the upper hand on earth ; so the good spirit Makunaima 
sent a great flood. Only one man escaped in a canoe ; he 
sent out a rat to see whether the water had abated, and the 
rat returned with a cob of maize. When the deluge had 
retreated, the man repeopled the earth, like Deucalion and 
Pyrrha, by throwing stones behind him.^ In this story the 
special creation of woman, the mention of the evil spirit, and 
the incident of the rat sent out to explore the depth of the 
flood, present suspicious resemblances to the Biblical narrative 
and may be due to missionary, or at all events European, 
influence. Further, the mode in which, after the flood, the 
survivors create mankind afresh by throwing stones behind 
them, resembles so exactly the corresponding incident in the 
Greek story of Deucalion and Pyrrha, that it is difficult to 
regard the two as independent. 
Stories of a Legends of a great flood are current also among the 
^^jjj°^ Indians of the Orinoco. On this subject Humboldt observes : 
among the »* I cannot quit this first chain of the mountains of Encam- 
oftheT^ arada without recalling a fact which was not unknown to 
Orinoco. Father Gili, and which was often mentioned to me during 
our stay among the missions of the Orinoco. The aborigines 
of these countries have preserved a belief that at the time of 
the great flood, while their fathers were forced to betake 
themselves to canoes in order to escape the general inunda- 
tion, the waves of the sea broke against the rocks of 
Encamarada. This belief is not found isolated among a 
single people, the Tamanaques ; it forms part of a system of 
historical traditions of which scattered notices are discovered 
among the Maypures of the great cataracts, among the 
Indians of the Rio Erevato, which falls into the Caura, and 
among almost all the tribes of the Upper Orinoco. When 
the Tamanaques are asked how the human race escaped this 
great cataclysm, * the Age of Water,' as the Mexicans call it, 
they say that one man and one woman were saved on a high 
mountain called Tamanacu, situated on the banks of the 
Asiveru, and that on casting behind them, over their heads, 
the fruits of the Mauritia palm, they saw springing from the 
kernels of these fruits men and women, who repeopled the 

1 Richard Schomburgk, Rcisen in Britisch- Guiana (Leipsic, 1 847- 1848), 
ii. 319* 320. 



earth." ^ This they did in obedience to a voice which they 
heard speaking to them as they descended the mountain full 
of sorrow at the destruction of mankind by the flood. The 
fruits which the man threw became men, and the fruits 
which the woman threw became women.^ 

The Muyscas or Chibchas of Bogota, in the high Andes story of a 
of Colombia, say that long ago their ancestors offended fow bythe 
Chibchachum, a deity of the second rank, who had hitherto Muyscas or 
been their special patron and protector. To • punish them, ^f Bogota. 
Chibchachum created the torrents of Sopo and Tibito, which, 
pouring down from the hills, flooded the whole plain and 
rendered cultivation impossible. The people fled to the 
mountains, but even there the rising waters of the inundation 
threatened to submerge them. In despair they prayed to 
the great god Bochica, who appeared to them seated on a 
rainbow and holding a golden wand in his hand. " I have 
heard your prayers," said he, " and I will punish Chibchachum. 
I shall not destroy the rivers which he has created, because 
they will be useful to you in time of drought, but I will open 
a passage for the waters." With these words he threw his 
golden wand at the mountain, split it from top to bottom 
at the spot where the river Fun?ha now forms the famous 
waterfall of Tequendama. So all the waters of the deluge 
flowed away down this new opening in the circle of moun- 
tains which encloses the high upland tableland of Bogota, 
and thus the plain became habitable again. To punish 
Chibchachum, the great god Bochica condemned him to bear 
on his shoulders the whole weight of the earth, which before 
that time was supported on massive pillars of wood. When 
the weary giant tries to get a little ease by shifting his burden 
from one shoulder to another, he causes an earthquake.^ 

This tradition is in so far well founded as the evidence 

* Alexandre dc Humboldt, Voyage 
aux rigions equinoxiaUs du Nouveatt 
Continent^ i. (Paris, 18 14) pj). 238 sg. 

* R. Schomburgk, Reisen in 
Britisch'Guianat ii. 320. The Acha- 
guas of the Upper Orinoco are reported 
to have a legend of a great flood, from 
which one of their ancestors escajxxi 
on a high mountain. The authority 
for the statement is a Jesuit Father 
named Juan Rivero, whose work {HiS' 

toria de las Misiones de los Llanos de 
Casanare y los rios Orinoco y Meia) 
was written in 1736 but not printed 
till 1883 at Bogota. See A. Ernst, 
** Ueber einige weniger bekannte 
Sprachen aus der Gegend des Mela 
und oberen Orinoco," Zeitschfifl fiir 
EthnologiCy xxiii. (1S91) p. 6. 

3 II. Ternaux-Compans, Essai sitr 
Vancicn Cnndinamarca (Paris, N.D.), 
pp. 7 sq. 

268 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

Geological of gcology appears to prove that for ages the mountain-girt 
Sat^the^ plain of Bogota was occupied by a lake, and that the pent-up 
valley of waters at last found vent and flowed away through a fissure 
^^^otawas gyjjgj^jy ^jgf|. jjy ^ great earthquake in the sandstone rocks, 
occupied The cleft in the rocky dam may be seen to this day. It is 

by a lake. 

near the meeting of the rivers Bogota and Mufto. Here the 
wall of sandstone is broken by a sort of natural gateway 
formed by a beetling crag on one side and a mass of 
shattered, crumbling rocks on the other. The scene is one 
well fitted to impress the mind and excite the imagination 
of primitive man, who sees in the sublime works of nature 
the handiwork of awful and mysterious beings. The sluggish 
current of the tawny river flows in serpentine windings 
towards the labyrinth of rocks and clifis where it takes its 
leap into the tremendous abyss. As you near the fall, 
and the hollow sound of its tumbling waters grows louder 
and louder, a great change comes over the landscape. 
The bare monotonous plain of Bogota is left behind, and 
you seem to be entering on enchanted land. On every side 
rise hills of varied outline mantled to their tops with all the 
luxuriant vegetation of the tropics, from the grasses which 
carpet the ground to the thickets and tall forest trees which 
spread over the whole a dense veil of green. At their foot 
the river hurries in a series of rapids, between walls of rock, 
to the brink of the fall, there to vanish in a cloud of mist 
and spray, lit up by all the gay colours of the rainbow, into 
the dark and dizzy chasm below, while the thunderous roar 
of the cataract breaks the stillness of the lonely hills. The 
cascade is thrice as high as Niagara ; and by a pardonable 
exaggeration the river is said to fall perpendicularly from 
the temperate to the tropical zone.^ 
Story of a The CaAaris, an Indian tribe of Ecuador, in the ancient 

fid b^^ kingdom of Quito, tell of a great flood from which two brothers 
Canaris of escaped to a very high mountain called Huaca-yftan. As 
the waters rose, the hill rose with ^them, so that the flood 
never reached the two brothers on the summit. When the 
water sank and their store of provisions was consumed, the 

* Fr. von Hellwald, Die Erde und Reclus, XouvcUc Giographie Vniver- 
ihrc Vclker^ Dritte Auflage (Berlin and selk^ xviii. (Paris, 1S93) PP- 251 sq.^ 
Slutl^jait, 18S4), pp. 213 sq. ; Klisec compare pp. 274 sq. 



brothers descended and sought their food in the hills and 
valleys. They built a small house, where they dwelt, eking 
out a miserable subsistence on herbs and roots, and suffering 
much from hunger and fatigue. One day, after the usual 
weary search, they returned home, and there found food to 
eat and chicha to drink without knowing who could have 
prepared or brought it. This happened for ten days, and 
after that they laid their heads together to find out who it 
was that did them so much good in their time of need. So 
the elder brother hid himself, and presently he saw two 
macaws approaching, dressed like Caflaris. As soon as the The macaw 
birds came to the house, they began to prepare the food ^^* 
which they had Brought with them. When the man saw 
that they were beautiful and had the faces of women, he came 
forth from his hiding-place ; but at sight of him the birds 
were angry and flew away, leaving nothing to eat. When 
the younger brother came home from his search for food, 
and found nothing cooked and ready as on former days, he 
asked his elder brother the reason, and they were both very 
angry. Next day the younger brother resolved to hide and 
watch for the coming of the birds. At the end of three 
days the two macaws reappeared and began to prepare the 
food. The two men waited till the birds had finished cooking 
and then shut the door on them. The birds were very angry 
at being thus trapped, and while the two brothers were 
holding the smaller bird, the larger one escaped. Then the 
two brothers took the smaller macaw to wife, and by her 
they had six sons and daughters, from whom all the Cafiaris 
are descended. Hence the hill Huaca-yfian, where the 
macaw lived as the wife of the brothers, is looked upon as a 
sacred place by the Indians, and they venerate macaws and 
value their feathers highly for use at their festivals.^ 

The Indians of Huarochiri, a province of Peru in the Andes story of a 
to the east of Lima, say that once on a time the world nearly fjiw by^ 

1 Christoval de Molina, '* The Clements Markham (Hakluyt SociAy, Peruvian 

Fables and Rites of the Yncas," in London, 1908), pp. 30 sq. In this ^"^»*"S- 

The Rites and Laws of the YmaSy latter version of tlie story the mountain 

translated and edited by (Sir) Clements is called Guasano, and the two macaws 

R. Markham (London, Hakluyt Society, are rationalized into women. With 

1873), PP* ^ ^9' Compare Pedro the Canari story compare the Jibaro 

Sarmiento de Gamboa, Ilistoty of the story (above, p. 26 1 ). 
Intas^ translated and edited by Sir 

270 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

came to an end altogether. It happened thus. An Indian 
was tethering his llama in a place where there was good 
pasture, but the animal resisted, showing sorrow and moan- 
ing after its manner. The master said to the llama, " Fool, 
why do you moan and refuse to eat ? Have I not put you 
where there is good food ? " The llama answered, " Mad- 
man, what do you know about it ? Learn that I am not 
sad without due cause ; for within five days the sea will rise 
and cover the whole earth, destroying all there is upon it." 
Wondering to hear the beast speak, the man asked whether 
there was any way in which they could save themselves. 
The llama bade him take food for five days and to follow 
him to the top of a high mountain called Villca-coto, between 
the parish of San Damian and the parish of San Geronimo 
de Surco. The man did as he was bid, carrying the load of 
food on his back and leading the llama. On reaching the 
top of the mountain he found many kinds of birds and 
animals there assembled. Hardly had he reached this place 
of refuge when the sea began to rise, and it rose till the 
water flooded all the valleys and covered the tops of the hills, 
all but the top of Villca-coto, and even there the waves 
washed so high that the animals had to crowd together in 
a narrow space, and some of them could hardly find foothold. 
The tail of the fox was dipped in the flood, and that is why 
the tips of foxes* tails are black to this day. At the end of 
five days the waters began to abate, and the sea returned to 
its former bounds ; but all the people in the world were 
drowned except that one man, and from him all the nations 
of the earth are descended.^ 
Another A similar story of the flood is told by the Indians of 

Peruvian Ancasmarca, a province five leagues from Cuzco. They say 
great flood, that a month before the flood came, their sheep displayed 
much sadness, eating no food by day and watching the stars 
by night. At last their shepherd asked them what ailed 
them, and they answered that the conjunction of stars fore- 
shadowed the coming destruction of the world by water. So 
the shepherd and his six children took counsel, and gathered 
together all the food and sheep they could get, and with 

1 Francesco de Avila, ** Narrative," in Rites and Lcru's of tke Vrtt'os, translated 
and edited by (Sir) Clements R. Markham, pp. 132 sg. 


these they betook themselves to the top of an exceeding 
great mountain called Ancasmarca. They say that as the 
water 'rose, the mountain still rose higher, so that its top was 
never submerged ; and when the flood sank, the mountain 
sank also. Thus the six children of that shepherd returned 
to repeople the province after the great flood.^ 

The Incas of Peru had also a tradition of a deluge, story of a 
They said that the water rose above the highest mountains fj^by^ 
in the world, so that all people and all created things perished, incas of 
No living thing escaped except a man and a woman, who *^™" 
floated in a box on the face of the waters and so were saved. 
When the flood subsided, the wind drifted the box with the 
two in it to Tiahuanacu, about seventy leagues from Cuzco. 
There the Creator commanded them to dwell, and there he 
himself set to work to raise up the people who now inhabit 
that country. The way in which he did so was this. He 
fashioned each nation out of clay and painted on each the 
dresses they were to wear. Then he gave life and soul to 
every one of the painted clay figures and bade them pass 
under the earth. They did so, and then came up at the 
various places where the Creator had ordered the different 
nations to dwell. So some of them came out of caves, others 
issued from hills, others from fountains, and others from the 
trunks of trees. And because they came forth from these 
various places, the Indians made various idols {huacas) and 
places of worship in memory of their origin ; that is why the 
idols {huacas) of the Indians are of diverse shapes.^ 

The Peruvian legends of a great flood are told more Herrera 
summarily by the Spanish historian Herrera as follows. Pe/u^vlan 
** The ancient Indians reported, they had received it by tradition 
tradition from* their ancestors, that many years before there Sood^^^ 
were any Incas, at the time when the country was very 
populous, there happened a great flood, the sea breaking 
out beyond its bounds, so that the land was covered with 

* Cbristovaldc Molina, ** The Fables deluge compare Garcilasso de la Vega, 
and Rites of the Yncas," in The Rites First Part of the Royal Commentaries of 
and Laws of the Yncas, translated and the Yncas, translated by (Sir) Clements 
edited by (Sir) Clements R. Markham, R. Markham (London, Hakluyt Society, 
pp. 9 sq, 1869-1871), i. 71 ; J. de Acosta, Nat- 

ural and Mora! History of the Indies 

• Christoval dc Molina, op. cit. pp. (London, Hakluyt Society, 1880), i. 70 
4 sq. As to the Inca tradition of the sq. 

272 THE GREAT FLOOD parti 

water, and all the people perished. To this the Guancas, 

inhabiting the vale of Xauxa, and the natives of Chiquito 

in the province of Collao, add, that some persons remained 

in the hollows and caves of the highest mountains, who again 

peopled the land. Others of the mountain people affirm, 

that all perished in the deluge, only six persons being saved 

on a float, from whom descended all the inhabitants of that 

country. That there had been some particular flood may be 

credited, because all the several provinces agree in it" ^ 

Story of a The Chiriguanos, a once powerful Indian tribe of south- 

^h^^ eastern Bolivia, tell the following story of a great flood. 

Chiriguanos They say that a certain potent but malignant supernatural 

of Bolivia, being, named Aguara-Tunpa, declared war against the true 

god Tunpaete, the Creator of the Chiriguanos. His motive for 

this declaration of war is unknown, but it is believed to have 

been pure spite or the spirit of contradiction. In order to 

vex the true god, Aguara-Tunpa set fire to all the prairies 

at the beginning or middle of autumn, so that along with 

the plants and trees all the animals perished on which in 

those days the Indians depended for their subsistence ; for 

as yet they had not begun to cultivate maize and other 

cereals, as they do now. Thus deprived of food the Indians 

nearly died of hunger. However, they retreated before the 

flames to the banks of the rivers, and there, while the earth 

around still smoked from the great conflagration, they made 

shift to live on the fish which they caught in the water. 

Seeing his human prey likely to escape him, the baffled 

Aguara-Tunpa had recourse to another device in order to 

accomplish his infernal plot against mankind. He caused 

torrential rain to fall, hoping to drown the whole Chiriguano 

How two tribe in the water. He very nearly succeeded. But happily 

saved from ^^c Chiriguanos contrived to defeat his fell purpose. Acting 

the flood on a hint given them by the true god Tunpaete, they looked 

i^f. "' out for a large mate leaf, placed on it two little babies, a boy 

and a girl, the children of one mother, and allowed the tiny 

ark with its precious inmates to float on the face of the 

water. Still the rain continued to descend in torrents ; the 

* Antonio de Herrera, The General //if/;V.r, translated into English by Capt. 
Jlhfoty of the vast Continent and Islands John Stevens, Second Edition (London, 
qf America commonly called the West 1740), iv. 283. 


floods rose and spread over the face of the earth to a great 
depth, and all the Chiriguanos were drowned ; only the two 
babes on the leaf of mate were saved. At last, however, 
the rain ceased to fall, and the flood sank, leaving a great 
expanse of fetid mud behind. The children now emerged 
from the ark, for if they had stayed there, they would have 
perished of cold and hunger. Naturally the fish and other 
creatures that live in the water were not drowned in the great 
flood ; on the contrary they throve on it, and were now quite 
ready to serve as food for the two babes. But how were the 
infants to cook the ftsh which they caught ? That was the 
rub, for of course all fire on earth had been extinguished 
by the deluge. However, a large toad came to the rescue of 
the two children. Before the flood had swamped the whole How fire 
earth, that prudent creature had taken the precaution of ^vered 
secreting himself in a hole, taking with him in his mouth after the 
some live coals, which he contrived to keep alight all the time 
of the deluge by blowing on them with his breath. When 
he saw that the surface of the ground was dry again, he 
hopped out of his hole with the live coals in his mouth, 
and making straight for the two children he bestowed on 
them the gift of fire. Thus they were able to roast the 
fish they caught and so to warm their chilled bodies. In 
time they grew up, and from their union the whole tribe of 
the Chiriguanos is descended.^ 

The natives of Tierra del Fuego, in the extreme south story of a 
of South America, tell a fantastic and obscure story of a ^i^\j^^ 
great flood. They say that the sun was sunk in the sea, Fuegians. 
that the waters rose tumultyously, and that all the earth was 
submerged except a single very high mountain, on which a 
few people found refuge.* 

§ 1 5. Stories of a Great Flood in Central America 

and Mexico 

The Indians about Panama "had some notion of Noah's stories of a 
flood, and said that when it happened one man escaped in a ^|^\^y°t^ 

1 Bernardino de Nino, Misioncro ^ T. Bridges, ** Mocurs et coutumes Indians of 

Franciscano, Etfiografia Chiriguana des Fuegicns," Bulletins de la Soci^ti * anama 

(La Paz, Bolivia, 1912), pp. 131-133, d' Anthropologic de Paris, Troisieme NicaraRua. 

compare p. 67. St^rie, vii. (Paris, 1884) p. 181. *^ 





of a great 



of a great 



in the 




canoe with his wife ahd children, from whom all mankind 
afterwards proceeded and peopled the world." ^ The Indians 
of Nicaragua believed that since its creation the world had 
been destroyed by a deluge, and that after its destruction the 
gods had created men and animals and all things afresh.^ 

"The Mexicans," says the Italian historian Clavigero, 
" with all other civilized nations, had a clear tradition, though 
somewhat corrupted by fable, of the creation of the world, 
of the universal deluge, of the confusion of tongues, and of 
the dispersion of the people ; and had actually all these 
events represented in their pictures. They said, that when 
mankind were overwhelmed with the deluge, none were pre- 
served but a man named Coxcox (to whom others give the 
name of Teocipactli), and a woman called Xochiquetzal, who 
saved themselves in a little bark, and having afterwards got 
to land upon a mountain called by them Colhuacan, had 
there a great many children ; that these children were all 
born dumb, until a dove from a lofty tree imparted to them 
languages, but differing so much that they could not under- 
stand one another. The Tlascalans pretended that the men 
who survived the deluge were transformed into apes, but 
recovered speech and reason by degrees." ^ 

In the Mexican manuscript known as the Codex Chimal- 
popoca, which contains a history of the kingdoms of Culhuacan 

whether all men were drowned in the 
flood, and whether the gods {teotes) had 
escaj)ed on a mountain or in a canoe ; 
he only opined that being gods they 
could not be drowned. 

3 F. S. Clavigero, The History of 
Mexico^ translated from the original 
Italian by Ch. Cullen (London, 1807), 
i. 244. Compare J. G. Miiller, 
Geschich/e der Atuerikanischen Urrtli' 
.V/V;;;<f«2(B^le, 1867), pp. 515 j^.; H. H. 
Bancroft, The Native Races of the Pacific 
says, ♦♦ In most of the painted manu- 
scripts suppr)sed to relate to this event, 
a kind of boat is represented floating 
over the waste of water, and containing 
a man and a woman. Even the Tlas- 
caltecs, llie Zapolccs, the Miztecs, and 
the people of Michoacan are said to 
have had such pictures." 

^ A. de Ilerrera, The General His- 
tory of the vast Continent and Islands 
of America^ translated by Captain John 
Stevens, iii. 414. Herrera's authority 
seems to have been Pascual de Anda- 
goya. See Pascual de Andagoya, 
Narrative of the Proceedings of Ped- 
r arias Davila in the Provinces of 
Tierra Fir me or C as til la del Oro (Hak- 
luyt Society, London, 1865), p. 14. 

2 G. K. de Oviedo y Valdes, Ilistoirc 
de Nicaragua (Paris, 1840), pp. 21 sq.^ 
in H. Ternaux - Compans's Voyages^ 
Relations et Mifnoircs orij^inaux four 
servir h Vhisioire de la d^cotiverte de 
VAmhiijue. This tradition was elicited 
by Fran9ois de Bobadilla, Provincial of 
the Order of Mercy, in an interview 
wliich he had with some Indians at the 
village of Teola in Nicaragua, the 28th 
September 1528. On being questioned, 
the Indian professed not to know 



and Mexico from the creation downwards, there is contained 
an account of the great flood. It runs thus. The world 
had existed for four hundred years, and two hundred years, 
and three score and sixteen years, when men were lost and 
drowned and turned into fishes. The sky drew near to the 
water ; in a single day all was lost, and the day of Nahui- 
XochitI or Fourth Flower consumed all our subsistence (all 
that there was of our flesh). And that year was the year 
of Ce-Calli or First House ; and on the first day, the day of 
Nahui-Atl, all was lost. The mountains themselves were 
sunk under the water, and the water remained calm for fifty 
and two springs. But towards the end of the year Titlaca- 
huan had warned the man Nata and his wife Nena, saying, 
" Brew no more wine, but hollow out a great cypress and 
enter therein when, in the month of To^oztli, the water shall 
near the sky." Then they entered into it, and when 
Titlacahuan had shut the door of it, he said to him, " Thou 
shalt eat but one sheaf of maize, and thy wife but one also." 
But when they had finished, they came forth from there, and 
the water remained calm, for the log moved no more, and 
opening it they began to see the fishes. Then they lit fire 
by rubbing pieces of wood together, and they roasted fishes.. 
But the gods Citlallinicue and Citlallotonac at once looked 
down and said, " O divine Lord, what fire is that they are 
making there? wherefore do they thus fill the heaven with 
smoke ? " Straightway Titlacahuan Tetzcatlipoca came 
down, and he grumbled, saying, ** What's that fire doing 
here?" With that he snatched up the fishes, split their 
tails, modelled their heads, and turned them into dogs.^ 

In Michoacan, a province of Mexico, the legend of a Micboacan 
deluge was also preserved. The natives said that when the ™"fl<^* 
flood began to rise, a man named Tezpi, with his wife and 
children, entered into a great vessel, taking with them animals 
and seeds of diverse kinds sufficient to restock the world 
after the deluge. When the waters abated, the man sent 
forth a vulture, and the bird flew away, but finding corpses 
to batten on, it did not return. Then the man let fly other 

' Brasseur de Bourlx)urg, Histoire The Native Races of the Pacific States ^ 

des Nations Civilis^esdtt Mexique et de iii. 69 .vy. As to the Codex Chimal- 

l^Amh-ique CeutraU (Paris, 1857- popoca see II. II. Bancroft, op, cit. v, 

1859), L 425-427 ; H. H. Bancioft, 192 sqq. 

276 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

birds, but they also came not back. At last he sent forth a 
humming-bird, and it returned with a green bough in its beak.^ 
In this story the messenger birds seem clearly to be reminis- 
cences of the raven and the dove in the Noachian legend, of 
which the Indians may have heard through missionaries. 
Story of a • The Popol Vuh^ a book which contains the legendary 
foM^in^he history of the Quiches of Guatemala, describes how the gods 
Papoi P'uA, made several attempts to create mankind, fashioning them 
book of the successively out of clay, out of wood, and out of maize. But 
Quiches of none of their attempts were successful, and the various races 

Guatemala. _ 

moulded out of these diverse materials had all, for different 
reasons, to be set aside. It is true that the wooden race of 
men begat sons and daughters and multiplied upon the earth, 
but they had neither heart nor intelligence, they forgot their 
Creator, and they led a useless life, like that of the animals. 
Even regarded from the merely physical point of view, they 
were very poor creatures. They had neither blood nor fat, 
their cheeks were wizened, their feet and hands were dry, 
their flesh was languid. " So the end of this race of men 
was come, the ruin and destruction of these wooden puppets ; 
they also were put to death. Then the waters swelled by 
the will of the Heart of Heaven, and there was a great flood 
which rose over the heads of these puppets, these beings 
made of wood." A rain of thick resin fell from the sky. 
Men ran hither and thither in despair. They tried to climb 
up into the houses, but the houses crumbled away and let 
them faH to the ground : they essayed to mount up into the 
trees, but the trees shook them afar off: they sought to 
enter into the caves, but the caves shut them out. Thus was 
accomplished the ruin of that race of men : they were all 
given up to destruction and contempt. But they say that 
the posterity of the wooden race may still be seen in the 
little monkeys which live in the woods ; for these monkeys 
are very like men, and like their wooden ancestors their flesh 
is composed of nothing but wood.^ 

* A. de Ilcrrera, TAe General His- H. H. Bancroft, The Native Races of 

tory of the vast Continent and Islands the Pacific States^ iii. 66 sq. 
of America^ translated by Captain John ^ Brasseurde Bourbourg, Popol Vuh^ 

Stevens (London, 1725- 1726), iii. le Livre Sacrd ct les Mythes de PAtUi- 

254 sg. ; Brasseur dc Bourlx)urg, His- quite* AmtfricainCy aifcc les livres 

toire des Nations Ci^nlis^cs du Mcxique heroiqacs et historiqucs des QuickCs 

et de VAmirique Centrales iii. 81 ; (Paris, 1861), pp. 17-31 ; H. H. Ban- 


The Huichol Indians, who inhabit a mountainous region The 
near Santa Catarina in Western Mexico, have also a legend indiLnt of 
of a deluge. By blood the tribe is related to the Aztecs, Mexica 
the creators of that semi-civilized empire of Mexico which 
the Spanish invaders destroyed ; but, secluded in their moun- 
tain fastnesses, the Huichols have always remained in a state 
of primitive barbarism. It was not until 1722 that the 
Spaniards succeeded in subduing them, and the Franciscan 
missionaries, who followed the Spanish army into the moun- 
tains, built a few churches and converted the wild Indians to 
Christianity. But the conversion was hardly more than 
nominal. It is true that the Huichols observe the principal 
Christian festivals, which afford them welcome excuses for 
lounging, guzzling, and swilling, and they worship the saints 
as gods. But in their hearts they cling to their ancient 
beliefs, customs, and ceremonies : they jealously guard their 
country against the encroachments of the whites : not a 
single Catholic priest lives among them ; and all the churches 
are in ruins.^ 

The Huichol story of the deluge runs thus. A Huichol Huichol 
was felling trees to clear a field for planting. But every ^^^a^ 
morning he found, to his chagrin, that the trees which he 
had felled the day before had grown up again as tall as ever. 
It was very vexatious and he grew tired of labouring in 
vain. On the fifth day he determined to try once more and 
to go to the root of the matter. Soon there rose from the 
grround in the middle of the clearing an old woman with a 
staff in her hand. She was no other than Great-grandmother 
Nakawe, the goddess of earth, who makes every green thing 
to spring forth from the dark underworld. But the man did 

croft, The Native Races of the Pacific 
States^ Hi. 44-47. The Popol Vuh is said 
to have been discovered by a Dominican. 
Father, Francisco Ximenes, who was 
curate of the little Indian town of 
Cbichicastenango, in the highlands of 
Guatemala, at the end of the seven- 
teenth or beginning of the eighteenth 
century. The manuscript, containing 
a Quich^ text with a Spanish transla- 
tion, Was found by Dr. C. Schcrzer 
and published by him at Vienna in 
1857. The edition published by the 

Abb^ Brasseur de Bourbourg contains 
the Quiche text with a French transla- 
tion, dissertation, and notes. The 
original manuscript is supposed to 
have been written by a Quich^ Indian 
in the latter part of the sixteenth 
century. See F. Max MUller, Selected 
Essays on Language^ Mythology and 
Religion (London, 1 881), ii. 372 j^^.; 
H. H. Bancroft, op. cit. iii. 42 sqq. 

^ Carl LumhoUz, Unknown Mexico 
(London, 1903), ii. 22 sq. 




Warned by 
a goddess, 
a man is 
saved from 
the flood in 
a box. 

How the 

world was 




after the 


not know her. With her staff she pointed to the south, 
north, west, and east, above and below ; and all the trees 
which the young man had felled immediately stood up 
again. Then he understood how it came to pass that in 
spite of all his endeavours the clearing was always covered 
with trees. So he said to the old woman angrily, " Is it you 
who are undoing my work all the time ? " " Yes," she 
said, " because I wish to talk to you." Then she told him 
that he laboured in vain. " A great flood," said she, " is 
coming. It is not more than five days off. There will 
come a wind, very bitter, and as sharp as chile, which will 
make you cough. Make a box from the salate (fig) tree, as 
long as your body, and fit it with a good cover. Take with 
you five grains of corn of each colour, and five beans of each 
colour ; also take the fire and five squash-stems to feed it, 
and take with you a black bitch." • The man did as the 
woman told him. On the fifth day he had the box ready 
and placed in it the things she had told him to take with 
him. Then he entered the box with the black bitch ; and 
the old woman put on the cover, and caulked every crack 
with glue, asking the man to point out any chinks. Having 
made the box thoroughly water-tight and air-tight, the old 
woman took her seat on the top of it, with a macaw perched 
on her shoulder. For five years the box floated on the face 
of the waters. The first year it floated to the south, the 
second year it floated to the north, the third year it floated 
to the west, the fourth year it floated to the east, and in 
the fifth year it rose upward on the flood, and all the 
world was filled with water. The next year the flood began 
to abate, and the box settled on a mountain near Santa 
Cantarina, where it may still be seen. When the box 
grounded on the mountain, the man took off the cover 
and saw that all the world was still under water. But 
the macaws and the parrots set to work with a will : they 
pecked at the mountains with their beaks till they had 
hollowed them out into valleys, down which the water all 
ran away and was separated into five seas. Then the l^nd 
began to dry, and trees and grass sprang up. The old 
woman turned into wind and so vanished away. But the 
man resumed the work of clearing the field which had been 


interrupted by the flood. He lived with the bitch in a cave, 
going forth to his labour in the morning and returning home 
in the evening. But the bitch stayed at home all the time. 
Every evening on his return the man found cakes baked 
ready against his coming, and he was curious to know who 
it was that baked them. When five days had passed, he 
hid himself behind some bushes near the cave to watch. He 
saw the bitch take off her skin, hang it up, and kneel down 
in the likeness of a woman to grind the corn for the cakes. 
Stealthily he drew near her from behind, snatched the skin 
away, and threw it on the fire. " Now you have burned my 
tunic 1 " cried the woman and began to whine like a dog. 
But he took water mixed with the flour she had prepared, 
and with the mixture he bathed her head. She felt refreshed 
and remained a woman ever after. The two had a large 
family, and their sons and daughters married. So was the 
world repeopled, and the inhabitants lived in caves.^ 

The Cora Indians, a tribe of nominal Christians whose story of a 
country borders that of the Huichols on the west, tell a ^by^ 
similar story of a great flood, in which the same incidents Cora 
occur of the woodman who was warned of the coming flood of Meldca 
by a woman, and who after the flood cohabited with a bitch 
transformed into a human wife. But in the Cora version of 
the legend the man is bidden to take into the ark with him 
the woodpecker, the sandpiper, and the parrot, as well as the 
bitch. He embarked at midnight when the flood began. 
When it subsided, he waited five days and then sent out the 
sandpiper to see if it were possible to walk on the ground. 
The bird flew back and cried, " Ee-wee-wee ! '* from which the 
man understood that the earth was still too wet. He waited 
five days more, and then sent out the woodpecker to see if the 
trees were hard and dry. The woodpecker thrust his beak 
deep into the tree, and waggled his head from side to side ; 
but the wood was still so soft with the water that he could 
hardly pull his beak out again, and when at last with a violent 
tug he succeeded he lost his balance and fell to the ground. 
So when he returned to the ark he said, " Chu-ee, chu-ee ! " 
The man took his meaning and waited five days more, after 
which he sent out the spotted sandpiper. By this time the 

* C. Lumholtz, Unknown Mexico^ L 191 -193. 




version of 
the Cora 

mud was so dry that, when the sandpiper hopped about, his 
legs did not sink into it ; so he came back and reported 
that all was well. Then the man ventured out of the ark, 
stepping very gingerly till he saw that the land was dry and 

In another fragmentary version of the deluge story, as 
told by the Cora Indians, the survivors of the flood would 

flood story, seem to have escaped in a canoe. When the waters abated, 
God sent the vulture out of the canoe to see whether the 
earth was dry enough. But the. vulture did not return, 
because he devoured the corpses of the drowned. So God 
was angry with the vulture, and .cursed him, and made him 
black instead of white, as he had been before ; only the tips 
of his wings he left white, that men might know what their 
colour had been^ before the flood. Next God commanded 
the ringdove to go out and see whether the earth was yet 
dry. The dove reported that the earth was dry, but that 
the rivers were in spate. So God ordered all the beasts to 
, drink the rivers dry, and all the beasts and birds came and 
drank, save only the weeping dove {Paloma llorond), which 
would not come. Therefore she still goes every day to drink 
water at nightfall, because she is ashamed to be seen drink- 
ing by day ; and all day long she weeps and wails.^ In 

Biblical these Cora legends the incident of the birds, especially the 

"* thTcora vulture and the raven, seems clearly to reflect the influence 
of missionary teaching. 

