Stories of a Great Flood in South America
At the time of their discovery the Indians of Brazil, in the neighbourhood of what was afterwards Rio de Janeiro, had a legend of a universal deluge in which only two brothers with their wives were saved. According to one account, the flood covered the whole earth and all men perished except the ancestors of those Indians, who escaped by climbing up into high trees ; others, however, thought that the survivors were saved in a canoe.
As reported by the Frenchman André Thevet, who travelled in Brazil about the middle of the sixteenth century, the story related by the Indians about Cape Frio ran thus. A certain great medicine-man, by name Sommay, had two sons called Tamendonare and Ariconte. Tamendonare tilled the ground and was a good father and husband, and he had a wife and children. But his brother Ariconte cared for none of these things. He busied himself only with war, and his one desire was to subdue neighbouring peoples and even his own righteous brother.
One day this truculent warrior, returning from a battle, brought to his peaceful brother the amputated arm of a slain foe, and as he did so he said proudly to his brother, " Away with you, coward that you are. I'll have your wife and children, for you are not strong enough to defend them." The good man, grieved at his brother's pride, answered with stinging sarcasm, " If you are as valiant as you say, why did not you bring the whole carcass of your enemy ?" Indignant at the taunt, Ariconte threw the arm at the door of his brother's house. At the same moment the village in which they dwelt was transported to the sky, but the two brothers remained on earth. Seeing that, in astonishment or anger Tamendonare stamped on the ground so forcibly that a great fountain of water sprang from it and rose so high that it out-topped the hills and seemed to mount above the clouds ; and the water continued to spout till it had covered the whole earth. On perceiving their danger, the two brothers hastened to ascend the highest mountains, and there sought to save themselves by climbing the trees, along with their wives.
Tamendonare climbed one tree, called pindona, of which the French traveller saw two sorts, one of them with larger fruit and leaves than the other. In his flight from the rising flood he dragged up one of his wives with him, while his brother with his wife climbed another tree called geniper. While they were all perched among the boughs, Ariconte gave some of the fruit of the tree to his wife, saying, " Break off some of the fruit and let it fall." She did so, and they perceived by the splash that the water was still high, and that it was not yet time for them to descend into the valley. The Indians believe that in this flood all men and women were drowned, except the two brothers and their wives, and that from these two pairs after the deluge there came forth two different peoples, to wit, the Tonnasseares, surnamed Tupinambo, and the Tonnaitz Hoyanans, surnamed Tominu, who are at perpetual feud and war with each other. The Tupinambo, wishing to exalt themselves and to make themselves out better than their fellows and neighbours, say, " We are descended from Tamendonare, while you are descended from Ariconte," by which they imply that Tamendonare was a better man than Ariconte
A somewhat different version of the same legend was recorded by the Jesuit Simon de Vasconcellos.
In it only a single family is said to have been saved, and no mention is made of the bad brother. Once upon a time, so runs the tale, there was a clever medicine-man or sorcerer named Tamanduare. To him the great god Tupi revealed the coming of a great flood which would swamp the earth, so that even the high trees and mountains would be submerged. Only one lofty peak would rise above the waters, and on its top would be found a tall palm-tree with a fruit like a coco-nut. To that palm the sorcerer was warned to turn for refuge with his family in the hour of need. Without delay Tamanduare and his family betook themselves to the top of the lofty peak. When they were safely there, it began to rain, and it rained and rained till all the earth was covered. The flood even crept up the mountain and washed over the summit, and the man and his family climbed up into the palm-tree and remained in the branches so long as the inundation lasted, and they subsisted by eating the fruit of the palm. When the water subsided, they descended, and being fruitful they proceeded to repeople the drowned and devastated world.
The Caingangs, or Coroados, an Indian tribe of Rio Grande do Sul, the most southerly province of Brazil, have a tradition of a great flood which covered the whole earth inhabited by their forefathers. Only the top of the coastal range called Serra do Mar still appeared above the water. The members of three Indian tribes, namely the Caingangs, the Cayurucres, and the Cames, swam on the water of the flood toward the mountains, holding lighted torches between their teeth. But the Cayurucres and the Cames grew weary, they sank under the waves and were drowned, and their souls went to dwell in the heart of the mountain. However, the Caingangs and a few of the Curutons made shift to reach the mountain, and there they abode, some on the ground, and some on the branches of trees. Several days passed, and yet the water did not sink, and they had no food to eat.
