Flood Stories from Around the World

by Mark Isaak,
Copyright © 1996-2012
[Last Revision: June 21, 2006]


The stories below are flood stories from the world's folklore. I have included stories here if (1) they are stories; (2) they are folklore, not historical accounts or fiction by a known author; and (3) they involve a flood. In most borderline cases, I included the story here anyway. For example, one story (Hopi) tells of a flood which was avoided and never occurred.

My method for collecting these stories is simply to collect every flood story I find. I have omitted a few extremely fragmentary accounts, such as sources that say "These people have a legend of a flood in which most people were killed" and little or nothing more. The stories are summarized both to save space and to avoid copyright infringements, but I have attempted to preserve all the motifs and all the names that were given in the cited account. However, where the story gives intricate account of events before and/or after the flood (such as in the Zhuang story of Bubo vs. the Thunder God), some of the details peripheral to the flood itself may have been summarized out of existence. In a few cases, two or more overlapping and non-contradictory fragments from the same culture were combined into one summary. Complete references are given at the end; consult them for more details.

Within each continent or region, stories are grouped by language family. See Language Grouping for Flood Stories for elaboration of the language groups which, as best I can determine, the stories belong to.

I am sure there are many more flood stories which could be included here. As I find them, I will add them. I welcome feedback, especially new flood stories, from others.

Index by Region



Zeus sent a flood to destroy the men of the Bronze Age. Prometheus advised his son Deucalion to build a chest. All other men perished except for a few who escaped to high mountains. The mountains in Thessaly were parted, and all the world beyond the Isthmus and Peloponnese was overwhelmed. Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha (daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora), after floating in the chest for nine days and nights, landed on Parnassus. When the rains ceased, he sacrificed to Zeus, the God of Escape. At the bidding of Zeus, he threw stones over his head; they became men, and the stones which Pyrrha threw became women. That is why people are called laoi, from laas, "a stone." [Apollodorus, 1.7.2]

The first race of people was completely destroyed because they were exceedingly wicked. The fountains of the deep opened, the rain fell in torrents, and the rivers and seas rose to cover the earth, killing all of them. Deucalion survived due to his prudence and piety and linked the first and second race of men. Onto a great ark he loaded his wives and children and all animals. The animals came to him, and by God's help, remained friendly for the duration of the flood. The flood waters escaped down a chasm opened in Hierapolis. [Frazer, pp. 153-154]

An older version of the story told by Hellanicus has Deucalion's ark landing on Mount Othrys in Thessaly. Another account has him landing on a peak, probably Phouka, in Argolis, later called Nemea. [Gaster, p. 85]

The Megarians told that Megarus, son of Zeus, escaped Deucalion's flood by swimming to the top of Mount Gerania, guided by the cries of cranes. [Gaster, p. 85-86]

An earlier flood was reported to have occurred in the time of Ogyges, founder and king of Thebes. The flood covered the whole world and was so devastating that the country remained without kings until the reign of Cecrops. [Gaster, p. 87]

Nannacus, king of Phrygia, lived before the time of Deucalion and foresaw that he and all people would perish in a coming flood. He and the Phrygians lamented bitterly, hence the old proverb about "weeping like (or for) Nannacus." After the deluge had destroyed all humanity, Zeus commanded Prometheus and Athena to fashion mud images, and Zeus summoned winds to breathe life into them. The place where they were made is called Iconium after these images. [Frazer, p. 155]

"Many great deluges have taken place during the nine thousand years" since Athens and Atlantis were preeminent. Destruction by fire and other catastrophes was also common. In these floods, water rose from below, destroying city dwellers but not mountain people. The floods, especially the third great flood before Deucalion, washed away most of Athens' fertile soil. [Plato, "Timaeus" 22, "Critias" 111-112]


Dardanus, first king of Arcadia, was driven from his land by a great flood which submerged the lowlands, rendering them unfit for cultivation. The people retreated to the mountains, but they soon decided that the land left was not enough to support them all. Some stayed with Dimas, son of Dardanus, as their king; Dardanus led the rest to the island of Samothrace. [Frazer, p. 163]


The sea rose when the barriers dividing the Black Sea from the Mediterranean burst, releasing waters from the Black Sea in a great torrent that washed over part of the coast of Asia and the lowlands of Samothrace. The survivors on Samothrace retreated to the mountains and prayed for deliverance. On being saved, they set up monuments to the event and built alters on which to continue sacrifices through the ages. Fishermen still occasionally draw up parts of stone columns in their nets, signs of cities drowned in the sea. [Frazer, pp. 167-168]


Jupiter, angered at the evil ways of humanity, resolved to destroy it. He was about to set the earth to burning, but considered that that might set heaven itself afire, so he decided to flood the earth instead. With Neptune's help, he caused storm and earthquake to flood everything but the summit of Parnassus, where Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha came by boat and found refuge. Recognizing their piety, Jupiter let them live and withdrew the flood. Deucalion and Pyrrha, at the advice of an oracle, repopulated the world by throwing "your mother's bones" (stones) behind them; each stone became a person. [Ovid, book 1]

Jupiter and Mercury, traveling incognito in Phrygia, begged for food and shelter, but found all doors closed to them until they received hospitality from Philemon and Baucis. The gods revealed their identity, led the couple up the mountains, and showed them the whole valley flooded, destroying all homes but the couple's, which was transformed into a marble temple. Given a wish, the couple asked to be priest and priestess of the temple, and to die together. In their extreme old age, they changed into an oak and lime tree. [Ovid, book 8]

One of the kings of Alba (named Romulus, Remulus, or Amulius Silvius), set himself up as a god equal to or superior to Jupiter. He made machines to mimic thunder and lightning, and he ordered his soldiers to drown out real thunder by beating on their shields. For his impiety, he and his house were destroyed by a thunderbolt in a fierce storm. The Alban lake rose and drowned his palace. You may still see the ruins when the lake is clear and calm. [Frazer 1993, p. 149]


Jubruel wandered to and fro over the earth, so that the lakes and rivers overflowed, covering the whole land. Only a boy and girl, siblings, survived; God had carried them under his arms to a high mountain called "basse varre," the holy mountain. When the danger had passed, God let them go their way. They separated in search of other survivors. After three years, they met, recognized each other, and parted again. Three years later, they again met, recognized each other, and parted. When they met a third time after another three years, they did not recognize one another. They consorted, and present humanity is descended from them. [Nelson, pp. 180-181]


Oden, Vili, and Ve fought and slew the great ice giant Ymir, and icy water from his wounds drowned most of the Rime Giants. The giant Bergelmir escaped, with his wife and children, on a boat made from a hollowed tree trunk. From them rose the race of frost ogres. Ymir's body became the world we live on. His blood became the oceans. [Sturluson, p. 35]


A louse and a flea were brewing beer in an eggshell. The louse fell in and burnt herself. This made the flea weep, which made the door creak, which made the broom sweep, which made the cart run, which made the ash-heap burn, which made the tree shake itself, which made the girl break her water-pitcher, which made the spring begin to flow. And in the spring's water everything was drowned. [Grimm 30]


Heaven and Earth were great giants, and Heaven lay upon the Earth so that their children were crowded between them, and the children and their mother were unhappy in the darkness. The boldest of the sons led his brothers in cutting up Heaven into many pieces. From his skull they made the firmament. His spilling blood caused a great flood which killed all humans except a single pair, who were saved in a ship made by a beneficent Titan. The waters settled in hollows to become the oceans. The son who led in the mutilation of Heaven was a Titan and became their king, but the Titans and gods hated each other, and the king titan was driven from his throne by his son, who was born a god. That Titan at last went to the land of the departed. The Titan who built the ship, whom some consider to be the same as the king Titan, went there also. [Sproul, pp. 172-173]


The lake of Llion burst, flooding all lands. Dwyfan and Dwyfach escaped in a mastless ship with pairs of every sort of living creature. They landed in Prydain (Britain) and repopulated the world. [Gaster, pp. 92-93]


From his heavenly window, the supreme god Pramzimas saw nothing but war and injustice among mankind. He sent two giants, Wandu and Wejas (water and wind), to destroy earth. After twenty days and nights, little was left. Pramzimas looked to see the progress. He happened to be eating nuts at the time, and he threw down the shells. One happened to land on the peak of the tallest mountain, where some people and animals had sought refuge. Everybody climbed in and survived the flood floating in the nutshell. God's wrath abated, he ordered the wind and water to abate. The people dispersed, except for one elderly couple who stayed where they landed. To comfort them, God sent the rainbow and advised them to jump over the bones of the earth nine times. They did so, and up sprang nine other couples, from which the nine Lithuanian tribes descended. [Gaster, p. 93]

Transylvanian Gypsy:

Men once lived forever and knew no troubles. The earth brought forth fine fruits, flesh grew on trees, and milk and wine flowed in many rivers. One day, and old man came to the country and asked for a night's lodging, which a couple gave him in their cottage. When he departed the next day, he said he would return in nine days. He gave his host a small fish in a vessel and said he would reward the host if he did not eat the fish but returned it then. The wife thought the fish must be exceptionally good to eat, but the husband said he had promised the old man to keep it and made the woman swear not to eat it. After two days of thinking about it, though, the wife yielded to temptation and threw the fish on the hot coals. Immediately, she was struck dead by lightning, and it began to rain. The rivers started overflowing the country. On the ninth day, the old man returned and told his host that all living things would be drowned, but since he had kept his oath, he would be saved. The old man told the host to take a wife, gather his kinfolk, and build a boat on which to save them, animals, and seeds of trees and herbs. The man did all this. It rained a year, and the waters covered everything. After a year, the waters sank, and the people and animals disembarked. They now had to labor to gain a living, and sickness and death came also. They multiplied slowly so that many thousands of years passed before people were again as numerous as they were before the flood. [Frazer, pp. 177-178]


Iskender-Iulcarni (Alexander the Great), in the course of his conquests, demanded tribute from Katife, Queen of Smyrna. She refused insultingly and threatened to drown the king if he persisted. Enraged at her insolence, the conqueror determined to punish the queen by drowning her in a great flood. He employed Moslem and infidel workmen to make a strait of the Bosphorus, paying the infidel workmen one-fifth as much as the Moslems got. When the canal was nearly completed, he reversed the pay arrangements, giving the Moslems only one-fifth as much as the infidels. The Moslems quit in disgust and left the infidels to finish the canal. The Black Sea swept away the last dike and drowned the workmen. The flood spread over Queen Katife's country (drowning her) and several cities in Africa. The whole world would have been engulfed, but Iskender-Iulcarni was prevailed upon to open the Strait of Gibraltar, letting the Mediterranean escape into the ocean. Evidence of the flood can still be seen in the form of drowned cities on the coast of Africa and ship moorings high above the coast of the Black Sea. [Gaster, pp. 91-92]

Near East


The gods had decided to destroy mankind. The god Enlil warned the priest-king Ziusudra ("Long of Life") of the coming flood by speaking to a wall while Ziusudra listened at the side. He was instructed to build a great ship and carry beasts and birds upon it. Violent winds came, and a flood of rain covered the earth for seven days and nights. Then Ziusudra opened a window in the large boat, allowing sunlight to enter, and he prostrated himself before the sun-god Utu. After landing, he sacrificed a sheep and an ox and bowed before Anu and Enlil. For protecting the animals and the seed of mankind, he was granted eternal life and taken to the country of Dilmun, where the sun rises. [Hammerly-Dupuy, p. 56; Heidel, pp. 102-106]


People have become rebellious. Atum said he will destroy all he made and return the earth to the Primordial Water which was its original state. Atum will remain, in the form of a serpent, with Osiris. [Faulkner, plate 29] (Unfortunately the version of the papyrus with the flood story is damaged and unclear. See also Budge, p. ccii.)


Three times (every 1200 years), the gods were distressed by the disturbance from human overpopulation. The gods dealt with the problem first by plague, then by famine. Both times, the god Enki advised men to bribe the god causing the problem. The third time, Enlil advised the gods to destroy all humans with a flood, but Enki had Atrahasis build an ark and so escape. Also on the boat were cattle, wild animals and birds, and Atrahasis' family. When the storm came, Atrahasis sealed the door with bitumen and cut the boat's rope. The storm god Adad raged, turning the day black. After the seven-day flood, the gods regretted their action. Atrahasis made an offering to them, at which the gods gathered like flies, and Enki established barren women and stillbirth to avoid the problem in the future. [Dalley, pp. 23-35]


The gods, led by Enlil, agreed to cleanse the earth of an overpopulated humanity, but Utnapishtim was warned by the god Ea in a dream. He and some craftsmen built a large boat (one acre in area, seven decks) in a week. He then loaded it with his family, the craftsmen, and "the seed of all living creatures." The waters of the abyss rose up, and it stormed for six days. Even the gods were frightened by the flood's fury. Upon seeing all the people killed, the gods repented and wept. The waters covered everything but the top of the mountain Nisur, where the boat landed. Seven days later, Utnapishtim released a dove, but it returned finding nowhere else to land. He next returned a sparrow, which also returned, and then a raven, which did not return. Thus he knew the waters had receded enough for the people to emerge. Utnapishtim made a sacrifice to the gods. He and his wife were given immortality and lived at the end of the earth. [Sandars, chpt. 5]

Sharur destroyed Asag, demon of sickness and disease, by flooding his abode. In the process, "The primeval waters of Kur rose to the surface, and as a result of their violence no fresh waters could reach the fields and gardens." [Kramer, p. 105]


The god Chronos in a vision warned Xisuthrus, the tenth king of Babylon, of a flood coming on the fifteenth day of the month of Daesius. The god ordered him to write a history and bury it in Sippara, and told him to build and provision a vessel (5 stadia by 2 stadia) for himself, his friends and relations, and all kinds of animals. Xisuthrus asked where he should sail, and Chronos answered, "to the gods, but first pray for all good things to men." Xisuthrus built a ship five furlongs by two furlongs and loaded it as ordered. After the flood had come and abated somewhat, he sent out some birds, which returned. Later, he tried again, and the birds returned with mud on their feet. On the third trial, the birds didn't return. He saw that land had appeared above the waters, so he parted some seams of his ship, saw the shore, and drove his ship aground in the Corcyraean mountains in Armenia. He disembarked with his wife, daughter, and pilot, and offered sacrifices to the gods. Those four were translated to live with the gods. The others at first were grieved when they could not find the four, but they heard Xisuthrus' voice in the air telling them to be pious and to seek his writings at Sippara. Part of the ship remains to this day, and some people make charms from its bitumen. [Frazer, pp. 108-110; G. Smith, pp. 42-43]


God, upset at mankind's wickedness, resolved to destroy it, but Noah was righteous and found favor with Him. God told Noah to build an ark, 450 x 75 x 45 feet, with three decks. Noah did so, and took aboard his family (8 people in all) and pairs of all kinds of animals (7 of the clean ones). For 40 days and nights, floodwaters came from the heavens and from the deeps, until the highest mountains were covered. The waters flooded the earth for 150 days; then God sent a wind and the waters receded, and the ark came to rest in Ararat. After 40 days, Noah sent out a raven, which kept flying until the waters had dried up. He next sent out a dove, which returned without finding a perch. A week later he set out the dove again, and it returned with an olive leaf. The next week, the dove didn't return. After a year and 10 days from the start of the flood, everyone and everything emerged from the ark. Noah sacrificed some clean animals and birds to God, and God, pleased with this, promised never again to destroy all living creatures with a flood, giving the rainbow as a sign of this covenant. Animals became wild and became suitable food, and Noah and his family were told to repopulate the earth. Noah planted a vineyard and one day got drunk. His son Ham saw him lying naked in his tent and told his brothers Shem and Japheth, who came and covered Noah with their faces turned. When Noah awoke, he cursed Ham and his descendants and blessed his other sons. [Genesis 6-9]

Men lived at ease before the flood; a single harvest provided for forty years, children were born after only a few days instead of nine months and could walk and talk immediately, and people could command the sun and moon. This indolence led men astray, especially to the sins of wantonness and rapacity. God determined to destroy the sinners, but in mercy he instructed Noah to warn them of the threat of a flood and to preach to them to mend their ways. Noah did this for 120 years. God gave mankind a final week of grace during which the sun reversed course, but the wicked men did not repent; they only mocked Noah for building the ark. Noah learned how to make the ark from a book, given to Adam by the angel Raziel, which contained all knowledge. This book was made of sapphires, and Noah put it in a golden casket and, during the flood, used it to tell day from night, for the sun and moon did not shine at that time. The flood was caused by male waters from the sky meeting the female waters from the ground. God made holes in the sky for the waters to issue from by removing two stars from the Pleiades. He later closed the hole by borrowing two stars from the Bear. That is why the Bear always runs after the Pleiades. The animals came to the ark in such numbers that Noah could not take them all; he had them sit by the door of the ark, and he took in the animals which lay down at the door. 365 species of reptiles and 32 species of bird were taken. Since seven pairs of each kind of clean animal were taken, the clean animals outnumbered the unclean after the flood. One creatures, the reem was so big it had to be tethered outside the ark and follow behind. The giant Og, king of Bashan, was also too big and escaped the flood sitting atop the ark. In addition to Noah, his wife Naamah, and their sons and sons' wives, Falsehood and Misfortune also took refuge on the ark. Falsehood was initially turned away when he presented himself without a mate, so he induced Misfortune to join him and returned. When the flood began, the sinners gathered around it and rushed the door, but the wild beasts aboard the ark guarded the door and set upon them. Those which escaped the beasts drowned in the flood. The ark, and the animals in it, were tossed around on the waters for a year, but Noah's greatest difficulty was feeding all the animals, for he had to work day and night to feed both the diurnal and nocturnal animals. When Noah once tarried in feeding the lion, the lion gave him a blow which made him lame for the rest of his life and prevented him from serving as a priest. On the tenth day of the month of Tammuz, Noah sent forth a raven, but the raven found a corpse to devour and did not return. A week later Noah sent out a dove, and on its third flight it returned with an olive leaf plucked from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, for the Holy Land had not suffered from the flood. Noah wept at the devastation when he left the ark, and Shem offered a thank-offering; Noah could not officiate due to his encounter with the lion. [Ginzberg, pp. 319-335; see also Frazer, pp. 143-145]

Aprocryphal scripture tells that Adam directed that his body, together with gold, incense, and myrrh, should be taken aboard the Ark and, after the flood, should be laid in the middle of the earth. God would come from thence and save mankind. [Platt, p. 66, 80 (2 Adam 8:9-18, 21:7-11)]

A woman "clothed with the sun" gave birth to a man child who was taken up by God. The woman then lived in the wilderness, where the Devil-dragon, cast down to earth, persecuted her. At one time he cast a flood of water from his mouth trying to wash her away, but the earth helped the woman and swallowed the flood. [Revelation 12]


Allah sent Noah to warn the people to serve none but Allah, but most of them would not listen. They challenged Noah to make good his threats and mocked him when, under Allah's inspiration, he built a ship. Allah told Noah not to speak to Him on behalf of wrongdoers; they would be drowned. In time, water gushed from underground and fell from the sky. Noah loaded onto his ship pairs of all kinds, his household, and those few who believed. One of Noah's sons didn't believe and said he would seek safety in the mountains. He was among the drowned. The ship sailed amid great waves. Allah commanded the earth to swallow the water and the sky to clear, and the ship came to rest on Al-Judi. Noah complained to Allah for taking his son. Allah admonished that the son was an evildoer and not of Noah's household, and Noah prayed for forgiveness. Allah told Noah to go with blessings on him and on some nations that will arise from those with him. [Koran 11:25-48]


In early times, the earth was full of malign creatures fashioned by the evil Ahriman. The angel Tistar (the star Sirius) descended three times, in the form of man, horse, and bull respectively, causing ten days and nights of rain each time. Each rain drop became as big as a bowl, and the water rose the height of a man over the whole earth. The first flood drowned the creatures, but the dead noxious creatures went into holes in the earth. Before returning to cause the second flood, Tistar, in the form of a white horse, battled the demon Apaosha, who took the form of a black horse. Ormuzd blasted the demon with lightning, making the demon give a cry which can still be heard in thunderstorms, and Tistar prevailed and caused rivers to flow. The poison washed from the land by the second flood made the seas salty. The waters were driven to the ends of the earth by a great wind and became the sea Vourukasha ("Wide-Gulfed"). [Carnoy, p. 270; Vitaliano, pp. 161-162; H. Miller, p. 288]


Yima, under divine superintendence, reigned over the world for 900 years. As there was no disease or death, the population increased so that it was necessary to enlarge the earth after 300 years; Yima accomplished this with the help of a gold ring and gold-inlaid dagger he had received from Ahura Mazda, the Creator. Enlargement of the earth was necessary again after 600 years. When the population became too great after 900 years, Ahura Mazda warned Yima that destruction was coming in the form of winter, frost, and subsequent melting of the snow. He instructed Yima to build a vara, a large square enclosure, in which to keep specimens of small and large cattle, human beings, dogs, birds, red flaming fires, plants and foodstuffs, two of every kind. The men and cattle he brought in were to be the finest on earth. Within the enclosure, men passed the happiest of lives, with each year seeming like a day. [Frazer, pp. 180-182; Dresden, p. 344]



As a girl was grinding flour, a goat came to lick it. She first drove it away, but when it came back, she allowed it to lick as much as it could. In return for the kindness, the goat told her there will be a flood that day and advised her and her brother to run elsewhere immediately. They escaped with a few belongings and looked back to see water covering their village. After the flood, they lived on their own for many years, unable to find mates. The goat reappeared and said they could marry themselves, but they would have to put a hoe-handle and a clay pot with a broken bottom on their roof to signify that they are relatives. [Kahler-Meyer, pp. 251-252]

Masai (East Africa):

Tumbainot, a righteous man, had a wife named Naipande and three sons, Oshomo, Bartimaro, and Barmao. When his brother Lengerni died, Tumbainot, according to custom, married the widow Nahaba-logunja, who bore him three more sons, but they argued about her refusal to give him a drink of milk in the evening, and she set up her own homestead. The world was heavily populated in those days, but the people were sinful and not mindful of God. However, they refrained from murder, until at last a man named Nambija hit another named Suage on the head. At this, God resolved to destroy mankind, except Tumbainot found grace in His eyes. God commanded Tumbainot to build an ark of wood and enter it with his two wives, six sons and their wives, and some of animals of every sort. When they were all aboard and provisioned, God caused a great long rain which caused a flood, and all other men and beasts drowned. The ark drifted for a long time, and provisions began to run low. The rain finally stopped, and Tumbainot let loose a dove to ascertain the state of the flood. The dove returned tired, so Tumbainot knew it had found no place to rest. Several days later, he loosed a vulture, but first he attached an arrow to one of its tail feathers so that, if the bird landed, the arrow would hook on something and be lost. The vulture returned that evening without the arrow, so Tumbainot reasoned that it must have landed on carrion, and that the flood was receding. When the water ran away, the ark grounded on the steppe, and its occupants disembarked. Tumbainot saw four rainbows, one in each quarter of the sky, signifying that God's wrath was over. [Frazer, pp. 330-331]

Komililo Nandi:

Ilet, the spirit of lightning, came to live, in human form, in a cave high on the mountain named Tinderet. When he did so, it rained incessantly and killed most of the hunters living in the forest below. Some hunters, searching for the cause of the rain, found him and wounded him with poison arrows. Ilet fled and died in a neighboring country. When he died, the rain stopped. [Kelsen, p. 137]

Kwaya (Lake Victoria):

The ocean was once enclosed in a small pot kept by a man and his wife under the roof of their hut to fill their larger pots. The man told his daughter-in-law never to touch it because it contained their sacred ancestors. But she grew curious and touched it. It shattered, and the resulting flood drowned everything. [Kahler-Meyer, pp. 253-254]

Southwest Tanzania (Rukwa Region):

The rivers began flooding. God told two men to go into a ship, taking with them all sorts of seed and animals. The flood rose, covering the mountains. Later, to check whether the waters had dried up, the man sent out a dove, and it came back to the ship. He waited and sent out a hawk, which did not return because the waters had dried. The men then disembarked with the animals and seeds. [Gaster, pp. 120-121]


Chameleon heard a strange noise, like water running, in a tree, but at that time there was no water in the world. He cut open the trunk, and water came out in a great flood that spread all over the earth. The first human couple emerged with the water. [Parrinder, pp. 46-47]

Ababua (northern Congo):

An old woman hoarded water and killed men who sought it. The hero Mba succeeded in killing the woman. Upon her death, the water flowed in such quantities that it flooded everything. Mba was washed away and landed in the top of a tree. [Kelsen, p. 136]

Kikuyu (Kenya):

A beautiful but mysterious woman agreed to marry a man on the condition that he never ask about her family. He agreed, and they lived happily together until it was time for their oldest son's circumcision, and the man asked his wife why her family couldn't attend the ceremony. With that, the wife bounced into the air and made a hole seven miles deep when she landed. She called upon her ancestors, who came as spirits from Mt. Kenya. The spirits raised a thunder and hailstorm as they came. They brought food, goats, cattle, and beer with them and, while the people took shelter in caves, flooded the countryside with beer, turning it into a lake. When the spirits left, they took the couple and their children with them into Mt. Kenya. [Abrahams, pp. 336-338]

Bakongo (west Zaire):

An old lady, weary and covered with sores, arrived in a town called Sonanzenzi and sought hospitality, which was denied her at all homes but the last she came to. When she was well and ready to depart, she told her friends to pack up and leave with her, as the place was accursed and would be destroyed by Nzambi. The night after they had left, heavy rains came and turned the valley into a lake, drowning all the inhabitants of the town. The sticks of the houses can still be seen deep in the lake. [Feldmann, p. 50; Kelsen, p. 137]

Lunda (southern Zaire):

A chieftainess named Moena Monenga sought food and shelter in a village. She was refused, and when she reproached the villagers for their selfishness, they said, in effect, "What can you do about it"? So she began a slow incantation, and on the last long note, the whole village sank into the ground, and water flowed into the depression, forming what is now Lake Dilolo. When the village's chieftain returned from the hunt and saw what had happened to his family, he drowned himself in the lake. [Vitaliano, pp. 164-165; Kelsen, p. 136]

Lower Congo:

The sun once met the moon and threw mud at it, making it dimmer. There was a flood when this happened. Men put their milk stick behind them and were turned into monkeys. The present race of men is a recent creation. [Fauconnet, p. 481; Kelsen, p. 136]


Several animals wooed Ngolle Kakesse, granddaughter of God, but only Zebra was accepted. But Zebra broke his promise not to allow her to work. From her stretched-out legs ran water which flooded the land, and Ngolle herself drowned. [Kelsen, p. 135]

Bena-Lulua (Congo River, southeast Zaire):

The old water woman only gave water to him who sucks her sores. One man did so, and water flowed and drowned almost everybody. He continued his disgusting task, and the water stopped flowing. [Kelsen, p. 136]

Yoruba (southwest Nigeria):

At the beginning of time, there was only the sky, ruled over by the orisha (god) Olorun, and the waters below, ruled by the female deity Olokun. Obatala, an orisha who lived in the sky, decided to make solid land in the sea. He descended on a gold chain, poured sand on the water, and loosed a hen to scatter the sand (forming hills and valleys). Obatala named the place where he came down Ifa. He planted palms, asked Olorun to create the sun, and, in time, created people from sculpted clay. He gave people tools; they began farming and procreating. Obatala returned to the sky, but other orishas heard his story and decided to live among people. However, Olokun, orisha of the sea, was angered and humiliated. When Obatala rested in the sky, she sent waves against the shores of the land, flooding low areas, causing marshes, destroying fields, drowning many people, and threatening to destroy all of Obatala's work. The people called to Obatala for help, but he could not hear them, so they went to the orisha Eshu, who lived on earth then. Eshu refused to move until they brought him a proper sacrifice; then he carried the message to Obatala. Obatala consulted Orunmila, an orisha diviner. He consulted his diving nuts and determined to handle the problem himself. He went to earth and, with his powers, weakened Olokun's waves and dried the land. He stayed on earth awhile and taught divining to people. Olokun was still upset and sought a way to humiliate the sky god. She challenged Olorun to a contest of clothmaking, at which she excelled. Olorun sent Agemo, the chameleon, as a messenger, asking Olokun first to show some of her cloth. Each fabric she showed, Agemo duplicated exactly on his skin. Seeing such a power in a mere messenger, Olokun wondered at Olorun's powers and acknowledged his greatness. [Courlander, pp. 189-194]

A god, Ifa, tired of living on earth and went to dwell in the firmament with Obatala. Without his assistance, mankind couldn't interpret the desires of the gods, and one god, Olokun, in a fit of rage, destroyed nearly everybody in a great flood. [Kelsen, p. 135]

Efik-Ibibio (Nigeria):

The sun and moon are man and wife, and their best friend was flood, whom they often visited. They often invited flood to visit them, but he demurred, saying their house was too small. Sun and moon built a much larger house, and flood could no longer refuse their invitation. He arrived and asked, "Shall I come in?" and was invited in. When flood was knee-deep in the house, he asked if he should continue coming and was again invited to do so. The flood brought many relatives, including fish and sea beasts. Soon he rose to the ceiling of the house, and the sun and moon went onto the roof. The flood kept rising, submerging the house entirely, and the sun and moon made a new home in the sky. [Eliot, pp. 47-48]

Ekoi (Nigeria):

The first people Etim 'Ne (Old Person) and his wife Ejaw came to earth from the sky. At first, there was no water on earth, so Etim 'Ne asked the god Obassi Osaw for water, and he was given a calabash with seven clear stones. When Etim 'Ne put a stone in a small hole in the ground, water welled out and became a broad lake. Later, seven sons and seven daughters were born to the couple. After the sons and daughters married and had children of their own, Etim 'Ne gave each household a river or lake of its own. He took away the rivers of three sons who were poor hunters and didn't share their meat, but he restored them when the sons begged him to. When the grandchildren had grown and established new homes, Etim 'Ne sent for all the children and told them each to take seven stones from the streams of their parents, and to plant them at intervals to create new streams. All did so except one son who collected a basketful and emptied all his stones in one place. Waters came, covered his farm, and threatened to cover the whole earth. Everyone ran to Etim 'Ne, fleeing the flood. Etim 'Ne prayed to Obassi, who stopped the flood but let a lake remain covering the farm of the bad son. Etim 'Ne told the others the names of the rivers and streams which remained and told them to remember him as the bringer of water to the world. Two days later he died. [Courlander, pp. 267-269]

Mandingo (Ivory Coast):

A charitable man gave away everything he had to the animals. His family deserted him, but when he gave his last meal to the (unrecognized) god Ouende, Ouende rewarded him with three handfuls of flour which renewed itself and produced even greater riches. Then Ouende advised him to leave the area, and sent six months of rain to destroy his selfish neighbors. The descendants of the rich man became the present human race. [Kelsen, pp. 135-136]



After seven years of drought, the Great Woman said to the Great Man that rains had come elsewhere; how should they save themselves. The Great Man counseled the other giants to make boats from cut poplars, anchor them with ropes of willow roots 500 fathoms long, and provide them with seven days of food and with pots of melted butter to grease the ropes. Those who did not make all the preparations perished when the waters came. After seven days, the waters sank. But all plants and animals had perished, even the fish. The survivors, on the brink of starvation, prayed to the great god Numi-târom, who recreated living things. [Gaster, pp. 93-94]

Samoyed (north Siberia):

Seven people were saved in a boat from a flood. A terrible draught followed the flood, but the people were saved by digging a deep hole in which water formed. However, all but one young man and woman died of hunger. These two saved themselves by eating the mice which came out of the ground. The human race is descended from this couple. [Holmberg, pp. 367-368]

Yenisey-Ostyak (north central Siberia):

Flood waters rose for seven days. Some people and animals were saved by climbing on floating logs and rafters. A strong north wind blew for seven days and scattered the people, which is why there are now different peoples speaking different languages. [Holmberg, p. 367]

Kamchadale (northeast Siberia):

A flood covered the whole land in the early days of the world. A few people saved themselves on rafts made from bound-together tree trunks. They carried their property and provisions and used stones tied to straps as anchors to prevent being swept out to sea. They were left stranded on mountains when the waters receded. [Holmberg, p. 368; Gaster, p. 100]

Altaic (central Asia):

Tengys (Sea) was once lord over the earth. Nama, a good man, lived during his rule with three sons, Sozun-uul, Sar-uul, and Balyks. Ülgen commanded Nama to build an ark (kerep), but Nama's sight was failing, so he left the building to his sons. The ark was built on a mountain, and from it were hung eight 80-fathom cables with which to gauge water depth. Nama entered the ark with his family and the various animals and birds which had been driven there by the rising waters. Seven days later, the cables gave way from the earth, showing that the flood had risen 80 fathoms. Seven days later, Nama told his eldest son to open the window and look around, and the son saw only the summits of mountains. His father ordered him to look again later, and he saw only water and sky. At last the ark stopped in a group of eight mountains. On successive days, Nama released a raven, a crow, and a rook, none of which returned. On the fourth day, he sent out a dove, which returned with a birch twig and told why the other birds hadn't returned; they had found carcasses of a deer, dog, and horse respectively, and had stayed to feed on them. In anger, Nama cursed them to behave thus to the end of the world. When Nama became very old, his wife exhorted him to kill all the men and animals he had saved so that they, transferred to the other world, would be under his power. Nama didn't know what to do. Sozun-uul, who didn't dare to oppose his mother openly, told his father a story about seeing a blue-black cow devouring a human so only the legs were visible. Nama understood the fable and cleft his wife in two with his sword. Finally, Nama went to heaven, taking with him Sozun-uul and changing him into a constellation of five stars. [Holmberg, pp. 364-365]