A somewhat different story of a deluge is told by the 

PJ?u^*!?^ Tarahumares, an Indian tribe who inhabit the mountains of 

told by the , ' 

Tarahum- Mexico farther to the north than the Huichols and Coras. 
The greater part of the Tarahumares are nominal Christians, 
though they seem to have learned little more from their 
teachers than the words Sefior San Jose and Maria Santis- 
sima, and the title of Father God {Tata Dios\ which they 


Story of a 

arcs of 

' C. Lumholtz, Unknown Mexico^ 
ii. 193 sq. ; K. Th. Preuss, Die 
Nayarit- Expedition^ i. Die Religion 
der Co ra- J ndia fi£ r {heipsic J '91 2), pp. 
277 S(/q. In the Cora version recoided 
by Mr. K. Th. Preuss the man takes 
into the ark with him only a bitch and 
a Schreivogel^ whatever species of bird 
that may be ; and during the preval- 

ence of the flood he lets both the bird 
and ilic bitch out of the ark twice at 
intervals of three days, to see whether 
the earth is yet dry. In the text I 
have followed Mr. Lumholtz's version. 

- K. Th. Preuss, Die Nayarit-Ex- 
pcdition\ i. Die Religion dcr Cora- 
Indianer^ p. 20 1. 


apply Ho their ancient deity the sun-god.^ They say that 
when all the world was water-logged, a little boy and a little 
girl climbed up a mountain called Lavachi {gourd) to the 
south of Panalachic, and when the flood subsided the two 
came down again. They brought three grains of corn and 
three beans with them. So soft were the rocks after the 
flood that ^he feet of the little boy and girl sank into them, 
and their footprints may be seen there to this day. The two 
planted corn and slept and dreamed a dream, and afterwards 
they harvested, and all the Tarahumares are descended from 
them. Another Tarahumare version of the deluge legend 
runs thus. The Tarahumares were fighting among them- 
selves, and Father God {Tata Dios) sent much rain, and all 
the people perished. After the flood God despatched three 
men and three women to repeople the earth. They planted 
corn of three kinds, soft corn, hard corn, and yellow corn, 
and these three sorts still grow in the country.' 

The Caribs of the Antilles had a tradition that the story of 
Master of Spirits, being angry with their forefathers for not ^J^\jy°i 
presenting to him the offerings which were his due, caused Caribsoi 
such a heavy rain to fall for several days that all the people AntiUes. 
were drowned : only a few contrived to save their lives by 
escaping in canoes to a solitary mountain. It was this 
deluge, they say, which separated their islands from the 
mainland and formed the hills and pointed rocks or sugar- 
loaf mountains of their country.* 

§ 16. Stories of a Great Flood in North America 

The Papagos of south-western Arizona say that theSioryof. 
Great Spirit made the earth and all living creatures before Sw by°il 

1 C. Lumholtz, Unknown Mexico^ the angels. Papagos 

L 295 sq. However, we learn from 2 q^ Lumholtz, Unknown Mexico^ Arizona. 

Mr. Lumholtz that the Tarahumares i. 298. 

celebrate the Christian feasts in their ^ q,^ Lumholtz, Unknown Mexico^ 

owD way, and have some knowledge i. 29S sq. 

of the devil. According to them the * De la Borde, ** Relation dc 

enemy of mankind is a one-eyed man I'Originc, Mceurs, Coustumes, I\e- 

with a big beard, who plays the guitar ligion, Guerres ct Voyages des Caraibes 

and would like very much to go to sauvages dcs Isles Antilles de I'Anicr- 

hcaven, but is prevented from doing ique,*' p. 7, in Rccticil de divdrs Voy- 

so by the shamans. In heaven the agds fails en Afrique ct en VAmcnque 

Father God {Tata Dios) has nothing qui n'ont point estd encore pidbiiez {Vsn'iSy 

better to do than to run foot-races with 1684). 

282 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

he made man. Then he came down to earth, and digging 
in the ground found some potter's clay. This he took back 
with him to the sky, and from there let it fall into the hole 
which he had dug. Immediately there came out the hero 
Montezuma, and with his help there also issued forth all 
the Indian tribes in order. Last of all appeared the wild 
Apaches, who ran away as fast as they were created. Those 
first days of the world were happy and peaceful. The sun 
was then nearer the earth than he is now : his rays made all 
the seasons equable and clothing superfluous. Men and 
animals talked together : a common language united them 
in the bonds of brotherhood. But a terrible catastrophe put 
an end to those golden days. A great flood destroyed all 
flesh wherein was the breath of life : Montezuma and his 
friend the coyote alone escaped. For before the waters 
began to rise, the coyote prophesied the coming of the flood, 
and Montezuma took warning, and hollowed out a boat for 
himself, and kept it ready on the top of Santa Rosa. The 
coyote also prepared an ark for himself; for he gnawed 
down a great cane by the river bank, entered it, and caulked 
it with gum. So when the waters rose, Montezuma and the 
coyote floated on them and were saved ; and when the flood 
retired, the man and the animal met on dry land. Anxious 
to discover how much dry land was left, the man sent out 
the coyote to explore, and the animal reported that to the 
west, the south, a.nd the east there was sea, but that to the 
north he could find ho sea, though he had journeyed till 
he was weary. Meanwhile the Great Spirit, with the 
help of Montezuma, had restocked the earth with men and 
Story of a The Pimas, a neighbouring tribe, related to the Papagos, 

fow b*^^^ say that the earth and mankind were made by a certain 
Pimas. Chiowotmahke, that is to say Earth-prophet. Now the 
Creator had a son called Szeukha, who, when the earth began 
to be tolerably peopled, lived in the Gila valley. In the 
same valley there dwelt at that time a great prophet, whose 
name has been forgotten. One night, as the prophet 
slept, he was wakened by a noise at the door. When he 
opened, who should stand there but a great eagle? And 

1 H. H. Bancroft, The Native Races of the Pacific States, iii. 75 sg. 


the eagle said, ** Arise, for behold, a deluge is at hand." But 
the prophet laughed the eagle to scorn, wrapt his robe about 
him, and slept again. Again, the eagle caxne and warned 
him, but again he would pay no heed. A third time the 
long-suffering bird warned the prophet that all the valley of 
the Gila would be laid waste with water, but still the foolish 
man turned a deaf ear to the warning. That same night 
came the flood, and next morning there was nothing alive to 
be seen but one man, if man indeed he was ; for it was 
Szeukha, the son of the Creator, who had saved himself by 
floating on a ball of gum or resin. When the waters of the 
flood sank, he landed near the mouth of the Salt River and 
dwelt there in a cave on the mountain ; the cave is there to 
this day, and so are the tools which Szeukha used when he 
lived in it. For some reason or other Szeukha was very 
angry with the great eagle, though that bird had warned 
the prophet to escape for his life from the flood. So with 
the help of a rope-ladder he climbed up the face of the cliff 
where the eagle resided, and finding him at home in his 
eyrie he killed him. In and about the nest he discovered 
the mangled and rotting bodies of a great multitude of 
people whom the eagle had carried off and devoured. These 
he raised to life and sent them away to repeople the 

Another version of the Pima legend runs as follows. Anothci 
In the early days of the world the Creator, whom the Indians ^^^^ 
call Earth Doctor, made the earth habitable by fashioning legend. 
the mountains, the water, the trees, the grass, and the weeds ; story of 
he made the sun also and the moon, and caused them to creation 
pursue their regular courses in the sky. When he had thus 
prepared the world for habitation, the Creator fashioned all 
manner of birds and creeping things ; and he moulded images 
of clay, and commanded them to become animated human 
beings, and they obeyed him, and they increased and multi- 
plied, and spread over the earth. But in time the increase 
of population outran the means of subsistence ; food and even 
water became scarce, and as sickness and death were as yet 
unknown, the steady multiplication of the species was attended 
by ever growing famine and distress. In these circumstances 

> H. H. Bancroft, The Native Races of the Pacific States, iii, 78 sq» 




How Elder 



to destroy 


by a great 


the Creator saw nothing for it but to destroy the creatures 
he had made, and this he did by pulling down the sky on 
the earth and crushing to death the people and all other 
living things. After that he restored the broken fabric of 
the world and created mankind afresh, and once more the 
human race increased and multiplied. 

It was during this second period of the world that the 
earth gave birth to one who has since been known as SiuuhA 
or Elder Brother. He came to Earth Doctor, that is, to the 
Creator, and spoke roughly to him, and the Creator trembled 
before him. The population was now increasing, but Elder 
Brother shortened the lives of the people, and they did not 
overrun the earth as they had done before. However, not 
content with abridging the natural term of human exist- 
ence, he resolved to destroy mankind for the second time 
altogether by means of a great flood. So he began to fashion 
a jar, in which he intended to save himself from the deluge, 
and when the jar should be finished, the flood would come. 
He announced his purpose of destruction to the Creator, and 
the Creator called his people together and warned them of 
the coming deluge. After describing the calamity that would 
befall them, he chanted the following staves : — 

" Weep^ my unfortunate people / 

All this you will see take place. 
Weep, my unfortunate people ! 

For the waters will overwhelm the land. ' 
IVeep, my unhappy relatives / 

You will learn all. 
The waters will overwhelm the moun tains. ^^ 

a log, and 
Brother in 

How the .Also he thrust his staff" into the ground, and with it bored a 
savedVom ^^^^ ^^^^^ through to the other side of the earth. Some 
the flood on people took refuge in the hole for fear of the coming flood, 
and others appealed for help to Elder Brother, but their 
appeal was unheeded. Yet the assistance which Elder 
Brother refused to mankind he vouchsafed to the coyote or 
prairie wolf; for he told that animal to find a big log and 
sit on it, and so sitting he would float safely on the surface 
of the water along with the driftwood. The time of the 
deluge was now come, and accordingly Elder Brother got 
into the jar which he had been making against the great 


day ; and as he closed the opening of the jar behind him he 
sang — 

" Black house / Black house / hold me safely in j 
Black house / Black Iiouse ! hold me safely iriy 
As I journey to andfrOy to andfroP 

And as he was borne along on the flood he sang — 

** Running water^ running water, herein resounding^ 
As on the clouds I am carried to the sky. 
Running water, running water, herein roarings 
As on the clouds I am carried to the skyj^ 

The jar in which Elder Brother ensconced himself is How Elder 
called by him in the song the Black House, because it was ?"J{^ 
made of black gum. It bobbed up and down on the face of after the 
the waters and drifted along till it came to rest beyond 3^^°** 
Sonoita, near the mouth of the Colorado River. There the Mountain. 
jar may be seen to this day ; it is called the Black Moun- 
tain, after the colour of the gum out of which the jar was 
moulded. On emerging from the jar Elder Brother sang — 

" Here I come forth f Here I come forth / 
With magic powers I emerge. 
Here I come forth ! Here I come forth ! 
With magic powers I emerge, 

I stand alone ! Alone / 

Who will accompany mc f 
My staff and my crystal 

They shall bide with w<?." 

The Creator himself, or Earth Doctor, as the Indians call How the 
him, also escaped destruction by enclosing himself in his ^"^^^^^^ 
reed staff, which floated on the surface of the water. The from the 
coyote, too, survived the great flood ; for the log on which j.°ed, alid 
he had taken refuge floated southward with him to the place some 
where all the driftwood of the deluge was gathered together. S^re^ived 
Of all the birds that had been before the flood only five of i° ^^les in 

the earth 

different sorts survived ; they clung with their beaks to the 
sky till a god took pity on them and enabled them to make 
nests of down from their own breasts, and in these nests they 
floated on the waters till the flood went down. Among the 
birds thus saved from the deluge were the flieker and the 

286 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

vulture. As for the human race, some people were saved in 
the deep hole which the Creator had bored with his staff, and 
others were saved in a similar hole which a powerful person- 
age, called the South Doctor, had in like manner made by 
thrusting his cane into the earth. Yet others in their distress 
resorted to the Creator, but he told them that they came too 
late, for he had already sent all whom he could save down 
the deep hole and through to the other side of the earth. 
Howothers However, he held out a hope to them that they might still 
wereiurned )^^ saved if they would climb to the top of Crooked Moun- 

to stone on « . i o t-^ 

the top of tain, and he directed South Doctor to assist the people in 

M^nt^n. ^^^^"^ ^^^'^ ^^ ^^^^ \i^stxi of refuge. So South Doctor led 
the people to the summit of the mountain, but the flood rose 
apace behind them. Yet by his enchantments did South 
Doctor raise the mountain and set bounds to the angry water ; 
for he traced a line round the hill and chanted an incantation, 
which checked the rising flood. Four times by his incanta- 
tions did he raise the mountain above the waters ; four times 
did he arrest the swelling tide. At last his power was 
exhausted ; he could do no more, and he threw his staff into 
the water, where it cracked with a loud noise. Then turning, 
he saw a dog near him, and sent the animal to see how high 
the tide had risen. The dog turned towards the people and 
said, " It is very near the top." At these words the anxious 
watchers were transformed into stone ; and there to this day 
you may see them standing in groups, just as they were at 
the moment of transformation, some of the men talking, some 
of the women cooking, and some crying.^ 
Pima story Jhis Pima legend of the flood contains, moreover, an 

marvellous episode which bears a certain reminiscence to an episode in 
youth who the Biblical narrative of the great catastrophe. In Genesis 

consorted , , .11 • «• « .. • ^ 

with we read how in the days immediately preceding the flood, 

human u ^^ gQ^s of God Came in unto the daughters of men, and 
and had they bare children to them ; the same were the mighty men 
ihem^i^fore ^^^ich wcre of old, the men of renown."^ In like manner 
the flood, the Pimas relate that when Elder Brother had determined to 
destroy mankind, he began by creating a handsome youth, 

1 Frank Russell, "The Pima In- the text I have considerably abridged 

dians," 'J\vcnty-Sixth Annual Report the story. 
of the Bureau of American Ethnohi^y 

(Washington, 1908), pp. 206-213. I" * Genesis vi. 4, 


whom he directed to go among the Pimas, to wed their 
women, and to beget children by them. He was to live 
with his first wife ** until his first child was born, then leave * 
her and go to another, and so on until his purpose was acconi- 
plished. His first wife gave birth to a child four months 
after marriage and conception. The youth then went and 
took a second wife, to whom a child was born in less time 
than the first. The. period was yet shorter in the case of the 
third wife, and with her successors it grew shorter still, until 
at last the child was born from the young man at the time 
of the marriage. This was the child that caused the flood 
which destroyed the people and fulfilled the plans of Elder 
Brother. Several years were necessary to accomplish these 
things, and during this time the people were amazed and 
frightened at the signs of Elder Brothet's power and at the 
deeds of his agent." ^ How the child of the young man's last 
wife caused the flood is not clearly explained in the story, 
though we are told that the screams of the sturdy infant 
shook the earth and could be heard at a great distance.^ 
Indeed, the episode of the handsome youth and his many 
wives is, like the corresponding episode in the Biblical narra- 
tive, fitted very loosely into the story of the flood. It may 
be that both episodes were originally independent of the 
diluvial tradition, and that in its Indian form the tale of the 
fair youth and his human spouses is a distorted reminiscence 
of missionary teaching. 

The Indians of Zufti, a pueblo village of New Mexico, story of a 
relate that once upon a time a great flood compelled them foJ^^y^ 
to quit their village in the valley and take refuge on a lofty Indians of 
and conspicuous tableland, which towers like an island from m"^"* 
the flat, with steep or precipitous sides of red and white Mexico, 
sandstone. But the waters rose nearly to the summit of the 
tableland, and the Indians, fearing to be swept off the face 
of the earth, resolved to offer a human sacrifice in order to 
appease the angry waters. So a youth and a maiden, the 
children of two Priests of the Rain, were dressed in their 
finest robes, decked with many precious beads, and thrown 
into the swelling flood. Immediately the waters began to 
recede, and the youth and maiden were turned into stone. 

> Frank Russell, op, cit. p. 209. * Frank Russell, op, cit, p. 210. 

288 THE GREA T FLOOD . part i 

You may still see them in the form of two great pinnacles 
of rock rising from the tableland.^ 
Story of a The Acagchemem Indians, near St. Juan Capistrano in 

toWbythe California, "were not entirely destitute of a knowledge of 
Acag- the universal deluge, but how, or from whence, they received 
indlanTof the same, I could never understand. Some of their songs 
California, refer to it ; and they have a tradition that, at a time very 
remote, the sea began to swell and roll in upon the plains, 
and fill the valleys, until it had covered the mountains ; and 
thus nearly all the human race and animals were destroyed, 
excepting a few, who had resorted to a very high mountain 
which the waters did not reach. But the songs give a more 
distinct relation of the same, and they state that the 
descendants of Captain Ouiot asked of Chinigchinich venge- 
ance upon their chief — that he appeared unto them, and 
said to those endowed with the power, * Ye are the ones to 
achieve vengeance — ye who cause it to rain ! Do this, and 
so inundate the earth, that every living being will be destroyed.' 
The rains commenced, the sea was troubled, and swelled in 
upon the earth, covering the plains, and rising until it had 
overspread the highest land, excepting a high mountain, 
where the few had gone with the one who had caused it to 
rain, and thus every other animal was destroyed upon the 
face of the earth. These songs were supplications to 
Chinigchinich to drown their enemies. If their opponents 
heard them, they sang others in opposition, which in sub- 
stance ran thus : * We are not afraid, because Chinigchinich 
does not wish to, neither will he destroy the world by another 
inundation.' Without doubt this account has reference to 
the universal deluge, and the promise God made, that there 
should not be another." ^ 
Story of a The Luisefio Indians of Southern California also tell of 

toM by^ a great flood which covered all the high mountains and 
Luisefio drowned most of the people. But a few were saved, who 
Caiiforaia. ^ook refuge on a little knoll near Bonsall. The place was 

^ Mrs. MatiMa Coxe Stevenson, (Wasliinj^ton, 1904), p. 61. 
"The Religious Life of the Zuni 2 Kaiher Kriar Geronimo Boscana, 

Child," Fi/Jf/i Annual Report of the ** Chinigchinich, an Historical Ac- 

Bureau of Ethnology' (Washinfjton, count, etc., of the Acagchemem 

1887), p. 539; id.y **The Zuni In- Nation," appended to [A. Robinson's] 

dians," Twenty-Third Annual Report Life in Caltfontia (New York, 1846), 

of the Bureau of Anurican Ethnology pp. 3CX) sq. 


called Mora by the Spaniards, but the Indians call it Katuta. 
Only the knoll remained above water when all the rest of the 
country was inundated. The survivors stayed there till the 
flood went down. To this day you may see on the top of 
the little hill heaps of sea-shells and seaweed, and ashes, and 
stones set together, marking the spot where the Indians 
cooked their food. The shells are those of the shell-fish 
which they ate, and the ashes and stones are the remains of 
their fire-places. The writer who relates this tradition adds 
that " the hills near Del Mar and other places along the coast 
have many such heaps of sea-shells, of the species still found 
on the beaches, piled in quantities." The Luiseftos still 
sing a Song of the Flood, in which mention is made of the 
knoll of Katuta.^ 

An Indian woman of the Smith River tribe in California Story of a 
gave the following account of the deluge. At one time ^fd by^ihS! 
there came a great rain. It lasted a long time and the Smith 
water kept rising till all the valleys were submerged, and the i„dfans of 
Indians retired to the high land. At last they were all swept California. 
away and drowned except one pair, who escaped to the 
highest pfeak and were saved. They subsisted on fish, which 
they cooked by placing them under their arms. They had 
no fire and could not get any, as everything was far too wet. 
At last the water sank, and from that solitary pair all the 
Indians of the present day are descended. As the Indians 
died, their spirits took the forms of deer, elks, bears, snakes, 
insects, and so forth, and in this way the earth was repeopled 
by the various kinds of animals as well as men. But still 
the Indians had no fire, and they looked with envious 
eyes on the moon, whose fire shone so brightly in the 
sky. So the Spider Indians and the Snake Indians laid 
their heads together and resolved to steal fire from the 
moon. Accordingly the Spider Indians started off for the 
moon in a gossamer balloon, but they took the precaution to 
fasten the balloon to the earth by a rope which they paid 
out as they ascended. When they arrived at the moon, the 
Indians who inhabited the lunar orb looked askance at the 

' Constance (joddard du Bois, lite pp. 116, 157 {University of California 
Religion of the Luisefio Indians of PubUcations in American Archacolog}' 
SotUhcni Ca//^/7//Vz (Berkeley, 1908), and Ethnology ^ vol. viii. No. 3). 


290 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

newcomers, divining their errand. To lull their suspicions 

the Spider Indians assured them that they had come only to 

gamble, so the Moon Indians were pleased and proposed to 

begin playing at once. As they sat by the fire deep in the 

game, a Snake Indian dexterously climbed up the rope by 

which the balloon was tethered, and before the Moon Indians 

knew what he was about he had darted through the fire and 

escaped down the rope again. When he reached the earth, 

he had to travel over every rock, stick, and tree ; everything 

he touched from that time forth contained fire, and the hearts 

of the Indians were glad. But the Spider Indians were long 

kept prisoners in the moon, and when they were at last 

released and had returned to earth, expecting to be welcomed 

as the benefactors of the human race, ungrateful men killed 

them lest the Moon Indians should 'wish to take vengeance 

for the deceit that had been practised on them.^ 

Story of a The Ashochimi Indians of California say that long ago 

Sw by^ 'there was a mighty flood which prevailed over all the land 

Ashochimi and drowned every living creature save the coyote alone. 

Caaifbrnia. ^^ ^^^ himself to restore the population of the world as 

follows. He collected the tail-feathers of owls, hawks, eagles, 

and buzzards, tied them up in a bundle, and journeyed with 

them over the face of the earth. He sought out the sites of 

all the Indian villages, and wherever a wigwam had stood 

before the flood, he planted a feather. In due time the 

feathers sprouted, took root, and flourished greatly, at last 

turning into men and women ; and thus the world was 


Story of a Thc Maidu Indians of California say that of old the 

Sid b^°th^ Indians abode tranquilly in the Sacramento Valley, and were 

Maidu happy. All on a sudden there was a mighty and swift 

Catifornia^ rushing of watcrs, so that the whole valley became like the 

Big Water, which no man can measure. The Indians fled 

for their lives, but many were overtaken by the waters and 

drowned. Also, the frogs and the salmon pursued swiftly 

after them, and they ate many Indians. Thus all the Indians 

perished but two, who escaped to the hills. But the' Great 

Man made them fruitful and blessed them, so that the world 

* Stephen Powers, Tribes of California (Washington, 1877), PP* 70 sq. 
2 S. Powers, '/Vibes of California^ p. 200. 


was soon repeopled. From these two there sprang many 
tribes, even a mighty nation, and one man was chief over all 
this nation — a chief of great renown. Then he went out on 
a knoll, overlooking the wide waters, and he knew that they 
covered fertile plains once inhabited by his ancestors. Nine 
sleeps he lay on the knoll without food, revolving in his mind 
the question, * How did this deep water cover the face of the 
world?' And at the end of nine sleeps he was changed, for 
now no arrow could wound him. Though a thousand I*ndians 
should shoot at him, not one flint-pointed arrow wouJd pierce 
his skin. He was like the Great Man in heaven, for none 
could slay him henceforth. Then he spoke to the Great Man, 
and commanded him to let the water flow off from the plains 
which his ancestors had inhabited. The Great Man obeyed ; 
he rent open the side of the mountain, and the water flowed 
away into the Big Water.^ 

According to Du Pratz, the early French historian of Tradition 
Louisiana, the tradition of a great flood was current among aq^^^^ 
the Natchez, an Indian tribe of the Lower Mississippi. He among the 
tells us that on this subject he questioned the guardian of 
the temple, in which the sacred and perpetual fire was kept 
with religious care. The guardian replied that " the ancient 
word taught all the red men that almost all men were 
destroyed by the waters except a very, small number, who 
had saved themselves on a very high mountain ; that he 
knew nothing more regarding this subject except that 
these few people had repeopled the earth." And Du Pratz 
adds, " As the other nations had told me the same thing, 
I was assured that all the natives thought the same regarding 
this event, and that they had not preserved any memory of 
Noah's ark, which did not surprise me very much, since the 
Greeks, with all their knowledge, were no better informed, 
and we ourselves, were it not for the Holy Scriptures, might 
perhaps know no more than they." ^ Elsewhere he reports 
the tradition somewhat more fully as follows. " They said 
that a great rain fell on the earth so abundantly and during 
such a long time that it was completely covered except a 
very high mountain where some men saved themselves ; that 

' S. Powers, Tribes of Cali/ofnia, p. 290. 
• Le Page du Pratz, Histoire cU la Louisiane (Paris, 1758), iii. 27 sq. 

292 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

all fire being extinguished on the earth, a little bird named 
Coiiy-oiiy, which is entirely red (it is that which is called in 
Louisiana the cardinal bird), brought it from heaven. I 
understood by that that they had forgotten almost all the 
history of the deluge." ^ 
Story of a The Mandan Indians had a tradition of a great deluge 

toW b^^ in which the human race perished except one man, who 
Mandan escaped in a large canoe to a mountain in the west Hence 
n lans. ^^ Mandans celebrated every year certain rites in memory 
of the subsidence of the flood, which they called Mee-nee-ro- 
ka-IuX'Shay " the sinking down or settling of the waters." The 
time for the ceremony was determined by the full expansion 
of the willow leaves on the banks of the river, for according 
to their tradition ** the twig that the bird brought home was 
a willow bough and had full-grown leaves on it " ; and the 
bird which brought the willow bough was the mourning- or 
turtle-dove. These doves often fed on the sides of their 
earth-covered huts, and none of the Indians would destroy 
or harm them ; even their dogs were trained not to molest 
the birds. In the Mandan village a wooden structure was 
carefully preserved to represent the canoe in which the only 
man was gaved from the flood. " In the centre of the Mandan 
village," says the painter Catlin, " is an open, circular area of 
a hundred and fifty feet diameter, kept always clear, as a 
public ground, for the display of all their feasts, parades, etc., 
and around it are their wigwams placed as near to each other 
as they can well stand, their doors facing the centre of this 
public area. In the middle of this ground, which is trodden 
like a hardlpavement, is a curb (somewhat like a large hogs- 
head standing on its end) made of planks and bound with 
hoops, some eight or nine feet high, which they religiously pre- 
serve and protect from year to year, free from mark or scratch, 
and which they call the * big canoe ' : it is undoubtedly a 
symbolic representation of a part of their traditional his- 
tory of the Flood ; which it is very evident, from this and 
numerous other features of this grand ceremony, they have 
in some way or other received, and are here endeavouring to 

* John R. Swantor\, Indian Tribes Institution^ Bureau of American Eth- 

of tke T^noer Mississippi Valley afid Ad' nology^ Bulletin 4j), quoling Dumont, 

jacentCoastof the Gulf of Mexico^ 2^- Mini, sur la Louisiane^i. 163-164. 
ington, 19H), p. 177 {Smithsofiian 


perpetuate by vividly impressing it on the minds of the whole 
nation. This object of superstition, from its position as the 
very centre of the village, is the rallying-point of the whole 
nation. To it their devotions are paid on various occasions 
of feasts and religious exercises during the year." 

On the occasion when Catlin witnessed the annual cere- Annual 
mony commemorative of the flood, the first or only man oruie^"' 
{Nu-mohk-fnuck-a-ncJi) who escaped the flood was personated Mandan 
by a mummer dressed in a robe of white wolf-skins, which commemc 
fell back over his shoulders, while on his head he wore a •'^^^v® ^^ 

the flood* 

Splendid covering of two ravens' skins and in his left hand 
he carried a large pipe. Entering the village from the 
prairie he approached the medicine or mystery lodge, which 
he had the means of opening, and which had been strictly 
closed during the year except for the performance of these 
religious rites. All day long this mummer went through the 
village, stopping in front of every hut and crying, till the 
owner of the hut came out and asked him who he was and 
what was the matter. To this the mummer replied by 
relating the sad catastrophe which had happened on the 
earth's surface through the overflowing of the waters, saying 
that " he was the only person saved from the universal 
calamity ; that he landed his big canoe on a high mountain 
in the west, where he now resides ; that he had come to open 
the medicine-lodge, which must needs receive a present of 
some edged tool from the owner of every wigwam, that it 
may be sacrificed to the water ; for he says, * If this is not 
done, there will be another flood, and no one will be saved, 
as it was with such tools that the big canoe was made.' " 
Having visited every wigwam in the village during the day, 
and having received from each a hatchet, a knife, or other 
edged tool, he deposited them at evening in the medicine 
lodge, where they remained till the afternoon of the last day 
of the ceremony. Then as the final rite they were thrown 
into a deep pool in the river from a bank thirty feet high in 
presence of the whole village ; " from whence they can never 
be recovered, and where they were, undoubtedly, sacrificed to 
the Spirit of the Water." Amongst the ceremonies observed 
at this spring festival of the Mandans was a bull dance 
danced by men disguised as buffaloes and intended to procure 

294 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

Bull dance a plentiful supply of buffaloes in the ensuing season ; further, 

muUMica- ^^ young men underwent voluntarily a series of excruciating 

tion of tortures in the medicine lodge for the purpose of commend- 

buflfaioes. j^^^ themselves to the Great Spirit But how far these quaint 

and ghastly rites were connected with the commemoration of 

the Great Flood does not appear from the accounts of our 


Import- This Mandan festival went by the name of O-kee-pa and 

ascribed ^^^ " ^" annual religious ceremony, to the strict observance 

by the of which those ignorant and superstitious people attributed 

to^he^'*^ not only their enjoyment in life, but their very existence ; for 

celebration traditions, their only history, instructed them in the belief 

festival. that the singular forms of this ceremony produced the 

buffaloes for their supply of food, and that the omission of 

this annual ceremony, with its sacrifices made to the waters, 

would bring upon them a repetition of the calamity which 

their traditions say once befell them, destroying the whole 

human race, excepting one man, who landed from his canoe 

The on a high mountain in the West. This tradition, however, 

tradition ^^g y^Q^ peculiar to the Mandan tribe, for amongst one 

flood hundred and twenty different tribes that I have visited in 

spr«id North and South and Central America, not a tribe exists 

among the that lias not related to me distinct or vague traditions of 

NorfC ° ^^^^ ^ calamity, in which one, or three, or eight persons were 

South, and saved abovc the waters, on the top of a high mountain. 


America. Some of these, at the base of the Rocky Mountains and in 
the plains of Venezuela, and the Pampa del Sacramento in 
South America, make annual pilgrimages to the fancied 
summits where the antediluvian species were saved in canoes 
or otherwise, and, under the mysterious regulations of their 
medicine (mystery) men, tender their prayers and sacrifices 
to the Great Spirit, to ensure their exemption from a similar 
catastrophe." ' 
Cherokee The Cherokee Indians are reported to have a tradition 

story of a ^j^^^ ^j^^ water once prevailed over the land until all mankind 

great ilood. '' 

1 Geo. Catlin, Letters and Notes on (Coblenz, 1 839-1 84 1), ii. 159 sq.^ 

the Manrurs^ Customs^ and Condition 172 sqq, 
of the North American Indians y Fourth 

Edition (London, 1844), i. 155 sqq.^ * George Catlin, O Kee-Pa, a Re- 

Letter 22 ; Maximilian Prinz zu Wied, lit^ions Ceremony; and other Customs of 

Reisc in das Innere Nord- America M^ il/fl«(/<i«j (London, 1867), pp. i m. 


were drowned except a single family. The coming of the 
calamity was revealed by a dog to his master. For the 
sagacious animal went day after day to the banks of a river, 
where he stood gazing at the water and howling piteously. 
Being rebuked by his master and ordered home, the dog 
opened his mouth and warned the man of the danger in 
which he stood. " You must build a boat," said he, " and 
put in it all that you would save ; for a great rain is coming 
that will flood the land." The animal concluded his predic- 
tion by informing his master that his salvation depended on 
throwing him, the dog, into the water ; and for a sign of 
the truth of what he said he bade him look at the back 
of his neck. The man did so, and sure enough, the back of 
the dog's neck was raw and bare, the flesh and bone appear- 
ing. So the man believed, and following the directions of 
the faithful animal he and his family were saved, and from 
them the whole of the present population of the globe is 
lineally descended.^ 

Stories of a great flood are widely spread among Indians stories of a 
of the great Algonquin stock, and they resemble each other ^^jy^^^ 
in some details. Thus the Delawares, an Algonquin tribe prevalent 
whose home was about Delaware Bay, told of a deluge which Jj^^ans^ * 
submerged the whole earth, and from which few persons ofth« 
escaped alive. They saved themselves by taking refuge on sio^k"^"*° 
the back of a turtle, which was so old that his shell was '^'^® 
mossy like the bank of a rivulet. As they were floating thus version. 
forlorn, a loon flew their way, and they begged him to dive 
and bring up land from the 'depth of the waters. The bird 
dived accordingly, but could find no bottom. Then he flew 
far away and came back with a little earth in his bill. 
Guided by him, the turtle swam to the place, where some 
dry land was found. There they settled and repeopled the 

The Montagnais, a group of Indian tribes in Canada who 

* Henry R. Schoolcraft, Notes on people, to compromise certain diffi- 

the Iroquois (Albany, 1847), pp. 358 culties which had arisen between separ- 

sq. The tradition purports to have ate parts of the Cherokee nation and 

been obtained in the summer of 1846 the government." 
from ** Mr. Stand Watie, a res|^ctable 

and intelligent chief of that tribe, who * D. G. Brinton, The I^nApi and 

was attending at the seat of govern- their Legends (Philadelphia, 1885), 

ment, as one of the delegates of his p. 134. 

296 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

Story of a also belong to the great Algonquin stock,^ told an early 

Swby^ Jesuit missionary that a certain mighty^ being, whom they 

Montagnais called Messou, repaired the world after it had been ruined by 

Canada.^ ^^^ great flood. They said that one day Messou went out 

to hunt, and that the wolves which he used instead of hounds 

entered into a lake and were there detained. Messou sought 

them everywhere, till a bird told him that he saw the lost 

wolves in the middle of the lake. So he waded into the 

water to rescue them, but the lake overflowed, covered the 

earth, and overwhelmed the world. Greatly astonished, 

Messou sent the raven to search for a clod of earth out of 

which he might rebuild that element, but no earth could the 

raven find. Next Messou sent an otter, which plunged into 

the deep water, but brought back nothing. Lastly, Messou 

despatched a musk-rat, and the rat brought back a little soil, 

which Messou used to refashion the earth on which we live. 

