Puck
[Click on the name of the moon above for astronomical information.]

Puck is a mischievous fairy in Shakespeare's Midsummer-Night's Dream. (Moon of Uranus.)


Flood Myths -- Part Two

Pima

As people grew in numbers, they became selfish and greedy. As the situation on Earth became worse, the Earth Maker decided to drown all evil ones from the face of the Earth, but not without warning. He asked all to listen to the voice of the north wind as it called to them to be honest and live in peace. Few listened to the north wind. The next night another warning echoed from a distant thunderstorm to the east. When the prophet Suhu spoke, he was called a fool, and the people continued to ignore the warning of the wind. On the third night, the wind came from the west. They were cautioned again to listen to the voice of the prophet Suhu. On the fourth night, the wind came from the south, and only Suhu heard its mournful cry. "Suhu," said Earth Maker, "Take your people who are good to the summit of Kakatak Tamai, for all the land will soon be covered with water, and all the evil will perish." The prophet Suhu gathered the good from all corners of the land and led them to the top of Crooked Top Mountain. Then the roar of thunder and lightning enveloped the land. From the east the rains came, and for two moons it fell. All of the land except Crooked Top Mountain was covered with water. The Earth Maker spoke once again from the thunder clouds atop Kakatak Tamai. "All good people will return to the desert valley to till the fertile soil, and all evil ones will be turned to stone," he said. And so it was. The stone people are clearly visible in the mountains, giant rock structures imploring the Gods for release from their fate. And the white stratum line which appears near the top is the high water mark from the flood.

Andaman

The Andaman Islanders talk of their Supreme Being, Puluga, who lives in the sky. It was Puluga who created the world and man. However, when man began to forget his creator, Puluga became annoyed and sent a flood which covered the whole earth and wiped out the race. Four people escaped and so Puluga had mercy on them.

Huarochiri

In the Huarochiri area of Peru, the Quechua-speaking people have a myth of a deluge caused by a God whose presence was not recognized by the people. He sent a flood which wiped all of the villages away except for one woman who had befriended the God and was given instructions to take refuge on a high mountain.

Miao/Yao

The Miao and Yao people of the Guizhou province of South China relate the story of Fu Xi and his sister Nu Gua (meaning melon). They befriended the Thunder God who gave them a gourd seed. As the deluge began, the two survived inside the gourd, the only two survivors. They later married and bore a ball of flesh which they sliced into several pieces. The wind carried the pieces all over the globe to reestablish humanity everywhere.

Hawaiian

A Hawaiian legend tells of a flood (Kaiakahinalii) in which all beings were killed except for Nuu and his family who repopulated the earth when the ark landed on top of Mauna Kea.

Batak

Naga-Padoha, the giant snake on which the earth rests, grew tired of its burden and shook it off into the sea. But the God Batara-Guru caused a mountain to fall into the water to preserve his daughter. From her, the human race is descended. Later, the earth was replaced onto the head of the snake.

Scandinavian

Oden, Vili, and Ve fought and slew the great ice giant Ymir, and icy water from his wounds drowned most of the Rime Giants. The giant Bergelmir escaped, with his wife and children, on a boat. Ymir's body became the world we live on.

Celtic

Heaven and Earth were great giants, and Heaven lay upon the Earth so that their children were crowded in the darkness between them. One of their 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.

Yoruba

A God, Ifa, tired of living on earth and went to dwell in the firmament. Without his assistance, mankind couldn't interpret the desires of the Gods, and one God, in a fit of rage, destroyed nearly everybody in a great flood.

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.

Gunwinggu

The woman Gulbin 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, drowned the woman, and at last came up and ate her. Later the Snake vomited her bones, which became like rock. The first people were living in what is now the middle of the sea. 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. 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.

Wiranggu (Australia)

Djunban was hunting kangaroo rat with his magic boomerang, but he hit his "sister" Mandjia instead and wounded her leg. Some time later he taught his people how to make rain. The next day Mandjia died from her injury. 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.

Palau Isles

Before humans, one of the Kaliths (deities) visited an unfriendly village and was killed by its inhabitants. His friends, 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 on a raft. Milathk perished in the flood, but was recalled to life and became the mother of mankind.

Tahitian

A sea God, angered because a fisherman had lowered hooks which got entangled in his hair, caused a flood which covered all but the tops of the mountains.

Samoan

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.

Quillayute

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.

Nizqualli

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 lived like animals until the Changer sent a Spirit to teach them civilization.

Kammu (Thailand)

A brother and sister, warned of the upcoming flood by a mouse, sealed themselves inside a drum, and emerged again after the flood receded. 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. A little 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.

Shasta

Coyote encountered an evil water spirit who 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 and found new homes.

Cheyenne

One particularly hard winter had "great floods" in addition to earthquakes and volcanoes. The people spent the long winter in caves.

Lakota

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.

Unktehi was turned to stone; her bones are in the Badlands now. A giant eagle, Wanblee Galeshka, swept down, saved one girl from the flood, and made her his wife. (In another version, the thunderbirds fought and defeated Unktehi and her children before the waters washed over the highest mountain.)

Tsetsaut

A man and his wife went up the hills to hunt marmots. There, they saw that the water was still rising. They enclosed their children, along with supplies, in hollow trees. All other people drowned.

Yuma

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.

Papago

Coyote and Montezuma survived, in their separate crafts, a flood which covered all the land. They met again on the top of Monte Rosa, which rose above the flood waters.

Toltec

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 people, which he did with a flood. The people became fish.

Huichol

A man clearing fields found the trees regrown overnight. He found that his grandmother Nakawe did this, and she told him that he was working in vain because a flood was coming. Per her instructions, he built a box and survived the flood with corn, beans, fire, and a black bitch. After the flood, he would return home from work 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 and bathed her in nixtamal water. They repopulated the earth.

Malorotare

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 invited them to help in picking dewaka fruit. They came, and while they were eating fruit, Kuamachi dropped one fruit. Water came out of it, spread, and caused a flood. Kuamachi and his grandfather stayed in a canoe; they got bows and arrows and shot the people who were helpless in the trees. The people fell down into the water below, which was infested with dangerous animals. Kuamachi and his grandfather ran out of arrows before shooting Wlaha, the leader of the Star people. He had caught seven arrows. He shot them into heaven, making a ladder which he, the surviving Star people, and finally Kuamachi ascended to become stars.

Yanomamo

The son of Omauwa (one of the first beings) became very thirsty. Omauwa and his brother 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. They became foreigners and floated away. The Yanomamo survived by climbing mountains. Raharariyoma painted red dots all over her body and plunged into the lake, causing it to recede. Omauwa then caused her to be changed into a rahara, a dangerous snake-like monster that lives in large rivers.

Yamana

Lexuwakipa, ibis, felt offended by the people, so she let it snow so much that ice came to cover the entire earth. When it melted, it rapidly flooded all the earth except five mountain tops, on which a few people escaped. Signs of the floodwaters still show up on those mountains. In another version, the moon-woman Hanuxa 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 mountain tops.


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