Tuvinian (Soyot) (north of Mongolia):

The giant frog (or turtle) which supported the earth moved, which caused the cosmic ocean to begin flooding the earth. An old man who had guessed something like this would happen built an iron-reinforced raft, boarded it with his family, and was saved. When the waters receded, the raft was left on a high wooded mountain, where, it is said, it remains today. After the flood, Kezer-Tshingis-Kaira-Khan created everything around us. Among other things, he taught people how to make strong liquor. [Holmberg, p. 366]


Hailibu, a kind and generous hunter, saved a white snake from a crane which attacked it. Next day, he met the same snake with a retinue of other snakes. The snake told him that she was the Dragon King's daughter, and the Dragon King wished to reward him. She advised Hailibu to ask for the precious stone that the Dragon King keeps in his mouth. With that stone, she told him, he could understand the language of animals, but he would turn to stone if he ever divulged its secret to anyone else. Hailibu went to the Dragon King, turned down his many other treasures, and was given the stone. Years later, Hailibu heard some birds saying that the next day the mountains would erupt and flood the land. He went back home to warn his neighbors, but they didn't believe him. To convince them, he told them how he had learned of the coming flood and told them the full story of the precious stone. When he finished his story, he turned to stone. The villagers, seeing this happen, fled. It rained all the next night, and the mountains erupted, belching forth a great flood of water. When the people returned, they found the stone which Hailibu had turned into and placed it at the top of the mountain. For generations, they have offered sacrifices to the stone in honor of Hailibu's sacrifice. [Elder & Wong, pp. 75-77]

Buryat (eastern Siberia):

The god Burkhan advised a man to build a great ship, and the man worked on it in the forest for many long days, keeping his intention secret from his wife by telling her he was chopping wood. The devil, Shitkur, told the wife that her husband was building a boat and that it would be ready soon. He further told her to refuse to board and, when her husband strikes her in anger, to say, "Why do you strike me, Shitkur?" Because the woman followed this advise, the devil was able to accompany her when she boarded the boat. With the help of Burkhan, the man gathered specimens of all animals except Argalan-Zan, the Prince of animals (some say it was a mammoth), which considered itself too large to drown. The flood destroyed all animals left on earth, including the Prince of animals, whose bones can still be found. Once on the boat, the devil changed himself into a mouse and began gnawing holes in the hull, until Burkhan created a cat to catch it. [Holmberg, pp. 361-362]

Sagaiye (eastern Siberia):

God told Noj to build a ship. The devil tempted his wife to find out what he was building in the forest. When the devil found out, he destroyed by night what Noj built by day, so the boat was not completed when the flood came. God was forced to send down an iron vessel in which Noj, his wife and family, and all kinds of animals were saved. [Holmberg, p. 362]


To find out why Noah was building an ark, the devil told Noah's wife to prepare a strong drink. Noah, drunk from this drink, told the secret God entrusted him with. The devil hindered Noah's work, and when the ship was finished, sneaked into it in the company of the wife, who had tempted her husband into saying the devil's name. Once in the ark, he assumed the form of a mouse and gnawed holes in the bottom of the ark. [Holmberg, p. 363]


Manu, the first human, found a small fish in his washwater. The fish begged protection from the larger fishes, in return for which it would save Manu. Manu kept the fish safe, transferring it to larger and larger reservoirs as it grew, eventually taking it to the ocean. The fish warned Manu of a coming deluge and told him to build a ship. When the flood rose, the fish came, and Manu tied the craft to its horn. The fish led him to a northern mountain and told Manu to tie the ship's rope to a tree to prevent it from drifting. Manu, alone of all creatures, survived. He made offerings of clarified butter, sour milk, whey, and curds. From these, a woman arose, calling herself Manu's daughter. Whatever blessings he invoked through her were granted him. Through her, he generated this race. [Gaster, pp. 94-95; Kelsen, p. 128; Brinton, pp. 227-228]

The great sage Manu, son of Vivasvat, practiced austere fervor. He stood on one leg with upraised arm, looking down unblinkingly, for 10,000 years. While so engaged on the banks of the Chirini, a fish came to him and asked to be saved from larger fish. Manu took the fish to a jar and, as the fish grew, from thence to a large pond, then to the river Ganga, then to the ocean. Though large, the fish was pleasant and easy to carry. Upon being released into the ocean, the fish told Manu that soon all terrestrial objects would be dissolved in the time of the purification. It told him to build a strong ship with a cable attached and to embark with the seven sages (rishis) and certain seeds, and to then watch for the fish, since the waters could not be crossed without it. Manu embarked as enjoined and thought on the fish. The fish, knowing his desire, came, and Manu fastened the ship's cable to its horn. The fish dragged the ship through roiling waters for many years, at last bringing it to the highest peak of Himavat, which is still known as Naubandhana ("the Binding of the Ship"). The fish then revealed itself as Parjapati Brahma and said Manu shall create all living things and all things moving and fixed. Manu performed a great act of austere fervor to clear his uncertainty and then began calling things into existence. [Frazer, pp. 185-187]

The heroic king Manu, son of the Sun, practiced austere fervor in Malaya and attained transcendent union with the Deity. After a million years, Brahma bestowed on Manu a boon and asked him to choose it. Manu asked for the power to preserve all existing things upon the dissolution of the universe. Later, while offering oblations in his hermitage, a carp fell in his hands, which Manu preserved. The fish grew and cried to Manu to preserve it, and Manu moved it to progressively larger vessels, eventually moving it to the river Ganga and then to the ocean. When it filled the ocean, Manu recognized it as the god Janardana, or Brahma. It told Manu that the end of the yuga was approaching, and soon all would be covered with water. He was to preserve all creatures and plants aboard a ship which had been prepared. It said that a hundred years of drought and famine would begin this day, which would be followed by fires from the sun and from underground that would consume the earth and the ether, destroying this world, the gods, and the planets. Seven clouds from the steam of the fire will inundate the earth, and the three worlds will be reduced to one ocean. Manu's ship alone will remain, fastened by a rope to the great fish's horn. Having announced all this, the great being vanished. The deluge occurred as stated; Janardana appeared in the form of a horned fish, and the serpent Ananta came in the form of a rope. Manu, by contemplation, drew all creatures towards him and stowed them in the ship and, after making obeisance to Janardana, attached the ship to the fish's horn with the serpent-rope. [Frazer, pp. 188-190]

At the end of the past kalpa, the demon Hayagriva stole the sacred books from Brahma, and the whole human race became corrupt except the seven Nishis, and especially Satyavrata, the prince of a maritime region. One day when he was bathing in a river, he was visited by a fish which craved protection and which he transferred to successively larger vessels as it grew. At last Satyavrata recognized it as the god Vishnu, "The Lord of the Universe." Vishnu told him that in seven days all the corrupt creatures will be destroyed by a deluge, but Satyavrata would be saved in a large vessel. He was told to take aboard the miraculous vessel all kinds of medicinal herbs, food esculant grains, the seven Nishis and their wives, and pairs of brute animals. After seven days, the oceans began to overflow the coasts and constant rain began flooding the earth. A large vessel floated in on the rising waters, and Satyavrata and the Nishis entered with their wives and cargo. During the deluge, Vishnu preserved the ark by again taking the form of a giant fish and tying the ark to himself with a huge sea serpent. When the waters subsided, he slew the demon who had stolen the holy books and communicated their contents to Satyavrata. [H. Miller, pp. 289-290; Howey, pp. 389-390; Frazer, pp. 191-193]

One windy day, the sea flooded the port city of Dwaravati. All its occupants perished except Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, and his brother Balarama, who were walking in the forests of Raivataka Hill. Krishna left his brother alone. Sesha, the serpent who supports the world, withdrew his energy from Balarama; in a jet of light, Balarama's spirit entered the sea, and his body fell over. Krishna decided that tomorrow he would destroy the world for all its evils, and he went to sleep. Jara the hunter passed by, mistook Krishna's foot for the face of a stag, and shot it. The wound to Krishna's foot was slight, but Jara found Krishna dead. He had saffron robes, four arms, and a jewel on his breast. The waters still rose and soon lapped at Jara's feet. Jara felt ashamed but helpless; he left deciding never to speak of the incident. [Buck, pp. 408-409]

Bhil (central India):

Out of gratitude for the dhobi feeding it, a fish told a dhobi (a pious man) that a great deluge was coming. The man prepared a large box in which he embarked with his sister and a cock. After the flood, a messenger of Rama sent to find the state of affairs discovered the box by the cock's crowing. Rama had the box brought to him and questioned the man. Facing north, east, and west, the man swore that the woman was his sister; facing south, the man said she was his wife. Told that the fish gave the warning, Rama had the fish's tongue removed, and fish have been tongueless since. Rama ordered the man to repopulate the world, so he married his sister, and they had seven daughters and seven sons. The firstborn received a horse as a gift from Rama, but, being unable to ride, he instead went into the forest to cut wood, and so his descendants have been woodcutters to this day. [Gaster, pp. 95-96]

Kamar (Raipur District, Central India):

A boy and girl were born to the first man and woman. God sent a deluge to destroy a jackal which had angered him. The man and woman heard it coming, so they shut their children in a hollow piece of wood with provisions to last until the flood subsides. The deluge came, and everything on earth was drowned. After twelve years, God created two birds and sent them to see if the jackal had been drowned. They saw nothing but a floating log and, landing on it, heard the children inside, who were saying to each other that they had only three days of provisions left. The birds told God, who caused the flood to subside, took the children from the log, and heard their story. In due time they were married. God gave each of their children the name of a different caste, and all people are descended from them. [Gaster, p. 96]

Assam (northeastern India):

A flood once covered the whole world and drowned everyone except for one couple, who climbed up a tree on the highest peak of the Leng hill. In the morning, they discovered that they had been changed into a tiger and tigress. Seeing the sad state of the world, Pathian, the creator, sent a man and a woman from a cave on the hill. But as they emerged from the cave, they were terrified by the sight of the tigers. They prayed to the Creator for strength and killed the beasts. After that, they lived happily and repopulated the world. [Gaster, p. 97]

Tamil (southern India):

Half of the land mass Kumari Kandam, which was south of India, sank in a great flood, destroying the first Tamil Sangam (literary academy). The people moved to the other half and established the second Tamil Sangam there, but the rest of Kumari too sank beneath the sea. The lone survivor was a Tamil prince named Thirumaaran, who managed to rescue some Tamil literary classics and swim with them to present-day Tamil Nadu. [Sundar Narayan, personal communication, citing Appadurai; see also Adigal, p. 70 (11:20-21)]

Lepcha (Sikkim):

A couple escaped a great flood on the top of a mountain called Tendong, near Darjeeling. [Gaster, p. 96]


Tibet was almost totally inundated, until the god Gya took compassion on the survivors, drew off the waters through Bengal, and sent teachers to civilize the people, who until then had been little better than monkeys. Those people repopulated the land. [Gaster, p. 97]

Singpho (Assam):

Mankind was once destroyed because they had neglected the proper sacrifices as the slaughter of buffaloes and pigs. Two men, Khun litang and Chu liyang, survived with their wives and, dwelling on Singrabhum hill, became humanity's ancestors. [Gaster, p. 97]

Lushai (Assam):

The king of the water demons fell in love with the woman Ngai-ti (Loved One). She rejected him and ran away. He pursued and surrounded the whole human race with water on the hill Phun-lu-buk, said to be in the far northeast. Threatended by waters which continued to rise, the people threw Ngai-ti into the flood, which then receded. The receding water carved great valleys; until then, the earth had been level. [Gaster, p. 97]

Lisu (northwest Yunnan, China, and neighboring areas):

After death came into the world as a result of a macaque's curse, sky and earth longed for human souls and bones. That is how the flood began. An orphaned brother and sister lived in squalor in a village. A pair of golden birds flew down to them one day, warned them that a huge wave would flood the earth, and told them to take shelter in a gourd and not to come out until they heard the birds again. The two children warned their neighbors, but the people didn't believe them. The children sawed off the top of a gourd and went inside. For ninety-nine days, there was no wind or rain, and the earth became parched. Then torrents of rain fell, and the resulting flood washed everything away. The brother and sister occasionally could hear the gourd bump against the bottom of heaven. After long waiting, they heard the birds calling, left the gourd, and found they had landed atop a mountain, and the flood had receded. But now there were nine suns and seven moons in the sky, and they scorched the earth during the day. The two golden birds returned with a golden hammer and silver tongs and instructed the children how to use them to get the dragon king's bow and arrows. Brother and sister went to the dragon pond and struck the reef-home of the dragon king with the hammer. This raised such a racket that the dragon king sent his servants (various fish) to investigate. The children grabbed the fish with the tongs and threw them on the bank. At last, the dragon king himself came to investigate and had to give his bow and arrows when he was likewise caught. With these, brother and sister shot down all but the brightest sun and moon. Brother and sister then went in search of other people, exploring north and south respectively. They found nobody else, and the golden birds appeared again and urged them to marry. They refused, but the birds told them it was the will of heaven. After divinations in the form of several improbable events (tortoise shells landing a certain way, a broken millstone came together, and the brother shooting an arrow through a needle's eye--all happening three times), they consented. They had six sons and six daughters which traveled different directions and became the ancestors of different races. [L. Miller, pp. 78-84]

Lolo (southwestern China):

In primeval times, men were wicked. The patriarch Tse-gu-dzih sent a messenger down to earth, asking for some flesh and blood from a mortal. Only one man, Du-mu, complied. In wrath, Tse-gu-dzih locked the rain-gates, and the waters mounted to the sky. Du-mu was saved in a log hollowed out of a Pieris tree, together with his four sons and otters, wild ducks, and lampreys. The civilized peoples who can write are descended from the sons; the ignorant races are descendants of wooden figures whom Du-mu constructed after the deluge. [Gaster, pp. 99-100]

Jino (southern Yunnan, China, near Mekong R.):

From the time of creation, people's lives were happy and peaceful, but one year a great flood came. The parents of Mahei and Maniu, twin brother and sister, felled a big tree, hollowed it out, and covered both ends with cowhide. They attached brass bells to the outside, and inside they put grain and seed, the two children, and a knife and cake of beeswax. They instructed the children not to come out until the flood had gone down. The flood came, and the children floated for an undeterminable period. Mahei got impatient and cut a small hole with the knife. He saw muddy waves surging and dead bodies everywhere, and he closed the hole with wax. Later, Maniu cut a hole and saw nothing but water; she likewise filled the hole. Finally, they heard the bells ringing, indicating they had touched ground, and they left the drum. They were the only survivors. When they got old, they realized that there would be no people left if they died. Mahei suggested marriage, but his sister was ashamed to marry her brother. Mahei suggested she consult the magic tree. Maniu went there, but Mahei took a shortcut and hid behind the tree. Disguising his voice, he answered Maniu that she should marry her brother. They did so, but by then they were too old to have children. The sole gourd seed they had carried in the wooden drum had grown profusely, and although most of the fruits dried and rotted, one stayed ripe. They had hung it in their shed. One day, they heard faint voices coming from the gourd. They heated their fire tongs red hot to burn a hole in the gourd, but each time they tried, a voice said "Don't burn me!" Finally, one voice, calling herself Grandma Apierer, said to burn her or none could get out. They burnt a hole in the navel on the gourd's bottom. First out was Apo, ancestor of the Konge people; his skin was darkened by the soot around the hole. The next out, in order, were Han, Dai, and last of all Jino (which literally means "last squeeze"); they became ancestors of their people. Since then, rice offerings have been made to Apierer, who gave her life so that the Jino might live. [L. Miller, pp. 68-73]

Karen (Burma):

Two brothers survived a world-wide deluge on a raft. The waters rose until they reached to heaven. A mango tree grew from the celestial vault, and the younger brother climbed up to eat its fruit. But the flood suddenly subsided, stranding him there. (The story breaks off here.) [Frazer, p. 208]

Chingpaw (Upper Burma):

When the deluge came, Pawpaw Nan-chaung and his sister Chang-hko saved themselves in a large boat. They took with them nine cocks and nine needles. When the storm and rain had passed, they each day threw out one cock and one needle to see whether the waters were falling. On the ninth day, they finally heard the cock crow and the needle strike bottom. They left their boat, wandered about, and came to a cave home of two nats or elves. The elves bade them stay and make themselves useful, which they did. Soon the sister gave birth, and the old elfin woman minded the baby while its parents were away at work. The old woman, who was a witch, disliked the infant's squalling, and one day took it to a place where nine roads met, cut it to pieces, and scattered its blood and body about. She carried some of the tidbits back to the cave, made it into a curry, and tricked the mother into eating it. When the mother learned this, she fled to the crossroads and cried to the Great Spirit to return her child and avenge its death. The Great Spirit told her he couldn't restore her baby, but he would make her mother of all nations of men. Then, from each road, people of different nations sprang up from the fragments of the murdered babe. [Gaster, pp. 97-98]


The Supreme Sovereign ordered the water god Gong Gong to create a flood as punishment and warning for human misbehavior. Gong Gong extended the flood for 22 years, and people had to live in high mountain caves and in trees, fighting with wild animals for scarce resources. Unable to persuade the Supreme Sovereign to stop the flood, and told by an owl and a turkey about _Xirang_ or Growing Soil, the supernatural hero Gun stole Growing Soil from heaven to dam the waters. Before Gun was finished, however, the Supreme Sovereign sent the fire god Zhu Rong to execute him for his theft. The Growing Soil was taken back to heaven, and the floods continued. However, Gun's body didn't decay, and when it was cut apart three years later, his son Yu emerged in the form of a horned dragon. Gun's body also transformed into a dragon at that time and thenceforth lived quietly in the deeps. The Supreme Sovereign was fearful of Yu's power, so he cooperated and gave Yu the Growing Soil and the use of the dragon Ying. Yu led other gods to drive away Gong Gong, distributed the Growing Soil to remove most of the flood, and led the people to fashion rivers from Ying's tracks and thus channel the remaining floodwaters to the sea. [Walls, pp. 94-100]

The goddess Nu Kua fought and defeated the chief of a neighboring tribe, driving him up a mountain. The chief, chagrined at being defeated by a woman, beat his head against the Heavenly Bamboo with the aim of wreaking vengeance on his enemies and killing himself. He knocked it down, tearing a hole in the sky. Floods poured out, inundating the world and killing everyone but Nu Kua and her army; her divinity made her and her followers safe from it. Nu Kua patched the hole with a plaster made from stones of five different colors, and the floods ceased. [Werner, p. 225; Vitaliano, p. 163]

Miao (Hmong) (southern China, north Thailand, Laos):

After people had lived on the earth for 9,000 years, two brothers noticed that someone was coming at night and undoing everything they had done in the field in the day. They laid in wait and saw an old man filling their furrows. The elder brother wanted to kill him, but the younger brother said they should first question him for his reason. The old man said their work was futile because a flood would soon come. The brothers realized the man was the Lord of the Sky and asked him what they should do. He told the elder, violent-tempered brother to build an iron boat and the younger brother to build a wooden boat and to take his sister, males and females of each animal species, and two seeds of each species of plant. In the seventh month rain fell for four days and nights. The iron boat sank, but the wooden boat floated up to the sky. Seeing the earth flooded, the Lord of the Sky sent a dragon in the shape of a rainbow to dry it. The brother wanted to marry his sister, but she resisted. But after various tests proved it was the will of the Lord of the Sky, they married. Their child had no head or limbs. Thinking it was an egg, they cut it open. It contained no child, but the pieces became people when they fell to earth. By cutting it into the smallest possible pieces, they created innumerable children and repopulated the earth. [Geddes, pp. 22-23]

Two brothers plowed their field daily, but Ye Seo came at night and turned the soil back. The brothers watched and caught the old man. The other brother wanted to beat him, but the younger brother said, "Let us ask why he is doing it." The old man said that they should stop farming because a deluge was coming. "The older brother is not a good speaker. Let him make an iron barrel. The younger brother speaks well. Let him go and make a wooden barrel." When the flood came, the older brother sank in the iron barrel, but the younger brother, with his sister, floated. Ye Seo took the wooden drum into the sky. With a four-pronged weapon, he dug deep pits in the ground into which the water receded. Ye Seo sent the brother and sister to earth and wrote their names in a book. The sister was unwilling to marry her brother, but after various tests, they became convinced that it was the will of heaven, and they married. The next morning the wife gave birth to a son like a piece of wood. They cut it into pieces from which people arose. [Geddes, p. 23]

Joser (Ye Seo), the Spirit of the Sky, sent two spirits to warn the people of a coming flood. Some people weeding their fields found the weeds back the next morning. They watched and caught the two spirits. One man wanted to shoot them, but his companion wanted to ask the spirits why they were replanting the weeds. The spirits told them that a flood was coming and they should be preparing drums instead of farming. Only one man took their advice. When the flood came, he put his two children, a brother and sister, in the drum, and they floated up to the sky. Joser heard them beating on the inside of their drum and saw that the earth was flooded. With a long stick he punched holes into the earth to drain the water. This is why the earth's surface is uneven. When the children landed, Joser asked which was the older and learned it was the brother. He told the two to marry, as there were no other people on earth. The girl gave birth to a baby with no limbs or head. The couple complained to Joser, who told them to cut the baby into many pieces and throw them in every direction. Each piece gave rise to a different people. [Geddes, p. 23-24]

Long ago, the whole universe turned upside down, and the whole world was flooded. All living beings perished except one brother and his sister, who took refuge in a large wooden funeral drum. The drum rose and bumped against the sky. Heaven heard it and sent sky people to observe. They used copper lances and iron spears to pierce holes in the land, and the water drained away. The brother and sister heard the drum land and emerged to find no other living beings. The brother wanted to marry his sister, but she resisted. She proposed, as a test, that they roll rocks down opposite slopes of a mountain. If they were found together at the summit the next day, she would marry him. The brother got up during the night and carried the two stones to the top of the mountain. The sister saw them together the next morning and concluded that they could be married. Later, they gave birth to a child like a round, smooth stone. They cut the egg-like creature into little pieces and threw them in different directions. Two pieces that landed on the goat house became the Lee clan. Two that fell in the pig pen became clan Moua. Two that landed in the garden became the clans Vang and Yang. Thus arose all the Hmong clans. The bizarre child also produced chickens, pigs, oxen, insects, birds, and all other living things. [Johnson and Yang, pp. 115-117]

Yao (northern Vietnam):

Chang Lo Co built a house roofed with banana leaves. The Thunder Chief, wanting to destroy the house, transformed himself into a cock and landed on it, but he fell from the slippery roof and was caught and caged by Chang. Chang planned to slaughter the cock for a party and went to buy some wine. While he was away, his son Phuc Hy saw a man now in the cage and went to investigate. The thunder chief asked for a drink of water, which the boy fetched for him. The water gave the thunder chief his strength back, and he broke from his cage. Grateful to the boy, he have Phuc Hy a tooth, telling him to sow it, and it would grow into a gourd in seven days. He warned the boy to take refuge inside the gourd then. Phuc Hy did as he was instructed. On the seventh day, the gourd was mature, a heavy rain had begun, and he and his sister entered the gourd and sealed the opening with beeswax. They also brought food and a pair of each species of domestic animal. Chang Lo Co was also aware of the thunder chief's vengeance. He built a raft and sailed on the flood to the gate of heaven to fight the thunder chief, but the flood withdrew too quickly. Chang's raft crashed on a mountain, killing him. The gourd carrying the siblings landed on Con Lon Mountain. Each sought a spouse, but all other people had been killed. One day, Phuc Hy met a tortoise which told him to marry his sister. Angered by this, he threw a stone at the tortoise, breaking its shell. The tortoise regained its form immediately, but with marks where it had broken. Later, a bamboo told Phuc Hy the same thing, and he cut the bamboo to pieces. The bamboo regenerated, albeit with marks where it had been cut. Seeing these omens, Phuc Hy told his sister that they should marry, but the sister refused. That night, they slept on opposite sides of a stream. Two trees grew from their bellies as they slept and entangled together. Three years, three months, and three days later, she gave birth to a gourd. Phuc Hy told her to cut it open and sow the seeds, which grew into people. She began sowing in the lowlands and had just a few seeds left when she reached the uplands, which is why the population is greater in the plains. [Dang Nghiem Van, pp. 326-327]


A son was borne to a fairy and a laurel tree; the fairy returned to heaven when the boy was seven years old. One day, rains came and lasted for many months, flooding the earth with a raging sea. The laurel, in danger of falling, told his son to ride him when it came uprooted by the waves. The boy did so, floating on the tree for many days. One day a crowd of ants floated by and cried out to be saved. After asking the tree for permission, the boy gave them refuge on the branches of the laurel. Later, a group of mosquitoes flew by and also asked to be saved. Again, the boy asked the tree for permission, was granted it, and gave the mosquitoes rest. Then another boy floated by and asked to be saved. This time the tree refused permission when its son asked. The son asked twice more, and after the third time the tree said, "Do what you like," and the son rescued the other boy. At last the tree came to rest on the summit of a mountain. The insects expressed their gratitude and left. The two boys, being very hungry, went and found a house where an old woman lived with her own daughter and a foster-daughter. As everyone else in the world had perished and the subsiding waters allowed farming again, the woman decided to marry her daughters to the boys, her own going to the cleverer boy. The second boy maliciously told the woman that the other boy could quickly gather millet grains scattered on sand. The woman tested this claim, and the first boy despaired of ever succeeding, when the ants came to his aid, filling the grain bag in a few minutes. The other boy had watched, and he told the woman that the task hadn't been done by the first boy himself, so the woman still couldn't decide which daughter to marry to which boy. She decided to let the boys decide by chance, going to one room or another in total darkness. A mosquito came and told the Son of the Tree which room the old woman's daughter was in, so those two were married, and the second boy married the foster-daughter. The human race is descended from those two couples. [Zong, pp. 16-18]

Young Gim's father was killed by robbers, and Gim set out to track them and get revenge. On the way, he met another bereaved boy hunting the same robbers. They became sworn brothers, but they were separated when a storm upset their ferry as they were crossing a river. Gim was rescued by another boy who had been orphaned by the same robbers. They too swore to be brothers but were separated when their ferry sank in a storm. Gim was rescued and hidden by an old woman; he was on the island of the robbers but was helpless from his injuries. One day a mysterious man came by and asked Gim to go with him. Gim lived with the man in the mountains studying magic until he was sixteen, whereupon the man told him to go and rescue the king from the robbers, and that he would meet Gim again in three years exactly. Gim set out, finding a magic horse, arms, and armor along the way, and arrived at the king's castle when it was on the point of surrender. In the enemy camp, he found a black face belching fire at the castle, a genii studying astrology, a rat whose swinging tail produced a flood which threatened the castle, and a giant who hurled flames at the King's camp. Gim fought them with his magic but was overwhelmed by their numbers. He fled with the king to an island, but the rat tried to submerge it with an even greater flood from its tail. A butterfly led Gim to a cavern in a distant mountain, where he met the first boy he had encountered. They went back to fight together, but the other boy was killed and the island submerged, and Gim and the King retreated to a second island. Gim was led by a crow to another cavern in the mountains where he met his other friend. They returned to fight, but again the friend was killed, the island submerged, and Gim and the King had to retreat. When a third island was threatened with the flood, they took refuge on a ship. Gim's mentor then came (three years having elapsed) and with his magic called down thunderbolts which destroyed all of the enemy. Gim went to the enemy island, found his mother, and married the sister of his second friend. [Zong, pp. 62-66]

The River Dedong flooded the countryside. An old man in Pyongyang, rowing about in a boat, found and rescued a deer, a snake, and a boy from the waters. He carried them to shore and released them, but the boy had lost his parents in the flood and so became the man's adopted son. One day the deer came and led the man to a buried treasure of gold and silver, and the man became rich. The foster-son became reckless with the money, and he and his father argued. The boy accused the man of theft, and the man was imprisoned. The snake came to him in his cell and bit his arm, which then swelled painfully. But then the snake returned with a small bottle. The man applied the medicine to his arm, which cured it at once. In the morning, he heard that the magistrate's wife was dying of a snakebite, so he sent word that he could cure her. This he did with the snake's ointment. He was released, and the foster-son was arrested and punished. [Zong, pp. 94-95]

A foundling infant grew up incredibly fast and soon showed signs of fantastic strength. He earned the name "Iron-shoes" from the footwear he needed. He set out on a journey and met with and joined three other extraordinary men--"Nose-wind", who had extraordinarily powerful breath; "Long-rake", who crumbled mountains with his rake, and "Waterfall", who made rivers by pissing. They went to an old woman's home and were invited to spend the night, but the woman locked them in, and the men realized that she and her four sons were tigers in disguise. The tigers tried to kill them by roasting the room, but Nose-wind kept it cool by his blowing. The next day, the woman challenged them to a contest of gathering pine trees while her sons stacked them. When it became clear that the four brothers ripped up the trees faster than the tigers could stack them, the woman set fire to the logs. Waterfall, though, made water which not only put out the fire, but created a flood that nearly drowned the tigers. Nose-wind blew on the water and froze it. Iron-shoes skated out and kicked the heads off the tigers, and Long-rake broke up the ice and threw it far and wide, eliminating any trace of the flood. [Zong, pp. 162-166]

Munda (north-central India):

Sing Bonga created man from the dust of the ground, but they soon grew wicked and lazy, would not wash, and spent all their time dancing and singing. Sing Bonga regretted creating them and resolved to destroy them by flood. He sent a stream of fire-water (Sengle-Daa) from heaven, and all people died save a brother and sister who had hidden beneath a tiril tree (hence tiril wood is black and charred today). God thought better of his deed and created the snake Lurbing to stop the fiery rain. This snake held up the showers by puffing up its soul into the shape of a rainbow. Now Mundas associate the rainbow with Lurbing destroying the rain. [Frazer, p. 196]

Santal (Bengal):

When Pilchu Haram and Pilchu Budhi, the first man and woman, reached adolescence, fire-rain fell for seven days. They took refuge in a stone cave and emerged unharmed when the flood was over. Jaher-era asked them where they had been, and they replied that they had been under a rock. [Frazer, p. 197]

When social distinctions were assigned to the various tribes, the Marndis were overlooked. Ambir Singh and Bir Singh, two members of that tribe from Mount Here, were incensed at this slight, and they prayed for fire from heaven to destroy the other tribes. Fire fell and devastated the country, destroying half the population. The home of Ambir Singh and Bir Singh was stone, so they escaped unhurt. Kisku Raj heard what had happened and was told that Ambir Singh and Bir Singh were responsible. He ordered them to explain themselves, and they told of their being overlooked in the distribution of distinctions. Kisku Raj told them not to act thus, and they would receive an office. They stopped the fire-rain, and the Marndi were appointed stewards over the property of kings and nobles and over all rice. [Frazer, pp. 197-198]

While people were at Khojkaman, their misdeeds became so great that the creator Thakur Jiu sent a fire-rain to punish them. Only two people escaped, in a cave on Mount Haradata. [Frazer, p. 198]

Ho (southwestern Bengal):

The first people became incestuous and unheedful of God or their betters. Sirma Thakoor, or Sing Bonga, the creator, destroyed them, some say by water and others say by fire. He spared sixteen people. [Gaster, p. 96]

Bahnar (Cochin China):

A kite once quarrelled with the crab and pecked a hole in its skull (which can still be seen today). In revenge, the crab caused the sea and rivers to swell until the waters reached the sky. The only survivors were a brother and sister who took a pair of all kinds of animals with them in a huge chest. They floated for seven days and nights. Then the brother heard a cock crowing outside, sent by the spirits to signal that the flood had abated. All disembarked, birds first, then the animals, then the two people. The brother and sister did not know how they would live, for they had eaten all the rice that was stored in the chest. However, a black ant brought two grains of rice. The brother planted them, and the plain was covered with a rice crop the next morning. [Gaster, p. 98]

Kammu (northern Thailand):

A brother and sister tried to dig out a bamboo rat, but it told them it was digging to escape a coming flood and instructed them to seal themselves inside a drum to save themselves. They did so. Some richer people took refuge on rafts, but the rafts overturned when the waters receded, and those people died. The brother and sister made a hole, saw water, sealed the drum again, and waited longer. The second time they made a hole, they saw dry land and emerged. (In another version, they took along a needle and knew the flood was over when no water leaked in the hole they poked.) They looked far and wide for mates, but they were the only survivors. A malcoha cuckoo sang to them, "brother and sister should embrace one another." They slept together. After seven years, the child was born as a gourd. They put it behind their house and went about their work. Later, hearing noises from the gourd, they burnt a hole in its shell, and people of the different races came out, first Rumeet, then Kammu, Thai, Westerner, and Chinese. The Rumeet are darker because they rubbed off charcoal around the hole. At first, none of those people could speak. They sat down in a row on a tree trunk, it broke, and they all cried out, and with that they were able to speak. Later, the different people all learned different ways of writing. [Lindell et. al., pp. 268-278]

Khmu (northwest Vietnam):