He shot arrows at the trunks of trees, and the arrows were 

changed into branches : he took vengeance on those who 

had detained his wolves in the lake : and he married a musk- 

rat, by which he had children, who repeopled the world.^ 

Another In this legend there is no mention of men ; and but for 

of Uie" ^^^ P^*"^ played in it by the animals we might have supposed 

Montagnais that the deluge took place in the early ages of the world 

^* before the appearance of life on the earth. However, some 

two centuries later, another Catholic missionary tells us that 

the Montagnais of the Hudson Bay Territory have a tradition 

of a great flood which covered the world, and from which 

four persons, along with animals and birds, escaped alive on 

a floating island.^ Yet another Catholic missionary reports 

the Montagnais legend more fully as follows. God, being 

angry with the giants, commanded a man to build a large 

canoe. The man did so, and when he had embarked in it, 

the water rose on all sides, and the canoe with it, till no land 

was anywhere to be seen. Weary of beholding nothing but 

a heaving mass of water, the man threw an otter into the 

^ F. VV. Hodge, Handbook of A meri- This story is repeated, somewhat more 

can Indians North of Mexico (Washing- briefly, l)y the Jesuit Charlevoix in his 

ton, 1907-1910), i. 933, s.v. **Mon- Histoire de la NouvelU /raif^^ (Paris, 

tagriais." 1744), vi. 147. 

2 Relations des J^suites^ 1643, P* '3 ' ^^S*"' Tacbe, in Annalcs de la Pro- 

(Canadian reprint, Quebec, 1858). potation de la Foi^ xxiv. (1852) p. 336. 


flood, and the animal dived and brought up a h'ttle earth. 
The man took the earth or mud in his hand and breathed 
on it, and at once it began to grow. So he laid it on the 
surface of the water and prevented it from sinking. As it 
continued to grow into an island, he desired to know whether 
it was large enough to support him. Accordingly he placed a 
reindeer upon it, but the animal soon made the circuit of the 
island and returned to him, from which he concluded that the 
island was not yet large enough. So he continued to blow on 
it till the mountains, the lakes, and the rivers were formed. 
Then he disembarked.^ The same missionary reports a Cree story 
deluge legend current among the Crees, another tribe of the "^^^ 
Algonquin stock in Canada ; but this Cree story bears clear 
traces of Christian influence, for in it the man is said to have 
sent forth from the canoe, first a raven, and second a wood- 
pigeon. The raven did not return, and as a punishment for 
his disobedience the bird was changed from white to black ; 
the pigeon returned with his claws full of mud, from which 
the man inferred that the earth was dried up ; so he 

The genuine old Algonquin legend of the flood appears The old 
to have been first recorded at full length by a Mr. H. E. ^^^^"f^^^ 
MacKenzie, who passed much of his early life with the in/uU 
Salteaux or Chippeway Indians, a large and powerful branch chipiLway 
of the Algonquin stock. He communicated the tradition to Indians. 
Lieutenant W. H. Hooper, R.N., at Fort Norman, near Bear 
Lake, about the middle of the nineteenth century. In sub- 
stance the legend runs as follows. 

Once upon a time there were certain Indians and among How the 
them a great medicine-man named Wis-kay-tchach. With JJJj^n ^L 
them also were a wolf and his two sons, who lived on a foot- kay-tchach 
ing of intimacy with the human beings. Wis-kay-tchach hunting 
called the old wolf his brother and the young ones his with the 


nephews ; for he recognized all animals as his relations. In 
the winter time the whole party began to starve ; so in order 
to find food the parent wolf announced his intention of 
separating with his children from the band. Wis-kay-tchach 
offered to bear him company, so off they set together. Soon 

* Mgr. Faraud, in Annales d£ la pp. 388 sq. 
Propagation de la Fci\ xxxvi. (1864) '-' Mgr. Faraud, op. cit. p. 387. 

298 THE GREAT FLOOD parti 

they came to the track of a moose. The old Wolf and the 
medicine-^man Wis (as we may call hicn for short) stopped 
to smoke, while the young wolves pursued the moose. After 
a time, the young ones not returning, Wis and the old Wolf 
set off after them, and soon found blood on the snow, whereby 
they knew that the moose was killed. Soon they came up 
with the young wolves, but no moose was to be seen, for the 
young wolves had eaten it up. They bade Wis make a fire, 
and when he had done so, he found the whole of the moose 
restored and already quartered and cut up. The young 
wolves divided the spoil into four portions ; but one of them 
retained the tongue and the other the mouffle (upper lip), 
which are the chief delicacies of the animal. Wis grumbled, 
and the young wolves gave up these dainties to him. When 
they had devoured the whole, one of the young wolves said 
he would make marrow fat, which is done by breaking up 
the bones very small and borling them. Soon this resource 
was also exhausted, and they all began to hunger again. 
So they agreed to separate once more. This time Old Wolf 
went off with one of his sons, leaving Wis and the other 
young wolf to hunt together. 
How the The story now leaves the Old Wolf and follows the 

[h^rend^* ^^^^^^^^ of Wis and his nephew, one of the two young 
ofWis-kay- wolves. The young wolf killed some deer and brought them 
was killed "^o"™^ ^^ ^^^ stomach, disgorging them as before on his 
and arrival. At last he told his uncle that he could catch no 

brwatcr- "^o^e, SO Wis sat up all night making medicine or using 
lynxes. enchantments. In the morning he bade his nephew go 
a-hunting, but warned him to be careful at every valley and 
hollow place to throw a stick over before he ventured to 
jump himself, or else some evil would certainly befall him. 
So away went the young wolf, but in pursuing a deer he 
forgot to follow his uncle's directions, and in attempting to 
leap a hollow he fell plump into a river and was there killed 
and devoured by water-lynxes. What kind of a beast a 
water-lynx is, the narrator did not know. But let that be. 
Enough that the young wolf was killed and devoured by 
these creatures. After waiting long for his nephew. Wis set 
off to look for him, and coming to the spot where the young 
wolf had leaped, he guessed rightly that the animal had 


neglected his warning and fallen into the stream. He saw a 
kingfisher sitting on a tree and gazing fixedly at the water. 
Asked what he was looking at so earnestly, the bird replied 
that he was looking at the skin of Wis's nephew, the young 
wolf, which served as a door-mat to the house of the water- 
lynxes ; for not content with killing and devouring the 
nephew, these ferocious animals had added insult to injury 
by putting his skin to this ignoble use. Grateful for the in- 
formation, Wis called the kingfisher to him, combed the 
bird's head, and began to put a ruff round his neck ; but 
before, he had finished his task, the bird flew away, and that 
is why down to this day kingfishers have only part of a ruff 
at the back of their head. Before the kingfisher flew away, 
he gave Wis a parting hint, that the water-lynxes often came 
ashore to lie on the sand, and that if he wished to be revenged 
on them he must turn himself into a stump close by, but 
must be most careful to keep perfectly rigid and on no 
account to let himself be pulled down by the frogs and snakes, 
which the water-lynxes would be sure to send to dislodge 
him. On receiving these directions Wis returned to his 
camp and resorted to enchantments ; also he provided all 
things necessary, among others a large canoe to hold all the 
animals that could not swim. 

Before daylight broke, he had completed his preparations How Wis- 
and embarked all the aforesaid animals in the big canoe, kfikd^e** 
He then paddled quietly to the neighbourhood of the lynxes, water-lynx, 
and having secured the canoe behind a promontory, he landed, f^^ g^eat 
transformed himself into a stump, and awaited, in that flood rose 
assumed character, the appearance of the water -lynxes. 
Soon the black one crawled out and lay down on the sand ; 
and then the grey one did the same. Last of all the white 
one, which had killed the young wolf, popped his head out 
of the water, but espying the stump, he grew suspicious, and 
called out to his brethren that he had never seen that stump 
before. They answered carelessly that it must have been 
always there ; but the wary white lynx, still suspicious, sent 
frogs and snakes to pull it down. Wis had a severe struggle 
to keep himself upright, but he succeeded, and the white 
lynx, his suspicions now quite lulled to rest, lay down to 
sleep on the sand. Wis waited a little, then resuming his 

300 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

natural shape he took his spear and crept softly to the white 
lynx. He had been warned by the kingfisher to strike at 
the animal's shadow or he would assuredly be balked ; but 
in his eagerness he forgot the injunction, and striking full 
at his adversary's body he missed his mark. The creature 
rushed towards the water, but Wis had one more chance and 
aiming this time at the lynx's shadow he wounded grievously 
the beast itself. However, the creature contrived to escape 
into the river, and the other lynxes with it. Instantly the 
water began to boil and rise, and Wis made for his canoe 
as fast as he could run. The water continued flowing, 
until land, trees, and hills were all covered. The canoe 
floated about on the surface, and Wis, having before taken 
on board all animals that could not swim, now busied him- 
self in picking up all that could swim only for a short time 
and were now struggling for life in the water around him. 
How with But in his enchantments to meet the great emer- 

rat^which* g^^^y, Wis had overlooked a necessary condition for the 
dived into restoration of the world after the flood. He had no earth, 
Wis-kay-' ^ot even a particle, which might serve as a nucleus for the 
tchach ne^ lands which were to rise from the waste of waters. He 
the earth now Set about obtaining it. Tying a string to the leg of a 
^^^^ ?V, loon he ordered the bird to try for soundings and to persevere 
m its descent even if it should perish m the attempt ; for, 
said he, " If you are drowned, it is no matter : I can easily 
restore you to life." Encouraged by this assurance, the bird 
dropped like a stone into the water, and the line ran out 
fast. When it ceased to run. Wis hauled it up, and at the 
end of the line was the loon dead. Being duly restored to 
life, the bird informed Wis that he had found no bottom. 
So Wis next despatched an otter on the same errand, but he 
fared no better than the loon. After that Wis tried a beaver, 
which after being drowned and resuscitated in the usual way, 
reported that he had seen the tops of trees, but could sink no 
deeper. Last of all Wis let down a rat fastened to a stone ; 
down went the rat and the stone, and presently the line 
slackened. Wis hauled it up and at the end of it he found 
the rat dead but clutching a little earth in its paws. Wis 
had now all that he wanted. He restored the rat to 
life and spread out the earth to dry ; then he blew upon 


it till it swelled and grew to a great extent. When he 
thought it large enough, he sent out a wolf to explore, but 
the animal soon returned, saying that the world was small. 
Thereupon Wis again blew on the earth for a long time, and 
then sent forth a crow. When the bird did not return. Wis 
concluded that the world was now large enough for all ; so 
he and the animals disembarked from the canoe.^ 

A few years later, in September 1855, a German traveller Another 
obtained another version of the same legend from an old J^^tory 
Ojibway woman, the mother of a half-caste. In this Ojibway ^^]^ ^y ^^ 


version the story turns on the doings of Menaboshu, a great woman. 
primeval hero, who, if he did not create the world, is 
generally believed by the Ojibways to have given to the 
earth its present form, directing the flow of the rivers, 
moulding the beds of the lakes, and cleaving the mountains 
into deep glens and ravines. He lived on very friendly 
terms with the animals, whom he regarded as his kinsfolk 
and with whom he could converse in their own language. 
Once he pitched his camp in the middle of a solitary wood. 
The times were bad ; he had no luck in the chase, though 
he fasted and hungered. In his dire distress he went to the How the 
wolves and said to them, " My dear little brothers, will you Me^boshu 
give me something to eat ? " The wolves said, " That we made 
will," and they gave him of their food. He found it so good the wolv^. 
that he begged to be allowed to join them in the chase, and 
they gave him leave. So Menaboshu hunted with the wolves, 
camped with them, and shared their booty. 

. This they did for ten days, but on the tenth day they How the 
came to a cross-road. The wolves wished to go one way, li|e friend 
and Menaboshu wished to go another, and as neither would ofMena- 
give way, it was resolved to part company. But Menaboshu drown^^ 
said that at least the youngest wolf must go with him, for he 
loved the animal dearly and called him his little brother. 
The little wolf also would not part from him, so the two 
went one way, while all the rest of the wolves went the 
other. Menaboshu and the little wolf camped in the middle 
of the ..wood and hunted togethcM*, but sometimes the little 
wolf hunted alone. Now Menaboshu was anxious for the 

* Lieut. W. H. Hooper, R.N., Ten Months among the Tetits of the Tuski 
(London, 1853), pp. 285-292. In the text I have somewhat abridged the legend. 

302 THE GREAT FLOOD part i 

safety of the little wolf, and he said to him, " My dear little 

brother, have you seen that lake which lies near our camp to 

the west ? Go not thither, never tread the ice on it ! Do 

you hear ? " This he said because he knew that his worst 

enemy, the serpent-king, dwelt in trhe lake and would do 

anything to vex him. The little wolf promised to do as 

Menaboshu told him, but he thought within himself, " Why 

does Menaboshu forbid me to go on the lake ? Perhaps he 

thinks I might meet my brothers the wolves there ! After 

all I love my brothers ! " Thus he thought for two days, 

but on the third day he went on the lake and roamed about 

on the ice to see whether he could find his brothers. But 

just as he came to the middle of the lake, the ice broke, and 

he fell in and was drowned. 

How All that evening Menaboshu waited for his little brother, 

v?s1"^Uw" ^"^ ^^ never came. Menaboshu waited for him the next 

lake, where day, but Still he Came not. So he waited five days and five 

woifhad nights. Then he began to weep and wail, and he cried so 

been killed joud after his little brother, that his cries could be heard at 

bv the 

serpent- the end of the wood. All the rest of the melancholy winter 

•ting- he passed in loneliness and sorrow. Well he knew who had 

killed his brother ; it was the serpent-king, but Menaboshu 

could not get at him in the winter. When spring came at 

last, he went one bright warm day to the lake in which his 

little brother had perished. All the long winter he could not 

bear to visit the fatal spot. But now on the sand, where the 

snow had melted, he saw the footprints of "his lost brother, 

and when he saw them he broke into lamentations so l©ud 

that they were heard far and near. 

How The serpent-king heard them also, and curious to know 

deccrved^ " what was the matter, he popped his head out of the water. 

theserpent- " Ah, there you are," said Menaboshu to himself, wiping away 

*"^' the tears with the sleeve of his coat, '* you shall pay for your 

misdeed." He turned himself at once into a tree-stump and 

stood in that likeness stiff and stark on the water's edge. 

The serpent-king and all the other serpents, who popped out 

after him, looked about very curiously to discover who had 

been raising this loud lament, but they could discover nothing 

but the tree-stump, which they had never seen there before. 

As they were sniffing about it, " Take care," said one of them, 


"there's more there than meets the eye. Maybe it is our 
foe, the sly Menaboshu, in disguise." So the serpent-king 
commanded one of his attendants to go and search the 
matter out The gigantic serpent at once coiled itself round 
the tree-stump and squeezed it so hard, that the bones in 
Menaboshu's body cracked, but he bore the agony with stoical 
fortitude, not betraying his anguish by a single sound. So 
the serpents were easy in their minds and said, " No, it is 
not he. We can sleep safe. It is only wood ! '* And the 
day being warm, they all lay down on the sandy beach of 
the lake and fell fast asleep. 

Scarcely had the last snake closed his eyes, when Mena- How 
boshu slipped from his ambush, seized his bow and arrows, J^f^"aboshii 

* *^ ' killed the 

and shot the serpent-king dead. 1 hree also of the serpent- serpent- 
king's sons he despatched with his arrows. At that the other {jjg^flj^^^ 
serpents awoke, and gHded back into the water, crying, rose, and 
" Woe ! woe ! Menaboshu is among us ! Menaboshu is kill- ^^p^"^"" 
ing us ! " They made a horrible noise all over the lak<i and from it to a 
lashed the water with their long tails. Those of them who "*°"'*^*'*- 
had the most powerful magic brought forth their medicine- 
bags, opened them, and scattered the contents all around on 
the banks and the wood and in the air. Then the water 
began to run in whirlpools and to swell. The sky was over- 
cast with clouds, and torrents of rain fell. First the neigh- 
bourhood, then half the earth, then the whole world was flooded. 
Frightened to death, Menaboshu fled away, hopping from 
mountain to mountain like a squirrel, but finding no rest for 
the soles of his feet, for the swelling waves followed him 
everywhere. At last he escaped to a very high mountain, 
but soon the water rose even over its summit. On the top 
of the mountain grew a tall fir-tree, and Menaboshu climbed 
up it to its topmost bough. Even there the flood pursued 
him and had risen to his mouth, when it suddenly stood still. 

In this painful position, perched on the tree-top and How with 
surrounded by the heaving waters of the flood, Menaboshu ^^^ h*-'^P of 
remained five days and five nights, wondering how he could which 
escape. At last he saw a solitary bird, a loon, swimming on ***^'^ '"^° 
the face of the water. He called the bird and said, ** Brother Menaboshu 
loon, thou skilful diver, be so good as to dive into the depths restored the 

earth after 

and see whether thou canst find any earth, without which I the flood. 

304 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

cannot live." Again and again the loon dived, but no earth 
could he find. Menaboshu was almost in despair. But next 
day he saw the dead body of a drowned musk-rat drifting 
towards him. He caught it, took it in his hand, breathed 
on it, and brought it to life again. Then he said to the rat, 
" Little brother rat, neither you nor I can live without earth. 
Dive into the water and bring me up a little earth. If it be 
only three grains of sand, yet will I make something out of 
it for you and me." The rat dived and after a long time 
reappeared on the surface. It was dead, but Menaboshu 
caught it and examined its paws. On one of the fore-paws 
he found two grains of sand or dust. So he took them, 
dried them on his hand in the sun, and blew them away 
over the water. Where they fell they grew into little islands, 
and these united into larger ones, till at last Menaboshu was 
able to jump down from the tree-top on one of them. On 
it he floated about as on a raft, and helped the other islands to 
grow together, until at last they formed lands and continents. 
Then Menaboshu walked from place to place, restoring nature 
to its former beauty and variety. He found little roots and 
tiny plants which he planted, and they grew into meadows, 
shrubs, and forests. Many of the dead bodies of animals 
had drifted ashore. Menaboshu gathered them and blew on 
them, and they came to life. Then he said, " Go each of 
you to his own place." So they went all of them to their 
places. The birds nested in the trees. The fishes and 
beavers chose for themselves the little lakes and rivers, and 
the bears and other four-footed beasts roamed about on the 
dry land. Moreover, Menaboshu walked to and fro with a 
measuring-line, determining the length of the rivers, the depth 
of the lakes, the height of the mountains, and the form of the 
lands. The earth thus restored by Menaboshu was the first 
land in the world to be inhabited by the Indians ; the earlier 
earth which was overwhelmed by the flood was inhabited only 
by Menaboshu and the wolves and the serpent-king and his 
satellites. So at least said the old Ojibway woman who told 
the story of the flood to the German traveller.^ 

' J. G. Kohl, Kitschi- Garni oder (Ojibway) story of the deluge is given 
Erziihliiut^en vom Obern Sec (Bremen, by an old traveller in a very concise 
1859), i. 321-328. The Chippeway form as follows: ** They describe a 


Another version of the same story has been recorded Another 
nore briefly, with minor variations, among the Ojibways of ^^^^ °' 
outh-eastern Ontario. It runs thus. Nenebojo was living story told 
rfth his brother in the -woods. Every day he went out hunt- ojibvrays 
ig, while his brother stayed at home. One evening when ofsouth- 
e returned he noticed that his brother was not at home ; Ontario. 
:> he went out to look for him. But he could find him in this 
owhere. Next morning he again started in search of his the hero 
rother. As he walked by the shore of a lake, what should »s called 

« ,.-,.. , 1 /. « Nenebojo. 

e see but a kingfisher sitting on a branch of a tree that 
rooped over the water. The bird was looking at something 
itently in the water below him. "What are you looking 
t ? " asked Nenebojo. But the kingfisher pretended not to 
ear him. Then Nenebojo said again, " If you will tell me 
rhat you are looking at, I will make you fair to see. I will 
aint your feathers." The bird gladly accepted the offer, 
nd as soon as Nenebojo had painted his feathers, the king- 
sher said, ** I am looking at Nenebojo's brother, whom the 
rater-spirits have killed and whose skin they are using as a 
oor-flap." Then Nenebojo asked again, '* Where do these 
rater-spirits come to the shore to sun themselves ? " The 
ingfisher answered, " They always sun themselves over there 
t one of the bays, where the sand is quite dry." 

Then Nenebojo left the kingfisher. He resolved to go How 
•ver to the sandy beach indicated to him by the bird, and ^11!^^^ 
here to wait for the first chance of killing the water-spirits, water-lions 
le first pondered what disguise he should assume in order ^"^^1 ^^ 
o approach them unawares. Said he to himself, " I will 
hange myself into an old rotten stump." No sooner said 
han done ; the transformation was effected by a long rod, 
irhich Nenebojo always carried with him. When the lions 
ame out of the water to sun themselves, one of them noticed 
he stump and said to one of his fellows, " I never saw that 
Id stump there before. Surely it can't be Nenebojo." But 
he lion he spoke to said, ** Indeed, I have seen that stump 
»efore." Then a third lion came over to peer and make 


iluge, when the waters spread over kenzie, Voyages from Montreal throu!:;h 

le whole earth, except the highest the Continent 0/ North America, Lon- 

ountains, on the tops of which they don, 1801, p. cxviii). 
eserved themselves" (Alexander Mac- 


3o6 THE GREAT FLOOD part i 

sure. He broke a piece off and saw that it was rotten. So 
all the lions were easy in their minds and lay down to sleep. 
When Nenebojo thought they were fast asleep he struck 
them on their heads with his stick. As he struck them the 
water rose from the lake. He ran away, but the waves 
pursued him. As he ran he met a woodpecker, who showed 
him the way to a mountain where grew a tall pine-tree. 
Nenebojo climbed up the tree and began to build a raft. By 
the time he had finished the raft the water reached to his 
neck. Then he put on the raft two animals of all the kinds 
that existed, and with them he floated about 
How. with When they had drifted for a while, Nenebojo said, " I 

orthe ^ believe that the water will never subside, so I had better 
musk-rat, make land again." Then he sent an otter to dive to the 
restoredt°he bottom of the water and fetch up some earth ; but the otter 
earth after came back without any. Next he sent the beaver on the same 
errand, but again in vain. After that Nenebojo despatched 
the musk-rat to bring up earth out of the water. When the 
musk-rat returned to the surface his paws were tightly closed. 
On opening them Nenebojo found some little grains of sand, 
and he discovered other grains in the mouth of the musk-rat 
So he put all the grains together, dried them, and then blew 
them into the lake with the horn which he used for calling 
the animals. In the lake the grains of sand formed an 
island. Nenebojo enlarged the island, and sent out a raven 
to find out how large it was. But the raven never returned. 
So Nenebojo decided to send out the hawk, the fleetest of 
all birds on the wing. After a while the hawk returned, and 
being asked whether he had seen the raven anywhere, he said 
he had seen him eating dead bodies by the shore of the lake. 
Then Nenebojo said, " Henceforth the raven will never have 
anything to eat but what he steals." Yet another interval, 
and Nenebojo sent out the caribou to explore the size of the 
island. The animal soon returned, saying that the island was 
not large enough. So Nenebojo blew more sand into the 
water, and when he had done so he ceased to make the 

* Paul Radin, Some Myths and Taks vcy^ Mnnoir 4S). Compare id, pp. 

of the Ojibiva of South-eastern Ontario 22 sq. The lions of this tale are clearly 

(Ottawa, 1914), pp. 19-21 {Canada, mythical animals, like the water-lynxes 

Department of Mines, Geological Sur- and the serpents of the preceding tales. 


The same story is told, with variations, by the Timagami Another 
Ojibways of Canada. They speak of a certain hero named ti^^me 
Nenebuc, who was the son of the Sun by a mortal woman, story told 
One day, going about with his bow and arrows, he came to a ximagami 
great lake with a beautiful sandy shore, and in the lake he saw Ojibways 
lions. They were too far off to shoot at, so he waited till, in this 
feeling cold in the water, the lions came ashore to sun and dry version 
themselves on the sandy beach. In order to get near them is called 
unseen, he took some birch-bark from a rotten stump, rolled Nenebua 
it into a hollow cylinder and set it, like a wigwam, near the 
shore. Then he ensconced himself in it, making a little loop- 
hole in the bark, through which he could see and shoot the 
lions. The lions were curious as to this new thing on the 
shore, and they sent a great snake to spy it out The snake 
coiled Itself round the cylinder of bark and tried to upset it, 
but it could not, for Nenebuc inside of it stood firm. Then 
the lions themselves approached, and Nenebuc shot an arrow 
and wounded a lioness, the wife of the lion chief She 
was badly hurt, but contrived to crawl away to the cave in 
which she lived. The cave may be seen to this day. It is 
in a high bluff on the west shore of Smoothwater Lake. 
Disguised in the skin of a toad, and pretending to be a 
medicine-woman, Nenebuc was admitted to the presence of 
the wounded lioness in the cave ; but instead of healing 
her, as he professed to do, he thrust the point of the arrow 
still deeper into the wound, so that she died. No sooner did 
she expire than a great torrent of water poured out of the 
cave, and the lake began to rise. " That is ^oing to flood 
the world and be the end of all things," said Nenebuc. So 
he cut down trees and made a raft. And hardly was the 
raft ready, when the flood was upon him. It rose above the 
trees, bearing the raft with it, and wherever he looked he 
could see nothing but water everywhere. All kinds of 
animals were swimming about in it ; they made for his raft, 
and he took them in. For he wished to save them in order 
that, when the flood subsided, the earth should be stocked 
with the same kinds of animals as before. They stayed 
with him on the raft for a long while. After a time he made 
a rope of roots, and tying it to the beaver's tail, he bade him 
dive jiown to the land below the water. The beaver dived, 




version of 
the same 
story told 
by the 

An Ottawa 
version of 
the story 
of the great 

but came up again, saying that he could find no bottonL 
Seven days afterwards Nenebuc let the musk-rat try whether 
he could not bring up some earth. The musk-rat plunged 
into the water and remained down a long time. At last he 
came up dead, but holding a little earth in his paws. Nene- 
buc dried the earth, but not entirely. That is why in some 
place3 there are swamps to this day. So the animals again 
roamed over the earth, and the world was remade.^ 

The Blackfoot Indians, another Algonquin tribe, who 
used to range over the eastern slopes of the Rocky Moun- 
tains and the prairies at their foot, tell a- similar tale of the 
great primeval deluge. " In the beginning," they say, " all 
tlie land was covered with water, and Old Man and all the 
animals were floating around on a large raft One day Old 
Man told the beaver to dive and try to bring up a little 
mud. The beaver went down, and was gone a long time, 
but could not reach the bottom. Then the loon tried, and 
the otter, but the water was too deep for them. At last the 
musk-rat dived, and he was gone so long that they thought 
he had been drowned, but he finally came up, almost dead, 
and when they pulled him on to the raft, they found, in one 
of his paws, a little mud. With this, Old Man formed the 
world, and afterwards he made the people."^ 

The Ottawa Indians, another branch of the Algonquin 
stock,' tell a long fabulous story, which they say has 
been handed down to them from their ancestors. It 
contains an account of a deluge which overwhelmed the 
whole earth, ahd from which a single man, by name Nana- 
boujou, escaped by floating on a piece of bark.* The 
missionary who reports this tradition gives us no further 
particulars concerning it, but from the similarity of the name 
Nanaboujou to the names Nenebojo, Nenebuc, and Mena- 

^ F. G. Speck, Myths ami Folk-lore 
of the Ti miskamittg Algonquin and 
Timagami Ojibwa (Ottawa, 1 91 5), 
pp. 28 sq.y 34-37 {Canada^ Depart- 
ment of MineSy Geological Suti>eyi 
Memoir yi). The name Nenebuc 
is clearly equivalent to Nenebojo 
and Menaboshu in the preceding ver- 
sions of the tale. The word which 
Mr. Speck renders by "lion" is ex- 
plained by him to mean •* giant-lynx." 

It is therefore the equivalent of the 
** water-lynxes " in another version of 
the story (above, pp. 298 sqq,). 

2 G. B. Grinnell, Biaikfoot Lodge 
Talcs (London, 1893), p. 272. 

3 F. W. Hodge, Handboo/e of Ameri- 
can Indians North of Mexieo (Washing- 
ton, 1 907- 1 9 10), ii. 167 sq, 

* Clicteur, in Annales de VAssocia^ 
tion de la Propagation de la Fot^ iv. 
(1830), pp. 477 sq. 


boshUy we may surmise that the Ottawa version of the 
deluge legend closely resembled the Ojibway versions which 
have already been narrated.^ 

Certainly similar stories appear to be widely current Cree 
among thq Indian tribes of North-Western Canada. They J^^^Q^f 
are not confined to tribes of the Algonquin stock, but of the great 
occur also among their northern neighbours, the Tinnehs 
or D^n^s, who belong to the great Athapascan family, the 
most widely distributed of all Indian linguistic families in 
North America, stretching as it does from the Arctic 
coast far into Mexico, and extending from the Pacific 
to Hudson's Bay, and from the Rio Colorado to the mouth 
of the Rio Grande.* Thus the Crees, who are an Algon- 
quin tribe,' relate that in the beginning there lived an old 
magician named Wissaketchak, who wrought marvels by his 
enchantments. However, a certain sea monster hated the 
old man and sought to destroy him. So when the magician 
was paddling in his canoe, the monster lashed the sea with 
his tail till the waves rose and engulfed the land. But 
Wissaketchak built a great raft and gathered upon it pairs 
of all animals and all birds, and in that way he saved his 
own life and the lives of the other creatures. Nevertheless 
the gfreat fish continued to lash his tail and the water con- 
tinued to rise, till it had covered not only the earth but the 
highest mountains, and not a scrap of dry *land was to be 
seen. Then Wissaketchak sent the diver duck to plunge 
into the water and bring up the sunken earth ; but the bird 
could not dive to the bottom and was drowned. Thereupon 
Wissaketchak sent the musk-rat, which, after remaining long 
under water, reappeared with its throat full of slime. Wissa- 
ketchak took the slime, moulded it into a small disk, and 
placed it on the water, where it floated. It resembled the 
nests which the musk-rats make for themselves on the ice. 
By and by the disk swelled into a hillock. Then Wissa- 
ketchak blew on it, and the more he blew on it the more it 
swelled, and being baked by the sun it became a solid mass. 
As it grew and hardened, Wissaketchak sent forth the 

1 55ee above, pp. 301 sg^. ii. 754 st^, 

* F. W. Hodge, Handbook of Avieri- ' F. W. Hodge, Ilaftdbook ofAmeri" 

can Indians North of Mexico y\. loSsgg,, can Indians North of Mexico^ i 359. 




and Slave 
version of 
the story 
of the great 

version of 
the story of 
the great 

animals to lodge upon it, and at last he himself disembarked 
and took possession of the land thus created, which is the 
world we now inhabit^ A similar tale is told by the Dogrib 
and Slave Indians, two Tinneh tribes,^ except that they give 
the name of Tchapewi to the man who was saved from the 
great flood ; and they say that when he was floating on the raft 
with couples of all sorts of animals, which he had rescued, he 
caused all the amphibious animals, one after the other, includ- 
ing the otter and the beaver, to dive into the water, but none 
of them could bring up any earth except the musk-rat, who 
dived last of all and came up panting with a little mud in 
his paw. That mud Tchapewi breathed on till it grew into 
the earth as we now see it So Tchapewi replaced the 
animals on it, and they lived there as before ; and he 
propped the earth on a stout stay, making it firm and solid,' 
The Hareskin Indians, another Tinneh tribe,* say 
that a certain Kunyan, which means Wise Man, once 
upon a time resolved to build a great raft. When his 
sister, who was also his wife, asked him why he would 
build it, he said, ** If there comes a flood, as I foresee, 
we shall take refuge on the raft." He told his plan to 
other men on the earth, but they laughed at him, saying, " If 
there is a flood, we shall take refuge on the trees." Never- 
theless the Wise Man made a great raft, joining the logs 
together by ropes made of roots. All of a sudden there 

1 Emile Pctitot, Traditions Tndi- 
emu's du Catiada Nord-ouest (Paris, 
1886), pp. 472-476. In this talc the 
wizard's name Wissaketchak seems 
clearly identical with the name Wis- . 
kay-tchach of the Chippeway lei;end 
(above, p. 297). A similar tale is 
told by the Assiniboins, a tribe of the 
Siouan or Dacotan stock, who are 
closely associated with the Crees. 
They say that formerly, when all the 
earth was flooded with water, the 
Trickster, whom they call Inktonmi, 
sent animals to dive for dirt at the 
bottom of the sea, but no creature 
could bring up any. At last he sent 
the musk-rat, and the rat came up 
dead, but with dirt in its claws. So 
the Trickster took the dirt and made 
the earth out of it. Afterwards he 

created men and horses out of dirt. 
See Robert H. Lowie, The Assini- 
boine (New York, 1909), p. loi 
{Anthropological Papers of the Ameri- 
can Museum of Natural History^ vol. 
iv. Part i. ). According to this account, 
the flood preceded the creation of 
mankind. But as the story is appar> 
ently much abridged, we may perhaps 
suppose that in the full version the 
human species were said to have been 
drowned in the flood and afterwards 
created afresh out of mud by the 

2 F. \V. Hodge, Ilaftdbaok 0/ Ameri- 
can Indians North of Mexico^ i. 108 sg,^ 

". 75,4. 

3 E. Pctitot, op. cit. pp. 317-319. 

* F. W. lloAgG, Handbook of Ameri- 
can Indians North of Mexico, ii. 754. 


:ame a flood such that the h'ke of it had never been seen 

>efore. The water seemed to gush forth on every side. 

