Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Flood Stories from Around the World

Mark Isaak has collected hundreds of Flood stories from around the world. I found them really fascinating.

Here are some examples:

Hindu:

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


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.


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.


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.


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. √úlgen 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.


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.


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.


And, of course,
Hebrew:

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

12 comments:

asher said...

Hebrew is the only one where the diety who brought about the flood was the one who warned Noah to build the boat. What does this mean? Maybe there was a flood? Even though scientists agree it could never have happened. And why was Noah chosen? Because he was a righteous man. None of the other stories have any moral implication.
Where is the Egptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Turkish, Greek and Roman versions of this thing?

Next time compare Creation stories and we can all look for the turtle on whose back the entire world is resting.

Jewish Atheist said...

Where is the Egptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Turkish, Greek and Roman versions of this thing?

Click on the link. They're there.

Sadie Lou said...

There is evidence of a huge flood. The Grand Canyon is a good place to start.

JC Masterpiece said...

It's funny (not the "ha, ha" kind) that every single ancient civilization has a creation story and a worldwide flood story. Why is that? Could it be that there is truth to these creation and worldwide flood stories? If these were mystical stories with no truth to them than you would think that only a couple of civilizations that are relatively close together would have comparable stories and that the stories would not be so similar in such extremely different cultures.

And yet today's modern science continually attempts to disprove both of these even when the ark believed to be Noah's appears to have been found at the top of a mountain, though every attempt to retrieve it has continually failed due to circumstances beyond the control of the best laid plans of mice and men.

Jewish Atheist said...

It's funny (not the "ha, ha" kind) that every single ancient civilization has a creation story and a worldwide flood story.

It's funny (not "ha, ha") how you notice that they all have flood stories but you ignore that they each have their own mythological details. How could you possibly know you have the right one?

There is evidence of a huge flood. The Grand Canyon is a good place to start.

Really?

Laura said...

This is really not that surprising when you think of the power of water to both create life and destroy it. All ancient civilizations had a love-hate relationship with water. You had to have it nearby to live, but if you were too close it could kill you.

My dad had an Ancient History teacher in high school (a Catholic high school) that explained the Hebrew myth as such:

The whole civilization was rooted between two large rivers - rivers flood. If their "whole world" that they knew was between those rivers, well then the whole world flooded for 40 days. Hyperbole is a common tool in poetic and mythic stories.

Laura said...

If these were mystical stories with no truth to them than you would think that only a couple of civilizations that are relatively close together would have comparable stories and that the stories would not be so similar in such extremely different cultures.

JC - your argument only (ha ha) holds water if all of these stories are from the same 40 day period as noted in the Bible. Given the span of history of these civilzations, I highly doubt that.

Water is simply a very important element to civilzation, which is why many ancient civilizations both worshipped and feared it.

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JC Masterpiece said...

It's funny (not "ha, ha") how you notice that they all have flood stories but you ignore that they each have their own mythological details.

Correct, which is how you know that it isn't just one civilization that came through and planted the story into the other civilizations.

How could you possibly know you have the right one?

Actually, to me at this point it isn't which one is right, it's that some science attempts to state that there was no flood even when the evidence states otherwise. This is just one more more example of this.

Also, in answer to your question. Since an ark of the description fitting that in the Bible has been located, it narrows down the choices a bit.

The whole civilization was rooted between two large rivers - rivers flood. If their "whole world" that they knew was between those rivers, well then the whole world flooded for 40 days. Hyperbole is a common tool in poetic and mythic stories.

So are you saying that all civilizations lived between two bodies of water that flooded at some period of time making it appear that a worldwide flood occured in every area of the world? That logic may work in some instances, but not in all.

Water is simply a very important element to civilzation, which is why many ancient civilizations both worshipped and feared it.

So is the sun, vegitation, heat, the night, etc. and yet there is not a common story of any of these somehow destroying everything saving only two or a family in almost every ancient civilization.

your argument only (ha ha) holds water if all of these stories are from the same 40 day period as noted in the Bible. Given the span of history of these civilzations, I highly doubt that.

That's one of the funny things about archeology in that no one can really lay down an undisputed timeline of history. There is constant argument about when certain civilizations existed and ceased to exist. Thus no nore really knows for sure about this and it cannot be shown that these did not come from the same incident.

Laura said...

You're right, ancient civilizations worshipped the sun too. Actually, the emergence of Yaweh in Hebrew mythology is directly related to the pseudo-monotheism of Akhenaten, the Pharaoh. He began worshipping the sun over the other dieties - which is why Judiasm, and in turn Christianity have very similar features to pagan sun worship.

No I'm not saying that all civilizations built a "world flooding" myth out of the flooding of their area of the world, but some obviously did.

As for the Ark they discovered - yes, you're right, they found one - and it's not nearly big enough to fit 2 of every creature. So explain then, the diversity of life on our planet, without using evolution...

JC Masterpiece said...

Actually the Hebrew concept of God came about before the children of Israel entered into slavery. Abraham was a servant of God's and it wasn't even until his greatgrandchildren and great, greatgrandchildren's time that they even settled in Egypt.

Also, the book of Job which is believed by many to be the first book of the Bible ever written came from before even Joseph's time and much of what it says about God is right in line with the rest of the Old Testament.

As for the ark, i would have to agree with the size problem. There are more than a few hypothesis that are set to fit this, but i won't get into those now. What i do want to comment on is the placement of the ark. It has been found on the top of Mount Ararat or Urartu and is well above 14,000 feet above sea level. This is much higher than the mere flooding of two rivers that made it appear that the whole world was flooded as you and your father would like people to believe. For an ark to come to rest more than 14,000 feet above sea level, the flooding would have to have been worldwide.

M said...

The asteroid that caused the Burckle crater caused the flood. Not every animal nor everyone on earth was killed, but only those in the land (Middle East basin) were killed. Whole world was affected though, serious tsunamis spilled water into the Middle East basin, plus an asteroid strike of that size would easily cause torrential rain across the planet. Also, archaeologist called Ron Wyatt discovered Noah's Ark as well as many other things, such as the Ark of the Covenant.