A young brother and sister, orphaned and poor, went hunting and saw a bamboo rat. They chased it into a hole and soon dug it out. The rat begged for its life and offered, in exchange, to tell them how to survive the great rain that would soon flood the entire world. The children released the rat, and it told them to prepare a hollow log and stock it with food and water for seven days, to seal the ends with beeswax, and to take a porcupine quill to pierce the wax and test for water after seven days. The rain came; the seas and rivers overflowed. The children had done as the rat advised and emerged from the log after seven days. The log had settled on an oleaster tree, which is why the tree is crooked even to this day. The children separated and went in different directions looking for survivors but found none. After long searching, they met each other again and, dispirited and desperate, sat down and cried. A tgook bird advised them to marry in order to give birth to humankind. Seven years, seven months, and seven days after the woman became pregnant, she gave birth to a gourd. The husband wanted to smash it, but the woman stopped him and placed it in the smoking-rack above the cooking fire. Returning home from their field one day, the couple heard laughing coming from their house, which fell silent when they entered. The husband placed his ear to the gourd and heard noises coming from it. Fearing her children inside could be hurt by cutting the gourd open, the wife told her husband to prick a hole in it with a burnt stick instead. First the Xa (Khmu) came out. The husband enlarged the hole and the Thai, the Lao, and the Lue came in turn. The wife took the stick and cut the gourd open, and the Vietnamese and Chinese came out. The Xa were soot-covered, so their skin is black. The Thai, Lao, and Lue were less sooty, so they are not as dark. The Vietnamese and Chinese were not soot-covered, so their skin is white. [Dang Nghiem Van, p. 305]

Sedang (southern Mon-Khmer):

Humans were once very plentiful and had long lifespans. Rice grains, when they matured, flew into homes on their own, and fish jumped from the water onto the grill. People became decadent and engaged in promiscuous sex. Yang ("heaven") became angered when he saw this. He sent Bok Glaih to make thunder and rain, causing a worldwide flood that drowned humanity. Only one woman, Xnghi, and a dog escaped on the highest peak of Ngoc Linh Mountain. One day the dog urinated on a spot where the woman had urinated earlier. Xnghi became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When the boy grew up, he asked who is father was, but Xnghi would not tell him. Once, though, the mother asked her son to take food to his father in the swidden. The son happily expected to see his father at last but found only the dog. The dog asked for the food; the son refused, saying it was for his father. The dog said, "I am your father." Thinking the dog was lying, the son beat it to death. When he told his mother about the incident, she said nothing. When the boy became a man, he wanted to marry. The mother said that, as there was nobody else, they would become husband and wife. (In another version, the mother had twins, a boy and a girl. They went in search of spouses, met each other in the dark and, not recognizing each other, slept together.) The mother gave birth to four sons and four daughters, who in time married among themselves. The eldest couple went to the plains and became ancestors of the Doan (Viet) people. The second couple became ancestors of the Lao people. The third went to the midlands and gave rise to the Cham people, and the last stayed and became ancestors of the Tmoi. [Dang Nghiem Van, p. 324-325]

Andaman Islands (Bay of Bengal):

Some time after their creation, men grew disobedient. In anger, Puluga, the Creator, sent a flood which covered the whole land, except perhaps Saddle Peak where Puluga himself resided. Of all creatures, the only survivors were two men and two women who had the fortune to be in a canoe when the flood came. The waters sank and they landed, but they found themselves in a sad plight. Puluga recreated birds and animals for their use, but the world was still damp and without fire. The ghost of one of the peoples' friends took the form of a kingfisher and tried to steal a brand from Puluga's fire, but he accidentally dropped it on the Creator. Incensed, Puluga hurled the brand at the bird, but it missed and landed where the four flood survivors were seated. After the people had warmed themselves and had leisure to reflect, they began to murmur against the Creator and even plotted to murder him. However, the Creator warned them away from such rash action, explained that men had brought the flood on themselves by their disobedience, and that another such offense would likewise be met with punishment. That was the last time the Creator spoke with men face to face. [Gaster, pp. 104-105]

Zhuang (China):

Thunder God demanded half of Bubo's crops, but Bubo tricked him into taking the tops of taro and the roots of rice. Thunder God retaliated by withdrawing rain from the earth. Bubo led his people to open the copper sluice gate of the heavenly river a crack, but Thunder God closed it tight and lifted heaven higher so the people couldn't come again. Bubo went to the Dragon King to demand water of him. Dragon King refused, but he was forced to release his stream when Bubo held him tight and the people plucked out almost all his beard. By the third year, this stream dried up. Bubo climbed the sun-moon tree on Mount Bachi to heaven to fight Thunder God. Qigao, one of the thunder soldiers, told Bubo that Thunder God was determined to kill people with drought and pointed out his location. Bubo caught him and made him promise to send rain in three days, but Thunder God went back on his promise. Qigao brought world that Thunder God was grinding his axe. Bubo put a slippery surface on his roof and instructed his wife and children to stand ready with clubs and a net. Thunder God came in a rainstorm and tried to land on Bubo's house but slipped off and was captured. Bubo imprisoned Thunder God in a granary, warning his family not to give him an ax or any water, but his children, Fuyi and his sister, were enticed to give him some indigo ink, and the moisture gave Thunder God the strength to escape. The children were angry that he had tricked them, but Thunder God promised that he would repay them by saving them from the flood that he would bring in a few days. He gave them one of his teeth and told them to plant it. They did so, and it grew into a vine with a giant gourd fruit. Fuyi and his sister scooped out the pith and entered it. Thunder God breached the dike holding back the river of heaven, and Dragon King, in revenge against Bubo's plucking his beard, released his lake water, too. The water rose over the mountains as high as heaven's ceiling. Bubo, though, rode the waves floating on an inverted umbrella. He made for the gate of heaven and attacked Thunder God, chopping off his feet. (Thunder God later replaced them with chicken feet.) Thunder God, with the help of Dragon King, rapidly made the water subside so Bubo could not reach him. Bubo and his umbrella dropped from the sky and were smashed. Bubo's heart was thrown onto the ceiling of heaven and remains there as the planet Venus. Fuyi and his sister landed safely in the soft gourd. They wandered the earth but found nobody else. They came across a turtle which said the two of them should marry. Fuyi and his sister said, "How can a brother and sister marry?" and said if the turtle can come back to life after they beat it death, they would marry. They beat it to death, whereupon it laughed and crawled away. A bamboo also told them to marry; they cut it down, and it came back to life and laughed as they left. Venus spoke to them, told them to build fires on two different mountains, and if the smoke columns joined, they could marry. They did so, the smoke columns came together, Venus laughed, and the brother and sister married. They gave birth to a fleshball. Not knowing what to do with it, they minced it up and scattered the pieces, and the pieces became men and women. Qigao became a worm, which Thunder God attacks when he comes to the surface. [L. Miller, pp. 137-150]

Sui (southern Guizhou, China, along Long and Duliu rivers):

Grandpa Xiang and his wife Ya lived at the food of Sun mountain, barely getting by. One day, there was a beautiful rainbow after a downpour, and Xiang followed it as he picked bamboo shoots. He saw an eagle clutch a tiny red snake. In pity for the snake, Xiang yelled and threw his basket at the eagle, which dropped the snake and flew away. Xiang saw the snake disappear in a flash of light, and a column of smoke drifted up the mountain. That night he dreamed that a golden dragon thanked him for saving the life of the dragon's daughter and told him to visit. Grandma Ya had the same dream, so they set out, with their grandchildren, across three mountain passes and up a long slope, as the dream had directed. A beautiful girl came and told them that she had gone out earlier, entranced by the rainbow, and Xiang had rescued her. She led them to an idyllic pond and invited them to settle there. They did, and they grew younger and stronger from eating the fish of the pool. After a year, Xiang went back to his village and invited the people to live up on Sun Mountain with him. They did so and lived happily for some time. But an evil man wasted fish, polluted the pond, and finally poisoned all the fish. One dying fish told Xiang to make it a corn-flour body, feed it for 81 days on dew, and make a wooden house for himself. He did so, and all the people except the evil man made wooden houses. After 81 days, a fierce gale came, while the sky darkened and lightning flashed. The fish shook itself and turned into a girl and then into the red snake, which flew off to join the golden dragon Xiang had seen in his dreams. It told him to take his things into his wooden house and stay there. Pelting rain then fell from the sky, and soon there was a vast flood. The evil man was helpless in his stone house, but the wooden houses of the others floated. The golden dragon shook his body, and the upper half of Sun Mountain erupted into the sky. The body of the evil man was buried by the falling stones. The others floated peacefully down the mountain and carved a giant stone fish where they settled. This statue and the lower part of Sun Mountain can be seen near the town of Shuilong. [L. Miller, pp. 107-112]

Shan (Burma):

Long ago, the middle world, of many worlds beneath the sky, had no race of kings (the Shan). Animals emerged from bamboos which cracked open and went to live in deep forests. Hpi-pok and Hpi-mot came from heaven to Möng-hi on the Cambodia river and became the ancestors of the Shan. But a time came when they offered no sacrifices to their gods. Ling-lawn, the storm god, sent large cranes to devour the people, but there were too many people to eat all of them. He sent lions, but they could not eat all of the people either. He send snakes, but the people attacked and killed them. A great drought came for the first four months of the new year, and many people died of thirst and famine. But the storm-god had not finished his battle. Sitting in his palace beneath a beautiful umbrella, he called his counsellors. Kaw-hpa, Hseng-kio, old Lao-hki, Tai-long, Bak-long, the smooth-talker Ya-hseng-hpa, and others came and bowed down to worship. Speaking in the language of men (Shan), they decided to destroy the human race. They sent for Hkang-hkak, god of streams and ponds, of alligators and water animals, and bade him descend with the clouds and report to the distinguished sage Lip-long. Lip-long had seen ill omens while auguring with chicken bones and knew a calamity was coming, so he was not surprised to hear the water-god tell him that Ling-lawn, the storm god, would soon flood the earth and destroy everything on it. Hkang-hkak told the sage to build a strong raft and take a cow on it, but not to warn anyone else, not even his wife or children. Lip-long sorrowfully bent to his task while even his family mocked his seemingly futile work. Fearing the gods, he heeded the order not to warn anyone. A few days after he finished the raft, the flood came, rushing violently. Only Lip-long and the cow survived on the waters. He grieved to see the bodies of his family. Thus the race of Shans perished. Their spirits went to the mansions of heaven, were refreshed by a meal of cold crab, and found the spirit land a festive and charming place. Meanwhile, the stench of corpses filled the earth. Ling-lawn sent serpents to devour them, but there were too many to eat. In anger he wanted to destroy the snakes, but they escaped into a cave. He sent 999,000 tigers, but they couldn't eat all the corpses, either. More angry now, he hurled thunderbolts at the tigers, but they too escaped into caves. Then he sent Hsen-htam and Hpa-hpai, the gods of fire, who descended on their horses to one of only three elevations of land. They sent a great conflagration of fire over the entire earth. When he saw the fire coming, Lip-long killed the cow with a stick, cut it open with his sword, and crawled in its belly. There he found a gourd seed. The fire swept over the cow, and Lip-long came out. He asked Hkang-hkak what to do, and the water god told him to plant the gourd seed on a level plot of ground. He did so. One gourd vine grew up a mountain and was scorched by the sun. One vine ran downward and rotted and died from soaking in the water from the flood. A third vine twined around bushes and trees. Ling-lawn sent his gardener to care for it, and it bore great fruit. Then Ling-lawn sent Sao-pang, god of the clear sky, to prepare the earth for humans. Sao-pang dried what remained of the flood with waves of heat. Ling-lawn broke open a gourd with a thunderbolt, and people emerged from it to till the land. Another bolt broke open a gourd. The Shans therein asked god what to do, and he told them to go and rule many lands. Other gourds were broken open to release all kinds of animals, rivers, and plants. [Frazer, pp. 199-203]

In another version of this legend, the survivors were the most righteous seven men and seven women, who crawled into the dry shell of a giant gourd and survived the flood floating in it. They emerged to replenish the drowned earth. [Frazer, pp. 203-204]

Thai (Vietnam):

There have been several life cycles on earth, which began with Then ("heaven") sending down a batch of human beings. At one time, men shed their skins when they got old, like snakes, and lived a long time without offspring. With no chance to return to heaven, they conspired to disobey Then's will. They went around hunting frogs and snakes and blocking up the caves of toads. These animals sent deafening cries of help to the heavens. This sent Then into a fury. He opened the seven paths of the sun's rays and closed the nine paths of rain, causing draught over the earth. All people died except Lang Ai and Lang Nhi. They went to Thanh Nua to fish. But days would pass without them seeing a fish. Getting angry, they felled trees, killed snakes and held sham funerals, caught owls and salamanders to play games with, and offered small jars of wine to Heaven's shrine. But Then became angry. He closed the seven paths of the sun's rays and opened the nine paths of rain. Water rose up to the sky. Humanity and animal life thus eneded a life cycle. Later, Then sent another batch of humans to restore order on earth. He assigned his son-in-law Tao ("chieftain") Tum Hoang as master of a region embracing four rivers. Tao Tum Hoang sent two brothers, Tao Xuong and Tao Ngan, to two regions beyond his realm, Muong Om and Muong Ai. With them, he sent eight brass pillars and eight gourds containing 330 Xa and 500 Thai lines of descent, 330 species of rice, 330 species of fish, books of prayer and fortune telling, and calendars. The two taos sent six of these pillars and six gourds to the Muong Bo Te region and gave the rest to the Viet, Moi, and Lao people. Accompanied by the Lo, Luong, Zhuan, Tong, and Lao lines of descent, they built the Muong Lo Luong region. Tao Ngan then returned to Muong Bo Te. Tao Xuong remained, but life was too hard to sustain, so he returned to Muong Om and Muong Ai. [Dang Nghiem Van, p. 325-326]

Tsuwo (Formosa interior):

When the Tsuwo ancestors were dispersed, a great flood came, and everyone was forced to flee to the top of Mount Niitaka-yama. In their haste, none had brought fire with them, and the people suffered cold. Someone saw a sparkle on the top of a neighboring mountain and asked who would go to bring fire back. A goat volunteered, swam to the other mountain, and brought back a burning cord between its horns, but it tired from the swim, and it drooped its head and extinguished the fire before it made it back to land. The people next sent out a taoron (?), which succeeded in the quest; the people gathered around the animal and patted it, which is why it has such shiny skin and small body today. The people were unsure how to lower the water. A wild pig offered to swim off and break a bank lower in the river, and it asked the people to care for its children if it drowned. The people agreed, the pig swam off, and soon the flood water sank. The people decided to make a new river, with the help of the animals, to prevent another great flood. A snake guided the people and hollowed out the bed of the stream. Thousands of birds paved the channel with pebbles. Other animals worked to fashion the river banks and valleys. Only the eagle didn't help, and in punishment, it is not allowed to drink from the river. The goddess Hipararasa came from the south and formed plains by crushing the mountains. At the central ranges, though, an angry bear protecting its homeland confronted her and bit and wounded her child, so the goddess desisted. The land hardened, so the mountains still stand today. The survivors from Mount Niitaka-yama, in groups, wandered their various ways. The idea of headhunting originated while they lived on that mountain. [Frazer, pp. 229-232]

Bunun (Formosa interior):

A heavy rain fell for many days, and a giant snake lay across the river, blocking it so that the whole land flooded. Many people drowned, and the few survivors fled to the highest mountain, but they still feared as the waters kept rising. A crab appeared and cut through the body of the snake, and the flood subsided. [Frazer, p. 232]

A giant crab caught and tried to eat a large snake, but the snake managed to escape into the ocean. Immediately a great flood covered the world. The ancestors of the Bunun escaped to Mount Usabeya (Niitaka-yama) and Mount Shinkan, where they lived by hunting until the waters receded. They returned to find their fields washed away, but a stalk of millet remained. They planted its seeds and subsisted on its produce. Before the flood, the land had been quite flat; many mountains and valleys were formed by it. [Frazer, pp. 232-233]

Ami (eastern Taiwan):

The god Kakumodan Sappatorroku and the goddess Budaihabu descended to a place called Taurayan with the boy Sura, the girl Nakao, a pig and a chicken. One day, two other gods, Kabitt and Aka, while hunting nearby, saw the pig and chicken and coveted them. They asked Kakumodan for them, but as they had nothing to trade, they were refused. This angered them, and they plotted to kill Kakumodan. They called upon the four sea gods, Mahahan, Mariyaru, Marimokoshi, and Kosomatora, who consented to help. They told Kabitt and Aka that in five days, when the moon was full, the sea will make a booming sound, and they should escape to a mountain where there are stars. On the fifth day, the two gods fled to a mountain, and when they reached the summit, the sea began booming and rising. Kakumodan's house was flooded, but he and his wife escaped by climbing a ladder to the sky. In their haste, though, they forgot the children, and upon reaching safety, they futilely called for them. Sura and Nakao, however, had climbed into a wooden mortar and had floated to safety to the Ragasan mountain. The brother and sister, now alone in the world, feared to offend the ancestral gods, but of necessity they became man and wife. To mitigate the wrath of the gods, they contacted each other as little as possible and interposed a mat between them in their bed. They had three sons and two daughters. During Nakao's first pregnancy, the first grain of millet was found in her ear, and in time the two learned the proper ritual for cultivating that grain. [Frazer, pp. 226-227]

In an earthquake, mountains tumbled down, the earth gaped, and hot subterranean waters gushed out and flooded the whole earth. Two sisters and a brother escaped in a wooden mortar and floated south to Rarauran. They landed and climbed Mount Kaburugan to view the countryside; then the sisters searched south and the brother searched west for good land. Finding none, they returned and ascended to the mountain's summit again. But the older sister tired half way up, and when the other two returned for her, they found she had turned into a rock. The brother and sister wanted to return to their homeland, but the mortar was rotten and no longer sea-worthy. Wandering away on foot, they saw smoke in the distance and, fearing another eruption and flood, hastened away. But the sister collapsed in exhaustion, and they had to remain. Catastrophe ceased to threaten, and they decided to settle there. They were uncertain whether it would be proper for them to marry, so they asked the sun as it rose the next morning. The sun answered immediately that they may marry. A few months later, the wife conceived, but she delivered only two abortions. They threw these in the river. One went straight down and became the ancestor of fish, and the other swam across and gave rise to crabs. Next morning, the brother asked the moon why their offspring should be fish and crabs. The moon answered that marriage between brother and sister is strictly prohibited, but as they can find no other mates, they must place a mat between them in their marriage bed. They heeded this advice, and the wife soon gave birth to a stone. They were again distraught and were about to throw the stone in the river, but the moon told them they must care for it nevertheless. Later, they settled in a rich land called Arapanai, and in time the brother died. Pitying the woman's loneliness, the moon told her that she would soon have companions. Just five days later, the stone swelled up and four children came from it, some shod and some barefoot. Those with shoes were probably the ancestors of the Chinese. [Frazer, pp. 227-229]

A brother and sister escaped a great deluge in a wooden mortar. They landed on a high mountain, married, had children, and founded the village of Popkok in a hollow of the hills, where they thought themselves safe from another deluge. [Gaster, p. 104]

Benua-Jakun (Malay Peninsula):

The ground we stand on is merely a skin covering an abyss of water. Long ago, Pirman, the deity, broke up this skin, flooding and destroying the world. However, Pirman had created a man and woman and placed them in a completely closed ship of pulai wood. When at last this ship came to rest, the couple nibbled their way out through its side, and they saw land stretching to the horizon in all directions. The sun had not yet been created, so it was dark; when it grew light, they saw seven small rhododendron shrubs and seven clumps of sambau grass. The couple bemoaned their lack of children, but in time the woman conceived in the calves of her legs, a male child coming from the right calf and a female from the left. That is why offspring from the same womb may not marry. All mankind are descended from that first pair. [Gaster, p. 99]

Kelantan (Malay Peninsula):

One day a feast was made for a circumcision, during which all manner of beasts were pitted to fight one another. The last fight was between dogs and cats. During this fight, a great flood came down from the mountains, drowning everyone except two or three menials who had been sent to the hills to gather firewood. Then the sun, moon, and stars were extinguished. When light returned, there was no land, and all the abodes of men had been overwhelmed. [Gaster, p. 99]

Ifugao (Philippines):

A great drought dried up all the rivers. The old men suggested digging in a river bed to find the soul of the river. After three days of digging, a great spring gushed forth rapidly enough to kill many of the diggers. While the Ifugaos celebrated the waters, a storm came, the river kept rising, and the elders advised people to run for the mountains, as the river gods were angry. Only two people made it to safety, a brother and sister, Wigan and Bugan, on the separate mountains Amuyao and Kalawitan. Both had enough food on the summits, but only Bugan had fire. After six months, the waters receded, creating the rugged terrain that exists today. Wigan traveled to his sister on Mt. Kalawitan, and they settled in the valley. The sister later found herself with child and ran away in shame, following the course of the river. The god Maknongan, appearing as an old man, assured her that her shame had no foundation, since she and her brother would repopulate the world. [Demetrio, p. 262; Dixon, pp. 179-180]

Only a brother and sister named Wigam and Bugan survived a primeval flood, on Mount Amuyas. [Gaster, p. 104]

Kiangan Ifugao:

Wigan's first son Kabigat went from Hudog (the Sky World) to Earth World to hunt with his dogs, but the earth was then entirely flat, causing no echoes by which he could hear his dogs barking. He mused a while, went to the Sky World, and came back with a large cloth with which he closed the exit of the rivers to the sea. He returned to Hudog and told Bongabong what he had done. Bongabong had Cloud and Fog go to the house of Baiyuhibi, and Baiyuhibi brought together his sons and bade them rain for three days, stopping finally when Bongabong commanded. Wigan told Kabigat to remove the stopper. When he did so, the waters which covered the earth formed mountains and valleys as they rushed out. Bongabong called on Mumba'an to dry the earth. [Dixon, pp. 178-179]

Atá (Philippines):

Water covered the whole earth, and all the Atás drowned except two men and a woman who were carried far to sea. They would have perished, but a great eagle offered to carry them on its back to their homes. One man refused, but the other two people accepted and returned to Mapula. [Gaster, pp. 103-104]

Mandaya (Philippines):

A great flood once drowned all the world's inhabitants except one pregnant woman. She prayed that her child would be a boy, and it was. When he, Uacatan, grew up, he wed his mother, and all Mandayas are descended from them. [Frazer, p. 225]

Tinguian (Luzon, Philippines):

When the god Kaboniyan sent a flood to cover the earth, fire hid itself deep inside bamboo, stone, and iron. Men later learned how to retrieve it from these places. [Cole, p. 189; Eliot, pp. 223-224]

Batak (Sumatra):

The earth once rested on the three horns of the giant snake Naga Padoha, who grew tired of its burden and shook it off into the sea. The god Batara Guru, to recover it from the abyss, sent his daughter Puti-orla-bulan (who had requested the mission). She came down on a white owl and accompanied by a dog, but they found no place to rest. Batara Guru let Mount Bakarra fall from heaven for her abode; from it, the rest of the habitable earth gradually arose. Puti-orla-bulan had three sons and three daughters from whom the human race is descended. Later, the earth was replaced onto the head of the snake, and there has been a constant struggle between the snake, wanting to be free of its burden, and the deity. Batara Guru sent his son Layang-layang-mandi ("Diving Swallow") to bind Naga Padoha's hands and feet, but the serpent still struggles and causes earthquakes, and it will again throw the earth into the sea when it breaks its fetters. When this happens, men will either be transported to heaven or cast into a flaming cauldron; the sun will approach close to our world, and its flame will join with the cauldron's fire to consume the material universe. [Frazer, pp. 217-218; Kelsen, p. 133]

Debata, the Creator, sent a flood to destroy every living thing when the earth grew old and dirty. The last pair of humans took refuge on the highest mountain, and the flood had already reached their knees, when Debata repented his decision to destroy mankind. He tied a clod of earth to a thread and lowered it. The last pair stepped onto it and were saved. As the couple and their descendants multiplied, the clod increased in size, becoming the earth we inhabit today. [Gaster, p. 100]

Nias (an island west of Sumatra):

The mountains quarrelled over which of them was the highest. In vexation, their great ancestor Baluga Luomewona caused the oceans to rise by throwing into a sea a comb which became a giant crab which stopped up the ocean's outlet sluices. The water rose to cover all but the tops of two or three mountains. The people who had escaped to these mountains with their cattle survived. [Kelsen, p. 133, Gaster, p. 100; Dixon, pp. 181-182]

Engano (another island west of Sumatra):

The tide rose so high it overflowed the island. All drowned except one woman, who survived through the fortunate chance that her hair got caught in a thorny tree as she drifted along on the tide. When the flood sank, she came down from the tree and found herself alone. Hungry, she searched for food and finding none inland, went to the beach hoping to catch a fish. She found a fish, but it hid in one of the corpses left by the flood. She picked up stone and hit the corpse, but the fish escaped and headed inland. She followed, but soon met a living man. The man told her that he had to returned to life as a consequence of somebody knocking on his dead body. The woman told him her story, and they returned to the beach and restored the population by knocking on the drowned people. [Gaster, pp. 100-101]

Dusun (British North Borneo):

Some men of Kampong Tudu, looking for wood for a fence, came upon what seemed to be a great tree trunk lying on the ground. They began to cut it, but blood came from the cuts, and, following it to one end, they found it was a giant snake. They staked it to the ground, killed it, and skinned it. They went home, feasted on its flesh, and made a great drum from the skin, but the drum produced no sound. In the middle of the night, the drum began sounding "Duk Duk Kagu" on its own. Then a great hurricane came and swept away all the houses, with the people in them. Some were carried out to sea; others settled in various places and gave rise to present villages. [Dixon, p. 181]

Dyak (Borneo):

Some women gathered bamboo shoots, sat on a log, and began paring them. But they noticed the trunk exuded drops of blood with each cut of their knives. Some men came by and saw that the trunk was actually a giant, torporous boa constrictor. They killed it, cut it up, and took it home to eat. While they were frying the pieces, strange noises came from the frying pan and a torrential rain began. The rain continued until only the highest hill remained above water. Only a woman, dog, rat, and a few small creature survived. The woman noticed that the dog had found shelter from the rain under a creeper warmed by the rubbing between the creeper and a tree in the wind. She took the hint, rubbed the creeper against a piece of wood, and produced fire for the first time. The woman took the fire-drill for her mate and gave birth to a son called Simpang-impang. He was only half a man, with only one arm, one leg, etc. Some time later, the Spirit of the Wind carried off some rice which Simpang-impang had spread out to dry. Simpang-impang demanded compensation. The Spirit of the Wind refused but was vanquished in a series of contests and restored Simpang-impang's missing parts. [Gaster, pp. 101-102]

When the flood came, a man named Trow made a boat from a large wooden mortar previously used for pounding rice. He took with him his wife, a dog, pig, cat, fowl, and other animals, and rode out the flood. Afterwards, to repeople the earth, Trow fashioned additional wives out of a log, stone, and anything else handy. Soon he had a large family which became the ancestors of the various Dyak tribes. [Gaster, p. 102]

Once, when much of a ripe harvest was found despoiled, a watch was kept, and a great serpent was seen to lower itself from the sky and feed on the rice. People rushed up and cut off its head, and one of the men fed on some of the flesh the following morning. No sooner had he done so, however, when a terrible storm arose, causing a flood which killed all but the few who escaped to the highest hills. [Dixon, pp. 180-181]

Ot-Danom (Dutch Borneo):

A great deluge once drowned many people. A few people survived by escaping in boats to the one mountain peak remaining above water. They dwelt there for three months until the flood subsided. [Gaster, p. 102]

Toradja (central Celebes):

A flood once covered everything but the summit of Mount Wawom Pebato (seashells on the hills are evidence). Only a pregnant woman and a pregnant mouse escaped in a pig's trough, paddling with a pot-ladle. After the waters had descended, the woman saw a sheaf of rice hanging from an uprooted tree which drifted ashore where she was standing. The mouse got it down for her, but demanded in recompense that mice should thereafter have the right to eat part of the harvest. The woman gave birth to a son, took him for her husband, and by him had a son and daughter who became mankind's ancestors. [Gaster, p. 102]

Alfoor (Celam, between Celebes and New Guinea):

As a great worldwide flood receded, the mountain Noesake emerged with its sides clothed with trees whose leaves were shaped like female genitalia. Only three people survived on the top of the mountain. The sea-eagle brought tidings of other mountains emerging from the waters, and the people went thither. By means of the remarkable leaves, they repopulated the world. [Gaster, p. 103]

Rotti (southwest of Timor):

In former times, the sea flooded the earth and destroyed all plants and animals; only the peak of Lakimola remained above water. A man, with his wife and children, took refuge there, but the tide kept slowly rising for some months. They prayed to the sea to return to its old bed. The sea answered, "I will do so, if you give me an animal whose hairs I cannot count." A pig, goat, dog, and hen failed this test, but when the man threw in a cat, the sea sank abashedly. An osprey appeared and sprinkled some dry earth on the waters, and the family descended to a new home. The Lord commanded that the osprey bring all kinds of seed to the man for him to cultivate. After harvests on Rotti, people still set up a sheaf of rice as an offering to Mount Lakimola. [Gaster, p. 103]

Nage (Flores):

Dooy, the forefather of the Nages, was saved from a great flood in a ship. His grave occupies the center of the public square at Boa Wai, their capital, and is the center of their harvest festival. [Gaster, p. 103]


Arnhem Land (northern Northern Territory):

In one version of the myth of the Wawalik sisters, the sisters, with their two infant children, camped by the Mirrirmina waterhole. Some of the older sister's menstrual blood fell into the well. The rainbow serpent Yurlunggur smelled the blood and crawled out of his well. He spit some well water into the sky and hissed to call for rain. The rains came, and the well water started to rise. The women hurriedly built a house and went inside, but Yurlunggur caused them to sleep. He swallowed them and their sons. Then he stood very straight and tall, reaching as high as a cloud, and the flood waters came as high as he did. When he fell, the waters receded and there was dry ground. [Buchler, pp. 134-135]

Two orphaned children were left in the care of a man called Wirili-up, who shirked the responsibility. The children, always hungry, cried so much that a ngaljod (rainbow serpent) rose from his waterhole and flooded the countryside. Wirili-up fled, but the children drowned. [Mountford, p. 74]

Maung (Goulburn Islands, Arnhem Land):

People dividing fish always gave the man Crow the poor quality ones. Crow cut down a big paperbark tree, which fell across a creek. Crow sat on the tree crying out, "Waag. . . Waag!" As he did, the creek grew wider and wider, dividing the island into two islands. Crow turned into a bird and flew over the people. The splash from the tree caused the water to rise, and the people, who were all on the bank of the creek, all drowned. On hearing what happened, Blanket Lizard swam towards South Goulburn Island in search of his wife, but halfway across he drowned and turned into a reef. [Berndt & Berndt, p. 40]

Gunwinggu (northern Arnhem Land):

The woman Gulbin traveled from the south, looking for a place to put herself as djang. At length, she killed a snake, began cooking it, and slept while it cooked. But the snake was the daughter of She who lives underground. That snake made water rise, threatening to drown the woman, and at last the Snake came up and ate her. Later the Snake vomited her bones, which became like rock. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 84-85]

Two girls traveled, making places. With fires, they attracted two men to marry them. But one day the four of them killed the daughter of Ngalyod, the Rainbow Snake. The mother came looking for her child, and they saw storm and rushing water coming. They tried to escape by climbing rocks, but the water rose and drowned them. The Snake ate them, carried their bones for a long time, and vomited them out in the same place, named Malbaid. They became like rocks. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 279-280]

The first people were living in what is now the middle of the sea. In ignorance, some of them knocked a maar rock, a dangerous Dreaming rock. After they went home, rain fell for a long time, and fresh water came running in search of them. In panic, the people swam around trying to get to dry land. There was no place they could go except for the rock Aragaladi, but Aragaladi was not a real rock; Snake had made it rise up for them. Snake came looking for the people, urinating salt water. A man came from the mainland in a canoe, but he drowned in the middle of the sea. Snake came and swallowed the people and later vomited their bones. She made the place deep with sea water. Those first people became rocks. Nobody goes to Aragaladi now. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 88-89]

An orphan boy was crying because the people in the community were preoccupied with a circumcision ritual and didn't feed him well. When his brother returned from hunting and saw how thin he was, he told the people, "I'm very sorry for my little brother. I'll finish all of you!" He took Rainbow eggs and broke them, and water "jumped out" and spread. The man took his brother up a hill, where he became a rock. He went further up and became a rock himself, along with his baskets. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 93-94]

Some people came from north and danced the nyalaidj ceremony. While they danced, one girl climbed a pandanus palm and was calling out, and an orphan boy was crying. The people kept dancing. The crying and calling upset the place, and water came up from underneath. The people cried in fear, but they couldn't run away because the ground became soft, and the water covered them. Ngalyod the Rainbow Serpent ate them, first the people who were calling out and the orphan who was crying. The name of the place is Gaalbaraya; it is still a taboo place. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 96-97]

All the honeycombs that a man cut out were no good. He went on and cut and ate a palm tree. He heard bees talking, saying "Gu-gu" ["water"]. He ran back to others and told them that he had unknowingly done wrong to a djang palm tree. They tried to burn the tree, but water came up from it. One girl ran up a hill calling out; the others climbed a manbaderi tree. The tree fell, and those in it drowned. The girl became a rock. The place is named Gudju-mandi; nobody goes there now. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 100-101]