Men climbed up in the trees, but the water rose after them, 

ind all were drowned. But the Wise Man floated safely on 

lis strong and well-corded raft. As he floated he thought 

3f the future, and he gathered by twos all the herbivorous 

animals, and all the birds, and even all the beasts of prey 

[le met with on his passage. " Come up on my raft," he 

said to them, " for soon there will be no more earth." 

[ndeed, the earth disappeared under the water, and for a 

ong time nobody thought of going to look for it. The first 

to plunge into the depth was the musk-rat, but he could find 

10 bottom, and when he bobbed up on the surface again he 

j^as half drowned. " There is no earth ! " said he. A second 

:ime he dived, and when he came up, he said, " I smelt the 

imell of the earth, but I could not reach it." Next it came How the 

:o the turn of the beaver. He dived and remained a long witTthe^" 

jme under water. At last he reappeared, floating on his help of the 

jack; breathless and unconscious. But in his paw he had ^^ich ' 

\ little mud, which he gave to the Wise Man. The Wise ^»ved into 

toe w&ter 

Man placed the mud on the water, breathed on it, and said, restored the 
'I would there were an earth again!" At the same time fafth after 

it n£L(i be^n 

le breathed on the handful of mud, and lo ! it began to destroyed 
jrow. He put a small bird on it, and the patch of mud jJ|J|^®^*^^ 
jrew still bigger. So he breathed, and breathed, and the 
nud grew and grew. Then the man put a fox on the float- 
iig island of mud, and the fox ran round it in a single day. 
Round and round the island ran the fox, and bigger and 
digger grew the island. Six times did the fox make the 
rircuit of the island, but when he made it for the seventh 
ime, the land was complete even as it was before the flood. 
Then the Wise Man caused all the animals to disembark 
md landed them on the dry ground. Afterwards he himself 
lisembarked with his wife and son, saying, " It is for us that 
his earth shall be repeopled." And repeopled it was, sure 
enough. Only one difficulty remained with which the Wise 
Man had to grapple. The floods were still out, and how to 
•educe them was the question. The bittern saw the difficulty 
md came to the rescue. He swallowed the whole of the 
urater, and then lay like a log on the bank, with his belly 

312 THE GREAT FLOOD part i 

swollen to a frightful size. This was more than the Wise 
Man had bargained for ; if there had been too much water 
before, there was now too little. In his embarrassment the 
Wise Man had recourse to the plover. "The bittern," he 
said, " is lying yonder in the sun with his belly full of water. 
Pierce it." So the artful plover made up to the unsuspect- 
ing bittern. " My grandmother," said he, in a sympathizing 
tone, " has no doubt a pain in her stomach." And he passed 
his hand softly over the ailing part of the bittern as if to 
soothe it. But all of a sudden he put out his claws and 
clawed the swollen stomach of the bittern. Such a scratch 
he gave it ! There was a gurgling, guggling sound, and out 
came the water from the stomach bubbling and foaming. It 
flowed away into rivers and lakes, and thus the world became 
habitable once more.^ 
Tinneh Some Tinnch Indians affirm that the deluge was caused 

thrstory ^Y ^ heavy fall of snow in the month of September. One 
of the great old man alone foresaw the catastrophe and warned his 
fellows, but all in vain. ** We will escape to the mountains," 
said they. But they were all drowned. Now the old man 
had built a canoe, and when the flood came, he sailed about 
in it, rescuing from the water all the animals he fell in with. 
Unable long to support this manner of life, he caused the 
beaver, the otter, the musk-rat, and the arctic duck to dive 
into the water in search of the drowned earth. Only the 
arctic duck came back with a little slime on its claws ; and 
the man spread the slime on the water, caused it to grow by 
his breath, and for six days disembarked the animals upon 
it. After that, when the ground had grown to the size of a 
great island, he himself stepped ashore. Other Tinnehs say 
that the old man first sent forth a raven, which gorged itself 
on the floating corpses and came not back. Next he sent 
forth a turtle-dove, which flew twice round the world and 
returned. The third time she came back at evening, very 
tired, with a budding twig of fir in her mouth.^ The influ- 
ence of Christian teaching on this last version of the story is 

* it. Petitot, Traditions Indiennes Dind/i^ {Vz,i\Sy 1 876), p. 80. 
du Canada Nord-oiidst, pp. 146-149. * E. ViiUloiy Afofto^apkic dcs DifU- 

Compare id,., Jilonop-aphie des Dhni- Dittdji^ {FixxxSy 1876), p. 74. 


The Tinneh Indians in the neighbourhood of Nulato tell Another 
a story of a great flood which happened thus. In a populous ^JJ*°**^ 
settlement there lived a rich youth and his four nephews, great flood. 
Far away across the sea there dwelt a fair damsel, whom 
many men had wooed in vain. The rich young man resolved 
to seek her hand, and for that purpose he sailed to her village 
across the sea with his nephews in their canoes. But she 
would not have him. So next morning he was preparing to 
return home. He was already in his canoe down on the 
beach ; his nephews had packed up everything, and were 
about to shove off from the shore. Many of the villagers 
had come out of their houses to witness the departure of the 
strangers, and among them was a woman with her baby in 
her arms, an infant not yet weaned. Speaking to her baby, 
the fond mother said, "And what of this little girl ? If they 
want a little girl, why not take this one of mine ? " The 
rich young man heard the words, and holding out his paddle 
to the woman, he said, " Put her upon this, the little one you 
spealc of." The woman put the baby on the paddle, and the 
young man drew the child in and placed it behind him in the 
canoe. Then he paddled away and his nephews after him. 
Meanwhile the girl whom he had asked to marry him came 
down to get water. But as she stepped on the soft mud at 
the water's edge she began to sink into it. " Oh ! " she cried, 
" here I am sinking up to my knees." But the young man 
answered, " It is your own fault." She sank still deeper and 
cried, " Oh ! now I am in up to my waist ! " But he said 
again, " It is your own fault." Deeper yet she sank and 
cried, " Oh ! I am in up to my neck ! " And again he 
answered, " It is your own fault." Then she sank down 
altogether and disappeared. 

But the girl's mother saw what happened, and angry at How the 
the death of her daughter, she brought down some tame ^^^^^ 
brown bears to the edge of the water, and laying hold of and how a 
their tails she said to them, " Raise a strong wind " ; for thus ^j"f jJJ^° 
she hoped to drown the young man who had left her daughter escaped 
to perish. The bears now began to dig the bottom in a fury, ^^^ *^ 
making huge waves. At the same time the water rose exceed- 
ingly and the billows ran high. The young man's four 
nephews were drowned in the storm, and all the inhabitants 

314 THE GREAT FLOOD part i 

of that village perished in the waters, all except the mother 
of the baby and her husband ; these two were the only people 
that survived. But the young man himself escaped, for he 
possessed a magical white stone, and when he threw it ahead 
it clove a smooth passage for his canoe through the angry 
water ; so he rode out the storm in safety. Still all around 
him was nothing but the raging sea. Then he took a harpoon 
and threw it and hit the crest of a wave. Soon after he 
found himself in a forest of spruce-trees. The land had 
been formed again. The wave he struck with his harpoon 
had become a mountain, and rebounding from the rock the 
harpoon had shot up into the sky and there stuck fast The 
harpoon is there to this day, though only the medicine-men 
can see it. After that the young man turned to the baby 
girl behind him in the canoe. But he found her grown into 
a beautiful woman with a face as bright as the sun. So he 
married her, and their offspring repeopled the drowned earth. 
But the man and the woman who had been saved from the 
waters in his wife's village became the ancestors of the people 
beyond the sea.^ 
Sarcee The Sarcees, another Indian tribe belonging to the great 

ihrs?o °^ Tinneh stock, were formerly a powerful nation, but are now 
of the great reduced to a few hundreds. Their reserve, a fine tract of 
prairie land, adjoins that of the Blackfeet in Alberta, a little 
south of the Canadian Pacific Railway. They have a tradi- 
tion of a deluge which agrees in its main features with that 
of the Ojibways, Crees, and other Canadian tribes. They 
say that when the world was flooded, only one man and 
woman were left alive, being saved on a raft, on which they 
also collected animals and birds of all sorts. The man sent 
a beaver down to dive to the bottom. The creature did so 
and brought up a little mud, which the man moulded in his 
hands to form a new world. At first the world was so small 
that a little bird could walk round it, but it kept growing 
bigger and bigger. " First," said the narrator, " our father 
took up his abode on it, then there were men, then women, 
then animals, and then birds. Our father next created the 

1 Rev. J. Jette, **0n Ten'a Folk- 312 sq. In the text I have slightly 
\oTc" Journal of the Royal Anthropo- abridged the story. 
logical Institute^ xxxviii. (1908) pp. 


rivers, the mountains, the trees, and all the things as we now 
see them." At the conclusion of the story the white man, 
who reports it, observed to the Sarcees that the Ojibway 
tradition was very like theirs, except that in the Ojibway 
tradition it was not a beaver but a musk-rat that brought up 
the earth from the water. The remark elicited a shout of 
approval from five or six of the tribe, who were squatting 
around in the tent. " Yes ! yes ! " they cried in chorus. 
'* The man- has told you lies. It was a musk-rat ! it was a 
musk-rat ! " ^ 

A different story of a great flood is told by the Loucheux story of a 
or Dindjies, the most northerly Indian tribe of the great ^i^^y^J^ 
Tinneh family which stretches from Alaska to the borders Loucheux 
of Arizona. They say that a certain man, whom they call a^rite of^ 
the Mariner {Etroetchokren), was the first person to build a Tinneh 
canoe. One day, rocking his canoe from side to side, he 
sent forth such waves on all sides that the earth was flooded 
and his canoe foundered. Just then a gigantic hollow straw 
came floating past, and the man contrived to scramble into 
it and caulk up the ends. In it he floated about safely till 
the flood dried up. Then he landed on a high mountain, 
where the hollow straw had come to rest There he abode 
many days, wherefore they call it the Place of the Old Man 
to this day. It is the rocky peak which you see to the right 
of Fort MacPherson in the Rocky Mountains. Farther 
down the Yukon River the channel contracts, and the water 
rushes rapidly between two high cliffs. There the Mariner 
took his stand, straddlewise, with one foot planted on each 
cliff, and with his hands dipping in the water he caught the 
dead bodies of men as they floated past on the current, just 
as you might catch fish in a bag-net. But of living men he 
could find not one. The only live thing within sight was a 
raven, who, gorged with food, sat perched on the top of a lofty 
rock fast asleep. The Mariner climbed up the rock, surprised The 
the raven in his nap, and thrust him without more ado into ^^^^ 
a bag, intending to make short work of Master Raven. But raven. 

* Rev. E. F. Wilson, ** Report on British Association for the Advance- 

the Sarcee Indians," in "Fourth ment of Science^ held at Bath in 

Report of the Committee on the North- September 1888 (London, 1889), p. 

Western Tribes of Canada," in Report 244. 
of the Fifty -eighth Meeting of the 

3i6 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

the raven said, " I beg and entreat that you will not cast me 
down from this rock. For if you do, be sure that I will 
cause all the men who yet survive to disappear, and you will 
find yourself all alone in the world." Undeterred by this 
threat, the man let the raven in the bag drop, and the bird 
was dashed to pieces at the foot of the mountain. However, 
the words of the raven came true, for though the man travelled 
far and wide, not a single living wight could he anywhere 
discover. Only a loach and a pike did he see sprawling 
on the mud and warming themselves in the sun. So he 
bethought him of the raven, and returned to the spot where 
the mangled body, or rather the bones, of the bird lay bleach- 
ing at the foot of the mountain. For he thought within 
himself, " Maybe the raven will help me to repeople the 
earth." So he gathered the scattered bones, fitted them 
together as well as he could, and by blowing on them 
caused the flesh and the life to return to them. Then the 
man and the raven went together to the beach, where the 
loach and the pike were still sleeping in the sun. " Bore a 
hole in the stomach of the pike," said the raven to the man, 
" and I will do the same by the loach." The man did bore 
a hole in the pike's stomach, and out of it came a crowd of 
men. The raven did likewise to the loach, and a multitude 
of women came forth from the belly of the fish. That is 
how the world was repeopled after the great flood.^ 
Story of a In the religion and mythology of the Tlingits or Thlin- 

SMby^^** keets, an important Indian tribe of Alaska, Yehl or the 
theTiingit Raven plays a great part. He was not only the ancestor of 
Alaska^ ° the Raven clan but the creator of men ; he caused the plants 
to grow, and he set the sun, moon, and stars in their places. 
How Yehl But he had a wicked uncle, who had murdered Yehl's ten 
raven had elder brothers either by drowning them or, according to 
a wicked others, by stretching them on a board and sawing off their 
caused the heads with a knife. To the commission of these atrocious 
flood, and crimes he was instigated by the passion of jealousy, for he 
raven had a young wife of whom he was very fond, and he knew 

fromlf ^^^ according to Tlingit law his nephews, the sons of his 
sister, would inherit his widow whenever he himself should 

* ft. Petitot, Traditions Indiennes Compare id., Mcnograf*hie des Dini- 
du Canada Nord-ouestf pp. 13, 34-38. DindjV {Vdsis^ 1876), pp. 88 j^. 


depart from this vale of tears. So when Yehl grew up to 
manhood, his affectionate uncle endeavoured to dispose of 
him as he had disposed of his ten elder brothers, but all in 
vain. For Yehl was not a common child. His mother had 
conceived him through swallowing a round pebble which she 
found on the shore at ebb tide ; and by means of another 
stone she contrived to render the infant invulnerable. So 
when his uncle tried to saw off his head in the usual way, 
the knife made no impression at all on Yehl. Not dis- 
couraged by this failure, the old villain attempted the life of 
his virtuous nephew in other ways. In his fury he said, 
•* Let there be a flood," and a flood there was which covered 
all the mountains. But Yehl assumed his wings and feathers, 
which he could put off and on at pleasure, and spreading 
his pinions he flew up to the sky, and there remained hang- 
ing by his beak for ten days, while the water of the flood 
rose so high that it lapped his wings. When the water sank, 
he let go and dropped like an arrow into the sea, where he 
fell soft on a bank of seaweed and was rescued from his 
perilous position by a sea otter, which brought him safe to 
land. What happened to mankind during the flood is not 
mentioned in this version of the Tlingit legend.^ 

Another Tlingit legend tells how Raven caused a great Another 
flood in a different way. He had put a woman under the ^^^of^ 
world to attend to the rising and falling of the tides. Once flood. 
he wished to learn about all that goes on under the sea, so Ra^^ 
he CcLused the woman to raise the water, in order that he caused the 
might go there dry-shod. But he thoughtfully directed her restored* 
to heave the ocean up slowly, so that when the flood came ^^^ '^ ''^« 


people might have time to load their canoes with the neces- 
sary provisions and get on board. So the ocean rose 
gradually, bearing on its surface the people in their canoes. 
As they rose up and up the sides of the mountains, they 
could see the bears and other wild beasts walking about on 
the still unsubmerged tops. Many of the bears swam out to 
the canoes, wishing to scramble on board ; then the people 

> H. J. Holmberg, " Ethnograph- /)/V TUnhii- InvHamr (Jena, 1885), 

ische Skizzen Uber die Vdlker des pp. 253-257. The versions recorded 

Russischen Amerika," Acta Societatis by these two writers are independent 

ScUntiarum Fennicae, iv. (Ilelsing- and differ in some details from each 

fors, 1856) pp. 332-336; Aurel Krause, other. 

3i8 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

who had been wise enough to take their dogs with them were 
very glad of it, for the noble animals kept off the bears. 
Some people landed on the tops of the. mountains, built 
walls round them to dam out the water, and tipd their canoes 
on the inside. They could not take much firewood up with 
them ; there was not room for it in the canoes. It was a 
very anxious and dangerous time. The survivors could see 
trees torn up by the roots and swept along on the rush of 
the waters ; large devil-fish, too, and other strange creatures 
floated past on the tide-race. When the water subsided, the 
people followed the ebbing tide down the sides of the moun- 
tains ; but the trees were all gone, and having no firewood 
they perished of cold. When Raven came back from under 
the sea, and saw the fish lying high and dry on the moun- 
tains and in the creeks, he said to them, " Stay there and be 
turned to stones." So stones they became. And when he 
saw people coming down he would say in like manner, 
" Turn to stones just where you are." And turned to stones 
they were. After all mankind had been destroyed in this way, 
Raven created them afresh out of leaves. Because he made 
this new generation out of leaves, people know that he must 
have turned into stone all the men and women who survived 
the great flood. And that, too, is why to this day so many 
people die in autumn with the fall of the leaf ; when flowers 
and leaves are fading and falling, we also pass away like them.* 
Another According to yet another account, the Tlingits or Kolosh, 

Tiingit ^3 ^1^^ Russians used to call them, speak of a uni\^ersal 

slor)' of a * 

great flood, dcluge, during which men were saved in a great floating ark 
which, when the water sank, grounded on a rock and split 
in two ; and that, in their opinion, isjthe cause of the diversity 
of languages. The Tlingits represent one-half of the popu- 
lation, which was shut up in the ark, and all the remaining 
peoples of the earth represent the other half.^ This last 
legend may be of Christian origin, for it exhibits a sort of 
blend of Noah's ark with the tower of Babel. 

' John R. Swanton, Tliugit Myths Russischcn Amerik.a," Acta Societatis 

and Texts (Washington, 1909), pp. 5"f/V7///Vi;7/w />;/w/V<z<r, iv. (Helsingfors, 

16 ^/., 18, 418 {Bureau of American 1S56), pp. 345 sq. \ T. de Pauly, 

JCthuohiiVy Bulletin J9). Dcscrif^tion Ethnooraphiquc cUs peuples 

'-* II. J. Holmbcrg, *• Ethnograph- de la Kussie (St. Telersburg, 1S62), 

ische Skizzen iiber die Vblker des Pcuples de V Anu^rique Russe^ P« >4« 


The Haida Indians of Queen Charlotte Islands say that Story of a 
" very long ago there was a great flood by which all men ^j^ b^,^ 
and animals were destroyed, with the exception of a single Haida 
raven. This creature was not, however, exactly an ordinary of ou^n 
bird, but — as with all animals in the old Indian stories — Charlotte 
possessed the attributes of a human being to a great extent. ^*" ' 
His coat of feathers, for instance, could be put on or taken 
off at will, like a garment. It is even related in one version 
of the story that he was born of a woman who had no 
husband, and that she made bows and arrows for him. 
When old enough, with these he killed birds, and of their 
skins she sewed a cape or blanket. The birds were the little 
snow-bird with black head and neck, the large black and red, 
and the Mexican woodpeckers. The name of this being was 
Ne-kil-stlas. When the flood had gone down Ne-kil-stlas 
looked about, but could find neither companions nor a mate, 
and became very lonely. At last he took a cockle {Cardium 
Nuttalli) from the beach, and marrying it, he constantly 
continued to brood and think earnestly of his wish for a com- 
panion. By and by in the shell he heard a very faint cry, 
like that of a newly born child, which gradually became 
louder, and at last a little female child was seen, which 
growing by degrees larger and larger, was finally married 
by the raven, and from this union all the Indians were 
produced and the country peopled." ^ 

The Tsimshians, an Indian* tribe who inhabit the coast story of a 
of British Columbia, opposite to the Queen Charlotte Islands, ^i^'J^^t^ 
have a tradition of a great flood which was sent by heaven Tsimshian 
as a punishment for the ill-behaviour of man. First, all B^t^h^^' 
people, except a few, were destroyed by a flood, and after- Columbia, 
wards they were destroyed by fire. Before the flood the 
earth was not as it is now, for there were no mountains and 
no trees. These were created by a certain Leqa after the 
deluge.^ Once when a clergyman, in a sermon preached at 
Observatory Inlet, referred to the great flood, a Tsimshian 

* G. M. Dawson, Report on the the Committee on the North-Western 
Queen Charlotte Islands^ 1S78 (Mon- Tribes of the Dominion of Canada," 
treal, 1880), pp. 1498^^. {Geological Report of the Fifty-eighth Meeting of 
Survey of Canada). the Ihitish Association for the Advance- 

vient of Science^ held cU Bath in Sep- 

* F. Boas, in '* Fourth Report of /jwA^r /j'i'iy (London, 1889), p. 239. 

320 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

chief among his hearers told him the following story. 
"We have a tradition about the swelling of the water a 
long time ago. As you are going up the river you will 
see the high mountain to the top of which a few of our 
forefathers escaped when the waters rose, and thus were 
saved. But many more were saved in their canoes, and 
were drifted about and scattered in every direction. The 
waters went down again ; the canoes rested on the land, 
and the people settled themselves in the various, spots 
whither they had been driven. Thus it is the Indians are 
found spread all over the country ; but they all understand 
the same songs and have the same customs, which shows 
that they are one people." ^ '^ . 

Story of a The Bella Coola Indians of British Columbia tell a different 

toW \f^ story of the flood. They say that the great Masmasalanich, 
Bella Coola who made men, fastened the earth to the sun by a long rope 
Br^h' °^ '" order to keep the two at a proper distance from each other 
Columbia, and to prevent the earth from sinking into the sea. But 
one day he began to stretch the rope, and the consequence 
naturally was that the earth sank deeper and deeper, and the 
water rose higher and higher, till it had covered the whole 
earth and even the tops of the mountains. A terrible storm 
broke out at the same time, and many men, who had sought 
safety in boats, were drowned, while others were driven far 
away. At last Masmasalanich hauled in the rope, the earth 
rose from the waves, and mankind spread over it once more. 
It was then that the diversity of tongues arose, for before the 
flood all men had been of one speech.* 
Story of a The Kwakiutl, who inhabit the coast of British Columbia 

Sm by^'thl ^o ^^^ s^"^^ ^f ^^^ ^^"^ Coola, have also their legend of a 

Kwakiutl deluge. ** Very long ago," they say, " there occurred a great 

Britbir ° flood, during which the sea rose so as to cover everything 

Columbia, with the exception of three mountains. Two of these are 

very high, one near Bella- Bella, the other apparently to the 

north-east of that place. The third is a low but prominent 

hill on Don Island, named Ko-KwUs by the Indians ; this 

they say rose at the time of the flood so as to remain above 

1 R. C. Mayne, Four Years in VilxClla-Indianer," Original- Mtt/heil- 
British Columbia (London, 1862), ungen aus der Ethnologischen Abthei- 
pp, 273 j^. lung der KoniglichenMuseenzuBerlin^ 

2 F. Boas, " Mittheilungen liber die i. (Berlin, 1885-1886) pp. 178 sq. 


the water. Nearly all the people floated away in various 

directions on logs and trees. The people living where Kit- 

Katla now is, for instance, drifted to Fort Rupert, while the 

Fort Ruperts drifted to Kit-Katla. Some of the people had 

small canoes, and by anchoring them managed to come 

down near home when the water subsided. Of the Hailtzuk 

there remained only three individuals : two men and a woman, 

with a dog. One of the men landed at Ka-pa, a second at 

another village site, not far from Bella- Bella, and the woman 

and dog at Bella-Bella. From the marriage of the woman 

with the dog, the Bella-Bella Indians originated. \Yhen the 

flood had subsided there was no fresh water to be found, and 

the people were very thirsty. The raven, however, showed 

them how, after eating, to chew fragments of cedar {Thuya) 

wood, when water came into the mouth. The raven also 

advised them where, by digging in the ground, they could 

get a little water ; but soon a great rain came on, very heavy 

and very long, which filled all the lakes and rivers so that 

they have never been dry since. The water is still, however, 

in some way understood to be connected with the cedar, and 

the Indians say if there were no cedar trees there would be 

no water. The converse would certainly hold good." ^ 

The Lillooet Indians of British Columbia say that in stoiyo 
former times, while they lived together around Green Lake fJi^by 
and below it on the Green River, there came a great and Liiiooei 
continuous rain, which made all the lakes and rivers overflow British 
their banks and deluge the surrounding country. A man ^^'oi^^mi 
called Ntcinemkin had a very large canoe, in which he took 
refuge with his family. The other people fled to the moun- 
tains, but the water soon covered them too ; and in their 
distress the people begged Ntcinemkin to save at least their 
children in his canoe. But the canoe was too small to hold 
all the children, so Ntcinemkin took one child from each 
family, a male from one, a female from the next, and so on. 

* George M. Dawson, "Notes and vol. v. (Montreal, 1888), Section ii. 

Observations on the Kwakiool People pp. 84 sq. This legend was obtained 

of the Northern Part of Vancouver by Mr. Dawson in 1878 from Hnm- 

Island and adjacent Coasts, made tshit, a chief of the Ilailtzuk division 

during the Summer of 1885," Pro- of the Kwakiool (Kwakiutl), at Ka-pa 

cudings and Transactions of the Royal (Kilkite, village of charts), Yeo Island, 

Society 0/ Canada for the Year tSSjy Milbank Sound. 

VOL.1 Y 

322 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

But still the rain fell and the water rose till all the land was 
submerged, except the peak of the high mountain called Split 
{Ncikato\ which rises on the west side of the Lower Lillooet 
Lake, its pinnacle consisting of a huge precipice cleft in two 
from top to bottom. The canoe drifted about on the flood 
until the waters sank and it grounded on Smimelc Mountain. 
Each stage in the sinking of the water is marked by a flat 
terrace on the side of the mountain, which can be seen there 
to this day.^ 
Story of a The Thompson Indians of British Columbia say that 

Sw by^the ^"^^ there was a great flood which covered the whole country, 
Thompson exccpt the tops of somc of the highest mountains. The 
BrS^^^ Indians think, though they are not quite sure, that the flood 
Columbia, vvas caused by three brothers called Qoaqlqal, who in those 
days travelled all over the country working miracles and trans- 
forming things, till the transformers were themselves trans- 
formed into stones. Be that as it may, everybody was drowned 
in the great flood except the coyote and three men ; the coyote 
survived because he turned himself into a piece of wood and 
so floated on the water, and the men escaped with their lives 
by embarking in a canoe, in which they drifted to the 
Nzukeski Mountains. There they were afterwards, with 
their canoe, transformed into stones, and there you may 
see them sitting in the shape of stones down to this day. 
As for the coyote, when the flood subsided, he was left high 
and dry on the shore in the likeness of the piece of wood 
into which, at the nick of time, he had cleverly transformed 
himself So he now resumed his natural shape and looked 
about him. He found he was in the Thompson River 
country. He took trees to him to be his wives, and from 
him and the trees together the Indians of the present day 
are descended. Before the flood there were neither lakes 
nor streams in the mountains, and therefore there were no 
fish. When the waters of the deluge receded, they left 
lakes in the hollows of the mountains, and streams began to 
flow down from them towards the sea. That is why we 
now find lakes in the mountains, and fish in the lakes.- 

1 James Teit, /'Traditions of the ^ James Teit, Traditions of tht 

Lillooet Indians of British Columbia," Thompson River Indians of British 

Journal of American Folk-lore^ xxv. Columbia (Boston and New York, 

I1912) p. 342. 1898), pp. 19, 2a Compare !</., «*The 


Thus the deluge story of the Thompson River Indians 
appears to have been invented to explain the presence of 
lakes in the mountains ; the primitive philosopher accounted 
for them by a great flood which, as it retired, left the lakes 
behind it in the hollows of the hills, just as the ebbing tide 
leaves pools behind it in the hollows of the rocks on the 

The Kootenay Indians, who inhabit the south-eastern story of a 
part of British Columbia, say that once upon a time a chicken- ^ by°h^ 
hatwk {Accipiter Cooperi) forbade his wife, a small grey bird, Kootenay 
to bathe in a certain lake. One day, after picking berries British* ° 
on the mountain in the hot sun, she was warm and weary, Columbia. 
and seeing the lake so cool and tempting she plunged into 
it, heedless of her husband's warning. But the water rose, a 
giant rushed forth, and ravished the bird, or rather the 
woman ; for in these Indian tales no sharp line of distinction 
is drawn between the animal and the human personages. 
Her angry husband came to the rescue and discharged an 
arrow which struck the giant in the breast To be revenged, 
the monster swallowed all the waters, so that none remained 
for the Indians to drink. But the injured wife plucked the 
arrow from the giant's breast, and the pent-up waters gushed 
forth and caused a flood. The husband and his wife took 
refuge on a mountain, and remained there till the flood sub- 
sided. In another version of this Kootenay story, a big fish 
takes the place of the giant and is killed by the injured 
husband ; the spouting blood of the fish causes the deluge, 
and the man, or the hawk, escapes from it by climbing up a 
tree. The scene of the story is laid on the Kootenay River 
near Fort Steele.^ 

Legends of a great flood appear to have been current stories of a 
among the Indian tribes of Washington State. Thus the ^i^^^^ 

■ Indians of 

Thompson Indians of British Colum- Association for the Advancement of . ^ -" 

h\2i," p. 'i'fi {Memoirs of the Affterican Science, Edittlnoxh meeting, t8g2). fheTwana 

Museum of NcUural History, The Jestip The chicken-hawk {Accipiter Cooperi) version of 

North Pacific Expedition, April, 1 900). is a very important character in the tales the story. 

* A. F. Chamberlain, "Report on of the Kootenay Indians. He accom- 

the Kootenay Indians of South-eastern funics the coyote in his search for the 

British Columbia," in Eighth Report sun, and in a rage he throws that 

of the Committee ON the North- IVestern animal into the tire. See A. F. 

Tribes of Canada, pp. 3 1 sq. (separate Chamberlain, op. cit, p. 33. 
reprint from the Report of the British , • 

324 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

Twanas, on Puget Sound, say that once on a time the people 
were wicked and to punish them a great flood came, which 
overflowed all the land except one mountain. The people 
fled in their canoes to the highest mountain in their country 
— a peak of the , Olympic range — and as the water rose 
above it they tied their canoes with long ropes to the highest 
tree, but still the water rose above it Then some of the 
canoes broke from their moorings and drifted away to the 
west, where the descendants of the persons saved in them 
now live, a tribe who speak a language like that of the 
Twanas. That, too, they say, is why the present number of 
the tribe is so small. In their language this mountain is 
called by a name which means " Fastener," because they 
fastened their canoes to it at that time. They also speak of 
a pigeon which went out to view the dead.^ 
The The Clallam Indians of Washington State, whose country 

vereioiTof ^djoius that of the Twanas, also have a tradition of a flood, 
the story, but somc of them believe that it happened not more than 
a few generations ago. Indeed about the year 1878 an old 
man asserted that his grandfather had seen the man who 
was saved from the flood, and that he was a Clallam Indian. 
Their Ararat, too, is a different mountain from that on which 
the Twana Noah and his fellows found refuge. The Lummi 
Indians, who live near the notthem boundary of Washington 
State, also speak of a great flood, but no particulars of their 
tradition are reported. The Puyallop Indians, near Tacoma, 
say that the deluge overspread all the country except one 
high mound near Steilacoom, and this mound is still called 
by the Indians *' The Old Land," because it was not sub- 
Story of a " Do you see that high mountain over there?" said an 

oiTthe''^^^ old Indian to a mountaineer about the year i860, as they 
Cascade were riding across the Cascade Mountains. " I do," was the 
reply. " Do you see that grove to the right ? " the Indian 
next asked. " Yes," answered the white man. " Well," said 

* Rev. Myron Eels (Shokomish, Report of the Smithsonian Institution 

Washington Territory), "Traditions of for iSSy, p. 674. 

the Deluj^e among the Tribes of the ^ Kev. M. Eels, "Traditions of the 

North - West," 7Vig Arneriian Atiti- Dehige among the Tribes of the North- 

guariarty i. (1878-1879) p. 70; id.. West," 7^hf American Antiquarian^ \, 

"The Twana, Chemakum, and Klallam (1878-1S79) p. 7a 
Indians of Washington* Territory," 



the Indian, " a long time ago there was a flood, and all the 
country was overflowed. There was an old man and his 
family t>n a boat or raft, and he floated about, and the wind 
blew him to that mountain, where he touched bottom. He 
stayed there for some time, and then sent a crow to hunt for 
land, but it came back without finding any. After some 
time it brought a leaf from that grove, and the old man was 
glad, for he knew that the water was abating."^ 

When the earliest missionaries came among the Spokanas, story of a 
Nez Perces, and Cayuses, who, with the Yakimas, used to fJJ^ngthe 
inhabit the eastern part of Washington State, they found Spokanas. 
that these Indians had their own tradition of a great flood, ^nd 
in which one man and his wife were saved on a raft. Each Cayuses. 
of these three tribes, together with the Flathead tribes, had 
its own separate Ararat on which the survivors found 

The story of a great flood is also told by the Indians of Story of a 
Washington State who used to inhabit the lower course of foM by^ 
the Columbia River and speak the Kathlamet dialect of Kathiamei- 
Chinook.' In one respect their tale resembles the Algon- iS^s^of 
quin legend. They say that a certain maiden was advised ^^^ Lower 

, , , - . , , , ,, Columbia 

by the blue-jay to marry the panther, who was an elk- River. 
hunter and the chief of his town to boot So away she hied 
to the panther's town, but when she came there she married 
the beaver by mistake instead of the panther. When her 
husband the beaver came back from the fishing, she went 
down to the beach to meet him, and he told her to take up 
the trout he had caught But she found that they were not 
really trout at all, but only willow branches. Disgusted at 
the discovery, she ran away from him, and finally married 
the panther, whom she ought to have married at first. Thus 
deserted by the wife of his bosom, the beaver wept for five 
days, till all the land was flooded with his tears. The houses 
were overwhelmed, and the animals took to their canoes. 
When the flood reached nearly to the sky, they bethought 
them of fetching up earth from the depths, so they said to 
the blue-jay, " Now dive, blue-jay I " So the blue-jay dived, 

* Rev. M. Eels, op, cit, p. 71. ^ Yx^mz^ozs^ Handbook of American 

Indian Languages, i. (VVashinjrton 

* Rev. M. Eels, op, ciL p. 7 1. 1911) p. 563. 