Two were traveling during the Dreamtime. One fell sick, and the Wuraal bird came up. The other heard it and said, "Maybe we're making ourselves wrong, coming into Dreaming." That night, the bird repeatedly struck the dying one with its claws, killing him. Water came up where it struck him. The other tried to outrun the rising water, but he fell in a hole, and all three went underwater and came into Dreaming. [Berndt & Berndt, p. 194]

Gumaidj (Arnhem Land):

When a storm came up, two sisters who were gathering shellfish swore at Namarangini, the spirit man who sang up the rain. He heard, grabbed the younger sister, and tried unsuccessfully to copulate with her while the older sister beat him with a branch. He took her to the hut at his camp, made a fire, and tried again, but he discovered there was a cycad nut grinding stone in her vagina. He removed it with her stick for beating cycad nuts, and then he copulated with her easily. When they had finished, she made herself into a fly and returned to her husband. Her husband discovered the stone was missing, and he killed her by pushing a heated stick through her vagina into her stomach. The next morning, the other sister discovered that she was dead and knew that her husband had killed her. The Fly and Sandfly women cried for their sister and beat her husband, driving him away. He died and turned into a certain milkwood tree. When the women cried, rain fell heavily and continued falling for several weeks. They made bark rafts. A rush of water from inland washed them out to sea, to Elcho and other islands. At sea, you can still hear them crying. Women lost their grinding stones from their vagina when the flood washed them out to sea. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 287-289]

Manger (Arnhem Land):

Crow got into an argument with two other men because he accidentally let green ants contaminate their fish. They took back their fish, and Crow took back the goose eggs he had brought. They fought. Crow defeated them and left saying they'd fight again. Crow went to his mother's tribe. When the other two men appeared, the tribe put on a ceremony rather than quarrelling more. When everyone else had fallen asleep, Crow climbed a tree and chopped off a branch, which fell and killed the two men. Then he poured out a bag of honey which came down so heavily it flooded the area. All the people turned into birds. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 185-187]

Fitzroy River area, Western Australian:

During the Dreamtime flood, woramba, the Ark Gumana carrying Noah, Aborigines, and animals, drifted south and came to rest in the flood plain of Djilinbadu (about 70 km south of Noonkanbah Station, just south of the Barbwire Range and east of the Worral Range), where it can still be seen today. The white man's claim that it landed in the Middle East was a lie to keep Aborigines in subservience. [Kolig, pp. 242-245]


Grumuduk, a medicine man who lived in the hills, had the power to bring rain and to make plants and animals plentiful. A plains tribe kidnapped him, wanting his power, but Grumuduk escaped and decreed that wherever he walked in the country of his enemies, salt water would rise in his footsteps. [Flood, p. 179]

Mount Elliot (coastal Queensland):

A great flood drowned most of the people. A few escaped to the top of the tall mountain Bibbiringda, which is inland of the northern bay of Cape Cleveland. [Frazer, p. 236]

Western Australia:

Long ago, two races, one white and one black, lived on opposite shores of a great river. At first they were on friendly terms, intermarrying, feasting together, etc. But the whites were more powerful and had better spears and boomerangs, so they came to feel superior and broke off relations. Some time later, it rained for several months. The river overflowed and forced the blacks to retreat into the hinterland. When the rains stopped and the waters receded, the blacks returned, to find that their neighbors had vanished under a wide sea. [Vitaliano, p. 166]

Andingari (Southern Australia):

Gabidji, Little Wallaby, traveled east carrying a full waterbag. Djunbunbin, Thunder or Storm man, followed him, angry because Gabidji had water. At Dagula, Djunbunbin's thunder chant grew stronger, and a deluge of rain swept away Gabidji's hut and some other Dreaming men who were with him. Their bones were found by later miners. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 42-43]

Yaul was thirsty, but his brother Marlgaru refused to let him have any water from his own full kangaroo-skin waterbag. While Marlgaru was out hunting, Yaul sought and found the bag. He jabbed it with a club, tearing it. Water poured out, drowning both brothers and forming the sea. It was spreading inland, too, but Bird Women came from the east and restrained the waters with a barrier of roots of the ngalda kurrajong tree. This is why ngalda roots contain fresh water. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 44-45]

Djinta-djinta (Willy Wagtail) built a strong hut and weathered a heavy rain for many days, but at last a heavy deluge swept him and his hut into a waterhole, where he remains. [Berndt & Berndt, p. 188]

Wiranggu (South Australia):

Djunban, a rain-maker, was hunting kangaroo rat with his magic boomerang, but he hit his "sister" Mandjia instead and wounded her leg. She hid the boomerang in the sand so he couldn't find it. The people were on the move, so he carried Mandjia. Later, he gave her to a woman to carry so he could search for his boomerang, and eventually he found it. Some time later he taught his people how to make rain. The next day they all traveled further. Mandjia died from her injury and metamorphosed into a rock. After traveling the next day, Djunban performed the rain-making ceremony again, but he was grieving his sister and not concentrating on his task, and the rain came too heavily. He tried to warn his people, but the flood came and washed away all the people and their possessions, forming a hill of silt. Gold and bones found in that hill came from those people. [Berndt & Berndt, pp. 297-300]

Narrinyeri (South Australia):

A man's two wives ran away from him. He pursued them to Encounter Bay, saw them at a distance, and angrily cried out for the waters to rise and drown them. A terrible flood washed over the hills and killed the two women. The waters rose so high that a man named Nepelle, who lived at Rauwoke, had to drag his canoe to the top of the hill now called Point Macleay. The dense part of the Milky Way shows his canoe floating in the sky. [Frazer, p. 236]


Bunjil, the creator, was angry with people because of the evil they did, so he caused the ocean to flood by urinating into it. All people were destroyed except those whom Bunjil loved and fixed as stars in the sky, and a man and a woman who climbed a tall tree on a mountain, and from whom the present human race is descended. [Gaster, p. 114]

A man fishing in a lake caught a young bunyip, a fearsome water monster. His companions begged him to let it go lest he anger the water monsters by killing it, but he refused to listen and began carrying it away. The bunyip's mother, in a rage, caused the waters of the lake to follow the man who had taken her young. The waters rose higher and higher, covering all the country. The people fled to a high hill, but the flood rose, and when it touched their feet, they turned into black swans. [Dixon, p. 280]

Lake Tyres (Victoria):

A giant frog once swallowed all the water, and no one else could get anything to drink. After many other animals failed, eel, with his remarkable contortions, made the frog laugh, releasing the water. Many were drowned in the flood. The whole of mankind would have perished if the pelican had not picked up survivors in his canoe. [Roheim, p. 156; Gaster, p. 114]

Kurnai (Gippsland, Victoria):

Long ago, a great flood covered the country. All drowned except a man and two or three women who took refuge on a mud island near Port Albert. Pelican came by in his canoe and went to help them. He fell in love with one of the women. He ferried the others to the mainland, but left her for last. Afraid of being alone with him, the woman dressed a log in her opossum rug so it looked like her, left it by the fire, and swam to the mainland. The pelican returned and flew into a passion when the log dressed as a woman wouldn't answer him. He kicked it, which only hurt his foot and made him angrier. He began to paint himself white so that he might fight the woman's husband. Another pelican came up when he was halfway through with these preparations, but not knowing what to make of the strange half black and half white creature, pecked him and killed him. That is why pelicans are now black and white. [Dixon, pp. 279-280; Gaster, pp. 113-114]

southeast Australian:

The animals, birds, and reptiles became overpopulated and held a conference to determine what to do. The kangaroo, eagle-hawk, and goanna were the chiefs of the three respective groups, and their advisors were koala, crow, and tiger-snake. They met on Blue Mountain. Tiger-snake spoke first and proposed that the animals and birds, who could travel more readily, should relocate to another country. Kangaroo rose to introduce platypus, whose family far outnumbered any others, but the meeting was then adjourned for the day. On the second day, while the conference proceeded with crow taunting koala for his inability to find a solution, the frilled lizards decided to act on their own. They possessed the knowledge of rain-making, and they spread the word to all of their family to perform the rain ceremony during the week before the new moon. Thus would they destroy the over-numerous platypus family. They did their ceremonies repeatedly, and a great storm came, flooding the land. The frilled lizards had made shelters on mountains, and some animals managed to make their way there, but nearly all life was destroyed in the great flood. When the flood ended and the sun shone again, the kangaroo called animals together to discover how the platypus family had fared. But they could not find a single living platypus. Three years later, the cormorant told emu that he had seen a platypus beak impression along a river, but never saw a platypus. Because of the flood, the platypuses had decided that the animals, birds, and reptiles were their enemies and only moved about at night. The animals organized a search party, and carpet-snake eventually found a platypus home and reported its location back to the others. Kangaroo summoned all the tribes together, even the insect tribe. Fringed lizard was ejected for doing mischief; he has turned ugly because of the hate he dwells upon. The animals and birds found they were both related to the platypus family; even the reptiles found some relationship; and everyone agreed that the platypuses were an old race. Carpet-snake went to the platypus home and invited them to the assembly. They came and were met with great respect. Kangaroo offered platypus his choice of the daughter of any of them. Platypus learned that emu had changed its totem so that the platypus and emu families could marry. This made platypus decide it didn't want to be part of any of their families. Emu got angry, and kangaroo suggested the platypuses leave silently that night, which they did. They met bandicoot along the way, who invited the platypuses to live with them. The platypuses married the bandicoot daughters and lived happily. Water-rats got jealous and fought them but were defeated. Platypuses have tried to be seperate from the animal and bird tribes ever since, but not entirely successfully. [W. R. Smith, pp. 151-168]

Maori (New Zealand):

Long ago, there were a great many different tribes, and they quarrelled and made war on each other. The worship of Tane, the creator, was being neglected and his doctrines denied. Two prophets, Para-whenua-mea and Tupu-nui-a-uta, taught the true doctrine about the separation of heaven and earth, but others just mocked them, and they became angry. So they built a large raft at the source of the Tohinga River, built a house on it, and provisioned it with fern-root, sweet potatoes, and dogs. Then they prayed for abundant rain to convince men of the power of Tane. Two men named Tiu and Reti, a woman named Wai-puna-hau, and other women also boarded the raft. Tiu was the priest on the raft, and he recited the prayers and incantations for rain. It rained hard for four or five days, until Tiu prayed for the rain to stop. But though the rain stopped, the waters still rose and bore the raft down the Tohinga river and onto the sea. In the eighth month, the waters began to thin; Tiu knew this by the signs of his staff. At last they landed at Hawaiki. The earth had been much changed by the flood, and the people on the raft were the only survivors. They worshipped Tane, Rangi (Heaven), Rehua, and all the gods, each at a separate alter. After making fire by friction, they made thanks-offerings of seaweed for their rescue. Today, only the chief priest may go to those holy spots. [Gaster, pp. 110-112; Kelsen, p. 133]

Two brothers-in-law of the hero Tawhaki attacked him and left him for dead. He recovered, and retired with his own warriors and their families to a high mountain, where he built a fortified village. Then he called to the gods, his ancestors, for revenge. The floods of heaven descended and killed everyone on earth. This event was called "The overwhelming of the Mataaho." [Gaster, p. 112]

In another version of the story, Tawhaki, a man, put on a garment of lightning and was worshipped as a god. Once, in a fit of anger, he stamped on the floor of heaven, breaking it and releasing the celestial waters which flooded the earth. [Gaster, p. 112]

In another version, the flood was caused by the copious weeping of Tawhaki's mother. [Gaster, p. 112]

Pacific Islands

Kabadi (New Guinea):

Lohero and his brother were angry with their neighbors, so they put a human bone into a small stream. Soon a great flood came forth, and the people had to retreat to the highest peaks until the sea receded. Some people descended, and others made their homes on the ridges. [Gaster, p. 105; Kelsen, pp. 130-131]

Valman (northern New Guinea):

The wife of a very good man saw a very big fish. She called her husband, but he couldn't see it until he hid behind a banana tree and peeked through its leaves. When he finally saw it, he was horribly afraid and forbade his wife, son, and two daughters to catch and eat the fish. But other people caught the fish and, heedless of the man's warning, ate it. When the good man saw that, he hastily drove a pair of all kinds of animals into trees and climbed into a coconut tree with his family. As soon as the wicked men ate the fish, water violently burst from the ground and drowned everyone on it. As soon as the water reached the treetops, it sank rapidly, and the good man and his family came down and laid out new plantations. [Gaster, p. 105]

Mamberao River (Irian Jaya):

A rising river caused a flood which overwhelmed Mount Vanessa. Only a man and his wife, a pig, a cassowary, a kangaroo, and a pigeon escaped. These became the ancestors of humans and other species. The bones of the drowned animals can still be found on Mount Vanessa. [Gaster, pp. 105-106]

Papua New Guinea:

A flood covered the whole world except for the summit of Mount Tauga. When the waves threatened to cover even that, the rockface cracked and the diamond-studded head of Radaulo, king of snakes, emerged. His fiery tongue licked out to taste the waves, and the water, hissing, retreated. Radaulo slowly uncoiled and pursued the water all the way back to the ocean bed. [Eliot, p. 224]

Palau Islands (Micronesia):

The stars are the shining eyes of the gods. A man once went into the sky and stole one of the eyes. (The Pelew Islanders' money is made from it.) The gods were angry at this and came to earth to punish the theft. They disguised themselves as ordinary men and went door-to-door begging for food and lodging. Only one old woman received them kindly. They told her to make a bamboo raft ready and, on the night of the next full moon, to lie down on it and sleep. This she did. A great storm came; the sea rose, flooded the islands, and destroyed everyone else. The woman, fast asleep, drifted until her hair caught on a tree on the top of Mount Armlimui. The gods came looking for her again after the flood ebbed, but they found her dead. So one of the women-folk from heaven entered the body and restored it to life. The gods begat five children by the old woman and then returned to heaven, as did the goddess who restored her to life. The present inhabitants of the islands are descendants of those five children. [Gaster, pp. 112-113; Dixon, p. 257]

Before humans, one of the Kaliths (deities) named Athndokl visited an unfriendly village and was killed by its inhabitants. Seven friendly gods, who went searching for him, were met with unkindness except from the woman Milathk, who told them of the death. They resolved vengeance by flooding the village, and suggested Milathk save herself by preparing a raft tied to a tree by a rope. The flood came and covered the village at the next full moon. Milathk perished in the flood, but was recalled to life by the oldest Obakad god. He wanted to make her immortal but was stopped by another god, Tariit. Milathk became the mother of mankind. [Kelsen, p. 132]

western Carolines:

A man and his wife, who was of supernatural origin, could not satisfy the hunger of her father, named Insatiable, who was also of supernatural origin. He had grown so that he filled the entire council-house and had eaten all the coconuts on the island. The husband, Kitimil, saw one day that a mouse had been eating in his sugar-cane field. His wife, Magigi, told him that it must have been her father who had turned himself into a mouse. Kitimil thought this was impossible, though, so he set a trap which that night caught and killed the mouse. Magigi was terrified that he had killed her father, and told him to bring the mouse. Kitimil did so, and when he looked and saw that the council-house was empty, he believed his wife. The next morning, Magigi told Kitimil to take the mouse's blood and four of its teeth and bury the body. When he had done so, she said that a great flood will come and kill all the people of Yap, so they must climb the highest mountain and build a seven-story pile-dwelling there. They took some leaves and oil and the blood and teeth of the mouse and built the structure on the mountaintop. On the seventh day, a great storm came, and the sea covered all of Yap. As the water rose, Kitimil and Magigi climbed to higher stories of their house. The deluge still rose when they reached the top, so Magigi put some oil on a leaf and laid it on the water, and immediately the storm ceased and the water started abating. When the land was dry again, they found that one other man had survived by lashing himself to an outrigger anchored to a large stone. Magigi bore seven children, who scattered across the land. [Dixon, pp. 256-257]

New Hebrides:

Naareau the Elder created the earth, but the sky and the earth clove together with darkeness between them, for there was no separation. Naareau the Younger, walking on the overside of the sky, decided to go between, and with a spell, created a slight cleft; he tapped on the sky three times, and on the third tap it opened. He heard breathing within, created the First Creature, a bat, by rubbing his fingers together, and told it to look around. The Bat reported finding a Company of Fools and Deaf Mutes. At Naareau's direction, the Bat landed on their foreheads and told Naareau their names. Naareau crawled in the cleft and, with the Bat as his guide, went to the people. Naareau told them to push up, and the sky was lifted a little, but they could lift it only so high since the sky was rooted to the land. Naareau sent Naabawe, one of the people, to summon Riiki, the conger eel. Riiki was sleeping and bit Naabawe when he was called. Naareau made a slip-noose and took two of Octopus's ten legs for bait (which is why octopuses have only eight legs today). With these, Naareau caught Riiki and told it to push up on the sky against the land. While Riiki pushed, Great Ray, Turtle, and Octopus tore at the roots of the sky while Naareau sang. The Company of Fools and Deaf Mutes stood by laughing. The roots of the sky were torn loose. The sky was pushed high and the land sank. But the sky had no sides, so Naareau sang and pulled down its sides so it was shaped like a bowl. The Company of Fools and Deaf Mutes were left swimming in the sea; they became the sea creatures. [von Franz, pp. 151-154, 170]

Tilik and Tarai, who lived near a sacred spring where they were making the land, discovered by the taste of their cabbage that their mother had been urinating in their food. They exchanged the food and ate hers. In anger, she rolled away the stone which had confined the sea, and the sea poured out in a great flood. This was the origin of the sea. [Roheim, p. 152]

The legendary hero Qat made a great canoe out of one of the largest trees in a dense forest at the center of the island of Gaua. While he worked on it, his brothers jeered at him for building a canoe so far from the sea. When the canoe was finished, he gathered into his canoe his family and some of all the living creatures, down to the smallest ant, and he fastened a cover over it. A great deluge of rain came; the hollow in the center of the island filled with water which broke through the hills where a great waterfall still descends. The water carried the canoe out to sea and out of sight. The natives say Qat took the best of everything with him and look forward to his return. [Gaster, p. 107]

Lifou (one of the Loyalty Islands):

The natives laughed at the old man Nol for making a canoe far inland, but he declared that he would need no help getting it to the sea; the sea would come to it. When he had finished, rain fell in torrents, flooding the island and drowning everybody. Nol's canoe was lifted by the water. It struck a rock that was still out of water and split the rock two. (These two rocks can still be seen.) The waters then rushed back into the sea, leaving Lifou dry. [Gaster, p. 107]


The great god Ndengei had a favorite bird, called Turukawa, which would wake him every morning. His two grandsons killed the bird and buried it to hide the crime. Ndengei sent his messenger Utu to find the bird. The first search proved fruitless, but a second search exposed the grandsons' guilt. Rather than apologizing, they fled to the mountains and took refuge with some carpenters, who built a strong stockade to keep Ndengei at bay. In their fortress, the rebels withstood Ndengei's armies for three months, but then Ndengei caused the earth to be flooded with rain. The rebels sat securely as the surrounding lands were submerged, until the waters reached their walls. They prayed to another god for direction, and they were brought canoes (or taught how to make them) by Rokoro, the god of carpenters, and his foreman Rokola. (By other accounts, they were instructed to make floats out of the shaddock fruit, or they floated in bowls.) They floated around picking up other survivors. The receding tide left a total of eight survivors on the island of Mbengha. Two tribes were destroyed completely--one consisting entirely of women and the other with tails like dogs. The natives of Mbengha claim to rank highest of all the Fijians. [Kelsen, p. 131; Gaster, p. 106]

A great rain came, and the waters rose until all the land was submerged. But before the highest places were covered, two large double canoes appeared. In one was Rokova, god of carpenters; Rokola, his head workman, was in the other. They saved eight people in their canoes, landing at Mbenga (where the god first appeared) when the water subsided. The chiefs of the Mbenga today rank higher than all others. [Nelson, p. 189]


In a battle between Fire and Water (offspring of the primeval octopus), everything was overwhelmed by a 'boundless sea', and the god Tangaloa had the task of re-creating the world. [Poignant, p. 30]

The only survivor of a deluge was a man or a lizard named Pili, who, by marriage with the stormy petrel, begat offspring to repopulate the land. [Frazer, p. 249]

Nanumanga (Tuvalu, South Pacific):

A deluge was dispelled by a sea serpent who, as a woman, married the earth as a man. By him, she gave birth to the present race of mortals. [Frazer, p. 250]

Mangaia (Cook Islands):

The rain god Aokeu ("Red Circle" for the red clay he washes around the island), who was lowly born of the drippings from stalactites, disputed with the ocean god Ake to see which was more powerful. Ake summoned help from the wind god Raka and his twin children Tikokura, who is seen in the line of curling billows which break over reefs, and Tane-ere-tue, who manifests in storm waves. They attacked the coast, reaching the height of the Makatea, a raised barrier reef plateau surrounding the island, hundreds of feet high. Proof of their deeds may be seen in seashells embedded in high rocks. Meanwhile, Aokeu caused five days and nights of rain, washing the red clay and small stones into the ocean and carving deep valleys. Rangi, the people's first chief, had been forewarned and led his people to Rangimotia, the central peak. Soon water covered everything except a long narrow strip of soil, and the tide continued rising. Rangi waded through water up to his chin to reach the temple of the supreme god Rongo, and appealed to him. Rongo looked at the war of the waters and cried "Enough!" The sea subsided and the rain stopped, leaving the island with its present landscape. Aokeu was judged the victor, because the sea had been stopped by the rocky heights, but but the rains flowed far into the ocean, carrying red clay to mark their progress. [Frazer, pp. 246-248; Vitaliano, p. 168]

Rakaanga (Cook Islands):

A chief named Taoiau, angered at his people for not bringing him the sacred turtle, roused all the sea gods on whose good will the islands depend. One, who sleeps at the bottom of the sea, was roused to anger by the king's prayer and stood straight up. A hurricane burst forth, and the sea swept over the island of Rakaanga. A few inhabitants survived by taking refuge on a mound. [Frazer, p. 249]

Raiatea (Leeward Group, French Polynesia):

Shortly after the peopling of the world, a fisherman carelessly let his hooks get entangled in the hair of the sea god Ruahatu, who was reposing among the coral, and disturbed the god's rest when wrenching them out. The angry god surfaced, upbraided the fisherman, and threatened to destroy the land in revenge. The fisherman prostrated himself and apologized profusely. Moved by his penitence, Ruahatu told him to go with his wife and child to Toamarama, a small low island (not more than two feet above sea level) in a lagoon on the east side of Raiatea. This he did, taking also some domesticated animals. As the sun set, the ocean waters began to rise and continued rising all night. The other inhabitants fled to the mountains, but at last even these were covered, and everyone on Raiatea perished. When the waters receded, the fisherman and his family returned to the mainland and became progenitors of its present inhabitants. [Gaster, pp. 109-110; Roheim, p. 157]


Tahiti was destroyed by the sea. Even the trees and stones were carried away by the wind. But two people were saved. The wife took up her young chicken, her young dog, and her kitten, and the husband took up his young pig. The husband said they should escape to Mount Orofena, but the wife said (correctly) that the flood would reach even there, and they should go to Mount Pita-hiti instead, which they did. They watched ten nights till the sea ebbed. The land, though, remained without produce, and the fish in the rock crevices were putrid. When the wind died away, stones and trees began to fall from the heavens, where the winds had carried them. To escape this new danger, the couple dug a hole, lined it with grass, and covered it over with stones and earth. They crept inside and listened to the terrible crash of the falling stones. By and by, the falling stones stopped, but to be safe they waited another night before coming out. The land they found was desolated. The woman brought forth two children, a son and a daughter, but grieved about the lack of food. Again the mother brought forth, but still there was no food. Then in three days all the trees bore fruit. All people are descended from that couple. [Gaster, pp. 108-109]

The Supreme God was angry and dragged the earth through the sea. By a happy chance, the island of Tahiti broke off and was preserved. [H. Miller, p. 287]


Lalohona, a woman from the depths of the sea, was enticed ashore by Konikonia with a series of images. She warned him that her parents, Kahinalii and Hinakaalualumoana, would cause the ocean to flood the land so that her brothers, the pao'o fish, may search for her. At her suggestion, they fled to the mountains and built their home in the tops of the tallest trees. After ten days, Kahinalii sent the ocean; it rose and overwhelmed the land. The people fled to the mountains, and the flood covered the mountains; they climbed the trees, and the flood rose above the trees and drowned them all. But the waters began to subside just as they reached the door of Konikonia's house. When the waters retreated, he and his people returned to their land. This flood is called kai-a-ka-hina-lii. [Barrère, p. 23]

All the land was once overflowed by the sea, except for the peak of Mauna Kea, where two humans survived. The event is called kai a Kahinarii (sea of Kahinarii). There was no ship involved. [Gaster, p. 110; Barrère, p. 22]

In the earliest times in Hawaii, there was no sea, nor even fresh water. Pele came to Hawaii because she was displeased over her husband having been enticed from her. Her parents gave her the sea so she could bring her canoes. At Kanaloa she poured the sea from her head. It rose until it covered the high ground, leaving only a few mountains not entirely submerged. She later caused it to recede to what we see today. This sea was named after the mother of Pele, Kahinalii, because the sea belonged to her; Pele simply brought it. [Barrère, pp. 23-24]

The people had turned to evil, so Kane punished their sin with a flood. Nu'u and his company were saved by entering into the Great-Canoe, a large canoe roofed over like a house, which had been given them by Kane. The canoe contained a number of things, and Nu'u ruled over the whole like a chief. After the flood, these people repopulated the islands. The waters came up as a wicked brother-in-law of Nu'u was indulging himself in pleasure. He ran to enter the ark, but his calls were unheard by those inside. He prayed to the god Lono in the name of his sister but did not escape. He became angry at the first pair of people who had brought this trouble by bringing evil into the world, and he prayed to Lono that the whole earth be destroyed and that the first pair of people be brought back to life to witness the trouble they caused. [Barrère, pp. 19-21]

Nuu was of the thirteenth generation from the first man. The gods commanded Nuu to build an ark and carry on it his wife, three sons, and males and females of all breathing things. Waters came and covered the earth. They subsided to leave the ark on a mountain overlooking a beautiful valley. The gods entered the ark and told Nuu to go forth with all the life it carried. In gratitude for his deliverance, Nuu offered a sacrifice of pig, coconuts, and awa to the moon, which he thought was the god Kane. Kane descended on a rainbow to reproach Nuu for his mistake but left the rainbow as a perpetual sign of his forgiveness. [Kalakaua, p. 37; Barrère, pp. 21-22]

A high chief had two boys killed for playing with his drums. Their father Kamalo sought the help of the shark god Kauhuhu to get revenge. Kauhuhu told the man to build a special fence around his place and to collect 400 black pigs, 400 red fish, and 400 white chickens. Months later, Kauhuhu came in the form of a cloud. He caused a great storm which washed everyone on the hillside, except Kamalo and his people, into the harbor, where sharks devoured them. [Westervelt, pp. 110-116]

North America


An unusually high tide caused a global flood. Shellfish and such things in the mountains are evidence of it. [Gaster, p. 120]

Eskimo (Orowignarak, Alaska):

A great inundation, together with an earthquake, swept the land so rapidly that only a few people escaped in their skin canoes to the tops of the highest mountains. [Frazer, p. 327]

Norton Sound Eskimo:

In the first days, the water from the sea came up and flooded all the earth except for a very high mountain in the middle. A few animals escaped to this mountain, and a few people survived in a boat, subsisting on fish. The people landed on the mountain as the water subsided and followed the retreating water to the coast. The animals also descended. [Gaster, p. 120]

Central Eskimo:

The ocean rose suddenly and continued rising until it covered even the tops of mountains. Ice drifted on the water, and when the flood subsided, ice was stranded to form ice-caps on the tops of mountains. The shells and bones of many shellfish, fish, seals, and whales were also left high above sea level, where they may be found today. Many people drowned, but many others were saved in their boats. [Frazer, pp. 327-328]

Tchiglit Eskimo (Point Barrow to Cape Bathurst):

A great flood broke over the land. Driven by the wind, it submerged people's dwellings. The people formed a raft by tying several boats together and pitched a tent against the icy blast. They huddled together for warmth as uprooted trees drifted past. Finally, a magician named An-odjium ("Son of the Owl") threw his bow in the water and commanded the wind to be calm. Then he threw in his earrings, causing the flood to subside. [Frazer, p. 327]

Herschel Island Eskimo:

Noah invited all animals to save themselves aboard his ark, but the mammoths thought there would not be much of a flood and that their legs were long enough to deal with it, so they stayed outside and became extinct. The other animals believed Noah and were saved. [Frazer, pp. 328-329]

Netsilik Eskimo:

A flood killed all animals and humans except for two Shaman, who survived in a boat. They copulated, and their offspring included the world's first women. [Balikci]

The giant Inugpasugssuk waded into the ocean to hunt seals. His penis stuck up out of the water so far away that he thought it was a seal putting its head up, and he struck it by mistake. He fell backwards in pain, and that raised a wave that flooded the whole district of Arviligjuaq. [Norman, p. 233]


The world once overturned. Some people were turned into fiery spirits; all the rest drowned but one. Afterwards, the survivor smote the ground with his stick, a woman sprung out, and the two of them repopulated the world. Proof of the flood is found in the form of sea fossils on high mountains. [Gaster, p. 120]

Tlingit (southern Alaska coast):

Yehl, the Raven, created man, caused the plants to grow, and set the sun, moon, and stars in their places. Yehl's wicked uncle had a young wife whom he was very fond and jealous of. He did not want any of his nephews to inherit his widow when he died, as Tlingit law dictates should happen, so he murdered each of Yehl's ten older brothers by drowning them or, according to some, by stretching them on a board and beheading them. When Yehl grew to manhood, his uncle tried to do the same to him. But Yehl's mother had conceived him by swallowing a round pebble she had found at low tide, and with another stone she had rendered him invulnerable. When the uncle tried to behead Yehl, his knife had no effect. In a rage, the uncle called for a flood, and a flood came and covered all the mountains. Yehl assumed his wings, which he could do at will, and soared into the sky. He remained hanging by his beak from the sky for ten days, while the water rose so high it lapped his wings. When the water fell, Yehl let go, dropped like an arrow onto a soft bank of seaweed, and was rescued by an otter who brought him to land. [Frazer, pp. 316-317]

Raven had put a woman under the world to govern the tides. Once he wished to see the undersea world, and he caused the woman to raise the waters so that he might do so while remaining dry. He directed her to raise the ocean slowly so that people might have time to provision their canoes. As the waters rose, bears and other animals were driven to the mountaintops, and many of them swam out to the people's canoes. Some people had taken dogs into their canoes, and the dogs kept the bears off. Some people landed on the tops of mountains, building dikes around them to keep out the water. Uprooted trees, devil-fish, and other strange creatures washed past. When the waters ebbed, the survivors followed the tide down the mountain, but the trees were all gone, and the people, having no firewood, perished of cold. When Raven returned, he saw fish lying high on the land, and he commanded them to turn to stone. When he saw people coming down the mountain, he turned them to stone also. When all mankind had been destroyed, he created them anew out of leaves. That is why so many people die during the autumn. [Frazer, pp. 317-318]

People were saved from a universal deluge in a giant ark. The ark struck a rock and split in two. The Tlingits were in one half of the ark, and all other people were in the other half. This explains why there is a diversity of languages. [Gaster, p. 119]

The father of all tribes, who lived in the east, was warned in dreams of a deluge. He built a raft on which he saved himself, his family, and all animals. They floated for several months. The animals, who could still talk then, murmured against him. At length they landed. The animals lost their ability to speak as punishment for their complaining. [Nelson, p. 183]

Hareskin (Alaska):

Kunyan ("Wise Man"), foreseeing the possibility of a flood, built a great raft, joining the logs with ropes made from roots. He told other people, but they laughed at him and said they'd climb trees in the event of a flood. Then came a great flood, with water gushing from all sides, rising higher than the trees and drowning all people but the Wise Man and his family on his raft. As he floated, he gathered pairs of all animals and birds he met with. The earth disappeared under the waters, and for a long time no one thought to look for it. Then the musk-rat dived into the water looking for the bottom, but he couldn't find it. He dived a second time and smelled the earth but didn't reach it. Next beaver dived. He reappeared unconscious but holding a little mud. The Wise Man placed the mud on the water and breathed on it, making it grow. He continued breathing on it, making it larger and larger. He put a fox on the island, but it ran around the island in just a day. Six times the fox ran around the island; by the seventh time, the land was as large as it was before the flood, and the animals disembarked, followed by Wise Man with his wife (who was also his sister) and son. They repeopled the land. But the flood waters were still too high, and to lower them, the bittern swallowed them all. Now there was too little water. Plover, pretending sympathy at the bittern's swollen stomach, passed his hand over it, but suddenly scratched it. The waters flowed out into the rivers and lakes. [Gaster, pp. 117-118]

Tinneh (Alaska and south):

The deluge was caused by a heavy snowfall one September. One man foresaw the flood and warned his fellows, but in vain; the flood covered their intended mountain escape. The one man survived in a canoe he had built, and he rescued animals from the waters as he sailed about. In time, he sent the beaver, otter, muskrat, and arctic duck to dive into the water in search of earth, but only the duck succeeded, bringing some slime on its claws. The man spread the slime on the water and breathed on it to make it grow. For six days he embarked animals upon the new island; then the land was large enough for he himself to go ashore. [Gaster, p. 118]