326 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

but he did not go very deep, for his tail remained sticking 
out of the water. After that, all the animals tried to dive. 
First the mink and next the otter plunged into thd vasty 
deep, but came up again without having found the bottom. 
Then it came to the turn of the musk-rat He said, " Tie 
the canoes together." So they tied the canoes together and 
laid planks across them. Thereupon the musk-rat threw off 
his blanket, sang his song five times over, and without more 
ado dived into the water, and disappeared. He was down 
a long while. At last flags came up to the surface of the 
water. Then it became summer, the flood sank, and the 
canoes with it, till they landed on dry ground. All the 
animals jumped out of the canoes, but as they did so, they 
knocked their tails against the gunwale and broke them off" 
short. That is why the grizzly bears and the black bears 
have stumpy tails down to this day. But the otter, the 
mink, the musk-rat, and the panther returned to the canoe, 
picked up their missing tails, and fastened them on the 
stumps. That is why these animals have still tails of a 
decent length, though they were broken off short at the 
flood.^ In this story little is said of the human race, and 
how it escaped from the deluge. But the tale clearly 
belongs to that primitive type of story in which no clear 
distinction is drawn between man and beast, the lower 
creatures being supposed to think, speak, and act like 
human beings, and to live on terms of practical equality 
with them. This community of nature is implicitly indicated 
in the Kathlamet story by the marriage of a girl, first to a 
beaver, and then to a panther ; and it appears also in the 
incidental description of the beaver as a man with a big 
belly.^ Thus in describing how the animals survived the 
deluge, the narrator may have assumed that he had suffi- 
ciently explained the survival of mankind also. 
Stories of a In North America legends of a great flood are not 
great flood confined to the Indian tribes: they are found also among 

among the ' ^ ° 

Eskimo the Eskimo and their kinsfolk the Greenlanders. At Oro- 
of Alaska, ^{gnarak, in Alaska, Captain Jacobsen was told that the 

* Franz Boas, Kathlamet Texts Bulletin 26). 
(Washington, 1901) pp. 20-25, 252 * Franz Boas, Kathlanut Texts, 

sq. {Bureau of American Ethnology y p. 20. 


iskimo have a tradition of a mighty inundation which, 
imultaneously with an earthquake, swept over the land so 
apidly that only a few persons were able to escape in their 
kin canoes to the tops of the highest mountains.^ Again, the 
Lskimo of Norton Sound, in Alaska, say that in the first 
lays the earth was flooded, all but a very high mountain in 
he middle. The water came up from the sea and covered 
he whole land except the top of this mountain. Only a few 
nimals escaped to the mountain and were saved ; and a few 
leople made a shift to survive by floating about in a boat 
nd subsisting on the fish they caught till the water subsided. 
i.s the flood sank and the mountains emerged from the 
/ater, the people landed from the canoe on these heights, 
nd gradually followed the retreating flood to the coast. 
The animals which had escaped to the mountains also 
[ascended and replenished the earth after their kinds.^ 

Again, the Tchiglit Eskimo, who inhabit the coast of Story of a 
he Arctic Ocean from Point Barrow on the west to Cape ^("^ by^ 
{athurst on the east, tell of a great flood which broke over Tchjgiit 


he face of the earth and, driven by the wind, submerged 
he dwellings of men. The Eskimo tied several boats 
ogether so as to form a great raft, and on it they floated 
.bout on the face of the great waters, huddling together for 
/armth under a tent which they had pitched, but shivering in 
he icy blast and watching the uprooted trees drifting past 
>n the waves. At last a magician named An-odjium, that 
5, Son of the Owl, threw his bow into the sea, saying, 
Enough, wind, be calm !" After that he threw. in his ear- 
ings ; and that sufficed to cause the flood to subside.^ 

The Central Eskimo say that long ago the ocean Central 
uddenly began to rise and continued rising until it had ^^^'"JJ^a 
nundated the whole land. The water even covered the tops great flood. 
)f the mountains, and the ice drifted over them. When the 
lood had subsided, the ice stranded and ever since forms an 
ce-cap on the top of the mountains. Many shell-fish, fish, 

* K.V^oXdl, Captain Jacobsen^s lieise can Ethnology^ Part i. (Washington, 
$1 der Nordivestkiistc Amerika^s 1881- 1899) p. 452. 

88s (Leipsic, 1884), p. 252. 

* E. W. Nelson, ** The Eskimo • ^ g, Petitot, Traditions Indiennes 
bout Bering Strait," Ei^i^hicenth du Canada Nord-ouest (Paris, 1886), 
inntial Report of the Bureau of Ameri- pp. 6 sq. 




Scott of a 
grea* fiood 

An F-sltlmo 
Iheorfc- as 
to th'-- 
of the 

seals, and whales were left high and dr}*, and their shells 
and bones mav be <een there to this dav. Manv Kskimo 
were then drowned, but many others, who had taken to their 
boats when the flood began to rise, were saved.* 

With regard to the Green landers their historian Crantz 
te]!s us that ** almost all heathen nations know something of 
Noah's Flood, and the first missionaries found also some 
prett>' plain traditions among the Greenlanders ; namely, 
that the world once overset, and all mankind, except one, 
were drowned ; but some were turned into fier\' spirits. The 
only man that escaped alive, afterwards smote the ground 
with his stick, and out sprang a woman, and these two re- 
popled the world. As a proof that the deluge once over- 
flowed the whole earth, they say that many shells, and relics 
of fishes, have been found far within the land where men 
could never have lived, yea that bones of whales have been 
found upon a high mountain."* Similar evidence in support 
of the legend was adduced to the traveller C. F. Hall by the 
Innuits or Eskimo with whom he lived. He tells us that 
*' they have a tradition of a deluge which they attribute to 
an unusually high tide. On one occasion when I was speak- 
ing with Tookoolito concerning her people, she said, * Innuits 
all think this earth once covered with water.' I asked her 
why they thought so. She answered, ' Did you never see 
little stones, like clams and such things as li\-e in the sea, 
away up on mountains ? ' " * 

An Eskimo man once informed a traveller, that he 
had often wondered why all the mammoths are extinct. 
He added that he had learned the cause from Mr. 
Whittaker, the missionary at Herschel Island. The truth 
is. he explained, that when Noah entered into the ark and 
invited all the animals to save themselves from the flood by 
following his example, the sceptical mammoths declined to 
accept the kind invitation., on the ground that they did not 
believe there would be much of a flood, and that even if 
there were, they thought their legs long enough to keep their 
heads above water. So they stayed outside and perished in 

» Franz B-va?, •'T::- 
kimo/' irv Sixth .-/»;;;;/:' 
/>' ;/ reati ■■ '' Et -: nc'.: y 
lS^>>'. p: . 637 ./. 

/: . , .... .. ." *;,, 

- IVivii: C:untr, HisUry of Green' 
/j/;.;' I Lor.vK'-n. 1707), i. 204/^. 

2 C. F. ILi'.l. I.iu 7i'i/i the Es^ut- 
p;-?«.r ^L r.Jon, 1864), ii. 318. 


their blind unbelief, but the caribou and the foxes and the 
wolves are alive to this day, because they believed and were 

§ 17. Stories of a Great Flood in Africa 

It is curious, that while legends of a universal flood are Absence of 
widely spread over many parts of the world, they are hardly *^*^"!*fl°^ 
to be found at all in Africa. Indeed, it may be doubted in Africa, 
whether throughout that vast continent a single genuinely 
native tradition of a great flood has been recorded. Even 
traces of such traditions are rare. None have as yet been 
discovered in the literature of ancient Egypt.^ In Northern Reported 
Guinea, we are told, there is " a tradition of a great deluge sllJjh^tories 
which once overspread the face of the whole earth ; but it in Guinea 
is coupled with so much that is marvellous and imaginative, congol ^ 
that it can scarcely be identified with the same event recorded 
in the Bible." * As the missionary who reports this gives 
no details, we cannot judge how far the tradition is native 
and how far borrowed from Europeans. Another missionary 
has met with a reference to a great flood in the traditions of 
the natives of the Lower Congo. " The sun and moon once 
met together, they say, and the sun plastered some mud 
over a part of the moon, and thus covered up son^e of the 
light, and that is why a portion of the moon is often in 
shadow. When this meeting took place there was a flood, 
and the ancient people put their porridge (Juku) sticks to 
their backs and turned into monkeys. The present race of 
people is a new creation. Another statement is that when 
the flood came the men turned into monkeys, and the women 
into lizards : and the monkey's tail is the man's gun. One 
would think from this that the transformation took place, in 
their opinion, in very recent times ; but the Congo native 
has no legend concerning the introduction of the gun into 
their country, nor any rumours of the time when hunting 
and fighting were carried on with spears, shields, bows and 
arrows, and knives.'* ^ The Bapedi, a Basuto tribe of South 

^ V. Stefansson, My Life with the ^ Rev. J. L. Wilson, IVestcnt Africa 

Eskimo (London, 1913), ]>. 422. (London^ 1856), pp. 229 sq. 

2 So I am informed by Professor W. * John II. Weeks, Among the Primu 

M. Flinders Petric. tive Bakoftgo (London, 1914), p. 286. 






traces of 
such stories 
in South 

of a great 
in East 

of the 
story of a 
great flood 
told by 
the Masai 
of East 

Africa, are said to have a legend of a great flood which 
destroyed nearly all mankind.^ The experienced missionary 
Dr. Robert Moffat made fruitless inquiries concerning legends 
of a deluge amqng the natives of South Africa ; one native 
who professed to have received such a legend from his fore- 
fathers was discovered to have learned it from a missionary 
named Schmelen. " Stories of a similar kind," adds Dr. 
Moffat, " originally obtained at a missionary station, or from 
some godly traveller, get, in course of time, so mixed up and 
metamorphosed by heathen ideas, that they look exceedingly 
like native traditions." ^ After recording a legend as to the 
formation of Lake Dilolo in Angola, in which a whole village 
with its inhabitants, its fowls, and its dogs is said to have 
perished, Dr. Livingstone remarks, " This may be a faint 
tradition of the Deluge, ?ind it is remarkable as the only one 
I have met with in this country." ^ My experienced mission- 
ary friend, the Rev. John Roscoe, who spent about twenty- 
five years in intimate converse with the natives of Central 
Africa, particularly the Uganda Protectorate, tells me that 
he has found no native legend of a flood among the tribes 
with which he is acquainted. 

Traditions of a great flood have, however, been discovered 
by German writers among the natives of East Africa, but the 
stories are plainly mere variations of the Biblical narrative, 
which has penetrated to these savages through Christian or 
possibly Mohammedan influence. One such tradition has 
been recorded by a German officer among the Masai. It 
runs as follows : — 

Tumbainot was a righteous man whom God loved. He 
married a wife Naipande, who bore him three sons, Oshomo, 
Bartimaro, and Barmao. When his brother Lengerni died, 
Tumbainot, in accordance with Masai custom, married the 
widow Nahaba-logunja, whose name is derived from her high 
narrow head, that being a mark of beauty among the Masai. 
She bore her second husband three sons ; but in consequence 
of a domestic jar, arising from her refusal to give her husband 

^ A. Merensky, i?tf//r//^'"(C c//r AV«/7/- 1S42), pp. izd sq. 
niss Siid-Afrikas (Berlin, 1875), P* 

124. ' David Livingstone, Missionary 

- Robert Moft'at, Missionary Labours Travels aftd Researches in South Africa 

and Scenes in Southern Africa [London f (London, 1857), p. 327. 


a drink of milk in the evening, she withdrew from his home- 
stead and set up one of her own, fortifying it with a hedge 
of thorn-bushes against the attacks of wild beasts. In those 
days the world was thickly peopled, but men were not good. 
On the contrary they were sinful and did not obey God's 
commands. However, bad as they were, they refrained from 
murder. But at last, one unlucky day, a certain man named 
Nambija knocked another man named Suage on the head. 
This was m'ore than God could bear, and he resolved to 
destroy the whole race of mankind. Only the pious Tum- 
bainot found grace in the eyes of God, who commanded him 
to build an ark of wood, and go into it, with his two wives, 
his six sons, and their wives, taking with him some animals 
of every sort. When they were all safely aboard, and Tum- 
bainot had laid in a great stock of provisions, God caused it 
to rain so heavily and so long that a great flood took place, 
and all men and beasts were drowned, except those which 
were in the ark ; for the ark floated on the face of the waters. 
Tumbainot longed for the end of the rain, for the provisions 
in the ark began to run short. At last the rain stopped. 
Anxious to ascertain the state of the flood, Tumbainot let a 
dove fly out of the ark. In the evening she came back tired, 
so Tumbainot knew that the flood must still be high, and 
that the dove could have found no place to rest. Several 
days later he let a vulture fly out of the ark, but before doing 
so he took the precaution to fasten an arrow to one of its 
tail-feathers, calculating that if the bird perched to eat, it 
would trail the arrow behind it, and that the arrow, hitching 
on to something as it was dragged over the ground, would 
stick fast and be lost. The event answered his expectation, 
for in the evening the vulture returned to the ark without 
the arrow and the tail-feather. So Tumbainot inferred that 
the bird had lighted on carrion, and that the flood must be 
abating. When the water had all run away, the ark grounded 
on the steppe, and men and animals disembarked. As he 
stepped out of the ark, Tumbainot saw no less than four 
rainbows, one in each of the four quarters of the sky, and he 
took them as a sign that the wrath of God was over.^ 

Another version of the flood story is reported by a 

1 M. Merkcr, Die Masai (Berlin, 1904), pp. 265-267. 


332 T//E GREA T FLOOD part i 

Another German missionary from the same region. He obtained it 
tbelttebrcw ^^ ^^^ mission-station of Mkulwe, on .the Saisi or Momba 
story of a river, about twenty miles from where the river flows into 
reported^^ Lake Rukwa. His informant professed to have had it from 
from East his grandfather, and stoutly asserted that it was a genuine 
"^*^ old tradition of the country and not borrowed from foreigners. 
His statement was corroborated by another truth-loving 
native, who only differed from his fellow in opining that the 
African Noah sent out two doves instead of one; The story 
runs thus : — 

Long ago, the rivers came down in flood. God said to 
the two men, " Go into the ship. Also take into it seeds of 
all sorts and all animals, male and female." They did so. 
The flood rose high, it overtopped the mountains, the ship 
floated on it. All animals and all men died. When the 
water dried up, the man said, " Let us see. Perhaps the 
water is not yet dried up." He sent out a dove, she came 
back to the ship. He waited and sent out a hawk, but she 
did not return, because the water was dried up. The men 
went out of the ship, they also let out all animals and all 

§ 1 8. The Geographical Diffusion of Flood Stories 

Geogra- The foregoing survey of diluvial traditions suflices to 

diffusion of P^^vc that this type of story, whether we call it legendary 

stories of a or mythical, has been widely diffused throughout the world. 

^^^ * Before we inquire into the relation in which the traditions 

stand to each other, and the cause or causes which have 

given rise to them, it may be well to recapitulate briefly the 

regions in which they have been found. To begin with Asia, 

we have found examples of them in Babylonia, Palestine, 

Syria, Phrygia, ancient and modern India, Burma, Cochin 

China, the Malay Peninsula, and Kamtchatka. Roughly 

speaking, therefore, the traditions prevail in Southern Asia, 

Absence of and arc conspicuously absent from Eastern, Central, and 

hT^sl^n? Northern Asia. It is particulariy remarkable that neither 

Central, of the great civilized peoples of Eastern Asia, the Chinese 


Northern 1 ^loig Hambcrger, ''Religiose Uberliefcrungen und Gebriiuche der Land- 

^^^' schaft Mkulwe (Deutsch-Ost- Afrika)," AnthropoSy iv. (1909) p. 304. 


and the Japanese, should, so far as I know, have preserved 
in their voluminous and ancient literatures any native legends 
of a great flood of the sort we are here considering, that is, 
of a universal inundation in which the whole or the greater 
part of the human race is said to have perished. 

In Europe native diluvial traditions are much rarer than Rarity of 
in Asia, but they occurred in ancient Greece, and have been j^ ei^™? 
reported in Whiles, and among the Lithuanians, the gipsies 
of Transylvania, and the Voguls of Eastern Russia. The 
Icelandic story of an inundation of giant's blood hardly 
conforms to the general type. 

In Africa, including Egypt, native legends of a great Africa. 
flood are conspicuously absent ; indeed no single clear case 
of one has yet been reported. 

In the Indian Archipelago we find legends of a great The Indian 
flood in the large islands of Sumatra, Borneo, and Celebes, ago. ^^ 
and among the lesser islands in Nias, Engano, Ceram, Rotti, 
and Flores. Stories of the same sort are told by the native 
tribes of the Philippine Islands and Formosa, and by the 
isolated Andaman Islanders in the Bay of Bengal. 

In the vast islands, or continents, of New Guinea and New 
Australia we meet with some stories of a great flood, and ^illtraiia 
legends of the same sort occur in the fringe of smaller islands and 
known as Melanesia, which sweeps in a great arc of a circle ^ *"®sia, 
round New Guinea and Australia on the north and east. 

Passing still eastward out into the Pacific, we discover Polynesia 
diluvial traditions widely spread among the Polynesians who M^ronesia. 
occupy the scattered and for the most part small islands of 
that great ocean, from Hawaii on the north to New Zealand 
on the south. Among the Micronesians a flood legend has 
been recorded in the Pelew Islands. 

In America, South, Central, and North, diluvial traditions America, 
are very widespread. They have been found from Tierra central, 
del Fuego in the south to Alaska in the north, and ih ^"^ Nonh. 
both continents from east to west. Nor do they occur only 
among the Indian tribes ; examples of them have been 
reported among the Eskimo from Alaska on the west to 
Greenland on the east. 

Such being in general the geographical diffusion of the 
traditions we have next to ask, how are they related to each 




How are 
the various 
flood stories 
related to 
each other? 

All the 
stories of a 
great flood 
cannot be 
from the 
stor)', which 
was itself 
from a 
ian, or 

But may 
the Baby- 
lonian, or 
story be 
the source 
of all the 
others ? 

other ? Are they all genetically connected with each other, 
or are they distinct and independent ? In other words, are 
they all descended from one common original, or have they 
originated independently in different parts of the world ? 
Formerly, under the influence of the Biblical tradition, 
inquirers were disposed to identify legends of a great flood, 
wherever found, with the familiar Noachian deluge, and to 
suppose that in them we had more or less corrupt and 
apocryphal versions of that great catastrophe, of which the 
only true and authentic record is preserved in the Book of 
Genesis. Such a view can hardly be maintained any longer. 
Even when we have allowed for the numerous corruptions 
and changes of all kinds which oral tradition necessarily 
suffers in passing from generation to generation and from 
land to land through countless ages, we shall still find it 
difficult to recognize in the diverse, often quaint, childish, 
or grotesque stories of a great flood, the human copies 
of a single divine original. And the difficulty has been 
greatly increased since modern research has proved the 
supposed divine original in Genesis to be not an original 
at all, but a comparatively late copy, of a much older Baby- 
lonian or rather Sumerian version. No Christian apologist 
is likely to treat the Babylonian story, with its strongly 
polytheistic colouring, as a primitive revelation of God to 
man ; and if the theory of inspiration is inapplicable to the 
original, it can hardly be invoked to account for the copy. 

Dismissing, therefore, the theory of revelation or inspira- 
tion as irreconcilable with the known facts, we have still to 
inquire, whether the Babylonian or Sumerian legend, which 
is certainly by far the oldest of all diluvial traditions, may 
not be the one from which all the rest have been derived. 
The question is one to which a positive answer can hardly 
be given, since demonstration in such matters is impossible, 
and our conclusion must be formed from the consideration 
of a variety of probabilities which different minds will 
estimate differently. It is no doubt possible to analyse all 
the stories into their elements, to classify these elements, to 
count up the number of them which the various versions 
have in common, and from the sum of the common elements 
found in any one narrative to calculate the probability of its 


being a derivative or original version. This, in fact, has been 
done by one of my predecessors in this department of research,^ 
but I do not propose to repeat his calculations : readers with 
a statistical and mathematical turn of mind may either con- 
sult them in his work or repeat them* for themselves from the 
data submitted to them in the foregoing pages. Here I shall 
content myself with stating my general conclusion, leaving 
the reader to verify, correct, or reject it by reference to the 
evidence with which I have furnished him. Apart, then, Apart 
from the Hebrew legend, which is unquestionably derived [ji^^'o^ 
from the Babylonian, and from modern instances which missionary 
exhibit clear traces of late missionary or at all events {^reTTOms 
Christian influence, I do not think that we have decisive ^o be 
grounds for tracing any of the diluvial traditions to the ^ound for 
Babylonian as their original. Scholars of repute have, tracing any 
indeed, maintained that both the ancient Greek and the flood 
ancient Indian legends are derived from the Babylonian : s^o"*^* 

, r^ . . , except the 

they may be right, but to me it does not seem that the Hebrew 
resemblances between the three are sufficient to justify us ^^^^^^ 
in assuming identity of origin. No doubt in the later ages Ionian or 
of antiquity the Greeks were acquainted both with the Baby- oJJ^^af" 
Ionian and the Hebrew versions of the deluge legend, but 
their own traditions of a great flood are much older than 
the conquests of Alexander, which first unlocked the treas- 
uries of Oriental learning to western scholars ; and in their 
earliest forms the Greek traditions exhibit no clear marks of 
borrowing from Asiatic sources. In the Deucalion legend, Thcancient 
for example, which comes nearest to the Babylonian, only ^^^ t 
Deucalion and his wife are saved from the flood, and after a flood 
it has subsided they are reduced to the necessity of miracu- J^^^!° 
lously creating mankind afresh out of stones, while nothing pendent of 
at all is said about the restoration of animals, which must Ionian. ^' 
presumably have perished in the waters. This is very 
different from the Babylonfan and Hebrew legend, which 
provides for the regular propagation both of the human 
and the animal species after the flood by taking a sufficient 
number of passengers of both sorts on board the ark. 

Similarly a comparison of the ancient Indian with the 
Babylonian version of the legend brings out serious dis- 

* M. Winterniiz, Die Flutsagen^ pp. 312-333. 

336 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

Discrcp- crepancies between them. The miraculous fish which figures 
betvk^nthe ^^ prominently in all the ancient Indian versions has no 
ancient obvious parallel in the Babylonian ; though some scholars 
the andent ^ave ingenioi^ly argued that the deity, incarnate in a fish, who 
Babylonian wams Manu of the conrfing deluge in the Indian legend, is a 

stories of a 

great flood, duplicate of Ea, the god who similarly wams Ut-napishtim in 
the Babylonian legend, for there seems to be no doilbt that 
Ea was a water deity, conceived and represented partly in 
human and partly in fish form.^ If this suggested parallel 
between the two legends could be made out, it would certainly 
forge a strong link between them. On the other hand, in the 
oldest Indian form of the story, that in the Satapatha Brah- 
mana^ Manu is represented as the solitary survivor of the 
great flood, and after the catastrophe a woman has to be 
miraculously created out of the butter, sour milk, whey and 
curds of his sacrifice, in order to enable him to continue the 
species. It is only in the later versions of the story that 
Manu takes a large assortment of animals and plants with 
him into the ship ; and even in them, though the sage 
appears on shipboard surrounded by a band of brother sages 
whom he had rescued from a watery grave, nothing whatever 
is said about rescuing his wife and children. The omission 
betrays a lack not only of domestic affection but of common 
prudence on the part of the philosopher, and contrasts forcibly 
with the practical foresight of his Babylonian counterpart, who 
under the like distressing circumstances has at least the con- 
solation of being surrounded by the family circle on the 
stormy waters, and of knowing that as soon as the flood has 
subsided he will be able, with their assistance, to provide for 

* Fr. Lcnormant, Les Origincs de character of the god is illustrated from 

Vllistoire iVapr^s la Bible: De la Babylonian monuments. Berosus speaks 

Criation de V Homme au Deluge ( I^aris, of this deity under the name of Oannes, 

1880), pp. 424 sqq.'j M. Winternitz, and describes his amphibious form 

Die Fliitsagen, p. 328. As to the nearly as it is figured in Babylonian 

aqueous and fishy nature of Ea in art ; he tells us that Oannes appeared 

Babylonian mythology, see M. Jastrow, from the Red Sea, that is, from the 

Religion of Babylonia and Assyria^ Persian Gulf, and after passing the day 

pp. 136 sq, ; P. Dhorme, La Religion in conversation with men, whom he 

A ssyro-Babylonienfie {FiiiiSf 1 9 10), pp. taught the elements of civilization, re- 

73 sq. ; and especially Alfred Jeremias, tired at sunset to the sea. See Berosus, 

** Oannes- Ka," in W. II. Roschcr's in F/agmen/a I/isforicornm Graecontmy 

Ausfiihrliches l.txikon dt)' Gricchischcn cd. C. Milller, ii. 496 sq.\ Eusebius, 

■ und Romischen Mythohgie^ iii. 577 Chronic,^ ed. A. Schocne, vol. i. col, 

sqq.t where the half-human, half- fish 14. 


the continuance of the human race by the ordinary processes 
of nature. In this curious difference between the two tales 
is it fanciful to detect the contrast between the worldly 
prudence of the Semitic mind and the dreamy asceticism 
of the Indian ? ^ 

On the whole, then, there is little evidence to prove that On the 
the ancient Indian and Greek legends of a flood are derived Babylonian 
from the corresponding Babylonian tradition. When we story seems 
remember that the Babylonians, so far as we know, never beenwideiy 
succeeded in handing on their story of a deluge to the spread 
Egyptians, with whom they were m direct communication through 
for centuries, we need not wonder if they failed to transmit ^^^flf^i^** 

^ or Moham- 

it to the more distant Greeks and Indians, with whom down medan 
to the days of Alexander the Great they had but little »"^"^"<*- 
intercourse. In later ages, through the medium of Christian 
literature, the Babylonian legend has indeed gone the round 
of the world and been echoed in tales told under the palms of 
coral islands, in Indian wigwams, and amid the Arctic ice and 
snow ; ^ but in itself, apart from Christian or Mohammedan 
agencies, it would seem to have travelled little beyond the 
limits of its native land and the adjoining Semitic regions. 

If, among the many other diluvial traditions which we ^'^® 

7 . , . diffusion 

have passed in review, we look about for evidence of deriva- of the 
tion from a common source, and therefore of diffusion from Algonquin 

story in 

a single centre, we cannot fail to be struck by the manifest North 

/tokens of such derivation and diffusion in the Algonquin ^™^"*^ 

/ stories of North America.^ The many flood legends recorded 

• among different tribes of that widely spread stock resemble 

each other so closely that wc cannot but regard them as 

mere variations of one and the same tradition. Whether 

* The theory of the dependence of pp. 133 sqq.) and more hesitatingly 

the Indian on the Babylonian legend by R. Andree {Du Flutsagetty pp. 17 

was maintained by Eugene Bournouf sqq.). 

and Fran9ois Lenomiant {Les Origiiies - For traces of the legend, in its 

de VHiitoire d^aprh la Bible: De la Christian form, among barbarous and 

Criation de V Homme au DdugCy Paris, savage tribes see above, p. 195 (Kamars), 

1880, pp. 423 sqq.) and more recently p. 223 (Minahassans), pp. 245 sq, 

by M. Winlernitz {Die FlutsageUy pp. (Ilawaiians), pp. 265 sq. (Macusis), 

327 J^.). Professor H. Oldenberg also pp. 275 sq, (Michoacan Indians), p. 

inclines to it {Die Literatur des Alien 280 (Cora Indians), p. 297 (Cree 

hidien^ Stuttgart and Berlin, 1903, p. Indians), p. 312 (Tinneh Indians), 

47). On the other hand the theory pp. 328 sq, (F^skimo), pp. 330 sq, 

was rejected by F. Max ^flillcr {India^ (Masai). 
what can it teach us? London, 1892, ^ Above, pp. 295 sqq, 





in the original story the incident of the various animals 

diving into the water to fetch up earth is native or based 

on a* reminiscence of the birds in the Noachian story, which 

has reached the Indians through white men, may be open to 


Evidence of Further, we have seen that according to Humboldt a 

general resemblance may be traced between the diluvial 

traditions among the Indians of the Orinoco,^ and that 

according to William Ellis a like resemblance prevails among 

the Polynesian legends.^ It may be that in both these regions 

the traditions have spread from local centres, in other words, 

that they are variations of a common original. 

independ- But when we havc made allowance for all such cases of 

ent deluge diffusion from local centres, it seems probable that there still 

legends. ' ^ 

remain deluge legends which have originated independently. 

in South 

The old 

theory of a 


deluge was 


by the 


of marine 




§ 1 9. The Origin of Stories of a Great Flood 

We have still to ask. What was the origin of diluvial 
traditions ? how did men come so commonly to believe that 
at some time or other the earth, or at all events the whole 
inhabited portion of it, had been submerged under the waters 
of a mighty flood in which almost the entire human race 
perished ? The old answer to the question was that such a 
catastrophe actually occurred, that we have a full and authentic 
record of it in the Book of Genesis, and that the many 
legends of a great flood which we find scattered so widely 
among mankind embody the more or less imperfect, confused 
and distorted reminiscences of that tremendous cataclysm.* 
A favourite argument in support of this view was drawn from 
marine shells and fossils, which were supposed to have been 
left high and dry in deserts and on mountain-tops by the 
retiring waters of the Noachian deluge. Sea-shells found 
on mountains were adduced by Tertullian as evidence that 
the waters had once covered the earth, though he did 

* Above, p. 266. 

' Above, pp. 241 sq. 

^ This, for example, was the view 
of the Scotch geologist Hugh Miller, 
though he rejected the theory of a 

universal deluge, preferring to suppose 
that the flood covered the limited area 
to which the human race had then 
spread. See his book, The Testimony 
of the Rocks (Edinburgh, 1857), pp. 
267 sqq» 


not expressly associate them with the flood recorded in 
Genesis.^ When excavations made in 1517, for repairing 
the city of Verona, brought to light a multitude of curious 
petrifactions, the discovery gave rise to much speculation, 
in which Noah and the ark of course figured conspicu- 
ously. Yet they were not allowed to pass unchallenged ; The theory 
for a philosophical Italian naturalist, Fracastoro, was bold ^^^^^^ 
enough to point out difficulties in the popular hypothesis, naturalist 
** That inundation, he observed, was too transient : it con- '^**''®"^- 
sisted principally of fluviatile waters ; and if it had trans- 
ported shells to great distances, must have strewed them 
over the surface, not buried them at vast depths in the 
interior of mountains. His clear exposition of the evidence 
would have terminated the discussion for ever, if the passions 
of mankind had not been enlisted in the dispute." * Towards 
the end of the seventeenth century the field of geology was Long 
invaded by an army of theologians, recruited in Italy, of*the*^"** 
Germany, France, and England, who darkened counsel and diluvial 
.left confusion worse confounded. " Henceforward, they who foSr ° 
refused to subscribe to the position, that all marine organic deposits, 
remains were proofs of the Mosaic deluge, were exposed to 
the imputation of disbelieving the whole of the sacred writings. 
Scarcely any step had been made in approximating to sound 
theories since the time of Fracastoro, more than a hundred 
years having been lost, in writing down the dogma that 
organised fossils were mere sports of nature. An additional 
period of a century and a half was now destined to be con- 
sumed in exploding the hypothesis, that organised fossils 
had all been buried in the solid strata by Noah's flood. 
Never did a theoretical fallacy, in any branch of science, 
interfere more seriously with accurate observation and the 
systematic classification of facts. In recent times, we may 
attribute our rapid progress chiefly to the careful determina- 
tion of the order of succession in mineral masses, by means 
of their different organic contents, and their regular super- 
position. But the old diluvialists were induced by their 

1 Terlullian, De Pallio, 2, '' Mitta- fluitasse:' 
vit et ioius orbis aliquandOy aqtfis 

omnibus obsitus : adhuc viaris cottchac * Sir Charles Lyell, The Principles 

et bnccinae percgrinanitir in montibus^ of GeoiOfj', Twelfth Edition (London, 

cupicntes Platoni probare ctiam ardua 1875), L 31, 

340 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

system to confound all the groups of strata together, referring 
all appearances to one cause and to one brief period, not to 
a variety of causes acting throughout a long succession of 
epochs. They saw the phenomena only, as they desired to 
see them, sometimes misrepresenting facts, and at other 
times deducing false conclusions from correct data. In short, 
a sketch of the progress of geology, from the close of the 
seventeenth to the end of the eighteenth century, is the 
history of a constant and violent struggle of new opinions 
against doctrines sanctioned by the implicit faith of many 
generations, and supposed to rest on scriptural authority." ^ 
Survivals The crror thus stigmatized by Sir Charles Lyell died 

thTOnrofa ^ard. Lcss than a century ago, when William Buckland 
universal was appointed Reader in Geology at Oxford, he could still 
among assure his hearers, in his inaugural address to the University, 
geologists that " the grand fact of an universal deluge at no very 
nineteenth remote period is proved on grounds so decisive and incon> 
century. trovertible, that had we never heard of such an event from 
Scripture or any other Authority, Geology of itself must 
have called in the assistance of some such catastrophe to 
explain the phenomena of diluvial action."^ And within 
our own lifetime another eminent geologist wrote and 
published as follows: " I have long thought that the narra- 
tive in Genesis vii. and viii. can be understood only on the 
supposition that it is a contemporary journal or log of an 
eye-witness incorporated by the author of Genesis in his 
work. The dates of the rising and fall of the water, the 
note of soundings over the hill-tops when the maximum was 
attained, and many other details, as well, as the whole tone 
of the narrative, seem to require this supposition, which also 
removes all the difficulties of interpretation which have been 
so much felt."® But if the story of the flood in Genesis 
is the contemporary log-book of an eye-witness, how 
are we to explain the remarkable discrepancies it contains 
with regard to the duration of the flood and the number of 
the animals admitted to the ark ? Such a theory, far from 
solving the difficulties that beset the narrative, would on 

* Sir Charles I^yell, PriucipUs of of the Earth (London, 1905), p. 244. 
Geology^ Twelfth Edition, i. 37 sq. 3 (gir) John William Dawson, The 

Sioiy of the Earth ami Man, Sixth 
' Quoted by W. J. Sollas, The Age Edition (London, 1880), p. 290 note*. 



the contrary render them altogether inexplicable, except on 
a supposition alike injurious and unjust either to the veracity 
or to the sobriety of the narrator.^ 

Nor need we linger long over another explanation of 
flood stories which has of late years enjoyed a good deal of 
popularity in Germany. On this view the story of the flood 
has really nothing to do with water or an ark ; it is a myth 
relating to the sun or the moon or the stars, or all three of 

* In a later work {The Meeting 
Place of Geology and History^ Second 
Edition, London, 1895, PP* '^^ ^^'i') 
Sir J. W. Dawson still aftempted to 
maintain the literal accuracy of the 
narrative in Genesis, supporting it by 
what he represented as the testimony 
of geology. On this it may suffice to 
quote the observations of the late Pro- 
fessor S. R. Driver ( The Book of Genesis^ 
Tenth Edition, p. 103 nole^): "Sir 
J. W. Dawson, in his Meeting Place of 
Geology attd History (1894), extending, 
as it seems, this theory of Professor 
Prestwich, speaks very confidently (pp. 
88 f., 130, 148 f., 154 f., 204, 205) of a 
great submei^ence, and accompanying 
* diluvial catastrophe,' which took place 
shortly after the close of the glacial 
period, and destroyed palaeolithic man, 
and which is identified by him (pp. 
155, 205) with the Deluge of Noah. 
An eminent English geologist, Canon 
T. G. Bonney, Emeritus Professor of 
Geology at University College, Lon- 
don, and an ex-President of the Geo- 
logical Society, who has examined Sir 
J. W. Dawson's arguments, permits 
me, however, to say that he considers 
this identification to be altogether un- 
tenable : he is aware of no evidence 
showing that * a vast region ' of either 
Europe or Asia was submei^ed at the 
age spoken of; and even supposing 
that it were so submerged, the flood 
thus produced would be many thousand 
years before the time at which, accord- 
ing to the Biblical chronology, the 
Deluge will have taken place. He 
adds that he is acquainted with no 
geological indications favouring the 
supposition that a submergence, em- 
bracing certainly Asia, and including 
in particular Armenia (the *■ mountains 
of Ararat '), and causing great destruc- 

tion of animal life, took place at^. B.C. 
2500 or 3000." The theory of Sir 
Joseph Prestwich, to which Professor 
S. R. Driver here refers, was that long 
after the appearance of palaeolithic 
man a great part of western, central, 
and southern Europe, and portions of 
northern Africa were temporarily sub- 
merged, and that in the vast inundation, 
which he supposes to have been of 
short duration, some species of animals 
(as the hippopotamus in Sicily) be- 
came extinct in the regions which 
they formerly inhabited. The geo- 
logical evidence on which Sir Joseph 
Prestwich based his theory consisted 
of the wide diffusion of what he called 
** rubble drift " and the deposit of fine 
earth known as loess, together with 
the discovery of many bones of hetero- 
geneous animals accumulated on heights 
or in caves and crevices, to which, on 
his view, the animals either fled for 
refuge from the rising flood or were 
swept after death by the retiring waters. 
To this temporary submergence of a 
considerable part of the Old World he 
would refer the Biblical story of the 
flood and similar traditions. See (Sir) 
Joseph Prestwich, On Certain Pheno- 
mena belonging to the Close of the Last 
Geological Period and on their Bearing 
upon the Tradition of the Flood (Lon- 
don, 1895). The theory has been ex- 
amined and rejected by the Rev. Pro- 
fessor T. G. Bonney, who conchides 
his examination with the words : ** The 
idea of a universal deluge, or even of 
closely connected but local deluges on 
a large scale, cannot, I think, claim 
any real support from geolc^." See 
T. G. Bonney, " Science and the 
Flood," The Expositor ^ June 1 903, 
pp. 456-472. 

Stories of a 
great flood 
as solar, 
lunar, or 





of geology 
is opposed 
to the 
theory that 
our planet 
has ever 
with water 
during the 
period of 
on earth. 

them together ; for the learned men who have made this 
surprising discovery, while they are united in rejecting the 
vulgar terrestrial interpretation, are by no means agreed 
among themselves as to all the niceties of their high celes- 
tial theory. Some of them will have it that the ark is 
the sun ; ^ another thinWs that the ark was the moon, that 
the pitch with which it was caulked is a figurative expression 
for a lunar eclipse ; and that by the three stories in which 
the vessel was built we must understand the phases of the 
lunar orb.^ The latest advocate of the lunar theory seeks to 
reconcile all contradictions in a higher* unity by embarking 
the human passengers on • board the moon, while he leaves 
the animals to do the best they can for themselves among 
the stars.* It would be doing such learned absurdities too 
much honour to discuss them seriously. I have noticed 
them only for the sake of the hilarity with which tbey are 
calculated to relieve the tedium of a grave and prolonged 

But when we have dismissed these fancies to their 
appropriate limbo, we are still confronted with the question 
of the origin of diluvial traditions. Are they true or false ? 
Did the flood, which the stories so persistently describe, really 
happen or did it not ? Now so far as the narratives speak 
of floods which covered the whole world, submerging even 
the highest mountains and drowning almost all men and 

* II. Usener, Die Sintflutsagen 
(Bonn, 1899); id.y "Zu den Sint- 
flutsagen," Kleine Schriften^ iv. (19 1 3) 
pp. 382-398 ; H. Zimmern and T. K. 
Cheyne, in Eficyclopaedia Bibiica, s.v, 
•* Deluge, *Wol. i. coll. 10585^., 1063 
sq. \ H. Zimmern, in E. Schrader's 
Die Keilinschriften und das A He 
Testament (Berlin, 1902), pp. 555 
sq. The solar theor}' of diluvial 
traditions appears to have been first 
broached by a German scholar Schir- 
ren in a work called Wanderungen 
der Neuseelandery published in 1856, 
which I have not seen. Compare 
G. (lerland, in Th. Waitz's Anthro- 
pologie der Naturvolker^ vi. (Leipsic, 
1872), pp. 270 sqq. So far as I am 
aware, the late Professor T. K. Cheyne 
is the only English scholar who has 
interpreted the deluge legend as a solar 


5* E. Boklen, "Die Sintflutsage,*' 
Archil* fUr Religionswissenschaft^ vi. 

(1903) PP- X-61. 97-150- 

' G. Gerland, Der Mythus von der 
Sintflut (Bonn, 191 2), pp. 117 sqq. 
This work contains the ripe restilt of 
the author's reflection after many years 
of incubation. In an earlier and less 
mature work he seems to have shipped 
Noah on board the sun and his wife on 
board the moon, while he distributed 
Shcm, Ham, and Japhet and their 
wives, somewhat at haphazard, among 
the stars. See his exposition in Th. 
Waitz's Attthropologie der N^aturvolker^ 
vi. (Leipsic, 1872) pp. 269 sqq. But 
Professor Gerland expresses himself in 
both his works so indistinctly that I 
cannot feel sure of having grasped his 
meaning correctly. 


animals, we may pronounce with some confidence that 
they are false ; for, if the best accredited testimony 
of modern geology can be trusted, no such cataclysm 
has befallen the earth during the period of man's 
abode on it. Whether, as some philosophers suppose, 
a universal ocean covered the whole surface of our planet 
long before man had appeared upon it, is quite a different 
question. Leibnitz, for example, imagined the earth "to Phiiosophi- 
have been originally a burning luminous mass, which ever ^^^^^ 
since its creation has been undergoing refrigeration. When universal 
the outer crust had cooled down sufficiently to allow the ^^^^^ 
vapours to be condensed, they fell, and formed a universal before the 
ocean, covering the loftiest mountains, and investing the of m^^*^^ 
whole globe." ^ A similar view of a universal primeval ocean, 
formed by the condensation of aqueous vapour while the 
originally molten matter of the planet gradually lost its heat, 
follows almost necessarily from the celebrated Nebular Hypo- 
thesis as to the origin of the stellar universe, which was first 
propounded by Kant and afterwards developed by Laplace.^ 
Lamarck, too, " was deeply impressed with a belief prevalent 
amongst the older naturalists that the primeval ocean in- 
vested the whole planet long after it became the habitation 
of living beings."" But such speculations, even if they 
might have occurred to primitive man, are to be clearly 
distinguished from stories of a deluge which destroyed the 
majority of mankind, for these stories presuppose the exist- 
ence of the human race on the earth and therefore can hardly 
refer to a time earlier than the Pleistocene period.* 

But though stories of such tremendous cataclysms are Many 
almost certainly fabulous, it is possible and indeed probable fl^^may 
that under a mythical husk many of them may hide a kernel contain 
of truth ; that is, they may contain reminiscences of inunda- ^n<!^s*of 
tions which really overtook particular districts, but which in real, but 
passing through the medium of popular tradition have been universal, 

* Sir Charles Lyell, Principles of water would seem to have been pre- ^^^^^ 

Geology^ Twelfth Edition, i. 39. ceded by a universal ocean of boiling 

' T. H. Huxley, " Geological lava. See W. J. Sollas, The Age of 

form," Collected Essays, iv. 320 the Earth (London, 1905), pp. 5 sq, 
sqq.- (Sir) J. W. Dawson The Story , ,^^ /V,W,>/„ <,/ 

1880), pp. 4, 8, 12, 14 sq., 17. On ■^' ' ■' 

this hypothesis, the univetsal ocean of * See above, p. 169. 

344 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

Many magnified into world-wide catastrophes. The records of the 

T^^'mor- P^^^ abound in instances of great floods which have spread 
able floods havoc far and wide ; and it would be strange indeed if the 
in Ho land. j^^^^Qj-y of some of them did not long persist among the 
descendants of the generation which experienced them. For 
examples of such disastrous deluges we need go no farther 
than the neighbouring country of Holland, which has suffered' 
from them again and again. In the thirteenth century " the 
low lands along the Vlie, often threatened, at last sank in 
the waves. The German Ocean rolled in upon the inland 
The origin Lake of Flevo. The stormy Zuyder Zee began its existence 
ZuydcrZee ^^ engulfing thousands of Frisian villages, with all their 
population, and by spreading a chasm between kindred 
peoples. The political, as well as the geographical, con- 
tinuity of the land was obliterated by this tremendous deluge. 
The Hollanders were cut off from their relatives in the east 
by as dangerous a sea as that which divided them from their 
Anglo-Saxon brethren in Britain."^ Again, early in the 
sixteenth century, a tempest blowing from the north, drove 
the waters of the ocean on the low coast of Zealand more 
rapidly than they could be carried off through the Straits of 
Dover. The dykes of South Beveland burst, the sea swept 
over the land, hundreds of villages were overwhelmed, and a 
tract of country, torn from the province, was buried beneath 
the waves. South Beveland became an island, and the 
stretch of water which divides it from the continent has ever 
since been known as " the Drowned Land." Yet at low tide 
the estuary so formed can be forded by seafaring men who 
know the ground. During the rebellion which won for 
Holland its national independence, a column of Spanish 
troops, led by a daring officer. Colonel Mondragon, waded 
across the ford by night, with the water breast high, and 
relieved a garrison which was beleagured by the rebels in 
the city of Tcrgoes." 
The great Again, " towards the end of the year 1570, still another 

1570 h! ^"^ ^ terrible misfortune descended upon the Netherlands. 
Holland. An inundation, more tremendous than any which had yet 

» J. L. Motley, The Rise of the « J. I« Motley, The Rise of the 

Dutch Republic, Historical Introduc- Dutch Republic^ Tart iii. chap. viii. 
tion, vi. vol. i. p. 35 (London, 191 3). vol. ii. pp. 374 sqq, (London, 1913). 


been recorded in those annals so prolific in such catastrophes, 
now swept the whole coast from Flanders to Friesland. Not 
the memorable deluge of the thirteenth century, out of which 
the Zuyder Zee was born ; not that in which the waters of 
the Dollart had closed for ever over the villages and churches 
of Groningen ; not one of those perpetually recurring floods 
by which the inhabitants of the Netherlands, year after year, 
were recalled to an anxious remembrance of the watery 
chaos out of which their fatherland had been created, and 
into which it was in daily danger of resolving itself again, 
had excited so much terror and caused so much destruction. 
A continued and violent gale from the north-west had long 
been sweeping the Atlantic waters into the North Sea, and 
had now piled them upon the fragile coasts of the provinces. 
The dykes, tasked beyond their strength, burst in every 
direction. The cities of Flanders, to a considerable distance 
inland, were suddenly invaded by the waters of the ocean. 
The whole narrow peninsula of North Holland was in 
imminent danger of being swept away for ever. Between 
Amsterdam and Meyden, the great Diemer dyke was broken 
through in twelve places. The Hand-bos, a bulwark formed 
of oaken piles, fastened with metal clamps, moored with iron 
anchors, and secured by gravel and granite, was snapped to 
pieces like packthread. The * Sleeper,' a dyke thus called, 
because it was usually left in repose by the elements, except 
in great emergencies, alone held firm, and prevented the 
consummation of the catastrophe. Still the ocean poured 
in upon the land with terrible fury. Dort, Rotterdam, and 
many other cities were, for a time, almost submerged. Along 
the coast, fishing vessels, and even ships of larger size, were 
floated up into the country, where they entangled themselves 
in groves and orchards, or beat to pieces the roofs and walls 
of houses. The destruction of life and of property was 
enormous throughout the maritime provinces, but in Fries- 
land the desolation was complete. There nearly all the 
dykes and sluices were dashed to fragments ; the country, 
far and wide, converted into an angry sea. The steeples 
and towers of inland cities became islands of the ocean. 
Thousands of human beings were swept out of existence in 
a few hours. Whole districts of territory, with all their 

346 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

villages, farms and churches, were rent from their places, 
borne along by the force of the waves, sometimes to be 
lodged in another part of the country, sometimes to be 
entirely engulfed. Multitudes of men, women, children, of 
horses, oxen, sheep, and every domestic animal, were strug- 
gling in the waves in every direction. Every boat, and 
every article which could serve as a boat, were eagerly seized 
upon. Every house was inundated ; even the graveyards 
gave up their dead. The living infant in his cradle, and the 
long-buried corpse in his coffin, floated side by side. The 
ancient flood seemed about to be renewed. Everywhere, upon 
the tops of trees, upon the steeples of churches, human beings 
were clustered, praying to God for mercy, and to their fellow- 
men for assistance. As the storm at last was subsiding, 
boats began to ply in every direction, saving those who were 
still struggling in the water, picking fugitives from roofs and 
tree-tops, and collecting the bodies of those already drowned. 
Colonel Robles, Seigneur de Billy, formerly much hated for 
his Spanish or Portuguese blood, made himself very active 
in this humane work. By his exertions, and those of the 
troops belonging to Groningen, many lives were rescued, and 
gratitude replaced the ancient animosity. It was estimated 
that at least twenty thousand persons were destroyed in the 
province of Friesland alone. Throughout the Netherlands, 
one hundred thousand persons perished. The damage done 
to property, the number of animals engulfed in the sea, were 
almost incalculable." ^ 
In many On these and other occasions the floods which have laid 

fl^dls' *^ great tracts of Holland under water have been caused, not 
said to have by heavy rains, but by risings of the sea. Now it is to be 
by the^ observed that in not a few diluvial traditions the cause alleged 
rising of the for the dcluge is in like manner not the fall of rain but an 

sea Such __ 

tales are incursion of the ocean. Thus we have found a rising of the 
^h^T^-fi^" ^^^ assigned as the cause of the flood by the natives of the 
where ' islands of Nias,^ Engano,^ Rotti,^ Formosa,^ Tahiti,^ Hawaii,^ 


waves are i j l. Motley, The Rise of the « Above, p. 219. 

known to ^^^^^^ Republic, Part iii. chap. v. vol. s Alx)ve, p. 219. 

destructive. "' ^^^^' 285-287. These events took « Above, p. 223. 

place on the first and second of ^ Above, p. 227. 

November 1570. So short a time ® Above, pp. 242 sqq, 

sufficed to cause so great a ruin. ^ Above, p. 245. 


Rakaanga,^ and the Pelew Islands,^ by Indian tribes on the 
west coast of America from Tierra del Fuego in the south 
to Alaska in the north,* and by Eskimo on the shores of 
the Arctic Ocean.* The occurrence of such stories far and 
wide on the coasts and among the islands of the Pacific is 
very significant, for that ocean is subject from time to time 
to great earthquake-waves, which have often inundated the 
very coasts and islands where stories of great floods caused 
by the rising of the sea are told. Are we not allowed, nay 
compelled, to trace some at least of these stories to these 
inundations as their true cause ? All the probabilities seem 
to be in favour of a causal rather than of an accidental con- 
nexion between the two things. 

To take instances of such earthquake- waves in the Great 
Pacific, we may notice the dreadful calamities which have ^y^ ai ^ 
repeatedly overtaken Callao, the seaport of Lima in Peru. CaUaoin 
One of the most fearful of which we have any account ' ^* . 
happened on the 20th of October 1687. The earthquake 
** began at four in the morning, with the destruction of several 
publick edifices and houses, whereby great numbers of persons 
perished ; but this was little more than a presage of what 
was to follow, and preserved the greatest part of the inhabit- 
ants from being buried under the ruins of the city. The 
shock was repeated at six in the morning with such im- 
petuous concussions, that whatever had withstood the first, 
was now laid in ruins ; and the inhabitants thought them- 
selves very fortunate in being only spectators of the general 
devastation from the streets and squares, to which they had 
directed their flight on the first warning. During this second 
concussion the sea retired considerably from its bounds, and 
returning in mountainous waves, totally overwhelmed Callao, 
and the neighbouring parts, together with the miserable 
inhabitants."^ The same wave which submerged the city 
carried ships a league into the country, and drowned man 
and beast for fifty leagues along the shore.*^ 

^ Above, p. 249. translated from the original Spanish by 

' Above, p. 253. John Adams, Fifth Edition (London, 

3 Above, pp. 262, 270, 271, 273, 1807), ii. 82. 

288, 313 J^» 317 ^q-y 320, 327. 

* Above, p. 327. ^ Sir Charles Lyell, The Primt'p/eS' 

* Don George Juan and Don An- of Geology ^ Twelfth Edition (London, 
iomodtVWoai, Voyage to South America^ 1875), ii. 157. 

348 THE GREAT FLOOD part i 

Great Again, on the 28th of October 1746, Callao was over- 

^m1^*^ whelmed by another earthquake and another sea-wave. " At 
Callao in half an hour after ten at night, five hours and three quarters 
^"^^ ' before the full of the moon, the concussions began with such 
violence, that in little more than three minutes, the greatest 
part, if not all the buildings, great and small, in the whole 
city, Urere destroyed, burying under their ruins those inhabit- 
ants who had not made sufficient haste into the streets and 
squares ; the only places of safety in these terrible con- 
vulsions of nature. At length the horrible effects of this 
shock ceased : but the tranquillity was of short duration ; 
concussions returning with such frequent repetitions, that the 
inhabitants, according to the account sent of it, computed 
two hundred in the first twenty-four hours. . . . The fort of 
Callao, at the very same hour, sunk into the like ruins ; but 
what it suffered from the earthquake in its buildings, was 
inconsiderable, when compared with the terrible catastrophe 
which followed ; for the sea, as is usual on such occasions, 
receding to a considerable distance, returned in mountainous 
waves foaming with the violence of the agitation, and sud- 
denly turned Callao, and the neighbouring country, into a sea. 
This was not, however, totally performed by the first swell 
of the waves ; for the sea retiring further, returned with still 
more impetuosity ; the stupendous water covering both the 
walls and other buildings of the place ; so that whatever had 
escaped the first, was now totally overwhelmed by those 
terrible mountains of waves ; and nothing remained except 
a piece of the wall of the fort of Santa Cruz, as a memorial 
of this terrible devastation. There were then twenty-three 
ships and vessels, great and small, in the harbour, of which 
nineteen were absolutely sunk, and the other four, among 
which was a frigate called St Fermin^ carried by the force 
of the waves to a great distance up the country. This terrible 
inundation extended to other ports on the coast, as Cavallos 
and Guanape ; and the towns of Chancay, Guara, and the 
valleys della Baranca, Sape, and Pativilca, underwent the 
same fate as the city of Lima. The number of persons who 
perished in the ruin of that city, before the 31st of the same 
month of October, according to the bodies found, amounted 
to 1300, besides the maimed and wounded, many of which 


lived only a short time in torture. At Callao, where the 
number of inhabitants amounted to about 4000, two hundred 
only escaped ; and twenty-two of these by means of the 
above-mentioned fragment of a wall. According to an 
account sent to Lima after this accident, a volcano in Lucanas 
burst forth the same night and ejected such quantities of 
water, that the whole country was overflowed ; and in the 
mountain near Patas, called Conversiones de Caxamarquilla, 
three other volcanoes burst, discharging frightful torrents of 
water." ^ From the last part of the foregoing account it 
appears that a flood of water may be caused by the eruption 
of a volcano alone. 

More recent observations have proved that the oceanic These 
disturbances set up by great earthquakes arc not necessarily ^^1^"*^^ 
limited to a short stretch of coast, but that they may sometimes 
be propagated in the form of huge waves across the ov^vwy^ 
whole breadth of the Pacific. For example, on the wide areas 
23rd of December 1854, Simoda in Japan was devastated Pacific, 
by an earthquake, and the waves to which it gave rise 
crossed the North Pacific Ocean and broke on the coast 
of California. Again, a violent shock of earthquake 
occurred near Arica, on the coast of Peru, on the 13 th 
of August 1868, and the agitation which it created in 
the sea was felt north and south along the west coast of 
America ; the waves rose in wild turmoil for several days 
about the Sandwich Islands, and broke on the Samoan 
Islands, the cast coast of Australia, New Zealand, and the ' 
Chatham Islands. The French frigate NMitie, bound at the 
time for Cape Horn, encountered in latitude 5 1 ° S. great 
packs of jagged icebergs, freshly broken off", which the mighty 
flood had set free as it penetrated beneath the Antarctic ice. 
Again, during the earthquake which befell Iquique in Peru 
on the 9th of May 1877, the Pacific Ocean rose in great 
waves on the opposite coast from Kamtchatka and Japan in 
the north to New Zealand and the Chatham Islands in the 
south. At the Samoan Islands the waves were from six to 
twelve feet high ; in Japan the sea rose and fell from five to 
ten feet ; in New Zealand the waves varied from three to 

* Ulloa, Voyage to South America^ translated by John Adams, Fifth Edition 
(London, 1807), ii. 83 sq. 




In the 
of floods 
may often 
cences of 
the devas- 
caused by 

twenty feet in height.^ Indeed, on the coasts of South 
America and Japan these earthquake waves are often more 
destructive and therefore more dreaded than the earthquakes 
themselves.^ In Japan, which is subject to very frequent 
movements of the earth, regular calendars of earthquakes are 
kept,- and from them we learn that the eastern coasts of the 
country have often been devastated by sea waves which have 
carried off from one thousand to one hundred thousand of 
the people. On the night of 15th June 1896, for example, 
such a wave swept over the north-west coast of Nipon for 
a length of seventy miles, causing a loss of nearly thirty 
thousand lives. At one place four steamers were carried 
inland, whilst a hundred and seventy-six vessels of various 
sorts lined the foot of the hills. Indeed, the ancient capital 
of Japan, which once numbered a million of inhabitants and 
included the palace of a Shogun, had to be abandoned in 
consequence of the inundations which broke over it from the 
sea in the years 1369 and 1494. The site is now occupied 
by the quiet village of Kamakura, sheltered by sand dunes 
and crooked pines. Only a gigantic bronze image of Buddha, 
fifty feet high, cast more than six centuries ago, rises in 
solemn majesty and peace to attest the grandeur that has 
passed away.* 

On coasts where the shock of an earthquake is commonly 
accompanied or followed by an inroad of the sea, it is natural 
that the first impulse of the natives, op feeling the concussion, 
should be to take refuge on a height where they may be safe 
from the dreaded rqsh of the water.* Now we have seen 
that the Araucanian Indians of Chili, who have a tradrtion of 
a great deluge and fear a repetition of the disaster, fly for 
safety to a mountain when they feel a violent shock of earth- 
quake ;^ and that the Fijians, who have likewise a traditidh 

1 Eduard Suess, The Face of the the waters, and this is sq well known 

Earth, translated by Ilertha B. Sollas, i. 
(Oxford, 1904) pp. 18 j^. ; John Milne, 
Earthquakes and other Earth Move- 
ments (Ix>ndon, 1886), pp. 168-170. 

2 J. Milne, Earthquakes attd other 
Earth Movements, p. i66 ; id.. Sets- 
molop:)' (London, 1898), p. 191. 

3 J. Milne, 6WVwtf/<c7;9', pp. 191- 193. 
* **The first movement which is 

usually observed is a drawing back of 

to precede the inrush of large waves, 
that many of the inhabitants in South 
America have used it as a timely warn- 
ing to escape towards the hills and 
save themselves- from the terrible re- 
action which, on more than one occa- 
sion, has so quickly followed" (J. 
Milne, Earthquakes and other Earth 
Movements, p. 166). 
* Above, p. 262. 


of a calamitous flood, used to keep canoes in readiness against 
the recurrence of a similar inundation.^ Taking all these 
facts into account we may accept as reasonable and probable 
the explanation which the distinguished American ethnologist, 
Horatio Hale, gave of the Fijian tradition of a deluge. Com- 
menting on the statement that the Fijians formerly kept canoes 
ready against a repetition of the flood, he writes as follows : — 

/* This statement (which we heard from others in the it u thus 
same terms) may induce us to inquire whether there might Horatio 
not have been some occurrence in the actual history of the Hale 
islands to give rise to this tradition, and the custom here f^e Rjlan 
mentioned. On the 7th of November 1837, the Pacific tradiUon of 
Ocean was traversed from east to west by an immense wave, \^^^ 
which, taking its rise with the shock of an earthquake in 
Chili, was felt as far as the Bonin Islands. At the Sandwich 
Islands, according to the account given by Mr. Jarvis in his 
History, p. 21, the water rose, on the east coast of Hawaii, 
twenty feet above high-water mark, inundated the Ipw lands, 
swept away several villages, and destroyed many lives. 
Similar undulations have been experienced at these islands 
on several occasions. If we suppose (what is no way im- 
probable) that, at some time within the last three or four 
thousand years, a wave of twice this height crossed the ocean, 
and swept over the Vitian [Fijian] Islands, it must have 
submerged the whole alluvial plain on the east side of Viti- 
levu, the most populous part of the group. Multitudes would 
no doubt be destroyed. Others would escape in their canoes, 
and as Mbengga is a mountaindus island, in the neighbour- 
hood of this district, it would naturally be the place of refuge 
for many." ^ 

A similar explanation would obviously apply to the a similar 
other lee^ends of a great flood recorded in the islands of the explanation 

may apply 

Pacific, for all these islands have probably suffered in like to other 
manner from the invasion of huge earthquake-waves.^ At ?^^*°"" 

1 Above, p. 240. However, it is to ^ fhig jg the view also of the eminent Pacific, 

be observed that the cause assigned by Austrian geologist, Professor E. Suess. 

the Fijians for the flood seems to have He says, "That accounts of great 

been heavy rain rather than a rising of floods should be met with even in the 

the sea. most remote islands is, I think, ren- 

* Horatio Hale, United States Ex- dered easily intelligible by the infor- 

phn'fii^ Expedition^ Ethnography and mation concerning seismic sea-waves 

Philology (Philadelphia, 1846), p. 55. which has been collected within the last 

352 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

least, in the present state of our knowledge, it seems safer 
to accept provisionally the view of the eminent American 
ethnologist than to adopt the theory of an eminent German 
ethnologist, who would explain all these Polynesian traditions 
as solar, lunar, and stellar myths.^ 
Other flood If some of the traditions of a great flood caused by a 
embody^*^ rising of the sea may thus rest on an historical basis, there 
reminis- can be no reason why some of the traditions of a great flood 
ofrS caused by heavy rain should not be equally well founded, 
inundations Here in England we who live in flat parts of the country 
heavy rain. «^re familiar with local floods produced by this cause ; not 
many years ago, for example, large tracts of Norfolk, includ- 
ing the city of Norwich, were laid under water by a sudden 
and violent fall of rain, resembling a cloudburst. A similar 
cause inundated the low-lying parts of Paris a few years ago, 
creating anxiety and alarm not only among the inhabitants, 
but among the friends of the beautiful city in all parts of 
the world. It is easy to understand how among an ignorant 
and unlettered population, whose intellectual horizon hardly 
extends beyond the limits of their vision, the memory of a 
similar catastrophe, orally transmitted, might in the course 
of a few generations grow into the legend of a universal 
deluge, from which only a handful of favoured individuals 
had contrived in one way or another to escape. Even the 
tradition of a purely local flood, in which many people had 
been drowned, might unconsciously be exaggerated into vast 
dimensions by a European settler or traveller, who received 
it from savages and interpreted it in the light of the Noachian 
deluge, with which he himself had been familiar from child- 
hood. For instance, we have seen that stories of a great 
flood are reported to be told by the Indians of Guiana. On 
this subject it is well to bear in mind the caution given us 
by Sir Everard F. Im Thurn, who knows these Indians well. 
" The calamity to which an Indian is perhaps most exposed 
is to be driven from his home by a sudden rise in the river 

decade or so. In some of these tradi- and of the lower parts of great river 

tions it is expressly stated that the flood valleys" {The Face of the Earthy i, 

was produced by the sea. Such seismic 20). 

floods are, according to our present * (j. Gerland, in Th. Wait/.'s Anthro- 

knowledge, only likely to occur in the pologic der Naturvolker^ vi. (Leipsic, 

case of islands, of low-lying coast-land, 1872) pp. 269 sqq. 


and consequent flooding of the whole forest His way to 
escape is to get into his canoe with his family and his live 
stock, and to seek temporarily some higher ground, or, as 
sometimes happens, if none such can be found, the whole 
party lives as best they may in the canoe until the waters 
disappear from the face of the earth. It is well known how 
in all countries the proverbial 'oldest inhabitant' remembers 
and tells of the highest flood that ever happened. When 
therefore the Indian tells in his simple language the tradition 
of the highest flood which covered all the small world known 
to him, and tells how the Indians escaped it, it is not difficult 
to realise that the European hearer, theologically prejudiced 
in favour of Noah, his flood, and his ark, is apt to identify 
the two stories with each other, and with many similar stories 
from many parts of the world." ^ 

In this manner it has been proposed to explain the The 
Babylonian and Hebrew traditions of a great flood by the ^d^^""*""* 
inundations to which the lower valley of the Euphrates and Hebrew 
. Tigris is annually exposed by the heavy rains and melting ^a g^wJ 
snows in the mountains of Armenia. ** The basis of the ^ood have 
story," we are told, " is the yearly phenomenon of the rainy expUin^ 
and stormy season which lasts in Babylonia for several months 
and during which time whole districts in the Euphrates 
Valley are submerged. Great havoc was caused by the rains 
and storms until the perfection of canal systems regulated 
the overflow of the Euphrates and Tigris, when what had 
been a curse was converted into a blessing and brought about 
that astonishing fertility for which Babylonia became famous. 
The Hebrew story of the Deluge recalls a particularly 
destructive season that had made a profound impression, 
and the comparison with the parallel story found on clay 
tablets of Ashurbanapars library confirms this view of the 
local setting of the tale." ^ 

On this hypothesis, the great flood was brought about This view 
by an unusually heavy fall of rain and snow ; ^ it was only ^^th'thc 


1 (Sir) Evcrard V. Im Tliiim, Amoitfr * Sir Francis Younghusl»and has, cause of 
the IndiaNS 0/ Cuihna [l^invXim^ i^^T,)^ from ])ersonaI observation, suggested the flood, 
p. 375. to me that the regularly recurring 

2 M. Jastrow, Hebrew and fiaby- effects of rain and snow may have 
hfiian 'rradif ions {homXou^ 1 9 14), pp. been accidentally aggravated by the 
37 sq.'f compare /«/., pp. 322 sq, bursting of a dam which had been 

VOL. I 2 A 




The theory 
is also 
by the 

an extraordinary case of an ordinary occurrence, and the 
widespread devastation which it wrought in the valley im- 
printed it indelibly on the memory of the survivors and of 
their descendants. In favour of this view it may be said 
that in the Babylonian and the oldest form of the Hebrew 
tradition the only alleged cause of the deluge is heavy rain.^ 
The theory may also be supported by the dangerous 
inundations to which the country is still yearly liable 
through the action of the same natural causes. When 
inundations Loftus, the first cxcavator of the ancient city of Erech, 
to which arrived in Baghdad, on the Sth of May 1849, he found the 

the valleys 

of the whole population in a state of the utmost apprehension and 
p.i:phu-ates alarm. In consequence of the rapid melting of the snows 
are still on the Kurdish mountains, and the enormous influx of water 
subject. {xovci the Euphrates through the Seglawiyya canal, the Tigris 
had risen that spring to the unprecedented height of twenty- 
two and a half feet ; which was about five feet above its 
highest level in ordinary years and exceeded the great rise 
of 1 83 1, when the river broke down the walls and destroyed 
no less than seven thousand dwellings in a single night, at 
a time when the plague was committing the most fearful 
ravages among the inhabitants. A few days before the 
arrival of the English party, the Turkish pasha of Baghdad 
had summoned the whole population, as one man, to guard 
against the general danger by raising a strong high mound 
completely round the wails. Mats of reeds were placed 
outside to bind the earth compactly together. The water 
was thus prevented from devastating the interior of the city, 
though it filtered through the fine alluvial soil and stood 
several feet deep in the cellars. Outside the city it reached 
to within two feet of the top of the bank. On the side of 

formed by a landslip in the mountains. 
He writes : "In the Himalayas there 
is often a mountain slide which blocks 
ap a river for some time and forms a 
lake till this temporary dam suddenly 
gives way and the pent-up waters rush 
down and cause a tlood in the plains 
below. I have known the Indus rise 
40 feet near Gilgit, at the back of 
Kashmir, through one of its tributaries 
ha\-ing been blocked in this way, and 

then the plains of the Punjab were 
flooded. I thought a big mountain 
slip of this kind in the Armenian ranges 
might have caused the Flood, and the 
bursting of the dam might have coin- 
cided with heavy rains." His letter is 
dated Mill Cottage,' Wimbledon Com- 
mon, S.W., January 7th, 1917. 