A rich youth and his four nephews sailed far across the sea to seek the hand of a fair damsel who lived there. But she would not have him, so he prepared to leave. He and his nephews were prepared to shove off from shore, and many of the villagers had come to see them off. One woman with an infant in her arms said, "If they want a little girl, why not take this one of mine?" The rich young man heard her, extended his paddle and told her to put the infant on it, and placed the infant next to him in the canoe. The girl whom he had asked to marry came down to get water, but she began sinking in the mud. As she cried for help, the young man said it was her own fault, and she soon sank out of sight. The girl's mother saw this, and to avenge her death brought some tame brown bears to the water's edge and, holding their tails, told them to raise a strong wind, hoping in this way to drown the rich youth. The bears began furiously digging, raising great waves. The young man's nephews drowned, as did all inhabitants of the village except the infant's mother and her husband. The young man, though, had a magical white stone which, when he threw it ahead of him, clove a smooth path through the billows. Then he threw a harpoon at the crest of a wave. When it hit, the wave became a mountain, and the harpoon rebounded and stuck in the sky, where medicine-men can see it today. Land had been formed again, and the youth found himself in a spruce forest. Turning to the infant, he found that she had become a radiant woman. He married her and repopulated the drowned earth. The couple from his wife's village became the ancestors of the people overseas. [Frazer, pp. 313-314]

Loucheux (Dindjie) (a Tinneh tribe, Alaska):

A man called the Mariner (Etroetchokren) was the first person to build a canoe. One day, he rocked it side to side, causing waves which flooded the earth and floundering the canoe. He scrambled into a giant hollow straw that floated past, caulked up the ends, and floated safely until the flood dried. He landed on a high mountain, called the Place of the Old Man today, near Fort MacPherson in the Rockies. The Mariner straddled a rapid stretch of the Yukon River and, dipping with his hands, drew out dead bodies of men as they floated past, but he found none living. The only living thing he saw was a raven high on a rock, gorged with food and fast asleep. The Mariner climbed to the raven, grabbed it, and stuck it in his sack. The raven begged not to be cast down, saying the man would find no other surviving men without the raven's help. The man dropped the bag anyway, and the bird was dashed to pieces. But though the man searched far and wide, he could find nothing else living except a loach and a pike sunning themselves on the mud. He went back to the raven, reassembled its bones, and blew on them to restore the flesh and return the raven to life. They returned to the beach, and the raven told the man to bore a hole in the belly of the pike, while it did the same to the loach. A crowd of men emerged from the hole in the pike, and women came out of the loach. [Frazer, pp. 315-316]

Dogrib and Slave (Tinneh tribes, northern Canada):

A Dogrib and Slave Indian tale is the same as the Cree tale of Wissaketchak, except the old man is named Tchapewi, and he sends all kinds of amphibious animals diving for earth before muskrat succeeds. [Frazer, p. 310]

Kaska (northern inland British Columbia):

A great flood came; people survived it on rafts and canoes. Darkness and high winds came, which scattered the vessels. When the flood subsided, people landed at the nearest land and lived where they had landed. Thus they were scattered all over the world, and when they met again long afterwards, they were different tribes and spoke different languages. [Gaster, p. 119]

Thompson Indians (British Columbia):

A flood once covered all but the summits of some of the highest mountains. Its cause isn't certain, but it may have been made the the three brothers Qoaqlqal, who travelled the country transforming things until they themselves were transformed into stones. Three men escaped in a canoe and drifted to the Nzukeski Mountains, where they and their canoe were afterwards turned to stone; you may see them there today. Coyote survived by turning himself into a piece of wood and floating. When the flood subsided, leaving him in the Thompson River area, he resumed his normal shape. He took trees to be his wives, and from them the Indians are descended. The flood left lakes in the hollows of the mountains, streams flowing from them, and fish in them; none of these existed before the flood. [Frazer, p. 322]

Sarcee (Alberta):

The world was flooded, and one man and one woman survived on a raft on which they collected all kinds of animals and birds. The man sent a beaver (or, some say, a muskrat) diving to the bottom, and it brought up a little mud. The man shaped this to form a new world. It was at first so small that a little bird could walk around it, but it grew and grew. [Frazer, pp. 314-315]


A man and his wife went up the hills to hunt marmots. There, they saw that the water was still rising. They enclosed their children, along with supplies, in hollow trees. The water rose further, and all other people drowned. The children went to sleep, and when they awoke, one of the boys opened a hole, and they came out, the waters having had receded. [Roheim, pp. 159-160]

Haida (Queen Charlotte Is., British Columbia):

A strange woman wearing an unusual fur cape came to a village. One of the boys playing in the area pulled at her garment and saw her backbone, which had protuberances like a plant that grows along the seashore. The children jeered at this. The parents told the children not to laugh, and the woman sat by the water's edge at low tide. As the tide rose and touched her feet, she moved up a little and sat down again. The tide kept rising, following the woman. The villagers soon became alarmed at its unprecedented height, and having no canoes, they prepared rafts and provisioned them with fish and water. At last the tide covered the whole island. The people saved themselves on the rafts. The various rafts landed in different places, which is how the tribes became dispersed. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 472-473]

Long ago there was a flood which killed all creatures except a single raven. This raven, Ne-kil-stlas, was a person who could don and doff his feathers at will; he had been born of a woman who had had no husband. When the flood had gone down, he looked about but found no mate, so he became very lonely. He married a cockle (Cardium nuttalli) from the beach, and he constantly brooded and wished for a companion. In time, he heard a faint cry, such as from a newborn child, from the shell. The cry gradually grew louder, and at last a small female child appeared. She grew larger and larger and finally married the raven. From them all the Indians were produced. [Frazer, p. 319]

Tsimshian (British Columbia):

The flood was sent by the god Laxha, who had become annoyed by the noise of boys at play. [Gaster, p. 119]

All people except for a few were destroyed by a flood, which was sent by heaven to punish man's ill behavior. Later, people were devastated by fire. The earth had no mountains or trees before the flood. Leqa created them after the deluge. [Frazer, p. 319]

Long ago the waters swelled. A few people escaped to the tops of high mountains, but more were saved in their canoes. They were scattered and, when the waters went down, they landed and settled in various spots. Thus Indians are spread all over the country, but their common songs and customs show that they are one people. [Frazer, p. 320]

Kwakiutl (north Vancouver Island):

Very long ago, a flood covered everything but three mountains, one near Bella-Bella, one northeast of there, and a hill called Ko-Kwus on Don Island which rose with the flood to stay above the water. Nearly all people floated on logs and trees in different directions. Some people had small canoes with anchors and managed to land near their homes when the water subsided. Of the Hailtzuk only two men, a woman, and a dog survived. One of the men landed at Ka-pa, one at another village site, and the woman and dog at Bella-Bella. The Bella-Bella Indians descended from the marriage of the woman and dog. There was no fresh water when the flood subsided. The raven showed people where they could dig for a little water and how chewing on cedar brought water into their mouths. This sustained them until a great rain came which filled the lakes and rivers. It is still understood, though, that without cedars there would be no water. [Frazer, p. 321]

Kootenay (southeast British Columbia):

A small gray bird, despite the prohibition of her husband (a chicken hawk, Accipiter cooperi), bathed in a certain lake after picking berries in the hot sun. There she was seized and raped by a giant in the lake. The bird's husband shot the monster, who in revenge swallowed up all the water to keep others from having it. The woman pulled out the arrow, and the water rushed forth in a torrent. The husband and wife escaped to a mountain until the flood receded. (In variant versions, the woman was seized by a giant fish or water animal. The husband killed it, and its blood caused the flood. The husband escaped up a tree.) [Kelsen, pp. 147-148; Frazer, p. 323]

Squamish (British Columbia):

When the Squamish saw the great flood coming, they held a council and decided to make a giant canoe. The men worked day and night to make this canoe, the biggest ever, and the women made a long rope of oiled cedar fibers with which they tied the canoe to a giant rock. They put every baby into the canoe, with food and water. They selected the bravest young man and the mother of the youngest baby to go as their guardians. No one cried as the waters rose and drowned everyone else. After several days, the man saw a speck far to the south. By the next day, he could see that it was a mountain top, Mount Baker. He cut the rope and paddled to it, and made a new home there. The outline of the canoe can still be seen halfway up the slope of Mount Baker. [Clark, pp. 42-43]

Bella Coola (British Columbia):

Masmasalanich, who created man, fastened the earth to the sun to keep the earth from sinking and to keep the sun at the proper distance. One day he stretched the rope, so the earth sank and the water ran over it, eventually covering even the tops of the mountains. A fierce storm broke out at the same time. Many people who had taken to boats were drowned in the storm, and others were driven far away. At last Masmasalanich shortened the rope, the earth rose again from the water, and mankind spread over it. Diversity of language arose from their being scattered; there was but one speech before the flood. [Frazer, p. 320]

Lillooet (Green River, British Columbia):

A great rain came, making the rivers and lakes overflow the country. A man named Ntcinemkin took refuge with his family in his very large canoe. The others fled to the mountains, but the flood rose to cover them, too. The people begged Ntcinemkin to save at least their children. He didn't have room enough to hold all of them, so he took one child from each family, alternating males and females. The flood covered all land except the peak of Split Mountain (Ncikato) on the west side of Lower Lillooet Lake. When the waters dropped, the canoe grounded on Smimelc Mountain. Each stage of the water's dropping is marked by a terrace on the side of the mountain, which can be seen today. [Frazer, pp. 321-322]

Makah (Cape Flattery, Washington):

The ocean rose high enough to cut off the cape. Then it withdrew, reaching its low ebb four days later, leaving Neah Bay high and dry. Then it rose again to cover all but the mountain tops. The rising waters were very warm. People with canoes loaded their belongings and were borne far to the north. Many died when their canoes were caught in trees. The sea returned to normal after four more days, and the people found themselves far to the north, where their descendants still live. [Vitaliano, pp. 171-172]

Klallam (northwest Washington):

People escaped the great flood in canoes tied by ropes to the summit of a tall mountain. The top of the mountain broke off in the flood, leaving two peaks visible in a ridge in the Olympics. The canoes floated away and came to rest, after the flood, in the region where Seattle is now. Their descendants became the natives of that area. [Clark, pp. 44-45]

Skokomish (Washington):

The Great Spirit, angry with the wickedness of people and animals, decided to rid the earth of all but the good animals, one good man, and his family. At the Great Spirit's direction, the man shot an arrow into a cloud, then another arrow into that arrow, and so on, making a rope of arrows from the cloud to the ground. The good animals and people climbed up. Bad animals and snakes started to climb up, but the man broke off the rope. Then the Great Spirit caused many days of rain, flooding up to the snow line of Takhoma (Mount Ranier). After all the bad people and animals were drowned, the Great Spirit stopped the rain, the waters slowly dropped, and the good people and animals climbed down. To this day there are no snakes on Takhoma. [Clark, pp. 31-32]

Once a big flood came. People made ropes of twisted cedar limbs and used them to fasten their canoes to mountains. The flood covered the Olympic Mountains. Some of the ropes broke, and the canoes drifted to the country of the Flatheads. That is why the Skokomish and the Flatheads speak the same language. [Clark, p. 44]

Skagit (Washington):

The Creator made the earth and gave four names for it -- for the sun, waters, soil and forests. He said only a few people, with special preparation for the knowledge, should know all four names, or the world would change too suddenly. After a while, everyone learned the four names. When people started talking to the trees the change came in the form of a flood. When the people saw the flood coming, they made a giant canoe and filled it with five people and a male and female of all plants and animals. Water covered everything but the summit of Kobah and Takobah (Mts. Baker and Ranier). The canoe landed on the prairie. Doquebuth, the new Creator, was born of a couple from the canoe. He was told to go to a lake (Lake Campbell) and swim and fast to get his spirit powers, but he delayed. Finally he did so after his family deserted him. The Old Creator came to him in dreams. First he told Doquebuth to wave his blanket over the water and the forest and name the four names of the earth; this created food for everyone. Next, at the direction of the Old Creator, he gathered the bones of the people who lived before the flood, waved the blanket over them and named the four names, and made people again. These people couldn't talk, so he similarly made brains for them from the soil. Then they spoke many different languages, and Doquebuth blew them back to the places they lived before the flood. Someday, another flood will come and change the world again. [Clark, pp. 139-141]

Quillayute (Washington):

Thunderbird was once so angry that he sent the ocean over the land. When it reached the village of the Quillayute, they got into their canoes. The water rose for four days, covering the mountains. The boats were scattered by the wind and waves. Then the water receded for four days, and people settled in many areas. [Clark, p. 45]

Nisqually (Washington):

The people became so numerous that they ate all the fish and game and started to eat each other. They were so wicked that Dokibatl, the Changer, flooded the earth. All living things were destroyed except one woman and one dog, which survived atop Tacobud (Mt. Ranier). From them the next race of people were born. They walked on four legs and lived like animals. To make matters worse, a huge and powerful bear came from the south. It had the power to paralyze with its gaze whatever it wanted to eat, and it threatened to eat all the people. The Changer sent a Spirit Man from the east to teach them civilization. He showed them how to make and use bows, canoes, clothing, fire, etc., and taught them about the spirits and the potlatch custom. He killed the bear with seven arrows, and he put all the ills of the world in a large building, but years later a curious daughter peeked in the building and let them out. [Clark, pp. 136-138]

Twana (Puget Sound, Washington):

The people were wicked, and to punish them, a flood came which covered all the land except one mountain. The people escaped in their canoes to the highest peak in their country, which they call "Fastener." With long ropes, they tied their canoes to the tallest tree on the peak, but the water rose over it. Some of the canoes broke their moorings and drifted west; those people formed a tribe to the west which speaks a language like that of the Twanas. Because those people drifted away, the present Twana tribe is small. [Frazer, p. 324]


Blue-jay advised a maiden to marry a panther, who was a hunter and chief of his town. She went to his town but married Beaver by mistake. When Beaver returned from fishing, he told her to gather the trout he had caught, but she discovered they were not trout but willow branches. Disgusted, she ran away from him and finally married the panther. Beaver wept for five days, flooding the land with his tears. The animals escaped to their canoes. When the flood nearly reached the sky, they thought to fetch up some earth. They told Blue-jay to dive, but his dive was so shallow that his tail remained above water. Mink tried next, and then otter, but they could not reach the bottom. When muskrat's turn came, he told the people to tie the canoes together and lay planks across them. Muskrat threw off his blanket, sang his song five times, and dove. He was down a long time, but at last flags came up to the surface. Summer came, the water sank, and the canoes grounded. As the animals jumped out of the canoes, they broke off their tails against the gunwale. But otter, mink, muskrat, and panther reattached their tails, so they have long tails today. [Frazer, pp. 325-326; Kelsen, p. 148]

Cascade Mountains:

A flood overflowed the land. An old man and his family, on a boat or raft, were blown by the wind to a certain mountain. He stayed there and sent a crow to search for land, but it returned without finding any. Later, it brought back a leaf from a certain grove, and the old man knew the water was abating. [Frazer, pp. 324-325]

Spokana, Nez Perce, Cayuse (eastern Washington):

These tribes also have traditions of a flood in which one man and his wife survived on a raft. Each tells of a different mountain where the raft landed. [Gaster, pp. 119-120]

Yakima (Washington):

In early times, many people had gone to war with other tribes; even medicine men had killed people. But there were still some good people. One of the good men heard from the Land Above that a big water was coming. He told the other good people, and they decided they would make a dugout boat from the largest cedar they could find. Soon after the canoe was finished, the flood came, filling the valleys and covering the mountains. The bad people were drowned; the good people were saved in the boat. We don't know how long the flood stayed. The canoe came down where it was built and can still be seen on the east side of Toppenish Ridge. The earth will be destroyed by another flood if people do wrong a second time. [Clark, p. 45]

Warm Springs (Oregon):

Twice, a great flood came. Afraid that another might come, the people made a giant canoe from a big cedar. When they saw a third flood coming, they put the bravest young men and fairest young women in the canoe, with plenty of food. Then the flood, bigger and deeper than the earlier ones, swallowed the land. It rained for many days and nights, but when the clouds finally parted for the third time, the people saw land (Mount Jefferson) and paddled to it. When the water receded, they made their home at the base of the mountain. The canoe was turned to stone and can be seen on Mount Jefferson today. [Clark. pp. 14-15]

Joshua (southern Oregon):

In the beginning, there was no land, and Xowalaci (The Giver) and his companion lived in a sweat house on the water. One day, white land appeared and expanded on the waters. Xowalaci made it solid by blowing tobacco smoke on it. He made more solid land by dropping five mud cakes into the ocean and telling them to expand when they hit the bottom. When he stepped on the new land, it became solid. He looked on the sand of the new land and saw a man's tracks, seemingly coming from the north and leading into the water to the south. This worried him, and he told the water to overflow the land he had created from the mud and to recede again. But he found more tracks again, coming from the west, so he caused a second flood. He repeated the process five times with no different results. Finally he gave up and said, "This is going to make trouble in the future!" and there has been trouble in the world since then. Then Xowalaci tried to make people. He formed figures from grass and mud, ordered a house to appear, and gave the figures to his companion to put in the house. Dogs arose from this creation attempt. He tried again using white sand, but those figures gave rise to snakes. He attributed these failures to the footprints. The world became inhabited by dogs and snakes. He crushed the ten biggest snakes in baskets of mixed fresh and salt water and threw them in the ocean. Two bad snakes got away to give rise to today's snake-like animals. Xowalaci ordered those two to encircle the world and hold it together. He also crushed five bad dogs and threw them in a ditch. They gave rise to water monsters. Soon after, his companion smoked for three days and created a house from which a woman emerged. Xowalaci told his companion to be her husband. Xowalaci straightened out the world, made more animals, and went up into the sky, saying as he went that the companion, his wife, and their sixteen children would speak different languages and become progenitors of the different tribes. [Sproul, pp. 232-236; von Franz, p. 174]

Smith River (northern California coast):

A great rain came which lasted a long time, and waters covered the land. The people retreated to high land, but they were all swept away and drowned except for one pair who found safety on the highest peak. They lived on fish, which they cooked by placing them under their arms. They had no fire, and, as everything was wet, they could not get any. The waters sank, and all present Indians descended from that couple. When the Indians died, their spirits took the forms of various animals and insects, so the earth was repopulated by animals also. The Indians, still lacking fire, looked to the moon, whose fire shone brightly. The Spider Indians and Snake Indians hatched a plan. The Spider Indians went to the moon in a gossamer balloon, but they kept the balloon fastened to the earth by a long rope. The Indians on the moon were suspicious of the newcomers, but the Spider Indians assured them that they had only come to gamble. As they played games around the fire, a Snake Indian climbed up the rope, darted through the fire, and escaped down the rope again before the Moon Indians could react. When he reached the earth, he had to travel over rocks, sticks, and trees, and everything he touched has henceforth contained fire. The Spider Indians were long kept prisoners on the moon. When they were finally released and returned to earth, ungrateful men killed them, fearing vengeance from the Moon Indians. [Frazer, pp. 289-290]

Wintu (north central California):

Katkatchila (swift) was a wonderful hunter. He had something which he aimed and threw, and it would kill game. Torihas (blue crane) invited Katkatchila to hunt with his people, with the ulterior motive to see how he kills things. On the first day of the hunt, Torihas sent his grandson Kaisus (grey squirrel) with Katkatchila. Whenever Katkatchila shot a deer, Kaisus rushed to the deer, but Katkatchila was faster and had taken out the weapon. On the second, day, Hau (red fox) went with Katkatchila, and finally, when Katkatchila shot his tenth deer, Hau reached it first and hid the flint weapon in his ear. Katkatchila demanded it back, but Hau denied having taken it. Katkatchila went away angry, threatening trouble. The others examined the flint. Hilit (house fly) rubbed the flint with his hands and legs, making it large. Patsotchet (badger) warned that Katkatchila would make trouble, and Torihas asked Tichelis (ground squirrel) to carry the flint north. When Katkatchila reached home, he told his sister Yonot (buckeye), her husband Tilikus (fire-drill), and her husband's brother Poharamas (shooting star) of the theft. They brought out Yonot's child Pohila (fire child) and ignited pine sticks from it. Poharamus ran southeast to where the sky meets the earth, and Tilikus did the same in the southwest. Both ran northward near the sky leaving a trail of fire behind them. The fire spread to Torihas's people. Only two of them escaped to the north. The flint still lies where Tichelis dropped it. Katkatchila, Yonot, Pohila, and Tilikus went behind the sky. Poharamus went to Olelpanti, the highest place above the sky, where the supreme being Olelbis lives in a wonderful house made from living oaks. Olelbis looked down on the world and saw only waves of flame. The sparks stuck fast in the sky and remain there as stars. Olelbis's grandmothers told him of Kahit (wind) who lives in the far north outside the first sky, sitting with his head in his hands facing north. Olelbis sent Lutchi (hummingbird) to bid Kahit come with Mem Loimis (water). Lutchi went quickly, propped up the sky, and gave the message to Kahit. They came through the opening in the sky. Mem Loimis came first, followed closely by Kahit, who was blowing his whistle with all his might. The water covered the earth, putting out the fire, and rose to the top of the sky. All kinds of people who could swim came with them, such as Yoholmit (frog) and Sosini (a water bird). Some of these people Olelbis sent far away; others stayed at Olelpanti. Olelbis told Kahit that they had wind and water enough, and Kahit drove Mem Loimis back to her home in the ground in the north. Olelbis looked down and saw nothing but naked rock. There was no water left except in a rock basin at Tsarau Heril. At Olelbis's bidding, Klabus (mole) worked five days bringing baskets of earth from beyond the sky in the west and spreading it over the world. He and Yilahl (gopher) then raised mountains and hills. Olelbis saw smoke in the southwest where Yonot had returned with Pohila. He sent Tede Wiu (a small bird) to get some fire. The house was closed, but after many days Tede Wiu caught a spark that came out. Olelbis threw a grapevine root and tule roots onto the earth, and water flowed from where they hit. Olelbis directed Tsurat (woodpecker) to carry Hlihli (white oak acorn) over the earth; meal drifted out of it, and oak trees sprung up everywhere. Olelbis also spread seeds of all kinds of plants from around his lodge. Olelbis sent to earth all of the people who were not needed at his home. The great people he kept at Olelpanti, but he sent down parts of each to turn into something in the world below. [Curtin, pp. 3-48]

People came into existence and dwelt a long, long time. Then one of them dreamed of a whirlwind, and the others said he had dreamed something bad. After that it blew, and the wind increased. The world was going bad. At noon they all went into an earth lodge. It blew terribly. Trees fell down westward. The one who had dreamed stayed outside and told the others it was raining, the water was coming, the earth will be destroyed. All the other houses were blown away. He came into the earth lodge and leaned against the pole. At last the pole came loose too. The one who dreamed was the last destroyed of all the people. The world was destroyed and water alone was left. After some time, Olelbes (He-Who-Is-Above) looked down all around and finally saw something barely visible in the north in the middle of the water. It swam around a little. It was lamprey eel, the first to come into existence, and it lay on the bedrock. On the rocks lay a little mud. No one knows how long the waters sat there. At last it receded to the south, turning into numerous creeks. A little earth came into being, and it turned into all kinds of trees. [Margolin 1981, pp. 128-129]

Wukchumni (a Yokuts tribe, Calif. near Tulare):

Water was everywhere. All people drowned except a few on a high place. Eagle and Cougar, wanting land, tied strings to the legs of three ducks, who dived for earth but failed. Turtle tried and succeeded, though he returned nearly dead. Dove took the earth from Turtle's fingernails to Eagle. Eagle spoke to it, and it became the world. Blue Jay, Crested Jay, and Coyote planted trees. Wolf was sent far south; his howling cures the world. These first animal people now live at a great rock far to the east. [Gayton and Newman, p. 55]

Maidu (central California):

As the Indians of old lived tranquilly in the Sacramento Valley, a mighty rushing of waters came suddenly, so that the whole valley became like an ocean. Many Indians were overtaken by the waters, and the frogs and the salmon overtook and ate many others. Only two escaped to the hills, but the Great Man made them fruitful, so the world was soon repopulated with many tribes. One man was a chief of great renown over all the nations. He went to a knoll overlooking the waters that covered the fertile plains of his ancestors. For nine sleeps he lay there without food, meditating on how that water had come there. At the end of nine sleeps, he was changed so that no arrow could harm him. He commanded the Great Man to let the waters flow from the plains. The Great Man opened the side of a mountain, and the waters flowed away to the ocean. [Frazer, pp. 290-291]

Northern Miwok (central California):

Water covered the world except for the top of the highest mountain. People escaped to there, but they were starving. The water went down, leaving the ground a soft mud. The people rolled down rocks to see if the mud was hard enough to support them. When the rocks stayed on top of the mud, the people went down. But the mud was not hard enough, and the people sank out of sight. Ravens came and stood at the holes where the people had gone down, one Raven at each hole. When the ground hardened, the ravens turned into people. That is why the Miwok are so dark. [Merriam, p. 101]

Tuleyome Miwok (near Clear Lake, California):

Wekwek, the Falcon, visited Wennok Lake, a region new to him, and found many ducks and geese. His grandfather Olle, Coyote-man, taught him how to make and use a sling. Wekwek went back to the area, killed hundreds of birds, gathered them, and brought them back to Olle. The next day, Wekwek saw Sahte, Weasel-man, coming and going and was curious about him. Wekwek followed Sahte north to Clear Lake and found his home while Sahte was out. He found several sacks of shell-bead money there and took it all back with him. When Sahte returned, he wanted to find out who stole his money. He set fire to one end of a stick and pointed it in different directions. When it pointed south towards the thief, the flame leaped from the stick and spread southward. Wekwek was concerned when he saw that the country to the north was on fire, and he told Olle. Olle knew the reason for the fire, but he said only, "The people up there are burning tules." When the fire came close so that Wekwek thought they would soon burn, he confessed to Olle that he had stolen the money and hidden it in the creek. Olle then took a sack from his roundhouse and beat it against an oak tree, creating fog. He beat another sack against the tree, causing more fog, and then rain. He said the rain would last for ten days and nights. The rain covered all the land except the top of Mount Konokti. Wekwek flew around in the rain and eventually found that refuge. On the tenth day, the rain stopped, and the water started going down. After about a week, the land was bare again. At that time, there were no real people in the world. Olle took the feathers of the geese that Wekwek had killed at Wennok lake. They traveled over the country, and whenever they found a good site, Olle laid two feathers side by side. The next morning, each pair of feathers had turned into a man and a woman. Later, Wekwek commented to Olle that the people had no fire, and Olle sent Wekewillah, the Shrew-mice brothers, to steal fire from Kahkahte, the Crow, who had it at his roundhouse. They succeeded, and Olle put the fire in the buckeye tree. [Merriam, pp. 138-151]

Olamentko Miwok (Bodega Bay, California):

Oye, Coyote-man, and Wekwek, Falcon-man, quarreled. Oye took all the people with him across the ocean and made rain to cover the world with water. Wekwek flew and flew but could find no place to rest. The water covered everything. Finally he fell in the water. He was floating nearly dead when his wing caught on a stick. The stick was from the roundhouse of Peleet the Grebe, who investigated and found Wekwek. He pulled Wekwek into his roundhouse and saved him. Oye let the water down and brought the people back. [Merriam, p. 157]

Ohlone (San Francisco to Monterey, California):

A fight between the great forces of Good and Evil was followed by an immense flood. It wiped out all traces of the previous world and covered all the earth except two islands. Coyote, the only living thing in the world, stood on one of the islands (Mount Diablo or Pico Blanco). One day, he saw a feather floating on the water. It turned into Eagle as it reached the island. Later, they were joined by Hummingbird. This trio created a new race of people. Eagle told Coyote how to find a wife but did not tell him how to make children. Coyote told the girl to louse him and to swallow the woodtick she found. She became pregnant from this. Afraid, she ran away to the ocean and turned into a sand flea. Coyote found another wife and with her went out over the world, founding five tribes with five different languages. [Margolin 1978, pp. 134-135]

Kato (Mendocino County, California):

The previous world had a sky of sandstone rock. Two gods, Thunder and Nagaicho, saw that it was old. They stretched it, propped up its four corners, created flowers, clouds and other pleasant things. They created a man out of earth, putting in grass for the stomach and heart, clay for liver and kidneys, pulverized red stone mixed with water for blood. They split one of his legs to make a woman. Then they made the sun and moon. But the creation didn't last. It rained day and night as people slept. The sky fell. Humans and animals were all washed away by a flood which covered everything. There was only water, no wind, rain, frost, clouds, or sun. It was very dark. Then this earth, with its long horns, traveled underground from the north; Nagaicho rode on its head. Where the earth dragon turned its head upwards, mountain ridges and islands formed. It lay down in the south; Naigaicho covered it with clay and plants to create the mountains. People appeared who had animal names. Later, when the indians came, those people turned into animals. Naigaicho traveled over the earth making sea foods, creeks, trees, ocean waves, and generally making it comfortable for people. When he got to his home in the north, he and his dog stayed there. [Gifford & Block, pp. 79-82; Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 107-109]

Sinkyone (northwest California, Eel River)

The ocean rose and covered the land. All were drowned except two eel-baskets, a brother and sister, who saved themselves by climbing Bear Butte, southwest of Philipsville. People now are afraid to climb that mountain. [Kroeber, p. 347]

Shasta (northern California interior):

Coyote encountered an evil water spirit who said, "There is no wood" and caused water to rise until it covered Coyote. After the water receded, Coyote shot the water spirit with a bow and ran away, but the water followed him. He ran to the top of Mount Shasta; the water followed but didn't quite reach the top. Coyote made a fire, and all the other animal people swam to it and found refuge there. After the water receded, they came down, made new homes, and became the ancestors of all the animal people today. [Clark, p. 12]

Yana (upper Sacramento River area):

Pun Miaupa, son of Rainbow, left home and went north to get the youngest daughter of Wakara (moon). On the way, he went to his uncle Igupa Topa. Igupa Topa knew that Wakara killed all his daughter's suitors, so he went along to help his nephew. Pun Miaupa was concerned because Igupa Topa was old and fell every few steps, but Igupa Topa soon revealed that he could jump between mountaintops even better than Pun Miaupa. At length, they reached their destination and saw Halai Auna (morning star), Wakara's daughter. Igupa Topa put himself into his nephew's heart to strengthen him. Halai Auna was pleased by Pun Miaupa, but she went home and told Wakara she had seen a man. Wakara welcomed Pun Miaupa formally, but then went to his brother Tuina (sun) to see what he thought of Halai Auna's new husband. Tuina had a pipe with tobacco made from his own hair and gave it to Pun Miaupa to smoke, expecting it to kill him. But Igupa Topa in his heart took the smoke, so Pun Miaupa was unharmed. Tiuna repeated the test with increasingly stronger tobaccos made from his skin, flesh, brains, and marrow, to no effect. Igupa Topa left Pun Miaupa's heart that night; Tiupa saw him the next morning and knew the source of Pun Miaupa's power. They offered Igupa Topa food, but he ate nothing until night came; then he ate everything in the house except venison. The same happened the next day. The women fixing the food complained, and Tiuna said he didn't like Igupa Topa either. Igupa Topa heard this; he raised a great cloud and caused heavy rain. He brought his nephew and Halai Auna to the roof of the sweat house. The rain filled the valleys and came up to the roof of the house. Everyone else, inside the house, drowned. At daylight, the rain stopped and the water lowered. Halai Auna cried for her family, but Pun Miaupa told her that his uncle would restore them to life. Just after midday, Igupa Topa looked at the dead bodies and said, "Why sleep all day? It is time to be up!" and the people arose as if from sleep. Later, Wakara took his new son-in-law to play a sport in which one person bends down a tall pole as the other goes to the top and tries to hold on as the pole is released to spring back. Wakara tried to kill Pun Miaupa by pulling the pole very low, but Igupa Topa had entered Pun Miaupa's heart again, giving him the strength to hold on. When it was Wakara's turn to climb the pole, Pun Miaupa bent it very low and flung Wakara into the sky, where he stays. Pun Miaupa went back home with his uncle an Halai Auna. Wakara's other daughters grieved the loss of Wakara. Chuhna (spider) fastened a rope to the sky and drew up all of Wakara's daughters and their husbands; they stay on the sky as stars. [Curtin, pp. 281-294]

Juiwaiyu (black oak acorn) dreamed of two beautiful sisters, daughters of Damhauja (the waning crescent moon) who lived north of Wahkalu (Mt. Shasta). Although his parents warned him against going, he was determined, so his parents told him first to talk with his uncle Jupka (butterfly of the wild silk worm). Juiwaiyu began singing; as he did, he rose and traveled through the air to his uncle's house. Jupka warned that Juiwaiyu would be lost without him, so he made himself small to hide tied in Juiwaiyu's hair. Juiwaiyu told the sun to be slow so their journey may be done in one day. He sang fast and traveled through the air quickly. When they came to a wide road scattered with clover, Jupka told him that it was a trap, and he must take a narrow, little beaten road to the right instead. Juiwaiyu started down the broad road anyway. A great wind came, bringing clouds of lice that ate the flesh off of his body. Juiwaiyu landed; Jupka drew smoke through his pipe, and the wind and lice went away. He whipped Juiwaiyu with a rose-twig, and Juiwaiyu was sound and strong again in a moment. They went back to the right trail and followed it to Damhauja's sweat house. Juiwaiyu met the two girls first, who had also dreamed of his coming. The two girls went into their house; Juiwaiyu followed soon after, going underground and coming up between them. Damhauja put crushed bones in his pipe and handed it to his sisters to offer to Juiwaiyu to smoke. The sisters knew it could kill him and switched in common tobacco. Damhauja filled the pipe a second time, and the sisters couldn't make the switch under his gaze, but Jupka smoked this pipe; no smoke could hurt him. Jupka gave a walnut-sized piece of venison to Juiwaiyu to give to his new in-laws. It filled a large basket, which remained full even after Damhauja's many sons had eaten. That night, Jupka left Juiwaiyu's hair and in two steps went to one mountain and another. Angry that Damhauja had tried to kill his nephew, he put the two sisters high on the sweat house and made a great storm. Water washed through the sweat house and drowned Damhauja and his wife. Juiwaiyu on a mountaintop played his flute, attracting hundreds of deer which stood in a line. He killed them all with one arrow, placed them all inside the body of a fawn, and carried them to the sweat house. When he saw Damhauja and his wife dead, he told Jupka to bring them to life again, which Jupka did by whipping them with a rose-twig. Damhauja then saw that Jupka was with Juiwaiyu and made peace with them. However, Damhauja's brother-in-law and neighboring chief Kechowala (blue jay) wanted to kill Juiwaiyu. He sent his people (all sons-in-law of Damhauja) to kill Juiwaiyu in the course of playing several sports, but Juiwaiyu bested them. On the way back from the playground, Kechowala sent a rattlesnake and grizzly bear against Juiwaiyu. Juiwaiyu killed them and hung their skins before the sweat house. When Kechowala's men saw them, they were angry and yelled for Juiwaiyu to come out. He came out with a staff given by Jupka; he pointed it at people and said, "I wish you dead," and they died. He killed half of them. The rest ran home and, wanting nothing that came from Damhauja, killed their wives and their children. That night, Jupka made a great storm and drowned Kechowala and the rest of his men. Next morning, he brought the women and children to life with his rose-twig and took them to Damhauja's home. Damhauja made his house stretch to give room for them all. [Curtin, pp. 425-442]

Washo (Lake Tahoe area):

The tribe was once prosperous and strong and possessed the whole earth. But another people rose up and defeated and enslaved them. Then the Great Spirit sent a great wave from the sea across the continent. It engulfed all people; only a small remnant survived. Afterwards, taskmasters forced the remaining people to build a great temple so that the ruling caste may have a refuge in case of another flood. The masters worshipped a perpetual flame at the top of this temple. [Nelson, p. 186]

Pomo (north central California):

Coyote dreamed that water would soon cover the world, but nobody believed him. It rained, and the water started rising. The people climbed trees because there were no mountains to escape to. Coyote and a number of people escaped on a log. With the help of Mole, Coyote created mountains; then he created people for the new world. [Roheim, p. 153]

One day, the Thunder People found trout in their spring. At first, the people were afraid of them, but driven by hunger, the people ate them, except for three children who were warned by their grandmother not to eat them. The next morning, all but those three children had been transformed into deer. The children went to a very high mountain. Rain came and flooded all but the mountaintop. The children asked an old man what he could do; he said he didn't know, but he dug all night while the children slept. In the morning, he woke the children. The flood was gone, and the world was beautiful. [Roheim, pp. 153-154]

Everyone but Gopher was killed in a flood. He climbed to the top of Mt. Kanaktai, and just as the water was about to wash him off, it receded. He had no fire, so he dug into the mountain until he found fire inside, thus bringing fire again to the world. [Roheim, p. 154]

Coyote lived with two little boys whom he had got by deceit from one of the Wood-duck sisters. Everybody abused the boys, so Coyote decided to set the world on fire. He dug a tunnel at the east end of the world, filled it with fir bark, and lit it. With his two children in a sack, he called for rescue from the sky. Spider descended and took Coyote back up through the gates of the sky. When they came back, everything was roasted. Coyote drank too much water and got sick. Kusku the medicine man jumped on his belly, and water flowed out and covered the land. [Roheim, p. 154]

Salinan (California):

The old woman of the sea, jealous of Eagle's power, came with her basket in which she carried the sea. She continually poured out water until it covered the land, almost to the top of Santa Lucia Peak where the animals gathered. Eagle borrowed Puma's whiskers, made a lariat from them, and lassoed the basket. The sea stopped rising, and the old woman died. Eagle told Dove to fetch up some mud, and he made the world from it. Eagle shaped the first people, a woman and two men, from elder-wood. After sweating in a sweat-house, he blew on them and gave them life. Then they had a great fiesta. [Sproul, p. 236]

Yuma (western Arizona, southern California):

Komashtam'ho caused a great rain and started to flood out the large dangerous animals, but he was persuaded that people needed some of the animals for food. He evaporated the waters with a great fire, turning the land to desert in the process. [Erdoes & Ortiz, p. 81]

Havasupai (lower Colorado River):

Two brothers fueded, and Hokomata angrily sent a deluge which destroyed the world. Before it came, though, Tochopa sealed his daughter Pukeheh in a hollow log. She emerged when the flood subsided. She bore a son, fathered by the sun, and a daughter, fathered by a waterfall; these two repopulated the world. Havasupai women are called "Daughters of the Water". [Alexander, 1916, p. 180]

Ashochimi (California):

A great flood covered the earth and drowned every living creature except the coyote. He collected tail-feathers of owls, hawks, eagles, and buzzards and traveled with them all over the earth. Wherever a wigwam had stood before the flood, he planted a feather. The feathers sprouted and flourished, turning into men and women. Thus coyote repopulated the world. [Frazer, p. 290]

Yurok (north California coast):

The sky fell and hit the water, causing high breakers that flooded all the land. That is why one can find shells and redwood logs on the highest ridges. Two women and two men jumped into a boat when they saw the water coming, and they were the only people saved. Sky-Owner gave them a song, and many days later the water fell when they sang it. Sky-Owner sent a rainbow to tell them the water would never cover the world again. [Bell, p. 68]

Blackfoot (Alberta and Montana):

The Sun, the Moon, and their two children "Old Man" and "Apistotoki God" began creating the world. They were given sand, stone, water, and the hide of a fisher with which to complete the creation. A flood came, and they could save only those four things. Later, they created an old man, a dog, a man, and a woman. After a second flood, only those four were left on earth, and they created the rest of the world. [von Franz, p. 163]

Cree (Canada):

A man survived the deluge in his canoe. He sent forth a raven, but it did not return, and in punishment it was changed from white to black. He next sent out a wood pigeon; it returned with mud in its claws, by which the man inferred that the earth had dried, so he landed. [Frazer, p. 297]

Wissaketchak was an old magician. A certain sea monster hated him and, when the old man was paddling his canoe, the monster lashed the sea with its tail, causing waves that flooded the land. Wissaketchak, though, built a great raft and gathered on it pairs of all animals and birds. The sea monster continued its exertions, and the water continued to rise, until even the highest mountain was covered. Wissaketchak sent a duck to dive for earth, but the duck could not reach the bottom and drowned. He then sent the muskrat, which, after a long time, returned with its throat full of slime. Wissaketchak moulded this slime into a disk and floated it on the water; it resembled a nest such as muskrats make on ice. The disk swelled, and Wissaketchak made it grow more by blowing on it. As it grew and hardened, he sent the animals onto it. It became the land we now inhabit. [Frazer, pp. 309-310]

Timagami Ojibway (Canada):

Nenebuc, son of the Sun and a mortal woman, saw some lions in a great lake. He waited for them to come to shore to sun themselves, disguising himself by wrapping around himself some birch bark from a rotten stump. When the lions came, they were curious about the new stump and sent a snake to check it out. The snake coiled around it and tried to upset it, but Nenebuc stood firm. When the lions themselves approached, Nenebuc wounded the wife of the chief lion with an arrow shot. She was badly hurt but escaped to the cave where she lived. (The cave may still be seen in a bluff west of Smoothwater Lake.) Nenebuc donned the skin of a toad, disguised himself as a medicine-woman, and was admitted to the lioness. He thrust the arrow deeper, killing her. At once, water poured out of the cave, and the lake began to rise. Nenebuc built a raft, which was ready no sooner than the flood reached him. As the raft floated on the flood, Nenebuc took on animals that were swimming in the waters. After a time, Nenebuc tied a willow-root rope to the beaver's tail and bade him dive to find earth below the water, but the beaver returned without finding a bottom. Seven days later, Nenebuc let the muskrat try. The muskrat stayed down a long time and came up dead, but it held a little earth in its claws. Nenebuc dried the grains from which he remade the land, but not entirely, which is why there are swampy areas today. [Frazer, pp. 307-308]

Chippewa (Ojibway) (Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin):

The medicine man Wis-kay-tchach recognized all animals as his relations, and he considered some wolves to be his brother and two nephews. To stave off starvation one hard winter, they went hunting and came across the track of a moose. Wis-kay-tchach and the old wolf stopped to smoke while the two young wolves hunted the moose, but they didn't return, so the older two went after them. They found that the young wolves had eaten all of the moose. Wis made a fire, and when he had done so, the moose was restored again, already cut up. The young wolves divided the spoils into four, but one of them retained the tongue and upper lip. Wis grumbled, and the young wolves gave the delicacies to him. They made marrow fat, but soon this was also eaten, and they began to hunger again. They separated, with Wis and one young wolf hunting together. The wolf killed some deer, brought them home in his stomach, disgorged them on his arrival, and told his uncle that he could catch no more. Wis spent the night setting enchantments. In the morning, he told his nephew to go hunting, but warned him to throw a stick over every valley and hollow place before jumping over, or some evil would befall him. The wolf, following a deer, forgot this warning, jumped a hollow, and fell into a river where he was killed and devoured by water lynxes. Wis followed when his nephew didn't return. When he came upon the river, he guessed what had happened, and this was confirmed when a kingfisher told him it saw the wolf skin serving as a door mat of the water lynxes. The bird also told him that the water lynxes often come ashore, and Wis must turn himself into a stump close by to get his revenge. In gratitude, Wis began to put a ruff around the bird's neck, but the bird flew off before Wis could finish, which is why kingfishers have only part of a ruff at the back of their head. Wis returned to his camp to prepare; among other things, he provided a large canoe and in it embarked all animals that could not swim. He returned to the area of the lynxes before daybreak, transformed himself into a stump, and waited. The black one crawled out of the water, then the gray one. Then the white one, who had killed the wolf, emerged, but it grew suspicious on seeing the stump. It sent frogs and snakes to try to pull it down, but Wis kept himself upright. The lynx, suspicions lulled, went to sleep. Wis returned to normal shape and, though warned to shoot the lynx's shadow, forgot and shot its body. He shot a second arrow at the shadow, wounding the animal, but the lynx escaped into the river, which then overflowed and flooded the whole country. Wis escaped in his canoe and began rescuing the animals which could swim only a short time. Wis then tied a string around the leg of a loon and told it to dive for some earth, assuring it that he could restore it to life if it drowned. When the line ceased to play out, Wis hauled up the drowned loon, which, when restored to life, said that it had found no bottom. Wis next send an otter, then a beaver on the same errand, with similar results. Finally he send a rat fastened to a stone, and the rat, when hauled up, had a little earth in its paws. He dried the earth and blew on it to expand it. He sent a wolf to explore it, but the wolf soon returned, saying it was too small. He blew on it a long time, then sent a crow to explore. The crow didn't return, so Wis decided the land was big enough and disembarked with all the animals. [Frazer, pp. 297-301; Roheim, p. 157, Kelsen, p. 147]

Nenebojo went hunting every day while his brother stayed home. One day, he returned to find his brother missing. His searching brought him to the shore of a lake, where he saw a kingfisher looking into the water. The bird would not tell Nenebojo what it saw until Nenebojo painted its feathers; then it said it saw Nenebojo's brother, whose skin the water-spirits were using as a door flap. It also told where the water-spirits sun themselves. Nenebojo went there and, using his rod, assumed the shape of a rotten stump for a disguise. When the lions came out of the water, they were suspicious of the new stump until one broke off a piece and saw it was rotten. When they had gone to sleep, Nenebojo struck them on their heads with his rod. As he did so, the lake's water rose. He fled; a woodpecker directed him to a tall pine tree on a mountain. Nenebojo climbed the tree and began building a raft, which he finished just as the waters reached his neck. He put pairs of all kinds of animals on the raft and floated about. After a while, he sent otter to dive for some earth, but the otter returned without any. Next, beaver was sent, but in vain. Next he sent muskrat, who returned with a little sand in its claws and mouth. He dried the grains and blew them into the water with the horn he had used to summon the animals. They formed an island, which Nenebojo enlarged. He sent a raven to determine its size, but it didn't return. He next sent a hawk, which reported back that the raven had been eating dead bodies on the shore, so Nenebojo cursed the raven never to have anything to eat but what it steals. After another interval, Nenebojo sent a caribou to explore the size. It said that the island was still too small, so Nenebojo grew it once more and finished. [Frazer, pp. 305-306]

Menaboshu regarded all animals as his kin. Once, when times were bad, he asked the wolves for some food. The food was so good that he asked to hunt with them, which they allowed. After ten days of hunting, they reached a crossroads; the wolves determined to go one way, and Menaboshu went another, taking with him a little wolf whom he loved dearly as a brother. They then hunted sometimes together and sometimes alone. Menaboshu warned the wolf to stay away from a certain lake, knowing that his worst enemy the serpent-king lived there. But this warning just made the wolf curious, and three days later he ventured out on the ice of the lake. The ice broke under him, and he was drowned. Menaboshu waited five days for the wolf's return; then he began wailing, knowing that the serpent-king had got him. Menaboshu could not get the serpent-king in the winter, so he came to the lake in the spring. He set up loud lamentations when he saw the footprints of his lost brother there. This attracted the attention of the serpent-king, and when Menaboshu saw it stick up its head, he immediately turned himself into a tree stump. The serpent-king and other serpents saw nothing unusual but the new tree stump. Suspicious of it, the serpent-king sent one large snake to it. This snake squeezed hard enough to crack Menaboshu's bones, but he bore the pain stoically. The snakes then went to sleep on the beach. Menaboshu emerged from his disguise, grabbed his bow and arrows, and shot dead the serpent-king and three of its sons. The other snakes escaped into the water, making much noise and lashing with their tails. Some snakes scattered the contents of their medicine bags; the waters began to swell, and torrents of rain fell from the newly gathered clouds. In short time, the whole earth was flooded. Menaboshu fled, hopping from mountain to mountain, but the waves followed him. He climbed to the top boughs of a fir tree on the top of one tall mountain, and the waters stopped rising just as they reached his mouth. Menaboshu stayed there five days and nights. Finally, he saw a loon swim by, and he asked it do dive for some earth. The loon did so repeatedly, but without success. Then Menaboshu saw the body of a drowned muskrat. He breathed on it to restore it to life and asked it to dive. The muskrat dived and, though it came up dead, it had a few grains of earth. Menaboshu dried these and blew them over the water. Where they landed, they grew into islands, and these grew together, with Menaboshu's guidance, into continents. Menaboshu then wandered around breathing on the corpses of animals to bring them back to life and otherwise restoring nature and land to its former beauty. [Frazer, pp. 301-304]

Wenebojo travelled awhile with five wolves. The oldest wolf became distrustful of Wenebojo and decided they should leave him, but one wolf, who liked Wenebojo, stayed with him and hunted food for him, and Wenebojo considered him his nephew. One night, this wolf didn't return from hunting. Wenebojo followed his tracks the next day and saw that he had fallen into a river. The manidog, or spirits under the water, caused the wolf's death because there wouldn't be any wild animals left if Wenebojo had his own way. Wenebojo went to the bank of a lake where the manidog sometimes come out to sun themselves; he turned himself into a stump and waited four days. At last, the manidog came out to bask. A big snake was suspicious that the stump was Wenebojo, so he went and squeezed it four times, harder and harder each time, but Wenebojo withstood it, and the snake said it wasn't Wenebojo. When all the manidog were asleep, Wenebojo shot the two kings, wounding them. All the manidog rushed back into the water. Wenebojo followed the stream and came across a kingfisher, which said it was waiting for Wenebojo's nephew's guts to float by. Wenebojo had a string of beads that had belonged to his nephew, and he offered them to the bird with the secret intent of strangling it, but his hand slipped and the bird escaped with the beads, which is why the kingfisher's head is bushy and it has a necklace of white spots. Wenebojo went on and met an old lady carrying basswood bark. He told her he wasn't Wenebojo, and the old lady told him that they were laying out basswood to detect Wenebojo, and that she was doctoring the wounded kings. Wenebojo learned her song and her route; then he killed her, skinned her, and put on her skin. He had to shave off his calf muscles to make it fit. With this disguise, he got entrance into the king's house. He saw his nephew's skin hanging there, which made him angry. Two snakes on either side of the door watched him suspiciously, but he told them his medicine wouldn't work with them watching. He went to the kings and pushed his arrows deeper, killing them. He ran out, breaking through basswood strings in his escape. The manidog saw the basswood moving and sent water there. Wenebojo heard the water coming and ran for a hill. Soon the water came to the top of the hill, and he climbed a tall pine tree there. The water kept coming, and he told the pine tree to stretch itself to double its length. It did that four times but could not stretch more. The water stopped rising just short of Wenebojo's mouth. Wenebojo had to defecate, and the feces floated around his mouth. Wenebojo saw an otter and asked it to dive for some earth. The otter tried, but it drowned. Wenebojo blew on it, and it came back to life and told him that it hadn't seen anything. A beaver got farther but also failed. Next, the muskrat tried. It also floated up drowned, but Wenebojo found a grain of earth in each of its paws and in its mouth. He restored the muskrat to life, dried the grains in the sun, and threw them on the water, forming a small island. The three animals and Wenebojo went on the island, and Wenebojo took handfuls of dirt from the island and threw them around, making it bigger. Other animals came from the water to the island, too. Wenebojo asked a caribou to run around the island to test its size. The caribou soon returned and reported that the land wasn't big enough yet. Wenebojo threw more dirt far and wide and sent the caribou off again, but the caribou never came back. It got tired and stayed in the north. For a long time, Wenebojo travelled, having forgotten about his anger. But one day he happened to remember, and he sat crying. He threatened to pull up the four layers below the earth and pull down the four layers of the sky to get at the manidog there. The first manido from below the earth and the Great Spirit manido from the sky believed he would do that, and they invited him to meet with them, but he wouldn't come until they sent a white otter (seal?) as a messenger. Wenebojo didn't have any parents, so they created parents for him. The manido from the bottom formed a clay figure, shook his rattle and talked, and the figure came to life. It was an Indian woman. The Great Spirit put the last rib from the woman into a clay figure and likewise created a man. The manidog also told Wenebojo about the Medicine Dance. The people were meant to live forever, but Wenebojo's brother Nekajiwegizik hadn't been invited. He was the first person to die, and he decreed that everyone who lived on earth would have to follow his road to the other world. [Barnouw, pp. 33-45]

For a time, Wenebojo travelled with a pack of wolves which he considered his nephews. When they parted, one of the wolves stayed with him and hunted for him. Wenebojo had a dream that the manidog, evil underwater spirits who were jealous of him, would kill his nephew, so he told his nephew not to cross any streams. But the wolf tried to jump a stream while hunting and was captured and killed. Wenebojo knew what happened. He followed a river to a lake and found a kingfisher in a tree looking into the water, waiting for some of Wenebojo's nephew's guts to float by. Wenebojo offered it a string of beads if it would tell him what it knew. The bird described how the manidog sun themselves. Wenebojo intended to wring the bird's neck as he put on the beads, but the bird slipped away. That is why the kingfisher has ruffled feathers around its neck. Wenebojo prepared two arrows by rubbing them on the lips of women having their first menses. Then he turned himself to a stump by the lake and waited for the manidog to sun themselves. When they emerged, the king was suspicious of the stump and had a snake squeeze it and a bear claw it, but Wenebojo withstood these attacks. Wenebojo wished the manidog would go to sleep, and when they slept, he shot and wounded the king and the next to the king; then he ran away as the water was rising behind him. Woodchuck saved him by digging a shelter, which they stayed in two days until the water receded. Later, Wenebojo encountered an old woman carrying basswood bark. He assured her that he was not Wenebojo, and she told him that the bark would be used to detect Wenebojo when he touched it, that she was treating the wounded manidog, and that only she had eaten his nephew. With that, he killed her, put on her clothes, and wished himself to look like her. He went to the wigwam of the wounded manidog and killed them. As he ran away, he heard a roar of water behind him. He ran to a bluff; a pine tree there told Wenebojo to climb it, and the tree stretched higher, saving Wenebojo from the flood with his nose barely above water. Wenebojo asked loon to dive down to get some dirt, but the loon died in the attempt. Otter and beaver failed similarly. Muskrat, however, was able to get a few grains of dirt before he passed out. Wenebojo used this dirt to recreate land. He told a big bird to fly around it; the land would grow as it did so. When the bird returned in four days, he sent an eagle out to grow the land larger. Wenebojo cut up the body of the king manido and made a lake of fat from it. The animals that ate or touched it acquired fat in their bodies. [Barnouw, pp. 63-69]

The evil serpent Meshekenabek carried off Manobozho's cousin into a deep lake. Manobozho caused the sun to shine fiercely on the lake to drive out Meshekenabek and his companions. When they emerged, Manobozho shot an arrow into the serpent's heart. The serpent, in his dying rage, stirred up the waters of the lake and spread waves over the land. Fleeing, Manobozho warned the Indians also to retreat to a mountain top. The waters still rose, though, and Manobozho made a raft for them to take refuge on. However, Manobozho couldn't disperse the flood without some earth to use as a nucleus. Muskrat finally succeeded in diving for some dirt, and Manobozho used it to make the waters recede. [Howey, pp. 291-293]

[Vecsey, pp. 64-93, lists 47 versions of the Nanabozho myth and analyzes their content and variations.]

In the beginning of time, in September, there was a great snow. A mouse nibbled a hole in the leather bag which contained the sun's heat, and the heat escaped and melted all the snow in an instant. The waters rose to cover even the highest mountains. One old man had foreseen the flood and warned everybody, but the others had thought to escape to the hills; they drowned in the flood. The old man had prepared a canoe and survived, rescuing animals he came across. After a while he sent, in turn, the beaver, otter, muskrat, and duck to find land. Only the duck returned, with some mud in its bill. The old man cast the mud on the water and blew on it, making solid land. [Vitaliano, p. 170]


A deluge covered the whole earth. A lone man named Nanaboujou escaped by floating on a piece of bark. [Frazer, p. 308]

Menomini (Wisconsin-Michigan border):

Manabush wanted to punish the evil manidoes, the Ana maqkiu who had killed his brother Wolf. He invented the ball game and asked the Thunderers to play against the Ana maqkiu, who appeared from the ground as bears. After the first day of play, Manabush made himself into a pine tree near where the manidoes played. When they returned the next morning, the manidoes were suspicious of the tree, so the sent for Grizzly Bear to claw it and Serpent to strangle and bite it. Manabush withstood these attacks, allaying their suspicion. When the ball play took everyone else far away, Manabush shot and wounded the two Bear chiefs with arrows and then ran away. The underground Ana maqkiu soon came back, saw the wounded Bear chiefs, and called for a flood from the earth. Badger hid Manabush in the earth, so the Ana maqkiu gave up the search just as the water was starting to fill Badger's burrow. The underground people took their chiefs to a wigwam and sent for an old woman to heal them. Manabush followed, took the old woman's skin and disguised himself in it. He entered the wigwam, killed the two chiefs, and took the bear skins. The Ana maqkiu at once pursued; water poured out of the earth in many places. Manabush climbed a great pine tree on the highest mountain. When the waters still rose to threaten him, he commanded the tree to grow. This he did four times, but the waters still rose. He called to Kisha Manido for help, who commanded the waters to stop. Seeing water everywhere, Manabush called to Otter to dive down and bring up some earth. Otter tried but drowned before reaching bottom. Mink failed similarly. Then Manabush called on Muskrat, who also returned drowned but had some mud in his paw. Manabush blew on Muskrat to return him to life. Then he took the earth, rubbed it between his hands, and threw it on the water, thus creating a new earth. Manabush told Muskrat that his tribe would always be numerous. He gave the skin of the Gray Bear chief to Badger and kept the skin of the White Bear chief. [Judson, p. 21-25]

Cheyenne (Minnesota):

The Great Spirit created three kinds of men: red men, white men with hairy heads, and hairy men with hair all over their body. The hairy men went to the barren south and eventually dwindled in numbers and disappeared. The red men went south after the Great Spirit taught them culture. They went north again when the Great Medicine told them the south would be flooded. In the north, they found that the white men had gone and they could no longer talk to the animals, though they could still control them. Later, they went south again, but another flood came and scattered them, and they never came together again. They traveled in small bands to the north, but they found it barren, so they returned south and lived the best they could. One particularly hard winter had earthquakes, volcanoes, and floods which destroyed all the trees. The people spent the long winter in caves and were almost famished the following spring. The Great Medicine, in pity, gave them corn and buffalo. Since then, there have been no more famines or floods. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 112-113]

Yellowstone (Wyoming):

People came who hunted for sport, burned and cleared forests, and didn't think of the animals as their brothers. The Great Spirit was sad and let the people's smoke from their fires lie in the valleys. The people coughed and choked but continued their evil ways. The Great Spirit sent rains to extinguish the fires and destroy the people. The people moved to the hills as the waters rose. Spotted Bear, the medicine man, said they would be safe as long as they had buffalo, but there were no buffalo around. The young men went hunting for buffalo, revising their treatment of nature as they went. The waters rose, and people climbed to the mountains. Finally, two men came back with the hide of a white bull buffalo which had tried to climb to the mountains but had drowned in the floodwaters, though a cow and young buffalo survived. Spotted Bear announced that, since the people were no longer destroying the world, that buffalo would save those who were left. With help from other medicine men, he scraped and stretched the hide, stretching it over the whole village. Each day the wet hide stretched farther, until it covered all of Yellowstone Valley. Rain no longer fell in the valley, and people and animals moved back there. The hide began to sag, but Spotted Bear raised the west end to catch the West Wind, which made the skin a dome over the valley. The Great Spirit, seeing that people were living at peace with the earth, stopped the rain. The sun shone on the hide, shrinking it until all that was left was a rainbow arch. [Edmonds & Clark, pp. 17-19]

Montagnais (northern Gulf of St. Lawrence):

Messou was hunting with his dogs, when his dogs got caught in a large lake. He couldn't find them until a bird told him that it had seen the lost dogs in the lake. Messou entered the lake to rescue them, but the lake overflowed, covered the land, and destroyed the world. Messou sent first a raven and then an otter to find a piece of earth, but neither could find any. He next sent down a muskrat, which dived and returned with just a tiny amount of land, but enough for Messou to form the land we are on. Messou fired arrows into the trunks of trees, and the arrows turned into branches. He took revenge on those who had detained his dogs. He married the muskrat and by it peopled the world. [Brinton, p. 225]

Being angry with giants, God commanded a man to build a large canoe. The man did so, and when he embarked, the water rose till no land was visible anywhere. Weary of seeing nothing but water, the man threw an otter into it. The otter dived and brought up a little mud, which the man breathed on and caused to expand. He placed the earth on the water and prevented it from sinking. After awhile, he placed reindeer on the new island, but they completed a circuit of the island quickly, so he concluded it wasn't yet large enough. He continued to blow on it and grow it so the mountains, lakes, and rivers were formed; then he disembarked. [Gaster, p. 117]

Micmac and Penobscot (eastern Maritime Canada):

Kuloscap (Glooscap) defeated the cruel Ice Giant magicians at various contests. Then he stomped on the ground, and foaming water rushed down from the mountains. He sang a song which changed how everyone looks, and the Ice Giants became large fish and were washed to sea. Those fish carry markings like the wampum collars of the magicians. [Norman, p. 115; Leland, p. 126]

Algonquin (upper Ottowa River):

Long ago, when men had become evil, the Strong Serpent Maskanako came. He was the foe of people, and they became embroiled, hating and fighting each other. The small men (Mattapewi) fought with Nihanlowit, keeper of the dead. The Strong Serpent resolved to destroy all men, and the Black Serpent brought the snake-water rushing, spreading everywhere, destroying everything. At the island of the turtle was Manabozho, grandfather of men and beings. Men and beings swam, seeking the back of the turtle. Sea monsters destroyed some of them. The daughter of a spirit helped them into a boat. They beseeched Manabozho to help. Manabozho prayed to the turtle to make them well again. Then the waters ran off, and the great evil went away by the path of the cave. [Kelsen, pp. 146-147; Nelson, p. 185]

Lenape (=Delaware) (Delaware to New York):

A deluge covered the whole earth. A few people survived on the back of a turtle which was so old its shell was mossy. A loon flew by, and the people begged it to dive and bring up some land. The bird dived but could not reach the bottom. Then he flew far away, came back with some earth in his bill, and led the turtle back to some dry land. There the people settled and repopulated the country. Those saved by the turtle became the Turtle Clan. [Frazer, p. 295; Bierhorst, 1995, pp. 30, 43]

After the Great Spirit created the earth, he flooded it. He sent various animals diving for earth. At last the muskrat succeeded. He put the earth on the turtles back, and it increased in size. [Bierhorst, 1995, p. 44]

Cherokee (Great Lakes area; eastern Tennessee):

Day after day, a dog stood at the river bank and howled piteously. Rebuked by his master, the dog said a flood was coming, and he must build and provision a boat. Furthermore, the dog said, he must throw him, the dog, into the water. For a sign that he spoke the truth, the dog showed the back of his neck, which was raw and bare with flesh and bone showing. The man followed directions, and he and his family survived; from them, the present population is descended. [Gaster, pp. 116-117]

Mandan (North Dakota):

The earth is a large tortoise. Once a tribe, digging for badgers, dug deep into the earth and cut through the shell of Tortoise. Tortoise began to sink, and water rose through the knife cut. The water covered all the ground and drowned all the people except one man, Nu-mohk-muck-a-nah, who escaped in a large canoe to a mountain in the west. Today, a plank structure called the "big canoe" stands in the central plaza of a Mandan village. The Mandans celebrate the subsidence of the flood every year with a ceremony called Mee-nee-ro-ka-ha-sha, held when willow leaves are fully grown because the twig that the turtle-dove brought home had such leaves. In the ceremony, a man representing the survivor collects edged tools from each household; these are later thrown into a deep pool. If this sacrifice is not made, the man says, another flood will come and destroy everyone. [Judson, p. 20; Frazer, pp. 292-294]


In the world before this one, the people didn't know how to behave or how to act human, and the creating power was displeased. He placed three dry buffalo chips under a sacred pipe rack and saved a fourth for lighting the pipe. He sang three songs to bring rain, which caused the rivers to overflow; then he sang a fourth song and stamped on the earth. The earth split open, and water flowed from the cracks and covered everything. The Creating Power floated on the sacred pipe and his huge pipe bag. All people and animals were destroyed except Kangi, the crow. It was very tired and three times asked the Creating Power to make a place for it to rest. The Creating Power opened his pipe bag, which contained all manner of animals and birds, and selected four known for their diving abilities. He sang a song and commanded the loon to dive and bring up mud, but the loon failed. Likewise, the water was too deep for otter and beaver. But the turtle succeeded in bringing up a little mud. The Creating Power took the mud and, singing, spread it out on the water. After the fourth song, there was enough land for himself and the crow. He waved two long eagle feathers over the ground, and it spread until it replaced the water. He named it the Turtle Continent. The Creating Power thought, "Land without water is not good," and wept for the earth and the creatures he would put upon it. His tears became oceans, streams, and lakes. He scattered the animals across the land; they came to life when he stamped on the ground. He created four colors of people from red, white, black, and yellow earth. He created the rainbow as a sign that there would be no more great flood, but warned that he had destroyed the first world by fire because it was bad, and the second world by flood, and he would destroy this world too if people make it bad and ugly. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 496-499]

Unktehi, a water monster, fought the people and caused a great flood. The people retreated to a hill, but the water swept over them, killing them all. The blood gelled and turned to pipestone. (Pipes made from that rock are sacred today.) Unktehi was also turned to stone; her bones are in the Badlands now, forming a long ridge. A giant eagle, Wanblee Galeshka, swept down, saved one girl from the flood, carrying her to a tree on the highest pinnacle, the only place not covered by water. He made her his wife. She bore twins, a boy and a girl, which are the ancestors of the Sioux. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 93-95]

Unktehi puffed up her body to make the Missouri overflow, and the little water monsters, her children, did the same with other streams and lakes. This caused a great flood which covered the country. Only a few people escaped to the highest mountain, and the waves threatened to kill them. The thunderbirds liked people, so they fought the water monsters for several years. In time, it became clear that the thunderbirds were losing when they fought close, so they retreated to the sky and, all together, sent their lightning bolts. This burned the forests, boiled the water, and turned the earth red hot, except where the people had taken refuge. Unktehi and the water monsters were defeated. Their bones can still be seen in the Badlands. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 220-222]

Choctaw (Mississippi):