^ Alx)ve, p. 139, and below, pp. 
357 ^q- 


the river the houses alone, many of them very old and frail, 
prevented the ingress of the flood. It was a critical juncture. 
Men were stationed night and day to watch the barriers. 
If the dam or any of the foundations had failed, Baghdad 
must have been bodily washed away. Happily the pressure 
was withstood, and the inundation gradually subsided. The 
country on all sides for miles was under water, so that there 
was no possibility of proceeding beyond the dyke, except in 
the boats which were established as ferries to keep up com- 
munication across the flood. The city was for a time an 
island in a vast inland sea, and it was a full month before 
the inhabitants could ride beyond the walls. As the summer 
advanced, the evaporation from the stagnant water caused 
malaria to such an extent that, out of a population of 
seventy thousand, no less than twelve thousand died of 

If the floods caused by the melting of the snow in the similar 
Armenian mountains can thus endanger the cities in the river pro^biy ''^ 
valley down to modern times, it is reasonable to suppose occurred in 
that they did so in antiquity also, and that the Babylonian ^^^^'^""^ 
tradition of the destruction of the city of Shurippak in such 
an inundation may be well founded. It is true that the city 
appears to have ultimately perished by fire rather than by 
water ; ^ but this is quite consistent with the supposition that 
at some earlier time it had been destroyed by a flood and 
afterwards rebuilt. 

However, the theory which would explain the Baby- Yet Egypt. 
Ionian and Hebrew tradition of a great flood by the inunda- ^mTiariv 
tions to which the country is annually exposed, may be flooded 
combated by an argument drawn from the analogy of Egypt, hll^'^no*^ 
For Egypt from tiine immemorial has been similarly subject tradition of 
to yearly inundations ; yet it has never, so far as we know, flood. 
either evolved a flood legend of its own or accepted the 
flood legend of its great Oriental rival. If annual floods 
sufliced to produce the legend in Babylonia, why, it may 
be asked, did not the same cause produce the same effect 
in Egypt? 

To meet this difficulty a different explanation of the 

1 W. K. Loftus, Travels and Re- (London, iS57)» pp. 7 sq, 
searches in ChaUaea ana Susiatta ^ Above, p. 125. 

356 THE GREA T FLOOD part i 

Suess's Babylonian story has been put forward in recent years by 
*h*^A ^^ eminent geologist, Professor Eduard Suess of Vienna. 
Babylonian Regarding the regular annual changes in the basin of the 
ca^;^©! Euphrates as insufficient to account for the legend, he has 
aggravated recourse to irregular or catastrophic causes. He points out 
SrUKiuake ^^^^ " there are other peculiarities of the Euphrates valley 
and a which may occasionally tend to exacerbate the evils attendant 
lyp oon. ^^ ^j^^ inundations. It is very subject to seismic disturb- 
ances ; and the ordinary consequences of a sharp earthquake 
shock might be seriously complicated by its effect on a broad 
sheet of water. Moreover the Indian Ocean lies within the 
region of typhoons ; and if, at the height of an inundation, 
a hurricane from the south-east swept up the Persian Gulf, 
driving its shallow waters upon the delta and damming back 
the outflow, perhaps for hundreds of miles up-stream, a 
diluvial catastrophe, fairly up to the mark of Hasisadra's, 
might easily result." ^ 
In support Thus Professor Suess would supplement and reinforce 

thcor* he ^^^ Comparatively slow and gentle pressure of rain by the 
appeals to sudden and violent shock of an earthquake and the bursting 
iraduroo^^ of a typhoon ; and in support of these two catastrophic 
causes he appeals to two features in the Hebrew version of 
the flood story ; or rather to one feature which actually occurs 
in that version, and to another which he would import into 
it by altering the text so as to suit his hypothesis. We 
will consider each of his arguments separately. 
He First, in regard to the earthquake, Professor Suess points 

thai^n^ out that in the Hebrew narrative one cause alleged for the 
earthquake deluge is the breaking out of subterranean waters.^ " This 
lerralean rising of great quantities of water from the deep," he says, 
water to ** (s a phenomenon which is a characteristic accompaniment 
of earthquakes in the alluvial districts of great rivers. The 
subterranean water is contained in the recent deposits of the 
great plains on both sides of the stream, and its upper limit 
rises to right and left above the mean level of the river, its 
elevation increasing in proportion to the distance from the 

* T. H. Huxley, *' Hasisadra's length in his work, The Face of the 
Adventure," Collected Essays j iv. 246 Earthy vol. i. (Oxford, 1 904) pp. 
sq. Thus clearly and concisely does 17-72. 
Huxley sum u|> the theory which Pro- 
fessor E. Suess expounds at great ^ Genesis vii. 11, viii. 2. 


river. What lies beneath this h'mit is saturated and mobile ; 
the ground above it is dry and friable. When seismic 
oscillations occur in a district of this kind the brittle upper 
layer of the ground splits open in long clefts, and from these 
fissures the underground water, either clear or as a muddy 
mass, is violently ejected, sometimes in great volumes, some- 
times .in isolated jets several yards high."^ For example, instances 
the young alluvial land about the Danube in Wallachia was outbursts 
rent by an earthquake in 1838, and from the fissures wkter of sub- 
spouted out in many places fathoms high. The same thing ^ater 
happened when the alluvial plain of the Mississippi, a little during 
below the confluence of the Ohio, was convulsed by an earth- quakes, 
quake in January 1 8 1 2 : the water that had filled the sub- 
terranean cavities forced a passage for itself and blew up the 
earth with loud explosions, throwing up an enormous quan- 
tity of carbonized )vood in jets from ten to fifteen feet high, 
while at the same time the surface of the ground sank, and 
a black liquid rose as high as a horse's belly. Again, in 
January 1862 a violent shock of earthquake affected the 
whole region south of Lake Baikal, and in particular the 
delta of the river Selenga which flows into the lake. In 
the town of Kudara the wooden lids of the fountains were 
shot into the air like corks from champagne bottles, and 
springs of tepid water rose in places to a height of more 
than twenty feet. So terrified were the Mongols that 
they caused the Lamas to perform ceremonies to appease 
the evil spirits which, as they imagined, were shaking the 

On this it is to be observed that the reference to sub- But the 
terranean waters as one cause of the deluge occurs only in losub- 
the Hebrew version of the legend, and even there it is found terranean 
only in the later Priestly narrative : it does not occur in the the Hebrew 
earlier Jehovistic narrative, nor in the still earlier Babylonian tradition 

•^ ' ^ seems to be 

version, nor, finally, is it found in the original Sumerian a late 

^ E. Suess, The Face of the Earthy translates ** the Anunnaki caused floods 

i. 31. to rise," supposing the Anunnaki to be 

* E. Suess, The Face of the Earthy "the spirits of the deep, of the great 

i. 3 1 sq, subterranean waters " ( The Face of the 

' Professor Suess, indeed, discovers Earthy i. 31). But the better transla- 

a reference to subterranean waters in a tion of that passage seems to be **the 

passage of the Babylonian legend which, Anunnaki lifted up flaming torches" 

following Professor Paul llaupi, he (so P. Jensen, A. Jeremias, L. W. 




that the 
flood was 
caused by 
a typhoon 
rests on an 

legend from which both the Babylonian and the Hebrew 
stories arc derived. Accordingly it may be dismissed as a 
late addition to the legend on which it would be unsafe to 
build any hypothesis. 

So much • for the earthquake ; next for the typhoon, 
which Professor Suess would also extract from the Biblical 
narrative. He supposes that while the valley of the Euphrates 
was still rocking under an earthquake, a great sea-wave, 
driven by a hurricane up the Persian Gulf, suddenly swept 
aUcraiionof over the land, completing the destruction of the doomed 
the Hebrew cities and thcir miserable inhabitants. This tremendous 

text which 

is not effect he produces very simply by altering the vowel-points 
accepted by Qf ^^g Hebrew text in two passages so as to read "the 
scholars, flood from the sea " instead of " the flood of waters." ^ The 
textual change, it is true, is very slight, for it extends only to 
the vowel-points and leaves the consonants unaffected. But 
though the vowel-points form no part of the original text 
of the Scriptures, having been introduced into it not 
earlier than the sixth century of our era, they are not 
to be lightly altered, since they represent the traditional 
pronunciation of the sacred words, as it had been* handed 
down with scrupulous care, generation after generation, by a 
guild of technically trained scholars, the Massorets, as they 
were called, who " devoted themselves to preserving not only 
the exact writing of the received consonantal text, but the 
exact pronunciation and even the musical cadence proper to 
every word of the sacred text, according to the rules of the 
synagogal chanting." ^ Hence the proposed emendation in 
the two verses of Genesis has been rightly rejected by the 

King, W. Muss-Arnolt, M. Jastrow, P. 
Dhorme, A. Ungnad, K. W. Rogers). 
Sec above, p. 1 1 5. Hence the reference 
must be to some phenomena not of water 
but of light, perhaps to dashes of light- 
ning, as Jensen and Dhorme suggest. 
See P. Jensen, Assyrisch-Bahylonische 
Alythen und Epeiiy p. 580 ; P. Dhorme, 
Choix de Textcs Reli^ieux Assyro- 
Bahyloniensy p. no. 

' Genesis vi. 17 and vii. 6, reading 
D»D for D*c [fuiyam for tnayini). 

2 W. Robertson Smith, 7 he Old 

Test anient in the Jewish Church, Second 
Edition (London and Edinbuigh, 1892), 
p. 58. As to the Massorets and their 
work, see W. R. Smith, op. cit. pp. 
58-60. On the other hand Renan, 
while he agreed as to the date of the 
introduction of the vowel-points, in- 
clined to attribute their invention, not 
to the Massorets, but to a class of 
doctors called Saboreans, who resided 
in Babylonia rather than in Palestine. 
See E. Renan, Histoire GifUrale des 
/.amours S^tint{ques\ Premiere Partie* 
(Paris, 1878), pp. \^0 sq. 


best recent scholars,^ and with it the appeal to the Hebrew 
text for evidence of the marine origin of the great flood must 
be dismissed as unfounded. 

It does not of course follow that Professor Suess's theory it seems 
is false because the arguments by which he supports it are piol^bie 
feeble. Fortunately for the world many a sound conclusion that the 
is reached from inadequate or even totally irrelevant pre- flood waT" 
mises, otherwise it is to be feared that for most men the caused by 
chances of ever arriving at the truth would be infinitesimal, than by 
If the Biblical narrative rests, as seems probable, on a basis irregular 
of fact, it is quite possible that the great flood which it trophic 
describes may actually have been produced by an earthquake ^^^ 
or a typhoon, or by both combined. But the theory that 
it was so produced derives extremely little support from the 
only authorities open to us, the Hebrew, Babylonian, and 
Sumerian traditions ; hence it hardly amounts to more than 
a plausible conjecture. On a simple calculation of chances^ 
it seems likely that the catastrophe was brought about 
by forces which are known to act regularly every year on 
the Euphrates valley, and to be quite capable of producing 
widespread inundations, rather than by assumed forces which, 
though certainly capable of causing disastrous floods, are not 
historically known to have ever done so in that region ; for, 
apart from the supposed references in Semitic tradition, I 
am aware of no record of a Babylonian deluge caused either 
by an earthquake-wave or by a typhoon. 

On the whole, then, there seems to be good reason for Many 
thinking that some and probably many diluvial traditions fradlt^^n 
are merely exaggerated reports of floods which actually are 
occurred, whether as the result of heavy rain, earthquake- exa^er^ 
waves, or other causes. All such traditions, therefore, are atedrepons 
partly legendary and partly mythical: so far as they pre- flo^S;but 
serve reminiscences of floods which really happened, they are others seem 
legendary ; €0 far as they describe universal deluges which mythical. 
never happened, they are mythical. But in our survey of 
diluvial traditions we found some stories which appear to be 

* A. Dillmann, H. Giinkel, and J. the Hebrew text {Hiblia Hebraica^ 

Skinner, in their commentaries, ex- Part i., Leipsic, 1905, p. 8) R. Kittel 

plicitly ; S. R. Driver, W. H. Bennett, cuts the knot by rejecting the words 

and H. E. Ryle, in their commentaries, d;d as a gloss, thus eradicating the kst 

implicitly. In his critical edition of trace of an argument for a typhoon 

36o . THE GREAT FLOOD parti 

purely mythical, that is, to describe inundations which never 
took place. Such, for example, are the Samothracian and 
Thessalian stories of great floods which the Greeks associated 
with the names of Dardanus and Deucalion. The Samo- 
thracian story is probably nothing but a false inference from 
the physical geography of the Black Sea and its outlets, the 
Bosphorus and Dardanelles : the Thessalian story is probably 
nothing but a false inference from the physical geography of 
the mountain-ringed Thessalian basin and its outlet, the gorge 
of Tempe.^ In like manner the stories which describe the 
miraculous desiccation of the upland valleys of Cashmeer and 
Bogota are probably nothing but false inferences from the 
natural configuration of these mountain-girt basins.^ Such 
stories, therefore, are not legendary but purely mythical : 
they describe catastrophes which never occurred. They are 
examples of that class of mythical tales which, with Sir 
Edward Tylor, we may call myths of observation, since they 
are suggested by a true observation of nature, but err in their 
interpretation of iL^ 
Among the Another set of diluvial traditions, of which we have found 
sioriw of examples, also falls into the class of myths of observation, 
floods may These are the stories of a great flood which rest on the 
those which observation of marine fossils found on mountains or in other 
originate placcs remote from the sea. Such tales, as we saw, are told 
observation ^Y the Mongolians, the Barc'e-speaking people of Celebes, 
of marine the Tahitians, and the Eskimo and Grcenlanders.* Beine 

fossils in , , , ^ , .11 r % 

inland based on the false assumption that the sea must formerly 
regions. have riscn above the heights where the fossils are now found, 

they arc mistaken inferences, or myths of observation ; 

whereas if they had assumed the former depression of these 

heights under the level of the sea, they would have been 

true inferences, or anticipations of science. 
No reason Thus, while there is reason to believe that many diluvial 

tha\^any traditions dispersed throughout the world are kased on re- 
diluvial minisccnccs of catastrophes which actually occurred, there 
oWer'thaiT ^^ "^ good giound for holding that any such traditions are 
a few older than a few thousand years at most ; wherever they 


years. ' Sec above, pp. 167 sqq.^ 171 sqq. into the Early History of Mankind^ 

« See atK,ve. pp. 205 sqq.. 268. ™''f '■^""''" (London, 187S). p,x 

8 (Sir) Pxlward 15. Tylor, Researches * Above, pp. 217, 222, 245, 327 sq. 


appear to describe vast changes in the physical configuration 
of the globe, which must be referred to more or less remote 
epochs of geologic time, they probably embody, not the 
record of contemporary witnesses, but the speculation of 
much later thinkers. Compared with the great natural 
features of our planet,- man is but a thing of yesterday, and 
his memory a dream of the night 



Theauthors AMONG the problems which beset any inquiry into the early 
sa^nothTn ^Istory of mankind the question of the origin of language is 
as to the at the same time one of the most fascinating and one of the 
laii^uage, ™ost difficult. The writers whose crude speculations on 
but they human origins are embodied in the early chapters of Genesis 
explain the h^ve given US no hint as to the mode in which they sup- 
diversity of posed man to have acquired the most important of all the 
endowments which mark him off from the beasts — the grift 
of articulate speech. On the contrary they seem to have 
assumed that this priceless faculty was possessed by him 
from the beginning, nay that it was shared with him by the 
animals, if we may judge by the example of the talking 
serpent in Eden. However, the diversity of languages 
spoken by the various races of men naturally attracted the 
attention of the ancient Hebrews, and they explained it by 
the following tale. 
Thestor}'of In the early days of the world all mankind spoke the 
oniabei*^'^ same language. Journeying from the east ^ as nomads in one 
and the huge caravan, they came to the great plains of Shinar or 
of toliTgues. Babylonia, and there they settled. They built their houses 
of bricks, bound together with a mortar of slime, because 
stone is rare in the alluvial soil of these vast swampy flats. 
But not content with building themselves a city, they pro- 
posed to construct out of the same materials a tower so high 
that its top should reach to heaven ; this they did in order 
to make a name for themselves, and also to prevent the 

* Genesis XI. 2, D"i|5D, literally, "from east." But see Principal J. Skinner, 
the east." The words are sometimes Commentary on Genesis, p. 225. 
translated "eastward" or '* in the 



citizens from being scattered over the face of the whole 
earth. For when any had wandered from the city and lost 
his way on the boundless plain, he would look back west- 
ward and see afar off the outline of the tall tower standing 
up dark against the bright evening sky, or he would look 
eastward and behold the top of the tower lit up by the last 
rays of the setting sun. So he would find his bearings, and 
guided by the landmark would retrace his steps homeward. 
Their scheme was good, but they failed to reckon with the 
jealousy and power of the Almighty. For while they were 
building away with all their might and main, God came 
down from heaven to see the city and the tower which 
men were raising so fast. The sight displeased him, for he 
said, " Behold, they are one people, and they have all one 
language ; and this is what they begin to do : and now 
nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose 
to do." Apparently he feared that when the tower reached 
the sky, men would swarm up it and beard him in his den, 
a thing not to be thought of So he resolved to nip the 
great project in the bud. " Go to," said he to himself, or to 
his heavenly counsellors, ** let us go down, and there confound 
their language, that they may not understand one another's 
speech." Down he went accordingly afid confounded their 
language and scattered them over the face of all the earth. 
Therefore they left off to build the city and the tower ; and 
the name of the place was called Babel, that is. Confusion, 
because God did there confound the language of all the 



* Genesis xi. 1-9. Compare Jose- by B. Stade that in the original narra- 
phus, Antiquit. Jud. i. 4. 3. 6 hk rdirof tive the deity, or his messenger, first 
iv t^ Th¥jr{)prfOv^KolhyLii\(r^¥,v\)v'^a^v\ic¥ went down to earth and after inspect- 
xaXecrou did r^¥ tr<rf)i\}<Tiv toO irepi ttjv ing the cily and tower returned to 
iuiXerroj' Tpwroi' e»'ap7ou$. 'E/3patoi 7i/> heaven and reported what he had seen 
r^ <rirfxwii¥ Ba/3A iraXoOtrii'. In this ^q the celestial council. The council 
passage the awkward and scarcely then deliberated on his report, and, 
grammatical words toO repl r^v the case being deemed serious, the 
dcdXe/croy wpCrro¥ ivapryovs have the deity as chairman moved that they 
api^earance of a gloss added by a should go down in a body and con- 
scribe to define rT]¥ crvyxvfft'V. The found the language of men. The 
plural verbs in Genesis xi. 7 (" Let us resolution was carried unanimously 
go down and confound " nSa:? ni-u) and executed on the spot. On this 
surest that God was conceived to be theory, the polytheistic colouring of 
not alone but surrounded by inferior the story in its original form was toned 
gods or angels. It has been argued down by the Hebrew narrator, who 




legends as 
to the 
Tower of 

On the plain stuff of. this narrative later Jewish tradi- 
tion has embroidered a rich band of picturesque details. 
From them we learn that the enterprise of the tower 
was flat rebellion against God, though the rebels were not 
at one in their aims. Some wished to scale heaven and 
there wage war with the Almighty in person, or set up 
their idols to be worshipped in his stead ; others limited 
their ambition to the more modest scheme of damaging the 
celestial vault by showers of spears and arrows. Many, 
many years was the tower in building. It reached so high 
that at last a bricklayer took a whole year to ascend to the 
top with his hod on his back. If he fell down and broke 
his neck, nobody minded for the man, but everybody wept 
for the brick, because it would take a whole year to replace 
it on the top of the tower. So eagerly did they work, that 
a woman would not interrupt her task of brickmaking even 
to give birth to a child ; she would merely tie the baby in 
a sheet round her body and go on moulding bricks as if 
nothing had happened. Day and night the work never 
slackened ; and from their dizzy height they shot heaven- 
ward arrows, which returned to them dabbled with blood ; 
so they cried, " VVe have slain all who are in heaven." At 
last the long-suffering deity lost patience, and turning to the 
seventy angels who encompass his throne, he proposed that 
they should all go down and confound the language of men. 
No sooner said than done. The misunderstandings which 
consequently arose were frequent and painful. One man,* 
for example, would ask for mortar, and the other would hand 
*him a brick, whereupon the first, in a rage, would hurl the 
brick at his mate*s head and kill him. Many perished in 
this manner, and the rest were punished by God according 
to the acts of rebellion which they had meditated. As for 
the unfinished tower, a part of it sank into the earth, and 
another part was consumed by fire ; only one-third of it 
remained standing. The place of the tower has never lost 
its peculiar quality. Whoever passes it forgets all he knows.^ 

struck out the express mention of the 
council of gods or angels, though he 
inadvertently left a trace of them in 
the plural verbs ol verse 7. See V>. 
Static, '* Der Thurm ru Bahel," Zcit- 

schrift fiir die alttestamentliche fVisseri- 
sr/iajy, XV. (1895) pp. 157 sg^. 

* Louis Ginzberg, TAc' Legends of 
the Jeivs^ i. (Philadelphia, 1909) pp. 
179 sq. 




The scene oT the legend was laid at Babylon, for Babel is The Tower 
only the Hebrew form of the name of the city. The popular pj^^^y ^ 
derivation from a Hebrew verb balal (Aramaic balbel) " to reminis- 
confuse" is erroneous; the true meaning, as shown by the form ^e^f^ihe 
in which the name is written in inscriptions, seems to be " Gate tempie- 
of God " {Bdb'il or Bab-iiu)} The commentators are prob- Babylonia. 
ably right in tracing the origin of the story to the deep 
impression produced by the great city on the simple minds 
of Semitic nomads, who, fresh from the solitude and silence 
of the desert, were bewildered by the hubbub of the streets 
and bazaars, dazzled by the shifting kaleidoscope of colour 
in the bustling crowd, stunned by the din of voices 
jabbering in strange unknown tongues, and overawed by 
the height of the buildings, above all by the prodigious 
altitude of the temples towering up, terrace upon terrace, 
till their glistering tops of enamelled brick seemed to touch 
the blue sky. No wonder that dwellers in tents should 
imagine, that they who scaled the pinnacle of such a 
stupendous pile by the long winding ramp, and appeared at 
last like moving specks on the summit, must indeed be near 
the gods.^ 

Of two such gigantic temples the huge mouldering Two such 
remains are to be seen at Babylon to this day, and it is ^^^^ 

^ ' ' lowers at 

probable that to one or other of them the legend of the a-ibyion. 
Tower of Babel was attached. One of them rises among 
the ruins of Babylon itself, and still bears the name of 
Babil ; the other is situated across the river at Borsippa, 
some eight or nine miles away to the south-west, and is 

* E. Schrader, The Cuneiform In- 
scriptions and the Old Testament 
(London and Edinburgh, 1885-1888), 
i. 112 sqq. ; S. R. Driver, 7'he Book 
of Genesis^ Tenth Edition, p. 136, 
on Genesis xi. 9 ; J. Skinner, Commen- 
tary on Genesis y pp. 2io, 227, on 
(Jencsis x. 10, xi. 9; II. E. Ryle, 
The Book of Genesis^ p. 148, on Genesis, 
xi. 9 ; Fr. Brown, S. R. Driver, and 
Ch. Briggs, Hebrew aud Ens^lish Lexicon 
(Oxford, 1906), p. 93. 

^ These temples were built in solid 
quadrangular blocks of bricks, one on 
the top of the other, each block smaller 

than the one below it, so as to present 
the appearance of a gigantic staircase 
on all four sides. A ramp wound 
round the whole building, leading up 
to the comparatively small flat summit, 
on which stood the shrine of the god. 
The native Babylonian name for such 
a structure was zikkurat or ziggurat. 
See G. Perrot et Ch. Chipiez, Ilisioire 
de l^Art dans V Autiquitt*^ ii. (Pnris, 
1884) pp. 379 sqq. ; M. Jastrow, The 
Religion 0/ Babylonia and Assyria 
(Boston, 1808), pp. 613 sqq. ; (Sir) 
Gaston Maspero, Ilisioire Ancienne 
des peuples de V Orient C las si que, Les 
Origines (Paris, 1895), pp. 627 sqq. 

366 THE TOWER OF BABEL part i 

known as Birs-Nimrud. The ancient name 6f the temple in 
the city of Babylon was E-sagil : it was dedicated to Marduk. 
The ancient name of the temple at Borsippa was E-zida : it 
was dedicated to Nebo. Scholars are not agreed as to which 
of these ancient edifices was the original Tqwer of Babel ; 
local and Jewish tradition identifies the legendary tower with 
the ruins of Birs-Nimrud at Borsippa.^ 
Thcmound The mound of Babil, once the temple of the chief Baby- 
formeriy Ionian god Bel or Marduk, is now merely an oblong mass 
the temple composed chiefly of unbaked brick, measuring about two 
Marduk. hundred yards in length on the longer northern and southern 
faces, and rising to a height of at least one hundred and ten 
feet above the plain. The top is broad and flat, but uneven 
and broken with heaps of rubbish. While the solid core of 
the structure was built of crude or sun-dried bricks, its outer 
faces were apparently coated with walls of burnt bricks, some 
of which, inscribed with the name of King Nebuchadnezzar, 
have been found on the spot.^ From Herodotus we learn 
that the temple rose in a series of eight terraces or solid 
towers, one on the top of the other, with a ramp winding up 
on the outside, but broken about half-way up by a landing- 
place, where there were seats for the rest and refreshment of 
persons ascending to the summit.' In the ancient Sumerian 

^ George Rawlinson, The History of Diodorus Siculus ii. 9 ; Strabo xvi. i. 5. 

Herodotus^ Fourth Edition (London, p. 738, ed. Casaubon. Hcrodotus's 

1880), ii. 573 sqq, ; E. Schrader, description of the temple-tower, rising 

C unci form Inscriptions and the Old in terraces, one above the other, is 

Testament ^ i. 106 sqq. ; Principal J. confirmed by a boundary-stone of the 

Skinner, Commentary on Genesis^ pp. time of Merodach-baladan I., on which 

228 sq. ; H. Gunkel, Genesis iibersetzt is figured just such a temple -tower, 

und erkldrt^ (Gottingen, 19 10), pp. built in stories, or stepped stages, set 

96 sq. one upon the other, with the emblem 

« ^ T> 1- TL ir- s ^ of Nabu at the foot of the tower. See 

2 George Rawhnson, The Ilistofy of 1 wr v zr- . x d 1. t 

IT J 4 ^ »u vfX'.' /T 1 L. W. Kmg, History of Babylon 

Herodotus^ Fourth Edition (London, ,^ , ***, -^ o 't^u 

,880). ii. 576 sq. ; G. Perrot et Ch <^"''°"' '^'f' PP-„ ^8 sq The 

i-ii-- • IT' 4 ' J iy « 4 J n A .,- German excavator of Babylon, Mr. R. 

Chipiez, Htstotre de I Art dans I Antt- t..- t . u ^ .i_ -j e 

.' .. Koldewey, would set the evidence of 

y » • ijy 9' Herodotus and of the monuments at 
5 Herodotus i. i8l. As to the defiance by reconstructing the temple 
remains of the temple, see R. Kolde- on a single stage {op. cit, pp. 194 sq, 
wey, The Excavations at Babylon^ with Fig. 1 19), but his view is rightly 
translated by Agnes vS. Johns (London, set aside by Mr. L. W. King, who 
19 14), pp. 183 sqq. ; L. W. King, observes that "there is no reason to 
History of Babylon (London, 19 15), reject the interpretation that has so 
pp. 73 sqq. By the l^eginning of our long been accepted of the famous de- 
era the building seems to have been scription of the lower that is given by 
almost as ruinous as it is now. See Herodotus" {op. cit. p. 81). 


language the temple was called E-temen-an-ki or "The 
House of the Foundation of Heaven and Earth." ^ Towards 
the end of the seventh century before our era the temple had 
fallen into disrepair, if not into ruins, but it was then restored 
by King Nabopolassar, who reigned 625—604 B.C. In an 
inscription, which has been preserved, the king describes 
himself as " the restorer of Esagila and Ezida," and records 
the restoration of Esagila or Etemenanki as follows : — 

" As for Etemenanki, the temple-tower of Babylon, which inscription 
before my time had become weakened and had fallen in, ^la^, 
Marduk the lord commanded me to lay its foundation in King of 
the heart of the earth (and) to raise its turrets to heaven, recording 
Baskets, spades (?), and U.RU. I made out of ivory, ushu '^^ 
and mismakanna wood ; I caused the numerous workmen of Ete- 
assembled in my land to carry them. I set to work (?) ; I ">enanki, 

^ ^ ^ ^ * the temple- 

made bricks, I manufactured burnt bricks. Like the down- tower of 

pour of heaven, which cannot be measured, like the massive ^^y'°°- 
flood, I caused the Arahtu to carry bitumen and pitch. 
With the co-operation of Ea, with the insight of Marduk^ 
with the wisdom of Nabu and Nisaba, in the broad under- 
standing with which, the god, my creator, had endowed me, 
with my great ingenuity (?), I came to a decision ; I gave 
orders to the skilled workmen. With a nipidanaku measure 
I measured the measurements of the aba ash-lam (?). The 
architects at first made a survey of the ground plot (?). 
Afterwards I consulted Shamash, Ramman, and Marduk ; to 
my heart they gave decision, they sanctioned the measure- 
ments, the great gods by decree indicated the later stages of 
the work. By means of exorcism, in the wisdom of Ea and 
Marduk, I cleared away that place, (and) on the original site 
I laid its platform -foundation ; gold, silver, stones from 
mountain and sea in its foundation I set * * * goodly oil, 
sweet-smelling herbs, and * * * I placed underneath the 
bricks. An image of my royalty carrying a dupshikku I 
constructed ; in the platform-foundation I placed it. Unto 
Marduk, my lord, I bowed my neck ; I arrayed myself in 
my gown, the robe of my royalty. Bricks and mortar I 

1 R. F. Harper, Assyrian ami Commentary on Genesis^*^, 228; H. 
Babylonian Literature (New York, GMXiVely Genesis iibersetzt und erk/arif 
1901), p. 137 ; Principal J. Skinner, p. 97. 




tions of 
King of 

of the 
tower of 

carried on my head, a dupshikku of gold and silver I wore ; 
and Nebuchadrezzar, the first-born, the chief son, beloved of 
my heart, I caused to carry mortar mixed with wine, oil, and 
(other) products along with my workmen. Nabushumlisher, 
his twin brother, the offspring of my own flesh, the junior, 
my darling, I ordered to take a basket and spade (?) ; a 
dupshikku of gold and silver I placed (on him). Unto 
Marduk, my lord, as a gift, I dedicated him. I built the 
temple in front of Esharra with joy and rejoicing, and like 
a mountain I raised its tower aloft; to Marduk, my lord, 
as in days of old, I dedicated it for a sight to be gazed at 

" O Marduk, my lord, look with favour upon my goodly 
deeds ! At thy exalted command, which cannot be altered, 
let the performance of my hands endure for ever ! Like the 
bricks of Etemenanki, which are to remain firm for ever, do 
thou establish the foundation of my throne for all time ! 
O Etemenanki, grant blessing to the king who has restored 
thee ! When Marduk with joy takes up his abode in 
thee, O temple, recall to Marduk, my lord, my gracious 
deeds ! " ^ 

Again, the temple was further repaired and adorned by 
Nabopolassar's son and successor, Nebuchadrezzar the Second, 
the Nebuchadnezzar of the Bible. To these restorations the 
great king repeatedly refers in his inscriptions. Thus he 
says : — 

"The temples of Babylon I rebuilt and restored. As 
for E-temen-an-ki (house of the foundation of heaven and 
earth) with burnt brick and bright «j^«-stone I raised oii 
high its turrets. To the rebuilding of Esagila my heart 
incited me ; I held it constantly in mind. I selected the 
best of my cedar trees, which 1 had brought from Mount 
Lebanon, the snow-capped forest, for the roofing of E-kua, 
the shrine of his lordship, and I decorated with brilliant gold 
the inner sides of the mighty cedar trunks, used in the roof- 
ing of E-kua. I adorned the under side of the roof of cedar 
with gold and precious stones. Concerning the rebuilding 
of Esagila I prayed every morning to the king of the gods, 

' R. F. Harper, Assyrian and 
Babylonian Literature (New York, 
J 901), pp. 131 - 133, Compare 

Keilinschriftliche Bibliothck^ heraus- 
gegeben von Eberhard Sclirader, vol. 
iii. 2. Ilalfte (Berlin, 1890), pp. zsqq. 


the lord of lords." ^ Again, in another Babylonian inscrip- 
tion King Nebuchadrezzar II. says : "In Esagila, the 
majestic shrine, the temple of heaven and earth, the dwelling- ^ 
place of royalty, I decorated with shining gold E-kua, the 
shrine of the lord of the gods, Marduk, Bab-Hili-shud, the 
home of ^arpanit, (and) Ezida in Esagila, the shrine called 
* the king of the gods of heaven and earth,' and I made 
(them) to shine like the day. E-temen-an-ki, the temple- 
tower of Babylon, I made anew."^ Again, in another 
inscription the king declares : " Esagila, the temple of heaven 
and earth, the dwelling-place of the lord of the gods Marduk, 
.and E-kua, his shrine, I adorned with shining gold like a 
wall. Ezida ' I built anew, and with silver, gold, precious 
stones, bronze, palm-wood, cedar-wood I completed its con- 
struction. E-temen-an-ki, the temple-tower of Babylon, I 
built and completed, and with burnt brick and shining ugnu- 
stone I raised on high its turrets." ' 

The huge pyramidal mound, to which the Arabs give Themouud 
the name of Birs-Nimrud, is a solitary pile rising abruptly ^jj^^^^j 
from the vast expanse of the desert some eight or nine miles near 
from the ruins of Babylon. Roughly speaking, the mound ^th^the' 
forms a rectangular oblong, measuring about six hundred minsofa 
and fifty feet on the long sides and four hundred feet on the low^r*^ 
short sides. The height of its summit above the plain is dedicated 
about one hundred and fifty-three feet. To the ordinary 
observer at the present time it presents the appearance rather 
of a natural hill crowned by a ruin than of a structure 
reared by the hand of man. Yet there appears to be no 
doubt that the great mound is wholly artificial, being built 
entirely of bricks, which have to some extent solidified into 
a single mass. Thirty-seven feet of solid brickwork, looking 
like a tower, stand exposed at the top, while below this 
the original building is almost hidden under the masses of 
rubbish which have crumbled down from the upper portion. 