A prophet was sent by the high god to warn of a coming flood, but nobody took notice. When the flood came, the prophet took to a raft. After several months, he saw a black bird. He signaled it, but it just cawed and flew away. Later, he sighted and signaled a bluish bird. The bird flapped, moaned dolorously, and guided the raft towards where the sun was breaking through. Next morning, he landed on an island with all kinds of animals. He cursed the black bird (a crow) and blessed the bluish one (a dove). [Gaster, p. 116]

Natchez (Lower Mississippi):

A great rain fell so abundantly that it extinguished all fires and caused a flood which drowned all but a few people who saved themselves on a high mountain. A little bird named Coüy-oüy (a cardinal) brought fire from heaven again. [Gaster, p. 116]

Chitimacha (Southern Louisiana):

Long ago, a great storm came. The people baked a great earthen pot, in which two people saved themselves. Since rattlesnakes were then the friends of man, two rattlesnakes were saved in the pot, too. The red-headed woodpecker clung to the sky, but the waters rose so high they wet and marked his tail. When the waters sank, the woodpecker was sent to find land, but he could find none. The dove was sent next and came back with a grain of sand. When this grain was placed on the water, it spread out and became dry land. [Judson, p. 19]

When the earth was first made, all was under water. The Creator sent Crawfish to bring up a little earth. The mud he brought up spread out, and dry earth appeared. [Judson, p. 5]

Caddo (Oklahoma, Arkansas):

A woman gave birth to four monsters. Though advised to kill them, she let them grow. They grew quickly and acted evilly, and before long they were too large and powerful to kill. They kept growing. One night they came together in the camp with their backs together and grew together into one creature, which grew tall enough to touch the sky. Most people took refuge at their base, where they couldn't bend over and reach them; others were caught by the monsters' long arms and eaten. One man who could see the future heard a voice telling him to plant a hollow reed. He did so, and it quickly grew very big. The voice directed the man and his wife to go naked into the reed, taking pairs of good animals, when they see all the birds of the world flying south. The sign came and they entered. Rain came, and waters rose to cover everything but the top of the reed and the heads of the monsters. Turtle destroyed the monsters by digging under them and uprooting them. They broke apart and fell in (and thus formed) the four cardinal directions. The waters subsided, and winds dried the earth. The people and animals emerged onto a barren earth, and the wife wondered how they would live. The man said, "Go to sleep." Four times they slept, and each time they woke there was more growth around them. After the fourth night, they awoke in a grass hut, and there was a stalk of corn outside. The voice told them corn was to be their holy food. If they plant corn and something else comes up, then the world will end. The voice didn't return after that. [Erdoes & Ortiz, p. 120-122]

Pawnee (Nebraska):

The first people on the earth were giants, very big and strong. They did not believe in the creator Ti-ra-wa. They thought nothing could overcome them. They grew increasingly worse. At last Ti-ra-wa grew angry and raised the water to the level of the land so that the ground became soft. The giants sank into the mud and drowned. Their bones can still be found today. Ti-ra-wa then created a man and woman, like people of today, and gave them corn. The Pawnees are descended from them. [Grinnell, pp. 355-356]

Navajo (Four Corners area):

The first world, where Navajos originated, was inhabited by Insect People of twelve types. For their sins of adultery and constant quarreling, the gods expelled them by sending a wall of water from all directions. The Insect People flew up into the second world, guided through a hole in the sky by a cliff swallow. The second world was a barren world inhabited by Swallow People. They decided to stay anyway, but after 24 days, one of the Insect People made love to the wife of the Swallow People's chief. They were expelled to the third world; the white face of the wind told them of an opening. The third world was a barren world of Grasshopper People. Again, the Insect People were expelled for philandering after 24 days. The red face of the wind guided them to the hole to the fourth world. This world was inhabited by animals and Pueblos, with whom the Insect People coexisted peacefully. The gods made people in human form from ears of corn, different colors of corn becoming different tribes. The Insect People intermarried with them, and their descendants eventually looked fully human. In time, the men and women argued and decided to live apart. But both groups engaged in unnatural sex acts, and eventually the women were starving, so they got back together. The gods were displeased by their sins, though, and sent a wall of water upon them. The people noticed animals running and sent cicadas to investigate. They escaped the floodwaters by climbing into a fast-growing reed. Cicada dug an entrance into the fifth world, which was inhabited by grebes. The grebes said that people could have that world if they could survive plunging arrows into their heart. The cicadas met this challenge (they bear the scars on their sides still), and people live in the fifth world today. [Capinera, pp. 226-228]

Jicarilla Apache (northeastern New Mexico):

Before the Apaches emerged from the underworld, there were other people on the earth. Dios told an old man and old woman that it would rain forty days and nights. People were warned to go to the tops of four mountains (Tsisnatcin, Tsabidzilhi, Becdilhgai, and another whose identity isn't known), and not to look at the flood or sky. The people didn't believe the old couple. When the rains came, only a few people made it to the mountain tops and shut their eyes. Those who looked at the flood turned into a fish or frog (as did some who were caught in the flood); if they looked at the sky, they turned into a bird. The people sitting on the mountains were told, when they got hungry, to think of food, and Dios would feed them. After eighty days, Dios told the 24 people remaining to open their eyes and come down. These 24 people went into 24 mountains. Eight other people survived the flood who were able to travel by looking where they wanted to go, and they were there. These people told the Apaches about the flood before going into two mountains themselves. Dios told them to stay there until the world is destroyed. Around the year 2000, when the Apaches dwindle in number, the surface of the earth will again be destroyed, this time by fire. [Opler, pp. 111-113]

When people still lived in the underworld, the chief, after an argument with his mother-in-law, decided that men and women should live apart for awhile, so the men all moved to the other side of a river, and the chief prayed to Kogulhtsude (a water spirit) to widen the river. They lived four years like this. The women's farms became less and less productive, and they began to go hungry. The men wanted sexual satisfaction and began some sexual perversions; the older girls, likewise affected, began to masturbate with elk horns, eagle feathers, and other things. These things impregnated them and produced the monsters that afterwards killed men. About that time, Coyote found a baby in a whirlpool in the river and took it out to raise himself. But the baby was Kogulhtsude's child, and he sent water out to draw it back. Some people were drowned and turned into frogs and fish; the other men and women escaped together to a tall mountain. Coyote used his magic to make the mountain grow, but the waters kept rising, finally overflowing onto this world. The people suspected Coyote was causing the trouble and found the baby hidden under his coat. They threw the baby (which was almost dead from drying) into the water, and the water receded. The people went down into the underworld again. When they later emerged, the surface of the earth was covered with water from that flood. The four Holy Ones made black, blue, yellow, and glittering hoops and threw them in each compass direction, and the water receded. They commanded the four winds to dry the land further. [Opler, p. 20, 265-268]

As the waters rose, a chief led his warriors into the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. When it became clear that even the mountain peaks would be submerged, the chief told his braves that, rather than let them drown ignominiously, he would turn then to stone. They are there guarding the heights even today. [Vitaliano, p. 170]


Sussistinnako (Spider), the first being, lived in the lower world. He drew a cross and placed magic parcels at the east and west points, and his song brought forth from them two women, Utset, the mother of all Indians, and Nowutset, the mother of all other races. Spider also created rain, thunder, lightning, and rainbow, and the women made the sun, moon, and stars. Nowutset was the stronger but duller of the two women, and she lost a contest of rules. Utset slew her and cut out her heart; thus began war in the world. People lived happily in the lower world for eight years, but in the ninth, a flood came. The people ascended through a reed, with Utset leading the way. Badger and locust bored the passage through the lower world's sky. Turkey was the last to ascend, and the foaming flood waters touched his tail and left their mark there to this day. Beetle was put in charge of the sack full of stars, but out of curiosity he made a hole in it, and the stars scattered across the heavens. Utset managed to rescue a few with which she made constellations. The hole through which the people emerged is called the Shipapo. The first people, the Sia, camped around it. They had no food, but Utset had always known the name of corn, and she created it out of bits of her heart. [Alexander, 1916, p. 203]

Acagchemem (near San Juan Capistrano, so. California):

The descendants of Captain Ouiot asked Chinigchinich for vengeance upon their chief. Chinigchinich appeared to them and told them that those of them with the power to cause rain were the once to achieve vengeance by inundating the earth and so destroying every living thing. The rains came; the sea swelled in over the earth, covering all the land except a high mountain, where a few people had gone with the person who caused the rain with songs of supplication to Chinigchinich to drown their enemies. Every other animal on earth was destroyed. If their enemies heard them, they sang other songs saying that they were not afraid because Chinigchinich will not destroy the world with another inundation. [Frazer, p. 288]

Luiseño (Southern California):

A great flood covered high mountains and drowned most people. A few saved themselves on a knoll called Mora by the Spaniards and Katuta by the Indians, staying there until the flood went down. The hill still has stones, ashes, and heaps of seashells showing where the Indians cooked their food. [Gaster, pp. 115-116]

Pima (southwest Arizona):

After the earth had become peopled, the great eagle told a seer in the Gila valley, on three occasions, to warn the people about a great flood that would soon come, but the seer ridiculed him and ignored his warnings. Scarcely had the bird gone for the third time when a tremendous clap of thunder was heard. When morning came, the earth trembled, and a great green wall of water roared down the valley and destroyed everything in it. Szeukha, son of Chiowotmahke (Earth maker), saved himself by floating on a ball of pine resin. When the water receded somewhat, he landed on a mountain above the Salt River; his cave and tools can still be seen there. Szeukha made a ladder that reached into the clouds and went to fight the great eagle, whom he thought had caused the flood. They fought long, but at last he killed the eagle. He found the bones and corpses of the people which the eagle had abducted and returned them to life. He also rescued a pregnant woman and her child. The eagle had stolen her and taken her for his wife. She became the mother of the Pima people. [Erdoes & Ortiz, pp. 473-475; Gaster, p. 115]

The Creator, Earth Doctor, made the mountains, the waters, the plants; he made the sun and moon in their courses. Then he made all kinds of birds and creeping things, and he made clay images and commanded them to become living humans. They obeyed him, multiplied, and spread over the earth. In time, as sickness and death were still unknown, the population outran the available sustenance, and people faced ever-increasing famine. The Creator resolved to destroy the creatures he had made, so he pulled down the sky, crushing to death all living things. Then he restored the world and made humans again. The earth gave birth to one known as Siuuhû or Elder Brother. He spoke harshly to the Creator, and the Creator feared him. Elder Brother shortened people's lives so that they didn't multiply out of control as before. He resolved further to destroy mankind entirely with a great flood. He created a handsome youth to go among the Pimas, wed their women, and beget children, staying with each wife only until his first child was born. The first wife gave birth four months after marriage and conception, and the gestation periods became shorter with each successive wife, until the last child was born at the time of the marriage. (The people were amazed and frightened by the powers shown by Elder Brother and his agent during these years.) This last child's screams shook the earth, and it was he who caused the flood. Meanwhile, Elder Brother had begun fashioning, out of black gum, a jar in which to save himself, and he announced his purpose to the Creator. The Creator called the people together and warned them of the nearing flood. He thrust his staff into the ground, boring a hole all the way through the earth. Some people took refuge in the hole. Other people appealed, futilely, to Elder Brother. Elder Brother did tell coyote to find a big log on which to float safely on the flood. Elder Brother closed himself in the jar, known as Black House, and the flood came. The jar bobbed on the waters until it came to rest near the mouth of the Colorado River. It may be seen there today; it is called Black Mountain. The Creator survived the flood by enclosing himself in his reed staff and floating. The coyote survived on his driftwood. Only five sorts of birds survived, including the flicker and vulture, by clinging to the sky with their beaks until a god took pity on them and let them make nests from their own down and float in them. Some people survived in the hole which the Creator had made. Others survived in a similar hole made by a powerful person called South Doctor. Others appealed to the Creator, who told them to try to find refuge on Crooked Mountain, and he directed South Doctor to help them. South Doctor led the people to the summit and, with his enchantments, four times raised the mountain and arrested the rising waters, but then his powers were exhausted. He threw his staff into the water, where it cracked loudly. He sent a dog to see how high the tide had risen, and when the dog reported that the water was very near the top, the people were transformed into stone. You may see them there today. [Frazer, pp. 283-287]

Because someone displeased the gods, a heavy rain began pouring down, and water gushed from the broken ground, swelling the rivers. For the first time, the wise Se-eh-ha (Elder Brother) did not know what to do. Some people ran up Slanting Mountain (Superstition Mountain) and prayed to the Great Spirit to stop the flood, but when the water threatened to swallow them up, they turned into rocks in fright. Se-eh-ha and his brother Juvet-Makai (Earth Medicine Man) hurriedly made canoes and rode out the flood in them. Coyote used his magic to turn himself small and crawl into his bamboo flute, in which he floated. Some birds, including the swallow, buzzard, raven, oriole, and hummingbird, clung to the sky with their bills. The flood rose high enough to drench their tails, leaving them drenched-looking for all time. The flood lasted four days, and Se-eh-ha, Juvet-Makai, and Coyote were tossed in different directions. Coyote landed on a high mountain near the Colorado River; his flute was tightly stuck in the rocks, so he left it there. He left to look for Se-eh-ha and Juvet-Makai, finding them at Slanting Mountain surveying the desolated land. Elder Brother rubbed some dust off his chest onto the ground, where it turned into ants. The ants began scattering the dirt, making it drier, and Elder Brother said that is what he wants ants to do. The three of them began making images to replace the lost people. Elder Brother scolded Earth Medicine Man for making his images so different, with one leg and one arm, and Earth Medicine Man angrily threw away his images and sank into the ground to find a place to live on the other side of the earth. Elder Brother and Coyote placed their images in a warm mud hut and waited for them to speak. Coyote's images began laughing first; this displeased Elder Brother, so he sprinkled cold water on them and threw them to the cold north, where they became the Apaches. Coyote was angered and disappeared as Earth Medicine Man had. After four days, Elder Brother's images began laughing and talking. They became the River People and repopulated the Gila valley. (Later, Elder Brother became greedy and evil and led Juvet-Makai's people to conquer the River People.) [Shaw, pp. 1-14]

Papago (Arizona):

Back when the sun was closer to the earth, Coyote foresaw the coming of a flood, gnawed down a great tree, entered it, and sealed the opening. Montezuma, who was the first person created by the Great Mystery, took warning from Coyote and prepared a dugout canoe for himself atop Monte Rosa. Only they survived the flood, which covered all the land. They met again on the top of Monte Rosa, which rose above the flood waters. To ascertain how much dry land was left, the man sent Coyote to explore. Coyote reported that there was sea to the west, south, and east, but seemingly endless land to the north. The Great Spirit, with the help of Montezuma, restocked the earth with men and animals. Montezuma, with Coyote's help, taught them and led them. Montezuma later became prideful and rebelled against the Great Mystery, thus bringing evil into the world. The Great Mystery raised the sun to its present height and, with an earthquake, destroyed the tower that Montezuma was building into the heavens, in the process changing languages so that people could no longer understand animals or other tribes. [Erdoes & Ortiz, p. 487-489; Gaster, pp. 114-115]


The people repeatedly became distant from Sotuknang, the creator. Twice he destroyed the world (by fire and by cold) and recreated it while the few people who still lived by the laws of creation took shelter underground with the ants. When people became corrupt and warlike a third time, Sotuknang guided the ones who had retained their wisdom to Spider Woman, who cut down giant reeds and sheltered the people in the hollow stems with a little water and food. Sotuknang caused a great flood with rain and waves, and the people floated in their reeds for a long time. Finally, they came to rest on a small piece of land, and Spider Woman unsealed their reeds and pulled them out by the tops of their heads. They still had as much food as they started with. They sent out birds to find more land, but to no avail. They grew a tall reed and climbed it, but they saw only water. But guided by their inner wisdom (which comes from Sotuknang through the door at the top of their head), the people traveled on, using the reeds as canoes. They went northeast, finding progressively larger islands. The last of these was large and fruitful, and people wanted to stay there, but Spider Woman urged them on. They went further northeast, paddling hard as if going uphill, until they came to the Fourth World. The shores were rocky with seemingly no place to land, but by opening the doors at the tops of their head, they found a current that took them to a sandy beach. Sotuknang appeared and told them to look back, and they saw the islands, the last remnants of the Third World, sink into the ocean. [Waters, pp. 12-20]

Spider Clan, Blue Flute Clan, Fire Clan, Snake Clan, and Sun Clan traveled together on the Hopi migrations. On their northward journey, they were blocked at the Arctic Circle by a mountain of ice and snow. This was the Back Door of the Fourth World, which Sotuknang said was closed to them. Spider Woman and the Spider Clan, however, urged them to go on, and all the clans used their powers to try to melt and bread down the mountain. They tried four times but failed. Sotuknang told Spider Woman that if they had succeeded, the melted snow and ice would have flooded the world. He punished her by letting her grow old and ugly, and Spider Clan became breeders of wickedness. [Waters, pp. 39-40]

After their emergence and wanderings, the Hopi people lived happily, bringing rain with their few simple rituals. But Palatkwapi, the two-hearted maiden, taught others her sorcery, until the great water serpents flooded and destroyed her town. A few people survived, who spread their evil art to other villages, causing disease, enmity with other tribes, and other troubles to come to the Hopis. [Vecsey, pp. 38-39]

Zuni (New Mexico):

A great flood once forced the Zunis out of their valley to take refuge on a nearby tableland. But the flood rose nearly to the top of the tableland, and the people, fearing it would drown them all, decided to offer a human sacrifice to appease the angry waters. A youth and maiden, children of two Priests of the Rain, were dressed in finery and thrown into the flood. The waters began subsiding immediately. The two young people turned to stone; they may be seen as two great pinnacles rising from the tableland. [Frazer, pp. 287-288]

Central America

Tarascan (northern Michoacan, Mexico):

When the great flood came, God built a house. Everyone tried to crowd into it; those who failed were drowned. The house floated on the waters for twenty days, striking the sky three times. When the waters receded, some of the survivors were very hungry, and although God told them not to eat anything, they started to cook tortillas inside the house. God sent down an angel to tell them not to light any fire, but the smoke was already drifting into the sky. God sent the angel again with the same message, but the people said they were hungry and continued cooking. After the message was ignored a third time, God told the angel to give those people a good kick. They became dogs and buzzards and cleaned up the earth. [Horcasitas, p. 195]

God ordered a man to build a large house and to put animals and food in it. When he had finished, it began to rain and continued raining for six months. The house floated on the flood, and all who had helped build it were saved in it. When the flood started going down, the man sent out a raven, but it stayed out to eat dead bodies. He next sent out a dove, which returned to tell what the raven was doing, and ravens have been cursed to eat carrion since. God ordered that no fires be kindled, but one man disobeyed and was turned into a dog. [Horcasitas, p. 196]

After the world was destroyed by a flood, a boy, very hungry, got out of his canoe to heat a gorda. The Eternal Father said it was not yet time for a fire to be lit and sent Saint Bartholomew to investigate who was making the smoke. Bartholomew reminded the boy of God's orders, but the boy pleaded that he was hungry. Saint Bartholomew reported back to Heaven, and the Eternal Father said to kick the boy if he again didn't understand. Saint Bartholomew did so, and the boy turned into a dog. [Horcasitas, pp. 195-196]

Michoacan (Mexico):

When the flood waters began to rise, a man named Tezpi entered into a great vessel, taking with him his wife and children and diverse seeds and animals. When the waters abated, the man sent out a vulture, but the bird found plenty of corpses to eat and didn't return. Other birds also flew away and didn't return. Finally, he sent out a hummingbird, which returned with a green bough in its beak. [Gaster, p. 122]

Yaqui (Sonoran, Northern Mexico):

On the 17th day of February, in the year 614, it rained for fourteen days all over the world. The waters rose and destroyed all living things. Yaitowi, a just and perfect man who walked with Dios, was saved, along with thirteen others and eleven women, on the hill of Parbus (today called Maatale). A few other people, seven birds, seven asses, and seven little dogs were saved on other mountains. After the flood, two angels appeared to two of the survivors, and the angel San Gabriel came, sent by Dios, telling the people to "go by the way of our Dios and Father." When they arrived at Venedici, they heard the voice of Dios, who promised the rainbow as a sign that no other flood would destroy earth. [Giddings, pp. 106-108]

Tarahumara (Northern Mexico):

People were once fighting among themselves, and Father God (Tata Dios) sent much rain, drowning everyone. After the flood, God sent three men and three women to repopulate the earth. They planted three kinds of corn which still grow in the country. [Gaster, p. 124]

When all the world was flooded, a little boy and girl climbed the mountain Lavachi ("Gourd") south of Panalachic. They came down when the flood subsided, bringing with them three grains of corn and three beans. The rocks were so soft that their feet sank into them, leaving footprints that can still be seen today. They planted the corn, slept and dreamed, and harvested. All Tarahumares are descended from them. [Frazer, p. 281]

Huichol (western Mexico):

A man clearing fields found the trees regrown overnight. On the fifth day of this, he found that the Grandmother Nakawe, goddess of the earth, did this, because she wanted to talk to him. She told him that he was working in vain because a flood was coming in five days. Per her instructions, he built a box from the fig tree and entered it with five grains of corn and beans of each color, fire with five squash stems to feed it, and a black bitch. (In other versions, the vessel was a canoe.) She closed him in and caulked the cracks, and he floated in the flood for five years, first floating south, then north, then west, then east, then rising upward as the whole world flooded. Finally the box came to rest on a mountain near Santa Cantarina, where it can still be seen. The world was still under water, but parrots and macaws pulled up mountains and created valleys to drain the water, and the land dried. The old woman, who had sat upon the box with a macaw during the flood, turned to wind and disappeared. The man lived with the bitch in a cave. Every evening he would return home from work in the fields to find meals prepared. He spied one day and found that the bitch took off her skin and became a woman to do the work. He threw her skin into the fire. She whined like a dog, but he bathed her in nixtamal water, and she remained a woman. They repopulated the earth. [Gaster, pp. 122-123; Horcasitas, pp. 203-205]

Cora (east of the Huichols):

As in the Huichol myth, a woodman was warned of a coming flood by a woman. He was bidden to take the woodpecker, sandpiper, and parrot with him, as well as the bitch. He embarked at midnight as the flood began. When the flood subsided, he waited five days and sent out the sandpiper, which came back and cried, "Ee-wee-wee", indicating the earth was too wet to walk upon. He waited five more days and sent out the woodpecker, which found the trees too soft and returned saying "Chu-ee, chu-ee!" He waited five days more and sent out the sandpiper, who reported back that the ground was hard, and the man ventured out. He lived with the bitch who, as above, transformed into a human wife. [Gaster, p. 124]

Survivors of the flood escaped in a canoe. God sent the vulture out to see if the earth was dry enough, but the vulture didn't return because it was devouring the drowned corpses. God cursed the vulture and made it black, leaving its wingtips white to remind people of its former color. Next, God sent the ringdove, who reported that the land was dry but the rivers were in spate. So God commanded the animals to drink the rivers dry. All came and drank except the weeping dove, which today still goes to drink at nightfall because she is ashamed to be seen drinking by day. [Gaster, p. 124]

Tepecano (southeast of Huichols):

A man cleared trees every morning and found them regrown overnight. He spied and found an old man had been doing this. The old man told him not to work anymore because a flood was coming, and instead to build an ark and take on it pairs of all animals, corn, and water. The flood came, and the ark wandered over the waters for forty days. When the waters went down, the man returned to work. He soon noticed that food had been prepared for him when he returned from work. He spied and found his black bitch had been turning into the housekeeper. He burned her skin and soothed her by sprinkling nixtamal water on her. They lived together and had 24 children. One day the man took half of them to visit God, who gave them clothes; the others remained naked. That's why there are rich and poor people. [Horcasitas, p. 205]

Tepehua (eastern Mexico):

A man was surprised to find his fields overgrown after clearing them the previous day. He spied and found a monkey was responsible. The monkey told him that God didn't want him to work because a flood was coming, and it gave him instructions for building a coffinlike craft. The man built the box and got into it, and when the flood came, the monkey rode atop it. When the flood subsided, the man got out and built a fire to cook some fish he found. But the Almighty, irritated with him for building the fire, appeared and turned him into a monkey. [Horcasitas, p. 198]

Toltec (Mexico):

One of the Tezcatlipocas (sons of the original dual god) transformed himself into the Sun and created the first humans to show up his brothers. The other gods, angry at his audacity, had Quetzalcoatl destroy the sun and the earth, which he did with a flood. The people became fish. This ended the first age. The second, third, and fourth Suns ended, respectively, with the crumbling of the heavens, a rain of fire, and devastating winds. [Leon-Portilla, p. 450]

Nahua (central Mexico):

People in three previous ages were destroyed by being devoured by jaguars, swept away by the wind and turned into monkeys, and transformed into birds in a rain of fire. The sun of 4 Water lasted 676 years; then the heavens came down in one day, and the people were inundated and transformed into fish. In the next age, Titlacahuan (Tezcatlipoca) told a man known as Nata ("Our Father") and his consort Nene to hollow out an aheuhuetl (cypress?) log and enter it during the vigil of Toçoztli, when the heavens would come crashing down. He sealed them in with a single ear of corn apiece to eat. When they had finished eating all the kernels, they heard the water declining. They exited the log, found a fish, and made a fire to cook it. The gods Citlallinicue and Citlallatonac complained that someone was smoking up the heavens. Tezcatlipoca descended, struck off the people's heads, and reattached them over their buttocks; they became dogs. [Markman, pp. 132-133; Frazer, pp. 274-275]

The deluge overwhelmed mankind. Only a man named Coxcox (some call him Teocipactli) and a woman named Xochiquetzal survived in a small bark. They landed on a mountain called Colhuacan and had many children. These children were all born dumb until a dove from a lofty tree gave them languages, but different languages so that they couldn't understand each other. [Gaster, p. 121; Horcasitas, p. 191; Vitaliano, p. 176]

Tlaxcalan (central Mexico):

Men who survived the deluge were turned into monkeys, but they slowly recovered speech and reason. [Gaster, p. 121]

Tlapanac (south central Mexico):

A buzzard told a man working in the fields not to work anymore and caused all the trees that had been cut to rise again. The buzzard told the man to make a box for himself and take along in it a dog and a chicken. The man survived the flood in this box. When the waters lowered, the chicken turned into a buzzard, and the man lived with the dog. The man found that someone prepared tortillas for him while he was away at work. One day he returned home and saw the bitch remove her skin and grind corn. He then burned her skin. She complained, but she remained a woman, and the two of them repopulated the world. [Horcasitas, p. 206]

Mixtec (northern Oaxaca, Mexico):

The earth was once well populated, when mankind committed a magical fault for which they were punished by a great deluge. The Mixtec people descended from the few survivors. [Horcasitas, p. 192]

The god and goddess Puma-Snake and Jaguar-Snake raised a cliff above the abyss. Here they lived many centuries and raised two boys who had the power to transform themselves into eagles and serpents. The brothers established farming and sacrifice and penance; at their prayers, light appeared and water separated from earth. The earth was peopled, but a flood destroyed them, and Creator-of-All-Things restored the world. [Alexander, 1920, p. 87]

Zapotec (Oaxaca, southern Mexico):

The Angel Gabriel warned Noéh that a flood was coming because of mankind's sins. Noéh warned other people, but they didn't believe him. He built an ark and took pairs of all animals. The waters came; the Archangel Saint Michael blew his trumpet. When the waters receded, Noéh sent out a buzzard to see if the world was dry, but it stayed out to eat dead animals. The crow was then sent; it returned to say that the world was drying. Then the turtledove and parroquet went and reported back that the world was dry, and Noéh and the animals left the ark. The buzzard became ugly because of his actions, and the trip of a person unmindful of his mission is called a "buzzard's trip." Petela, a great Zapotec chieftain of Ocelotepeque, was descended from the survivors of the flood. [Horcasitas, p. 192,213]

In another version, the buzzard stayed to eat the dead and was condemned to be a scavenger. A heron was sent next, fulfilled its mission, and was allowed to eat fish as a reward. A raven was sent, and its obedience was rewarded by permitting it to eat fruit and corn. A dove then went and reported that the earth was almost dry, and it was granted freedom. [Horcasitas, p. 212]

The earth was dark and cold. The only inhabitants were giants, and God was angry with them for their idolatry. Some giants, feeling that a flood was coming, carved underground houses for themselves out of great slabs of rock. Some thus escaped destruction and may still be found hidden in certain caverns. Other giants hid in the forests and became monkeys. [Horcasitas, p. 199]

Trique (Oaxaca, southern Mexico):

Nexquiriac sent down a great flood to punish mankind for its very wicked ways. He instructed one good man to make a large box and to preserve himself in it, along with many animals and seeds of certain plants. When the flood was almost over, Nexquiriac told the man not to come out, but to bury the box, along with himself, until the face of the earth had been burned. After that was done, the man emerged and repopulated the earth. [Horcasitas, p. 192]

Totonac (eastern Mexico):

A man, warned by God, survived the flood in a tree he had hollowed out. After the deluge, he was hungry and built a fire. God smelled the smoke and sent buzzard down to investigate, but buzzard stayed to eat the dead animals, and God condemned him to eat only rotten flesh thereafter. God told Saint Michael the Archangel to go down, and Saint Michael reversed the man's face and hind parts and turned him into a monkey. [Horcasitas, p. 197]

A flood destroyed mankind. The children became flowers when they jumped up to where the star is. A man was sent a large dog. He went every day to clear the fields and found, on returning home, that food had been prepared for him. He resolved to discover the cook. [The story fragment ends there, but see below, and see related myth of Huichol.] [Horcasitas, p. 205]

God told a man to make an ark. After the deluge had subsided, the man sent forth a dove, which came back. Later, he sent it out again; it returned with muddy feet, and the man left the ark. He happened upon a house and decided to live there. Ants brought him corn. When he returned every day, he found food prepared for him. He watched his dog and one day found her, skinless, preparing corn. He threw her skin in the fire, and she began to weep. The couple lived together and had a baby. One day, the man told his wife to make tamales out of the "tender one," and the wife, misunderstanding, cooked their child. When the man found out, he scolded his wife and ate the tamales anyway. [Horcasitas, pp. 205-206]

Chol (southern Mexico):

When the deluge came, some people survived by climbing into the highest trees. Ahau became angry with them and, reversing their faces and hind parts, turned them to monkeys. [Horcasitas, p. 198]

Tzeltal (Chiapas, southern Mexico):

Through a misunderstanding, a wife killed and cooked her child. She and her husband ate it and enjoyed it, and soon everyone was killing and cooking children. God became angry and sent a deluge. One intelligent man survived in a canoe. Right after the flood, he lit a fire, and God smelled the smoke. God sent the buzzard, turkey buzzard, and churn-owl to investigate, but they stayed to eat dead bodies. God condemned them always to eat dead bodies. God then sent the hawk, which reported back. The man was turned into a monkey. [Horcasitas, p. 198]

The Padre Santo warned two brothers that a flood was coming, and they, with many animals, survived in an ark. When the waters were subsiding, the younger brother fell out of the ark, landed in a tree, and turned into a monkey. [Horcasitas, p. 198]

Quiché (Guatemala):

The wooden people, an early version of humanity, were imperfect because there was nothing in their hearts and minds, and they did not remember Heart of Sky. So Heart of Sky destroyed them with a flood. He sent down a black rain of resin; animals came into their houses and attacked them; and even pots and stones crushed them. The dogs and turkeys told them, "You caused us pain, you ate us. Now we eat you." Their other animals and implements likewise turned on them. They tried to escape onto their houses, into trees, and into caves, but the houses collapsed, the trees threw them off, and the caves slammed shut. Today's monkeys are a sign of these people, mere manikins. This was before the sun dawned on the earth. [Tedlock, p. 83-86]

Some men tried to save themselves from the deluge by making boxes and going underground in them. God didn't approve of this and turned them into bees. [Horcasitas, p. 199]

Maya (southern Mexico and Guatemala):

The Puzob, an industrious dwarf people, were the first inhabitants of the earth. God destroyed them with a flood because of their carelessness in their observation of custom. They heard that a terrible storm was coming, so they put some stones in a pond and sat on them, but the dwarfs were all destroyed. Jesucristo sent down four angels to investigate what was happening on earth. They removed their clothes and bathed, whereupon they became doves. Some other angels were sent down; they were turned into buzzards when they ate the dead. [Horcasitas, p. 194]

In the first period of the world lived the Saiyamkoob, "the Adjusters," a dwarf race which built cities now in ruins. They worked in darkness, as the sun had not yet appeared. When it did, they turned to stone, and their images can be found in the ruins. Food for the workers was lowered by rope from the sky, but the rope was cut, the blood ran out of it, and the earth and sky separated. This period ended with water over the earth. The Tsolob, "the Offenders," lived in the second period. These, too were destroyed by a flood. The Maya reigned during the third period, but their period was also ended by flood. The fourth and present age is peopled by a mixture of all previous races. [Alexander, 1920, p. 153]

After people were created, the sky fell upon the earth, and the waters followed them. The world was destroyed. The four Bacab gods managed to escape and now hold up the four corners of the sky. [Horcasitas, p. 191]

Two floods had destroyed humanity. Three people escaped a third and final flood in a canoe. [Horcasitas, p. 191]

Popoluca (Veracruz, Mexico):

Christ ordered a man to build an ark and to take in it pairs of all useful animals. The flood came and subsided. The survivors began to cook fish, which the rest of the former inhabitants of the world had been turned into. Christ sent a buzzard to investigate, but the buzzard stayed to eat fish. Then Christ sent down the hawk and hummingbird and finally came himself. He turned the people upside down, and they became monkeys. Christ repopulated the world by turning the dead fish back into people. The buzzard was condemned to eat only carrion thereafter. [Horcasitas, pp. 196-197]

God told a man to stop working, because a flood was coming. The man was told to build a canoe to save himself and his family. After the deluge came and went, the man began to cook the bodies of the dead animals. Saint Peter smelled the smoke and came to investigate. He turned the man into a buzzard and his children into monkeys. [Horcasitas, p. 197]


The world was once destroyed by a deluge. After its destruction, the gods created all things afresh. [Gaster, p. 121]

The world was flooded, but one couple escaped in heaven. They returned to earth afterwards and restored it. From them, mankind is descended. [Nelson, p. 188]


One man, with his wife and children, escaped the flood in a canoe. Mankind are descended from them. [Gaster, p. 121]

Carib (Antilles):

The Master of Spirits, angered at the people for not giving the offerings due him, caused a heavy rain to fall for several days, drowning the people. Only a few survived, escaping by canoe to an isolated mountain. This flood separated the Carib's islands from the mainland and caused their present terrain. [Frazer, p. 281]

South America

Acawai (Orinoco):

Makunaima created the birds and animals and put his son, Sigu, in charge of them. Makunaima created a great tree from which all food plants grew. Agouti discovered it first but kept it secret, but Sigu sent Rat to follow him, and the secret was out. Sigu decided it would be best to chop down the tree and plant the seeds and cuttings so that the food would be widespread. This they did, but Iwarrika, the monkey, didn't help, so Sigu sent him to fetch water with an open-work basket. When the tree was felled, the animals discovered the hollow stump was filled with water containing all kinds of fresh-water fish. But the water began overflowing and threatened to flood the land, so Sigu wove a magic basket and covered the trunk with it. When Iwarrika returned, he saw the basket and, thinking the best fruits were under it, lifted it to look. A torrent of water flooded out and covered the countryside. Sigu led the birds and climbing animals to tall cocorite trees on the highest hill. He led the other animals to a cave and covered its entrance with wax, first giving them a long thorn with which to pierce the wax to determine when the water went down. Many days of darkness and storm followed. The red howler monkey cried in anguish so much at the cold and hunger that his throat swelled and remains so to this day. Sigu stayed with the birds in the cocorite tree, occasionally dropping seeds. He heard that it took longer and longer for them to hit water as the water dropped, and eventually they thudded on the ground. At that moment, the sky grew lighter. The trumpeter bird was in such a hurry to descend that he flopped into an ant's nest, and the insects gnawed his legs to the bone, giving his present appearance. Sigu rubbed two pieces of wood together to make fire, but the bush-turkey mistook the first spark for a firefly, gobbled it up, and burnt his throat, explaining why turkeys have red wattles today. The alligator was generally unpopular and was accused of having stolen the spark. To try to retrieve the spark, Sigu tore out the animal's tongue, so alligators today have no tongue to speak of. The plants which had been planted sprang to life, but the fish were not distributed evenly. Monkeys are as curious as ever but are now afraid of water. [Frazer, pp. 253-265; Gifford, pp. 113-114]

Arekuna (Guyana):

Shortly after people arrived on earth, all crops grew on a single tree. The culture hero Makunaima and his four brothers cut down the tree, and water immediately poured from the stump, and with it came fish. One of the brothers made a basket to stop the water, but Makunaima wanted a few more fish for the rivers. When he lifted the basket just a little, water came out full force, flooding the earth. Some people survived in canoes or by climbing tall palms until the water subsided. (In some versions of this myth, the water from the stump merely forms rivers.) [Bierhorst, 1988, pp. 79-80]

Makiritare (Venezuela):

The Star people listened to Jaguar and killed and ate a woman. Kuamachi wanted to punish them, but they were too many and too powerful. He went to Wlaha, their chief, and invited them to help in picking dewaka fruit. They were suspicious, but Kuamachi left some fruit with them, and they liked the taste so much they decided to go help pick fruit. Kuamachi and his grandfather Mahanama led them to the trees. The star people climbed the trees and started eating fruit; they weren't afraid of only two people. Kuamachi dropped one fruit; water came out of it, spread, and caused a flood, covering everything but the trees. Kuamachi thought "canoe," and a canoe appeared. He and Mahanama stayed in the canoe. Mahanama threw the baskets he was weaving into the water, and they turned into anacondas, crocodiles, caimans, and other deadly animals. Kuamachi set a termite nest on fire, filling the forest with smoke. He and his grandfather got bows and arrows they had hidden in a cave. When they got back and the smoke cleared, the Star people were begging for mercy. The two shot them. The people fell down into the water below and were attacked by the dangerous animals. Kuamachi and his grandfather ran out of arrows before shooting Wlaha, the leader of the Star people. He had turned himself into seven people and caught seven arrows. The surviving wounded Star people climbed back into the trees. Wlaha shot the arrows into heaven, and with the help of Ahishama, who changed into the troupial, and Kütto, who became a frog, he formed a ladder which he and the surviving Star people climbed up and became stars. Ahishama became Mars; Wlaha became the Pleiades; Mönettä, the scorpion, became the Big Dipper; and Ihette, One Leg, became Orion's belt. Kuamachi also decided to climb up. He had Kahshe, the piranha, cut the vine behind him so that the demon Ioroko couldn't climb up with his basket of poison. Kuamachi brought Akuaniye, the Peace Plant, with him, which he offered to Wlaha, and they stopped fighting. Kuamachi became the Evening Star. Before this, the night sky had been empty and black. [de Civrieux, pp. 109-116]

Macusi (British Guyana):

The good spirit Makunaima ("He who works in the night") created the heaven and earth. When he had created plants and trees, he came down from his heavenly mansion, climbed a tree, and chipped off bark with a large stone axe. The chips turned into animals of all kinds when they fell into the river at the base of the tree. Next, Makunaima created man, and after the man had fallen asleep, he awoke to find a woman beside him. Later the evil spirit got more power on earth, so Makunaima sent a great flood. Only one man survived in a canoe. He sent a rat to see whether the flood had abated, and the rat returned with a cob of maize. When the flood had subsided, the man threw stones behind him, which became other people. [Frazer, pp. 255-256]

Muysca (Colombia):

In olden times before the moon existed, the Muyscas lived as savages. A bearded old man with the names Botschika, Nemquetheba, and Zuhe came and taught them agriculture, crafts, religion, and government. His wife, with the names Huythaca, Chia, and Yubecayguya, was beautiful but malicious. To destroy the good works of her husband, she magically caused the river Funza (Rio Bogota) to flood the whole Cundinamarca plateau. Only a few people escaped to the mountain tops. Botschika banished her from earth and changed her into the moon. Then he opened a pass, and the water poured down in the Tequendama waterfall, leaving Lake Guatavita. The country dried and was cultivated by the survivors. [Kelsen, p. 140; Vitaliano, pp. 173-175]

Offended by people's wickedness, Chibchachun, the tutelary god, sent the torrents of Sopo and Tibito down from the hills, flooding the plain. This made cultivation impossible and threatened to submerge the people, who had fled to the mountains. The people appealed to the culture-hero Bocicha. Appearing as a rainbow, he struck the mountain with his staff and provided an outlet for the waters, creating the waterfall of Tequendama. Chibchachun was driven under the ground and made to hold it up (replacing the lignum-vitae trees which had held it before). His restlessness causes earthquakes. The rainbow, Chuchaviva, was thence honored as a god, but Chibchachum, in revenge, proclaimed that many would die when it appears. [Alexander, 1920, p. 203; Gaster, p. 131; Frazer, p. 267]

Yaruro (southern Venezuela):

The first people neglected Kuma the creator, so she made it rain until only one sand dune and one tree stayed above water. People escaped into the tree, but there were only leaves and rotten fruit to eat, and when people sat with their bottoms towards the water, a big fish would come by and bite them. A few of these people survived as humans, but Kuma turned the ones that ate leaves and rotten fruit into howler monkeys. [Brusca & Wilson, p. "M"]

Yanomamö (southern Venezuela):

The daughter of Rahaririyoma went to a river to fetch water. Omauwä (one of the first beings) and his brother Yoawä found her and copulated with her; then Omauwä changed the girl's vagina into a mouth with teeth. Howashiriwä, another of the first beings, then saw her and seduced her, but her vagina bit off his penis. Then the son of Omauwä became very thirsty. Omauwä and Yoawä dug a hole for water, but they dug so deep that water gushed forth and covered the jungle. Many drowned. Some of the first beings survived by cutting down trees and floating on them. This was such a strange thing to do that they became foreigners and floated away, and their language gradually became unintelligible. The Yanomamö survived by climbing mountains, namely Maiyo, Howashiwä, and Homahewä. Raharariyoma painted red dots all over her body and plunged into the lake, causing it to recede. Omauwä then caused her to be changed into a rahara, a dangerous snake-like monster that lives in large rivers. Omauwä went downstream and became an enemy of the Yanomamö, sending them hiccups and sickness. [Chagnon, pp. 46-47]

Tamanaque (Orinoco):

In the time of the great flood, "the Age of Water," the sea broke against the Encamarada mountain chain, and people were forced into canoes. One man and one woman were saved on the high mountain called Tamanacu, on the banks of the Asiveru. After the flood, as they descended the mountain grieving the destruction of mankind, they heard a voice telling them to throw the fruits of the Mauritia palm over their heads behind them. People sprung from the kernels of these fruits, men from those thrown by the man, and women from those thrown by the woman. (This tradition occurs also in neighboring tribes.) [Gaster, p. 127; H. Miller, p. 285]

Arawak (Guyana):

Since its creation, the world has been destroyed twice, once by fire and once by flood, by the great god Aiomun Kondi because of the wickedness of mankind. The pious and wise chief Marerewana was informed of the coming of the flood and saved himself and his family in a large canoe. He tied the canoe to a tree with a long cable of bushrope to prevent drifting too far from his old home. [Gaster, p. 126]

Pamary, Abedery, and Kataushy (Purus R., Brazil):

Once upon a time, people heard a rumbling above and below the ground; the sun and moon turned red, blue, and yellow; and wild beasts mingled fearlessly with man. A month later, they saw darkness ascending from the earth to the sky, accompanied by a roar and by thunder and heavy rain. Everything was in dreadful confusion. Some people lost themselves. Some died without knowing why. The water rose to cover the earth, and people took refuge in the highest trees. There they perished from cold and hunger, for it continued to be dark and rainy. Only Uassu and his wife survived. When they came down after the flood, they could not find even a sign of a single corpse. They had many children. Today, the Pamarys build their houses on the river, so that when the water rises, they may rise with it. [Gaster, pp. 125-126]

Ipurina (Upper Amazon):

Birds flew all over the world collecting things that decayed and threw them in a great kettle of water that boiled in sun. (The hard parukuba wood they left alone.) The storks waited around the kettle and snatched up things when they appeared on the surface of the boiling water. When the water was getting low, Mayuruberu, the chief of storks and creator of all birds, threw a round stone in the kettle. This upset the kettle, and its hot liquid poured over the world and burned up almost everything, including even water. Mankind survived, but all plants were destroyed except the cassia. The sloth, an ancestor of the Ipurina, climbed the cassia tree to fetch fruits, as there was nothing else to eat. At that time, the sun and moon were hidden. The first kernel that the sloth threw down fell on hard ground, and the sun appeared again, but it was very small. The second kernel he threw fell in water, and the sun grew larger. As the third kernel fell in deeper water, the sun grew more, and so on until the sun reached its present size. Then the sloth asked Mayuruberu for seeds of crops. Mayuruberu appeared with many new plants, and the Ipurina began tilling their fields. Mayuruberu ate anyone who would not work. The kettle still stands in the sun, but it is empty. [Frazer, pp. 259-260; Kelsen, p. 139]

Jivaro (eastern Ecuador):

Two boys found that the game they had hunted for a feast kept disappearing while they were gone. One stayed in camp and discovered a large snake was responsible. They built a fire to drive the snake out of the hollow in a tree, where it lived. The snake fell in the fire, and one of the brothers ate some of its roasted flesh. He became very thirsty, drank all the water in camp, and went to the lake. He was transformed first into a frog, then a lizard, and finally into a snake, which grew rapidly. His brother was frightened and tried to pull him out, but the lake began to overflow. The snake told his brother that the lake would continue to grow and all the people would perish unless they made their escape. The snake told him to take a calabash and flee to a palm tree on the highest mountain. The brother told his people what was happening, but they didn't believe him. He fled to the top of a palm tree on the top of a mountain and returned many days later when the waters had subsided. Vultures were eating the dead people in the valley. He went to the lake and carried away his brother in a calabash. [Kelsen, pp. 140-141; see also Roheim, p. 156]

A great cloud fell from heaven, turned to rain, and killed all the inhabitants of earth. Only a man and his two sons were saved. One of the sons was cursed by his father; the Jivaros are descended from him. [Gaster, p. 126]

According to some Jivaro, the flood was survived by a man and woman, who took refuge in a cave on a high mountain along with samples of all the various animal species. [Gaster, p. 126]

Two brothers survived the flood in a mountain which rose higher and higher with the flood waters. They went looking for food after the flood, and when they returned, found food set out for them. To find its source, one of the brothers hid himself and saw two parrots with the faces of women enter their hut and prepare the food. He jumped out, seized one of the birds, and married it. From this union came three boys and three girls from whom the Jivaros are descended. [Gaster, p. 126]

Shuar (Andes):

A hunter heard whistling at a riverbank, and suspecting it was something from the spirit world, went home and used tobacco smoke to induce a dream. In it, he was told by the daughter of the water spirit Tsunki to return to the river. He did so, met the woman, and followed her underwater to her father's house. The woman's mother gave him an aphrodisiac, and he became her husband. When he returned to his home on earth, she took the form of a snake. She became pregnant, and the man had to go out hunting. While he was out, his two earthly wives discovered the snake and tormented her, and she returned to her father. Tsunki, in a rage, flooded the earth, drowning everyone but the hunter and one of his daughters, who escaped to a mountaintop. These two repopulated the world. [Bierhorst, 1988, p. 218]

Murato (a branch of the Jivaros):

A Murato was fishing in a lagoon of the Pastaza River when a small crocodile swallowed his bait. The fisherman killed it. The mother of crocodiles was angered and lashed the water with her tail, which flooded the area and drowned all people except one man, who climbed a palm tree. It was dark as night, so he dropped a palm fruit from time to time. When he heard it thud on ground rather than splash, he knew the flood had subsided. He climbed down, built a house, and began tilling a field. Being alone, he cut off a piece of his flesh and planted it; from this grew a woman, whom he married. [Frazer, pp. 261-262]

Cañari (Quito, Ecuador):

Two brother escaped a great flood on top of the tall mountain Huaca-yñan. As the water rose, the mountain also rose. When the water lowered and their provisions were consumed, the brother descended, built a small house, and ate herbs and roots, living a miserable existence of hunger and toil. One day, they returned home to find food and chicha drink prepared. After ten days of this, to find out who their benefactor was, the elder brother hid and presently saw two macaws, dressed like Cañaris, enter the house and begin to prepare food they had brought with them. The man saw that they were beautiful and had faces of women, and he came out of hiding. But the birds became angry and left when they saw him, leaving no food. The younger brother came home and heard the story, and both were angry. The next day, the younger brother decided to hide. After three days, the macaws returned. The two men waited until the birds had finished cooking and then shut the door. The birds were angry, and the larger one escaped as the brothers held the small one. The brothers took the macaw as a wife; by her they had six sons and daughters, from whom the Cañari are descended. Macaws and the hill Huaca-yñan are venerated by the Indians today. [Frazer, pp. 268-269]

Guanca and Chiquito (Peru):

Long ago, before there were any Incas, the country was populous, but the ocean broke out of its bounds, the land was covered, and the people perished. Some say that a few people survived in the caves of the highest mountains. Others say that only six people survived on a float. [Frazer, pp. 271-272]

Ancasmarca (near Cuzco, Peru):

A month before the flood came, the sheep showed much sadness, watching the stars at night and not eating. Their shepherd asked what bothered them, and they told him that the conjunction of stars foretold the destruction of the world by water. The shepherd and his six children gathered all the food and sheep they could and took them to the top of the very tall mountain Ancasmarca. As the flood water rose, the mountain rose higher, so its top was never submerged, and the mountain later sank with the water. The six children repopulated the province after the flood. [Frazer, pp. 270-271]

Canelos Quechua:

Quilla, the moon, had sex with his bird sister, Jilucu. From this union came the stars, as people. Quilla always came unseen at night. One night Jilucu smeared genipa juice on his face, telling him it would make him feel fresh. By morning the juice turned dark, and Jilucu saw that her lover was the moon. The stars also knew from the moon's spotted face that they were descended from an incestuous relationship. They all cried, and their crying produced rain, earthquake, and flood. Volcanoes erupted, new hills formed, rivers swelled; the earth people were swept eastward by a great river into the sea. From this river came the sun, who began his regular course and brought an orderly axis to the world. The moon and stars lost much of their power because of the incestuous relationship, making night lose most of its light. The people were separated from one another and had to work their way westward, having many adventures along the way. [Whitten, pp. 51-52]


The world wanted to come to an end. A llama buck, knowing that the ocean would soon overflow, was depressed. When its human owner complained that it wouldn't eat, the llama told him that the flood would occur in five days and suggested they go to Villca Coto mountain with five days' food. The man left in a hurry, carrying both the llama and the supplies. They arrived at the mountain to find the peak already filled with all kinds of animals. The flood came as soon as they arrived and lasted five days, then it dried to the ocean's normal position. The fox's tail was soaked, which turned it black. Afterwards, the man began to multiply once more. [Salomon & Urioste, pp. 51-52]

Paria Caca, a god born from five falcon eggs, heard about a man called Tamta Namca who called himself a god and had himself worshipped, and about other people's sins. He went into a rage, rose up as rain, and washed them all away to the ocean, together with their homes and llamas. At that time a tree called the Pullao formed an arch between the Llantapa and Vichoca mountains; in it lived monkeys, toucans, and other birds. These too were swept to sea. [Salomon & Urioste, pp. 59-60]

Paria Caca went to the village Huauqui Usa, which was celebrating a festival. He sat at the end of the banquet like a stranger. No one offered him a drink while he sat there, until at the end of the day a woman finally did so. Paria Caca told the woman that these people had made him mad, told her that in five days something terrible would happen to the village, and warned her to take her family away and not to tell anyone else, or he might kill her, too. Five days later, the woman and her family left. The other villagers continued drinking without a care. Paria Caca climbed Matao Coto, a mountain which overlooks the village, and rising up as red and yellow hail, caused a torrential rainstorm. It washed all the villagers to the ocean and shaped the slopes and valleys of the area. [Salomon & Urioste, pp. 61-62] He similarly exterminated another village where no one offered him a drink. [Salomon & Urioste, p. 127]

The Inca summoned people from every village to help defeat their enemies. Paria Caca sent his child Maca Uisa. When nobody else at the meeting offered to help, Maca Uisa said he would defeat the enemies completely. Strong litter bearers carried him to the battle front, and as soon as he got there, he started raining on them, gently at first, then pouring rain. He washed away their villages in a mudslide and killed their strong men with lightning bolts. Only a few common people were spared. [Salomon & Urioste, p. 115]

Inca (Peru):

Pictorial records of ancient Incan rulers show that a flood rose above the highest mountains. All created things perished, except for a man and woman who floated in a box. When the flood subsided, the floating box was driven by the wind to Tiahuanacu, about 200 miles from Cuzco, where the Creator told them to dwell. The Creator molded new people from clay at Tiahuanacu. On each figure, the Creator painted dress and hair style, and he gave each nation distinctive language, songs, and seeds to plant. When he had brought them to life, he ordered them into the earth to travel underground and emerge from caves, springs, tree trunks, etc. in their various homes. He then created the sun, moon, and stars. [Bierhorst, 1988, pp. 200,202; Gaster, p. 127; Frazer, p. 271]

The creator god Viracocha made the earth and sky, and he created stone giants to live in it. After a while the giants became lazy and quarrelsome, and Viracocha decided to destroy them. Some he turned back to stone, and these stone statues still exist at Tiahuanaco and Pucara. He destroyed the rest with a great flood. When the flood subsided, it left the lakes Titicaca and Poopo, and it left seashells on the Altiplano at elevations of 3660 m. Viracocha saved two stone giants from the flood and with their help created people his own size. He reached down into Lake Titicaca and drew out the Sun and Moon to provide light so he could admire his new creation. In those days, the Moon was even brighter than the Sun, but the Sun grew jealous and threw ashes onto the Moon's face. [Gifford, p. 54]

A large, rich city once existed on the Altiplano. One day, a group of ragged Indians came and warned the proud inhabitants that the city would be destroyed by earthquake, flood, and fire. Most inhabitants just scoffed and eventually had the ragged people flogged and thrown out. Some of the city's priests, though, heeded the warning and went to live as hermits in a temple on a hill. Some time later, a red cloud appeared on the horizon. Soon it had grown and covered the area, and its red glow eerily lit the night. Suddenly, with a flash and a rumble, an earthquake destroyed many of the city's buildings, and a red rain poured down. Other earthquakes and more rain followed, and a flood soon covered the ruined city; this water is Lake Titicaca today. None of the city's inhabitants survived save the priests. The descendants of the prophets became the Callawayas, wise men of the valleys. [Gifford, pp. 55-56]

Colla (high Andes):

Some adventurous Indians, looking for a reputed land of abundance, travelled to the Amazonian jungle. To make a clearing, they set the forest alight. The gods of the mountains were angry at the smoke dirtying their snow. Khuno, the snow god, decided to kill them with a flood, but the mountain god Illimani suggested instead that they be driven to great hardship. Khuno sent a flood that spared their lives but destroyed everything they had managed to build and grow. The people were almost hopeless, but one was attracted to a brilliant green plant, coca. He chewed its leaves and forgot his discomforts, and the others followed his example. When they all felt strong again, they returned to Tiahuanaco, taking coca with them. [Gifford, p. 76]

Chiriguano (southeast Bolivia):

The evil supernatural being Aguara-Tunpa declared war against the god Tunpaete, Creator of the Chiriguanos. He set fire to the prairies in autumn, destroying all the plants and land animals. The people, who had not then begun farming, nearly died of hunger, but they retreated to the banks of rivers and survived on fish. Seeing people still surviving, Aguara-Tunpa caused a torrential rain. Acting on a hint given them by Tunpaete, the Chiriguanos placed two sibling babies, a boy and a girl, on a large mate leaf and set it afloat on the water. The flood rose, covering the earth and killing the rest of the Chiriguanos, but the two babies survived and eventually landed on solid ground when the flood sank. There, they found fish to eat, but they had no way to cook it. Fortunately, before the flood, a frog had taken some hot coals in his mouth, and it kept them alight during the flood by blowing on them. He gave the fire to the children, and they were able to roast their fish. In time, they grew up, and the Chiriguanos are descended from them. [Gaster, pp. 127-128]

Chorote (Eastern Paraguay):

The bottle tree (Chorisia insignis) once contained all the water and all the fish. The tree had a locked door. Fox stole the key and thoughtlessly opened the door wide. The waters rushed out, flooding the world and bringing all kinds of fish. Fox drowned. [Bierhorst, 1988, p. 123]

In a former time when there were a great many people, the earth sank. Then water began to seep out. It kept rising until it became a flood. Some boys were saved, plucked from the water by a white bird; all other people drowned. [Bierhorst, 1988, p. 142]

Eastern Brazil (Rio de Janiero region):

Two twin sons of a great wizard, one good and the other evil, were always arguing. One day the angered good brother stamped so hard that the earth opened and water gushed out, shooting as high as the clouds. The water covered the whole world. The good brother and his wife climbed a pindona tree, and the evil brother and his wife climbed a geniper tree until the waters receded. (In another account, they survived in canoes.) From these couples descended the Tupinambas and Tominus, two tribes which don't get along well. [Vitaliano, p. 175; Gaster, pp. 124-125]

Eastern Brazil (Cape Frio region):

A medicine man named Sommay had two sons, Tamendonare and Ariconte. Tamendonare tilled the ground and was a good husband and father. Ariconte was interested only in war. One day he returned from battle with the arm of a slain foe and accused his brother of cowardice. Tamendonare sarcastically asked why he didn't bring the whole carcass. Ariconte threw the arm at his brother's door, and at that moment, their village was transported to the sky, leaving the two brothers on earth. Tamendonare stamped on the ground so hard that a fountain of water sprang forth into the sky; the water continued until the whole world was covered. The brothers fled to the highest mountains and climbed trees. Tamendonare climbed a pindona tree, helping one of his wives up with him, and Ariconte climbed a geniper tree with his wife. All other people drowned. Ariconte's wife dropped fruit and heard from the splash when the water was still too high for them to climb down. Two different peoples, who are perpetually feuding, are descended from these two couples. The Tupinambo exalt themselves over the Tominu by claiming descent from Tamendonare. [Frazer, pp. 254-255]

The great god Tupi warned a medicine man named Tamanduare of a coming great flood that would cover the earth, and he told Tamanduare to seek refuge on a lofty peak with a palm tree at its top. Tamanduare and his family went there immediately, and when they arrived, it began to rain. It continued to rain until the whole earth was flooded. The water covered even the summit of the mountain, and Tamanduare and his family climbed into the palm tree and live there, eating its fruit, until the water subsided. Then they descended and repopulated the devastated world. [Frazer, pp. 255-256]

Caraya (Araguaia River, central Brazil):

The Carayas, hunting pigs, drove them into their dens and began pulling them out and killing them. In doing so, they also came upon a deer, a tapir, a white deer, and finally the feet of a man. They fetched a magician, who drew the man from the earth. This man was Anatiua; he had a thin body but fat paunch. He sang that he wanted tobacco, but the Carayas didn't understand him and offered him all kinds of flowers and fruits until Anatiua pointed at a man smoking. Then they gave him tobacco. He smoked it until he fell senseless. They took him back to their village, where he awoke and began to dance and sing. But his behavior and unintelligible speech so alarmed the Carayas that they packed up and left. This angered Anatiua, and he turned himself into a giant piranha and followed them, carrying many calabashes full of water. The Carayas didn't heed his calls to stop, so he smashed his calabashes one at a time, making the water rise until only the mountains at the mouth of the Tapirape River were exposed. The Carayas took refuge on the two peaks of those mountains. Anatiua called on the fish to drag the people into the water. The jahu, pintado, and pacu failed, but the bicudo managed to scale the mountain from behind and pull the people from the summit; a lagoon still marks where they fell. Only a few people survived, who descended when the flood had gone. [Frazer, pp. 257-258]

Coroado (south Brazil):

A flood once covered the whole earth except for the top of the coastal range Serra do Mar. Members of the three tribes Coroados, Cayurucres, and Cames, swam for the mountains holding lighted torches between their teeth. The Cayurucres and Cames wearied and drowned, and their souls went to dwell in the heart of the mountain. The Coroados made it and stayed there, some on the ground and some in the branches of trees. Several days passed without food and without the water lowering. Then some saracuras, a species of waterfowl, flew to them with baskets of earth. The birds began throwing the earth into the water, and the water sank. The people urged the birds to hurry, so the birds called the ducks to help them. When the flood subsided, the Coroados descended, except for the ones which had climbed into trees, who became monkeys. The souls of the Cayurucres and Cames burrowed their way out of the mountain and kindled a fire. From the ashes of the fire, one of the Cayurucres molded jaguars, tapirs, ant-bears, bees, and many other animals; he made them live and told them what they should eat. But one of the Cames similarly made pumas, poisonous snakes, and wasps to fight the other animals. [Gaster, p. 125]

Araucania (coastal Chile):

Two great serpents made the sea rise to determine which of them had the more powerful magic. The flood came after a strong earthquake and volcanic eruption. The people took refuge on a mountain called Thegtheg ("thundering" or "sparkling") which floated close to the sun. Afterwards, whenever the Araucanians felt an earthquake, they would flee to the hills carrying bowls to protect their heads from the sun's heat. [Vitaliano, p. 173; Frazer, p. 262]

Toba (Northern Argentina):

Rainbow does not like menstruating women to enter the water, or even to drink from it. One day a young woman broke this taboo because her mother and sisters didn't leave her any drinking water when they left for the day. Driven by thirst, she went to the lagoon. When she had returned, Rainbow, full of anger, caused a strong wind, accompanied by whirlwinds and heavy rain. All were drowned in the ensuing flood. [Bierhorst, 1988, pp. 142-143]

Selk'nam (southern tip of Argentina):

At one time, people didn't die; instead, they just slept awhile and woke up refreshed. After many lives, some got tired of being human and turned into rocks, clouds, animals, and such. A flood came which covered the world. People floundered around in the cold water. Some climbed onto ice floes and joined the penguins, playing and eating fish as the penguins did. In time, they turned into large penguins. When the water went down, some people went back to living as humans, but others stayed emperor penguins. [Brusca & Wilson, p. "E"]

Yamana (Tierra del Fuego):

Léxuwakipa, the rusty brown spectacled ibis, felt offended by the people, so she let it snow so much that ice came to cover the entire earth. This happened at the time of Yáiaasága, when men seized power from the women. When the ice melted, it rapidly flooded all the earth. People hurried to their canoes, but many didn't make it, and more perished when they couldn't find sheltered places. Some people reached the five mountaintops which stayed above the flood. These mountains were Usláka, Wémarwaia, Auwáratuléra, Welalánux, and Piatuléra. The water stayed at its high mark for two days and then rapidly lowered. Signs of the floodwaters still show up on those mountains. The few families which survived rebuilt their huts on the shore. Men have ruled women since then. [Wilbert, pp. 27-28]

The moon-woman Hánuxa caused the flood because she was full of hatred against the people, especially the men, who had taken over the women's secret kina ceremony and made it their own. A few people survived on five mountaintops. [Wilbert, p. 29]

The sun sank into the sea, causing its waters to rise tumultuously and to cover all the earth except the summit of a single mountain. A few people survived there. [Gaster, p. 128]

Revision History

6/21/2006: Remove two probably inauthentic myths (Samo-Kubo, 2nd Chaldean). 7/6/2005: New Yao, Khmu, Sedang, and Thai myths from Dang Nghiem Van. 6/9/2005: New Miao myths from Geddes and from Johnson and Yang. 3/17/2004: New Wukchumni and Sinkyone myths. 2/6/2004: New Wintu and Yana myths from Curtin. 1/9/2004: New Lapp, Fiji, Tlingit, Washo, Nicaragua myths; amended Algonquin myth from Nelson. New Yoruba myth from Courlander. 12/24/2003: New Hopi fragment and Chippewa refs from Vecsey. 9/2/2002: Added Ababua fragment. 8/21/2002: New Ohlone myth. 6/2/2002: Chippewa myth from Barnouw expanded and another added. 2/16/2002: New Roman myth from Frazer's Golden Bough. 1/16/2002: "Northern California Coast" identified as Kato and revised from Gifford & Block reference. 11/15/2001: New Tamil myth. 10/6/2001: New Hindu flood from Mahabharata. 8/30/2001: Reordered by language group; from Grinnell: new Pawnee myth; from Shaw: new Pima myth; removed duplicate Lenape myth. 7/6/2001: From Frazer: new Masai, Tchiglit, Orowignarak, Central Eskimo, Herschel Island Eskimo, Tlingit, Loucheux, Haida, Bella Coola, Kwakiutl, Lillooet, Thompson, Tsimshian, Smith River, Ashochimi, Maidu, Acagchemem, Twana, Cascade, Sarcee, Dogrib, Ottawa, Chippewa, Timagami Ojibway, Delaware, Cree, Pima, Zuni, Carib, Tarahumara, Cape Frio, Caraya, Murato, Canari, Macusi, Ancasmarca, Guanca; revised Kootenay, Kathlamet, Mandan, Montagnais, Chippewa, Muysca, Acawai, Ipurina, Araucania, Inca. 5/27/2001: From Frazer: new Greek, Arcadian, Samothrace, Gypsy, Hebrew, Hindu, Munda, Santal, Tsuwo, Bunun, Shan, Karen, Mandaya, Ami, Narrinyeri, Samoa, Nanumanga, Rakaanga; revised Chaldean, Zoroastrian, Bhil, Batak, Mangaia. 5/19/2001: Slightly revised Tinguian myth based on Cole reference. 5/16/2001: From The Mythology of All Races: new Altaic, Tuvinian, Yenisey-Ostyak, Russian, Buryat, Sagaiye, Samoyed, Kiangan Ifugao, Dusun, Dyak, Victoria, western Carolines, Havasupai, Sia, Mixtec, Maya; modified Persian, Muysca. 5/3/2001: Give Koran story more fully. 4/29/2001: Acawai, Colla, and 3 Inca myths and Gifford reference; slight amendment to Scandinavian myth. 3/31/2001: Sabo-Kubo myth and LaHaye/Morris reference. 1/1/2001: Added revision history. Added Merriam reference and 3 Miwok myths from it; Bell reference and Yurok myth. 11/4/2000: H. Miller reference and Chaldean, Tahiti myths from there; revised a Hindu myth. ~2/20/2000: Extensive revision: added introduction and several new myths; revised most other myths.


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