* R. F. Harper, AssyHan and tlarpcr, Assj^tan and Babylonian 

Babylonian Literature^ •^, 137. Com- Literature^ p. 144. 
pare Keilinschriflliche Bibliothek^ her- 

auspegeben von E. Schrader, iii. * Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek^ her- 

2. Halftc (Berlin, 1890), pp. 14 sqq. ausjjegcben von E. Schrader, iii. 

2 Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek^ her- 2. Halftc (Berlin, 1890), p. 53 ; K. E. 

ausgcgeben von E. Schrader, iii. Harper, Assyrian and Babylonian 

2. Halfte (Berlin, 1890), p. 47 ; K. F. Literature^ p. 151. 

VOL. I 2 B 

370 THE TOWER OF BABEL part i 

The whole structure, however, is deeply channelled by ex- 
posure to the rain, and in places the original brickwork is 
sufficiently exposed to reveal the true character and plan of 
the edifice. From the researches carried on by Sir Henry 
Rawlinson in the year 1854 it appears that the temple, like 
that of Bel or Marduk in Babylon, was built in a series of 
receding stages, seven in number, which rose one above the 
other in a sort of oblique pyramid to a height of about one 
hundred and fifty-six feet above the plain. The grand 
entrance was on the north-east, where stood the vestibule, a 
separate building, of which the remains prolong the mound 
very considerably in this direction. Such are the moulder- 
ing ruins of E-zida, the great temple of Nebo (Nabu), whose 
shrine probably occupied the summit of the pyramidal or 
tower-like structure. In its present form the edifice is chiefly 
the work of King Nebuchadnezzar (Nebuchadrezzar the 
Second), whose name appears exclusively on the bricks com- 
posing it, and on the cylinders deposited at its angles.^ The 
modern name of Birs-Nimrud preserves in a slightly altered 
form the first syllable of Borsippa, the ancient name of the 
city which stood here.^ 
Inscription On two of the Cylinders found by Sir Henry Rawlinson 

Nebuchad ^^ ^^ angles of the temple is engraved an inscription, in 
nezzar. which King Nebuchadnezzar (Nebuchadrezzar H.) records 
Babylon ^^^ restoration of the edifice, which had fallen into ruins 
recording before his time. The inscription runs thus : — 


restoration " Behold now the building named * the Stages of the 

of the Seven Spheres,* which was the wonder of Borsippa, had been 

tower at built by a former king. He had completed forty-two avimas 

Pt*."' . (of the height), but he did not finish its head. From the"* 

lapse of time it had become ruined ; they had not taken care 

of the exits of the waters, so the rain and wet had penetrated 

into the brickwork : the casing of burnt bricks had bulged 

out, and the terraces of crude brick lay scattered in heaps ; 

(then) Merodach, my great lord, inclined my heart to repair 

the building. I did not change its site, nor did I destroy its 

foundation platform ; but in a fortunate month, and on an 

* George Rawlinson, The History ^ II. V. Ililprecht, Explorations in 

^//(?rfi</^///5-. Fourth Kdition (London, Bible Lands during the Nineteenth 
18S0), ii. 581-5S6. Century (Edinburgh, 1903), p. 43. 


auspicious day, I undertook the' rebuilding of the crude-brick 
terraces, and the burnt -brick casing (of the temple). I 
strengthened its foundation, and I placed a titular record in 
the part that I had rebuilt. I set my hand to build it up 
and to finish its summit. As it had been in ancient times, 
so I built up its structure ; as it had been in former days, 
thus I exalted its head. Nebo, the strengthener of his 
children, he who ministers to the gods (?), and Merodach, the 
supporter of sovereignty, may they cause my work to be 
established for ever ! May it last through the seven ages 1 
May the stability of my throne and the antiquity of my 
empire, secure against strangers and triumphant over many 
foes, continue to the end of time 1 " ^ 

From this record we learn that the ancient Babylonian 
king, who began to build the great temple-tower at Borsippa, 
had left it incomplete, wanting its top. It may have been the 
sight of the huge edifice in its unfinished state which gave 
rise to the legend of the Tower of Babel. 

However, there were many more such temple-towers in Ruined 
ancient Babylonia, and the legend in question may have [q^^^*^^^ 
been attached to any one of them. For example, the Uru(Ur 
remains of such a temple still exist at Uru, the Ur of the chSdees) 
Chaldees, from which Abraham is said to have migrated to 
Canaan.' The place is now known as Mukayyar or Muge- 
yer ; it is situated on the right bank of the Euphrates about 
a hundred and thirty-five miles south-east of Babylon.* A 
series of low ntiounds, forming an oval, marks the site of the 
ancient city. The country all around is so flat that often 
during the annual flood of the Euphrates, from March till 
June or July, the ruins form an island in a great marsh and 
can only be approached by boat. Groves of date-palms 
here line the banks of the river and extend in unbroken 
succession along its course till it loses itself in the waters of 
the Persian Gulf Near the northern end of the site rise the 
remains of the temple-tower to a height of about seventy 

^ George Rawlinson, The History Halfte (Berlin, 1 890), pp. 53, 55 ; 

^/f<?/'«A?/wj, Fourth Edition (London, R. F. Harper, Assyrian and Baby- 

1880), ii. 586. Merodach is another Ionian Literature ^ pp. 1501^^. 

way of spelling the name of Mardiik, ^ Genesis xi. ^i. 

the great god of Babylon. For other ' ^ 

translations of the inscription, see * Encyclopaedia Biblica^ iv. coll. 

Keilinschriftliche Bibliothc-k, iii. 2 5231 sqq.y s,v, ** Ur of the Chaldees." 

372 THE TO WER OF BABEL part i 

feet. The edifice is a rectangular parallelogram, in two 
stories, with the larger sides facing north-east and south- 
west, each of them measuring about two hundred feet in 
length, while the shorter sides measure only one hundred 
and thirty-three feet. As in all similar Babylonian build- 
ings, one angle points almost due north. The lower story, 
twenty-seven feet high, is supported by strong buttresses ; 
the upper story, receding from thirty to forty-seven feet from 
the edge of the first, is fourteen feet high, surmounted by 
about five feet of brick rubbish. The ascent was on the 
north-east. A tunnel driven into the mound proved that 
the entire edifice was built of sun-dried bricks in the centre, 
with a thick coating of massive, partially burnt bricks of a 
light red colour with layers of reeds between them, the whole, 
to a thickness of ten feet, being cased with a wall of inscribed 
kiln -burnt bricks. Inscribed cylinders were discovered at 
the four • corners of the building, each standing in a niche 
formed by the omission of a single brick in the layer. Sub- 
sequent excavations seem to prove that commemorative 
inscriptions, inscribed on cylinders, were regularly deposited 
by the builders or restorers of Babylonian temples and 
palaces at the four comers of the edifices.^ 
Inscription The inscriptions on the cylinders found at Ur record the 

idus.^King restoration of the temple-tower by Nabonidus, the last king 
of Babylon, of Babylon (555-538 B.C.), and give us in outline a history 
[h^ of the ancient edifice. One of them runs as follows : — 

r^toraiion « Nabonidus, King of Babylon, patron of Esagila and 

temple- Ezida, who fears the great gods, am I. 

tower of cc^s for E-lugal-(.?)-si.di, the temple-tower of E-gish- 

shir-gal, which is in Ur, which Ur-uk, a former king, had 
built, but had not completed — Dun-gi, his son, completed 
its construction. From the inscriptions of Ur-uk and Dun-gi, 
his son, I learned that Ur-uk had built this temple-tower, 
without completing it, and that Dun-gi, his son, had com- 
pleted its construction. This temple -tower was now old, 
and upon the old platform -foundation which Ur-uk and 
Dun-gi, his son, had built, I undertook the reconstruction of 

^ W. K. Loftus, Travels and V[\\\>\Qc\\\.y Expioraiions 0/ Bible Lands 
/Researches in Chaldaea and Sui^iana during the Nineteenth Century (Edin- 
(London, 1857), pp. 127 sqq,\ II. V. burgh, 1903), pp. 171 sqq. 




this temple-tower, as of old, with bitumen and burnt brick, 
and for Sin, the lord of the gods of heaven and earth, the 
king of the gods, the god of gods, who inhabit the great 
heavens, the lord of E-gish-shir-gal, which is in Ur, my lord, 
I founded and built (it). 

" O Sin, lord of the gods, king of the gods of heaven 
and earth, the god of gods, who inhabit the great heavens, 
upon thy joyful entrance into that temple may the good done 
to Esagila, Ezida (and) E-gish-shir-gal, the temples of thy 
great divinity, be established on thy lips ! 

" And do thou implant the fear of thy great divinity in 
the heart of its people, that they may not sin against thy 
great divinity, (and) like the heavens may their foundations 
stand fast ! ' 

" As for me, Nabonidus, King of Babylon, save me from 
sinning against thy great divinity ! A life of far-distant 
days grant me as a present ! And as regards Bejshazzar, 
the first-born son, my offspring, do thou implant in his heart 
the fear of thy great divinity ! May he not fall into sin ! 
May he be satisfied with fulness of life ! " ^ 

From this inscription we learn that the name of the city The 
was Ur, and that the temple was dedicated to Sin, the ^^^^l^ 
Babylonian moon-god. Further we are informed that King Ur may 
Ur-uk or Urengur, as his name should rather be spelt, who ^^\^^ 
built the temple-tower, left it unfinished, and that the edifice Abraham, 
was completed by his son. King Dungi. The reign of King 
Ur-uk or Urengur is variously dated about 2700 B.C. or 
2300 B.C.^ In either case the foundation of the temple pre- 
ceded, perhaps by hundreds of years, the date which is usually 

* R. F. Harper, Assynan and 
Babylonian Literature, pp. 157 sq. 
Compare KeilinschriftUcke Bibliothek, 
herausgegeben von E. Schrader, iii. 2. 
llalfle (Berlin, 1 890), pp. 95, 97. 
Belshazzar, the king's son, is no doubt 
the Belshazzar spoken of in the Book 
of Daniel (chapter v. ), though the writer 
of that book appears to have been mis- 
taken in representing Belshazzar as a 
son of Nebuchadnezzar. See S. R. 
Driver, The Book 0/ Daniel {CamhndgCf 
1905), pp. xxviii, l-lii» 60 sq. Till 
lately it was supposed that the author 
of the Book of Daniel committed 

another mistake in speaking of Bel- 
shazzar as king. However, a cunei- 
form inscription, recently deciphered by 
Dr. T. G. Pinches, seems to show that, 
in the twelfth year of the reign of King 
Nabonidus, his son Belshazzar wa3 
associated with him in the royal power. 
See 7'Ae Athenaum, May 1 9 16, p. 255. 
^ H. V. Hilprecht, Explorations in 
Bible Lands, p. 1 74 (who dates the 
foundation of the temple about 2700 
B.C. ) ; Ed. Meyer, Geschichie des Alter- 
turns ,'^\. 2 (Stuttgart and Berlin, 1909), 
P* 495 (who dates the king's reign 
2304-2287 B.C.). 





as to the 





assigned to the birth of Abraham ; ^ so that if the patriarch 
really migrated from Ur to Canaan, as Hebrew tradition 
relates, this very building, whose venerable ruins exist on the 
spot to this day, dominating by their superior height the 
flat landscape through which the Euphrates winds seaward, 
must have been familiar to Abraham from childhood, and 
may have been the last object on which his eyes rested 
when, setting out in search of the Promised Land, he took a 
farewell look backward at his native city disappearing behind 
its palm groves in the distance. It is possible that in the 
minds of his descendants, the conspicuous pile, looming dim 
and vast through the mists of time and of distance, may have 
assumed the gigantic proportions of a heaven-reaching 
tower, from which in days of old the various nations of 
the earth set out on their wanderings. 

The authors of Genesis say nothing as to the nature of 
the common language which all mankind spoke before the 
confusion of tongues, and in which our first parents may be 
supposed to have conversed with each other, with the ser- 
pent, and with the deity in the garden of Eden. Later 
ages took it for granted that Hebrew was the primitive 
language of mankind. The fathers of the Church appear to 
have entertained no doubt on the subject ; and in modern 
times, when the science of philology was in its infancy, 
strenuous, but necessarily abortive, efforts were made to 
deduce all forms of human speech from Hebrew as their 
original. In this naive assumption Christian scholars did 
not differ from the learned men of other religions, who have 
seen in the language of their sacred writings the tongue not 
only of our first forefathers but of the gods themselves. The 
first in modern times to prick the bubble effectively was 
Leibnitz, who observed that " there is as much reason for 
supposing Hebrew to have been the primitive language of 
mankind, as there is for adopting the view of Goropius, who 
published a work at Antwerp, in 1580, to prove that Dutch 

* On the strength of the identification 
of Amraphel, King of Shinar (Genesis 
xiv. I) with Hammurabi, King of Baby- 
lon, some modern scholars are disposed 
to make Abraham a contemporary of 
Hammurabi, and therefore to date him 
about 2100 B.C. See S. R. Driver, 

The Book of Genesis^ Tenth Edition, 
pp. xxviii sq. ; Principal J. Skinner, 
Cotumeittary ofi Genesis y pp. xiv sq, 
Mr. L. W. King dates Hammurabi's 
reign 2123-2083 B.C. [History 0/ 
BabyloHy Ix)ndon, 1915, p. 320). See 
above, p. 121 note'''. 


was the language spoken in Paradise." ^ Another writer 
maintained that the language spoken by Adam was Basque ; 
while others, flying clean in the face of Scripture, introduced 
the diversity of tongues into Eden itself, by holding that 
Adam and Eve spoke Persian, that the language of the 
serpent was Arabic, and that the affable archangel Gabriel 
discoursed with our first parents in Turkish. Yet another 
eccentric scholar seriously argued that the Almighty ad- 
dressed Adam in Swedish, that Adam answered his Maker 
in Danish, and that the serpent conversed with Eve in 
French.^ We may suspect that all such philological theories 
were btassed by the national prejudices and antipathies of 
the philologers who propounded them. 

Attempts have been made to arrive at the primitive Attempts 
language of mankind by the experimental method. The mine^Se 
first recorded experiment of this nature is said to have been primitive 
made by Psammetichus, King of Egypt Desirous of learn- ^^^^^ 
ing what race of man was first created or evolved, he had mankind 
recourse to the following device. He took two newborn nfent^'*^ 
babes, selected at haphazard, and gave them in charge to a Theexperi- 
goatherd with strict injunctions to rear them in a lonely hut, Psamme- 
where they were to be fed on goat's milk and never to hear IJ^^^"^' r 
a word of human speech ; for the sagacious monarch cal- Egypt. 
culated that, left to themselves, uncontaminated by oral 
intercourse with others, the children would in due time yield 
to the promptings of nature and break out into the primeval 
language of our first forefathers. The result seemed to 
justify his prevision. For when two years had passed, it 
chanced that one day the goatherd opened the door of the 
solitary hut as usual to give the two children their daily meal 
of goat's milk, and no sooner did he do so than the two 
little ones ran at him, holding out their hands and crying 
" Bekos " ! At first he said nothing, but when the same 
thing happened day after day, he reported the matter to the 
king, who on making inquiries discovered that b^kos was the 
Phrygian word for bread. On the strength of that discovery, 
King Psammetichus concluded that the Phrygians were the 

* Quoted by F. Max MUller, Lee- primitive language of mankind, see F. 

tures on the Science of Language ^ Sixth Max MUllcr, op, cit, i. 14$ sqq. 
Edition (London, 187 1), i. 149. As 
to the theory that Hebrew was the * F. Max MUller, op. cit. i. 149. 

376 THE TOWER OF BABEL part i 

most ancient race of mankind, and that the Egyptians must 
accordingly yield to them the coveted palm of antiquity.^ 
Such is the tale as told by the Greek historian Herodotus. 
We may suspect that it is not an Egyptian but a Greek 
story, invented to flatter Greek vanity by humbling the pride 
of the Egyptians and transferring the crown of remotest eld 
from their brows to those of a race akin to the Grecian.* A 
later rationalism, accepting the truth of the anecdote, disputed 
the conclusion drawn from it, by arguing that bekos was 
nothing but a natural imitation of the bleating of the goats, 
whose voices the children heard and whose milk they imbibed 
Experi- daily.* The experiment is said to have been repeated in 
Frederkk ^^^^^ ^S^s by Several monarchs, including the German emperor 
theSecond, Frederick the Second * and the Mogul emperor Akbar Khan, 
khan, and Of the latter potentate it is told that, anxious to dis- 
james IV. cover the true religion, and perplexed by the contradictory 
Scotland, claims of the rival systems, he hit upon the following device 
for solving the problem. He took thirty young children 
and caused them to be brought up by persons who were 
strictly forbidden to converse with their youthful charges ; 
for he was resolved to adopt the religious faith of that 
people whose language the infants should spontaneously speak, 
being apparently satisfied in his own mind that the religion 
thus authenticated by the voice of nature could be none 
other than the true one. The result of the experiment was 
to confirm the philosophic Mogul in his scepticism ; for the 
children, we are informed, spoke no particular language, and 
the emperor accordingly continued to be of no particular 
religion.^ In our own country James IV. of Scotland 
is reported to have shut up two children with a dumb 
woman in the island of Inchkeith, desiring to know what 
language the children would speak when they came to the 
age of perfect speech. Some say that they spoke good 

* Herodotus ii. 2. itself. 

« See A. Wiedemann, Herodots s Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, 

Zweitfs Biich (Lcipsic, 1890), p. 45, Argonaut, iv. 262. 

who points out that even if the anecdote 4 t /- t:- -u i • l« j- • 

had been historical, the Egyptians * J- C. F. IJaehr, in his edition of 

might still liave claimed the prire of ."erodotus (Leipsic, 1856-1861), vol. 

superior antiquity, since bek is an *'* PP* ^^' ^^^' 

Egyptian word meaning "oil," and is * Samuel VxirchcLSt PttrcAas I/t's P//- 

also a late name for the land of I'gypt grimes (London, 1625-1626), v. 516. 


Hebrew, but the chronicler seems to have had doubts on the 

Stories which bear a certain resemblance to the legend stories like 
of the Tower of Babel are reported among several African ^5*^^^^*^°^ 
tribes. Thus, some of the natives of the Zambesi, apparently Tower of 
in the neighbourhood of the Victoria Falls, " have a tradition j,^ Africa^ 
which may refer to the building of the Tower of Babel, but abo\it 
it ends in the bold builders getting their crowns cracked by fned uT ° 
the fall of the scaffolding." * The story thus briefly referred climb up to 
to by Dr. Livingstone has been more fully recorded by a 
Swiss missionary. The A-Louyi, a tribe of the Upper Louyi 
Zambesi, say that formerly their god Nyambe, whom they ^^°^'' 
identify with the sun, used to dwell on earth, but that he 
afterwards ascended up to heaven on a spider's web. From 
his post up aloft he said to men, ** Worship me." But men 
said, " Come, let us kill Nyambe." Alarmed at this impious 
threat, the deity fled to the sky, from which it would 
seem that he had temporarily descended. So men said, 
" Come, let us make masts to reach up to heaven." They 
set up masts and added more masts, joining them one to 
the other, and they clambered up them. But when they 
had climbed far up, the masts fell down, and all the men on 
the masts were killed by the fall. That was the end of 
them.* The Bambala of the Congo say "that the Wan- Bambaia 
gongo once wanted to know what the moon was, so ^'°'^^" 
they started to go and see. They planted a big pole 
in the ground, and a man climbed up it with a second 
pole which he fastened to the end ; to this a third 
was fixed, and so on. When their Tower of Babel had 
reached a considerable height, so high in fact that the whole 
population of the village was carrying poles up, the erection 
suddenly collapsed, and they fell victims to their ill-advised 
curiosity. Since that time no one has tried to find out what 
the moon is." * The natives of Mkulwe, in German East Mkuiwe 
Africa, tell a similar tale. According to them, men one day ^'°^^'' 

* Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie, The ^ E. Jacottet, £tudes sur Us lan^tes 

Chronicles of Scotlattd (Edinburgh, du Ilaut-Zamhhe, Troisiemc Partie, 

1 8 14), i. 2491^. Textcs Louyi {VanSy 1901), p. 1 18. 

2 David Livingstone, Missionary * K. Torday, Camp and Tramp in 

Travels and Kesearches in South Africa African IVilds (London, 1913), pp. 

(London, 1857), p. 528. .242 sg. 





said to each other, " Let us build high, let us reach the 
moon ! " So they rammed a great tree into the earth, 
and fixed another tree on the top of it, and another 
on the top of that, and so on, till the trees fell down 
and the men were killed. But other men said, " Let us not 
give up this undertaking," and they piled trees one on the 
top of the other, till one day the trees again fell down and 
the men were killed. Then ' the people gave up trying to 
climb aloft to the moon.^ The Ashantees have a tradition 
that God of old dwelt among men, but that, resenting 
an affront put on him by an old woman, he withdrew 
in high dudgeon to his mansion in the sky. Disconsolate 
at his departure, mankind resolved to seek and find 
him. For that purpose they collected all the porridge 
pestles they could find and piled them up, one on the 
top of the other. When the tower thus built had nearly 
reached the sky, they found to their dismay that the supply 
of pestles ran short What were they to do .^ In this 
dilemma a wise man stood up and said, " The matter is quite 
simple. Take the lowest pestle of all, and put it on the top, 
and go on doing so till we arrive at God." The proposal 
was carried, but when they came to put it in practice, down 
fell the tower, as indeed you might have expected. How- 
ever, others say that the collapse of the tower was caused by 
the white ants, which gnawed away the lowest of the pestles. 
In whichever way it happened, the communication with 
heaven was not completed, and men were never able to 
ascend up to God.^ *^ 

The Anal clan of the Kuki tribe, in Assam, tell of an 
attempt made by a man to climb up into the sky, in order to 
to climb up recover his stolen property. The story is as follows. Once 
to leaven. ^p^p ^ \Xi[Ci^ there was a very pious man who devoted much 
time to worshipping God, and he had a pet bitch. Envious 
of his noble qualities, the sun and moon resolved to rob him 
of his virtue. In pursuit of this nefarious design, they pro- 
mised to give him their virtue, if only he would first entrust 
them with his. The unsuspecting saint fell into the trap, 

Anal story 
of a man 
who tried 

* Alois Hambergcr, " Rclij^iose 
tJberliefcrunpen und Gcbriiuche der 
Landschaft Mkulwc," Anihropos, iv. 

(1909) p. 304. 

'^ E. Perregaux, Chez les Achanti 
(Neuchatel, 1906), p. 200. 


and the two celestial rogues made off with his virtue. Thus 
defrauded, the holy man ordered his dog to pursue and catch 
the thieves. The intelligent animal brought a long pole and 
climbed up it to reach the fugitives, and the saint swarmed 
up* the pole behind his dumb friend. Unfortunately he 
ascended so slowly that, before he reached the sky, the white 
ants had eaten away the lower end of the pole, so he fell 
down and broke his neck. But the bitch was more agile ; 
before the white ants had gnawed through the wood, she 
had got a footing in the sky, and there the faithful animal 
is to this day, chasing the sun and moon round and round 
the celestial vault Sometimes she catches them, and when 
she does so, the sun or moon is darkened, which Europeans 
call an eclipse. At such times the Anals shout to the bitch, 
" Release ! Release ! " meaning, of course, that she is to let 
go the .sun or moon.^ 

A story like the Biblical narrative of the Tower of The 
Babel is told of the great pyramid of Cholula in Mexico, fempieof 
the vastest work of aboriginal man in all America. This choiuiain 
colossal fabric, on which the modern traveller still gazes 
with admiration, stands near the handsome modern city of 
Puebla, on the way from Vera Cruz to the capital. In form 
it resembles, and in dimensions it rivals, the pyramids of 
Egypt. Its perpendicular height is nearly two hundred feet, 
and its base is twice as long as that of the great pyramid of 
Cheops. It had the shape common to the Mexican teocallis, 
that of a truncated pyramid, facing with its four sides the 
cardinal points and divided into four terraces. Its original 
outlines, however, have been effaced by time and the weather, 
while its surface is now covered by an exuberant growth of 
shrubs and trees, so that the huge pile presents the aspect of 
a natural hill rather than of a mound reared by human labour. 
The edifice is built of rows of bricks baked in the sun and 
cemented together with mortar, in which are stuck quantities 
of small stones, potsherds, and fragments of obsidian knives 
and weapons. Layers of clay are interposed between the 
courses of brick. The flat summit, which comprises more 
than an acre of ground, commands a superb prospect over 

' Lieut. -Colonel J. Shakespear, The Lushei Kuki Clans (London, 191 2), 
pp. 183 sq. 




Story of 



of the 


temple of 


version of 
the story 
told by 
Diiran. a 

the broad fertile valley away to the huge volcanic mountains 
which encircle it, their lower slopes covered with grand forests, 
their pinnacles of porphyry bare and arid, the highest of them 
crowned with eternal snow.^ 

A legend concerning the foundation of this huge monu- 
ment is recorded by the Dominican friar Pedro de los Rios. 
It runs as follows. Before the great flood, which took place 
four thousand years after the creation of the world, this 
country was inhabited by giants. All who did not perish in 
the inundation were turned into fishes, except seven who took 
refuge in caves. When the waters had retired, one of the seven, 
by name Xelhua, surnamed the Architect, came to Cholula, 
where, in memory of the mountain of Tlaloc, on which he and 
his six brothers had found safety, he built an artificial hill in 
the shape of a pyramid. He caused the bricks to be made 
in the province of Tlalmanalco, at the foot of Mount Cocotl, 
and in order to transport them to Cholula he set a line of 
men on the road, who passed the bricks from hand to hand. 
It was his purpose to raise the mighty edifice to the clouds, but 
the gods, offended at his presumption, hurled the fire of heaven 
down on the pyramid, many of the workmen perished, and the 
building remained unfinished. Afterwards it was dedicated 
to the great god Quetzalcoatl.^ It is said that at the time of 
the Spanish conquest the inhabitants of Cholula preserved with 
great veneration a large aerolite, which according to them was 
the very thunderbolt that fell on the pyramid and set it on fire.^ 

A similar tradition, differing somewhat in details, is 
related by the Spanish historian Duran, who wrote in 1579. 
" In the beginning," says he, " before the light and sun were 
created, the earth was in darkness and gloom, void of all 
created things, quite flat, without hill or dale, encircled by 
water on every side, without trees and without any other 
created thing. As soon as the sun and the light were born 
in the east, some men appeared there, ungainly giants who 

* W. H. Prcscolt, History of the 
Conquest of Mexico (London, 1901), 
ii. 5 Si]q. ; Hrasseur de Bourbourg, 
Ilistoire des Nations lirilis^es du 
Alexique et dc PAvitriquc - Ccntrale 
(Paris, 1S57-1859), i. 299 sqq. ; (Sir) 
Edward H. Tylor, Anahttac (London, 
1 86 1), pp. 274 sq. 

2 Brasseur de Bourbourg, op, cit. i. 
301 sq. Compare W. H. Prescott, 
op. cit. iii. 365 ; (Sir) Kdward B. 
Tylor, AitahtiCLCy pp. 276 sq.\ H. IL 
Bancroft, The Native Races of the 
Pacific States y iii. 67 j^., v. 200. 

* (Sir) E. B. Tylor, Anahuac^ p. 


possessed the land. Wishing to see the rising and the setting 
of the sun, they agreed to go in search of it ; so dividing into 
two bands they journeyed, the one band toward the west, and 
the other toward the east So they journeyed till they were 
stopped by the sea. Thence they resolved to return to the 
place from which they had set out : so they came back to 
the place called Iztac(^ulin inemintan. Not knowing how 
to reach the sun, and charmed with its light and beauty, they 
decided to build a tower so high that its top should reach the 
sky. In their search for materials with which to carry out 
their design they found a clay and a very sticky bitumen with 
which they began in a great hurry to build the tower. 
When they had reared it as high as they could, so high that 
it is said to have seemed to reach the sky, the lord of the 
heights was angry and said to the inhabitants of heaven, 
* Have you seen how the inhabitants of the earth have built 
a tower so high and so proud to climb up here, charmed 
as they are with the light and beauty of the sun? Come, 
let us confound them ; for it is not meet that the people of 
the earth, who live in bodies of flesh, should mix with us.' 
In a moment, the inhabitants of heaven, setting out towards 
the four quarters of the world, overthrew as by a thunderbolt 
the edifice which the men had built. After that, the giants, 
scared and filled with terror, separated and scattered in all 
directions over the earth." ^ 

In this latter tradition the traces of Biblical influence The story 
appear not only in the dispersal of the builders over the face f^Ju/jj^jj^r 
of the earth, but also in the construction of the tower out of of the 
clay and bitumen ; for while these are the materials out of cho?uia°^ 
which the Tower of Babel is said to have been built, bitumen betrays 
seems never to have been used by the Mexicans for such a influence. 
purpose and is not found anywhere near Cholula.^ " The 
history of the confusion of tongues seems also to have existed 
in the country, not long after the Conquest, having very prob- 
ably been learnt from the missionaries ; but it does not seem 

* DiegoDuriHif //is/on'a ffe /as /ndt'as French by Brasseur de Bourbourg, 

dc' Nucva- E^piuia y Islas de Ticrra Histoirc cUs Nations civilisdes du 

Firme^ i. (Mexico, 1 867) pp. 6 sq, Mcxique ct de l\4mt*riqiie'C( ntrale^ i. 

With the accidental omission of a line 433 sq. 
("/<?j unos cam if tat on hdcia Ponente^ 

los otros kdcid Orientc^^)^ the passage * (Sir) Edward B. Tyl^r, Anahttac^ 

has l>ecn extracted and translated into p. 277. 


382 THE TOWER OF BABEL part i 

to have been connected with the Tower-of-Babel legend of 
Cholula. Something like it at least appears in the Gemelli 
table of Mexican migrations, reproduced in Humboldt, where 
a bird in a tree is sending down a number of tongues to a 
crowd of men standing below." ^ On the strength of these 
suspicious resemblances Tylor may be right in condemning 
the legend of Cholula " as not genuine, or at least as partly 
of late fabrication." * 
Story like A like suspicion of spuriousness, or at all events of 

Tower of* assimilation to Biblical traditions, must apparently rest on 
Babel a legend ascribed to the Toltecs of Mexico. " Ixtlil-xochitl 
theToitecs writes of this tradition as follows : They say that the world 
of Mexico, was Created in the year Ce Tecpatl, and this time until the 
deluge they call Atonatiuh, which means the age of the sun 
of water, because the world was destroyed by the deluge. 
It is found in the histories of the Toltecs that this age and 
first world, as they term it, lasted seven hundred and six- 
teen years ; that man and all the earth were destroyed by 
great showers and by lightnings from heaven, so that 
nothing remained, and the most lofty mountains were 
covered up and submerged to the depth of caxtolmoletltli, 
or fifteen cubits, and here they add other fables of how men 
came to multiply again from the few who escaped the 
destruction in a toptlipetlacali ; which word very nearly 
signifies a closed chest ; and how, after multiplying, the 
men built a zacuali of great height, and by this is meant a 
very high tower, in which to take refuge when the world 
should be a second time destroyed. After this their tongue 
became confused, and, not understanding each other, they 
went to different parts of the world." * Ijn this legend the 
coincidences with the Biblical* narratives of the flood, the 
ark, the tower of Babel, and the 'confusion of tongues seem 
too numerous to be accidental. 

1 (Sir) Edward B. Tylor, Anahiiac^ (London, 1901), iii. 365 note'*. 

p. 277. As to this Mexican picture, 2 /c- v i- j j r> t- 1 a l 

r .u IT TT i> u \r ,- ^ (Sir) Ldward B. Tylor, Anahuac. 

see further 11. 11. Bancroft, Native o-in 

Races of the Pacitic States^ iii. 68 note, ^' ''' 

who strongly suspects the genuineness ^ H. H. Bancroft, The Native Races 
of the legend based on certain Aztec of the Pacific States^ v. 19-21, refer- 
paintings. The authenticity of these ring to ** Relaciones " in Ix)rd Kings- 
traditions is questioned also by Tres- borough's Antiquities of Mexico, voU 
cott, History of the Conijitcst of Mexico ix. pp. 321 sq. 


A similar verdict may be pronounced, with even less Karen 
hesitation, on a tale told by the Karens of Burma, a tribe ^^s°ory of 
who display a peculiar aptitude for borrowing Christian the Tower 
legends and disguising them with a thin coat of local colour. ^^ 
Their edition of the Tower of Babel story, as told by the 
Gaikho section of the tribe, runs as follows. " The Gaikhos 
trace their genealogy to Adam, and make thirty generations 
from Adam, to the building of the Tower of Babel, at which 
time they say they separated from the Red Karens. ... In 
the days of Pan-dan-man, the people determined to build a 
pagoda that should reach up to heaven. The place they 
suppose to be somewhere in the country of the Red Karens, 
with whom they represent themselves as associated until this 
event When the pagoda was half way up to heaven, God 
came down and confounded the language of the people, so 
that they could not understand each other. Then the people 
scattered, and Than-mau-rai, the father of the Gaikho tribe, 
came west, with eight chiefs, and settled in the valley of the 
Sitang." ' 

.The Biblical story of the Tower of Babel and the con- Mikir 
fusion of tongues reappears also among the Mikirs, one of Jhc^story of 
the many Tibeto-Burman tribes of Assam. They say that the Tower 
in days of old the descendants of R