They looked for nothing but death, when they heard the song of the saracuras, a species of waterfowl, which flew to them with baskets of earth. This earth the birds threw into the water, which accordingly began slowly to sink. The people cried to the birds to hurry, so the birds called the ducks to their help, and working together they soon cleared enough room and to spare for all the people, except for such as had climbed up the trees : these latter were turned into monkeys. When the flood subsided, the Caingangs descended and settled at the foot of the mountain. The souls of the drowned Cayurucres and Cames contrived to burrow their way out from the bowels of the mountain in which they were imprisoned ; and when they had crept forth they kindled a fire, and out of the ashes of the fire one of the Cayurucres moulded jaguars, and tapirs, and ant-bears, and bees, and animals of many other sorts, and he made them live and told them what they should eat. But one of the Cames imitated him by fashioning pumas, and poisonous snakes, and wasps, all in order that these creatures should fight the other animals which the Cayurucres had made, as they do to this day.
A story of a great flood is told also by the Carayas, a tribe of Brazilian Indians, who inhabit the valley of the Araguaya River, which, with the Tocantins, forms the most easterly of the great southern tributaries of the Amazon. The tribe is said to differ from all its neighbours in manners and customs as well as in physical characteristics, while its language appears to be unrelated to any other known language spoken by the Indians of Brazil The Caraya story of a deluge runs thus. Once upon a time the Carayas were out hunting wild pigs and drove the animals into their dens. Thereupon they began to dig them out, killing each pig as it was dragged forth. In doing so they came upon a deer, then a tapir, and then a white deer. Digging still deeper, they laid bare the feet of a man. Horrified at the discovery, they fetched a mighty magician, who knew all the beasts of the forest, and he contrived to draw the man out of the earth. The man thus unearthed was named Anatiua, and he had a thin body but a fat paunch. He now began to sing, " I am Anatiua Bring me tobacco to smoke."
But the Carayas did not understand what he said They ran about the wood, and came back with all kinds of flowers and fruits, which they offered to Anatiua But he refused them all, and pointed to a man who was smoking Then they understood him and offered him tobacco He took it and smoked till he fell to the ground senseless.
So they carried him to the canoe and brought him to the village. There he awoke from his stupor and began to dance and sing But his behaviour and his unintelligible speech frightened the Carayas, and they decamped, bag and baggage That made Anatiua very angry, and he turned himself into a great piranha and followed them, carrying with him many calabashes full of water He called to the Carayas to halt, but they paid no heed, and in his rage he smashed one of the calabashes which he was carrying.
The water at once began to rise, but still the Carayas pursued their flight Then he broke another calabash, and then another and another, and higher and higher rose the water, till the whole land was inundated, and only the mountains at the mouth of Tapirape River projected above the flood The Carayas took refuge on the two peaks of that range Anatiua now called all fish together to drag the people down into the water The jaku, the pintado, and the pacu tried to do so, but none of them succeeded At last the bicudo (a fish with a long beak-like snout) contrived to scale the mountain from behind and to tear the Carayas down from its summit A great lagoon still marks the spot where they fell Only a few persons remained on the top of the mountain, and they descended when the water of the flood had run away
On this story the writer who records it remarks that " though in general regularly recurring inundations, as on the Araguaya, do not give rise to flood stories, as Andree has rightly pointed out, yet the local conditions are here favourable to the creation of such a story. The traveller, who, after a long voyage between endless low river-banks, suddenly comes in sight of the mighty conical mountains on the Tapirape River, tower-ing abruptly from the plain, can easily understand how the Carayas, who suffer much from inundations, came to tell their story of the flood. Perhaps on some occasion when the inundation rose to an unusual height, these mountains may really have served as a last refuge to the inhabitants of the surrounding district." And he adds, " As in most South American legends of a flood, this particular flood is said to have been caused, not by rain, but by the breaking of vessels full of water."
The Ipurina, a warlike tribe on the Purus River, one of the great rivers which flow into the Upper Amazon from the south, tell of a destructive deluge of hot water. They say that formerly there was a great kettle of boiling water in the sun. About it perched or fluttered a countless flock of storks. Some of the birds flew over the world collecting everything that mouldered or decayed to throw it into the kettle. Only the hard, indestructible parukuba wood they left alone. The storks surrounded the kettle and waited till something appeared on the surface of the boiling water, whereupon they snapped it up. Now the chief of the storks, indeed the creator of all birds, was Mayuruberu. When the water in the kettle was getting low, he cast a round stone into it. The kettle was upset, the hot liquid poured down on earth and burned everything up, including the woods and even the water. Mankind indeed survived, but of the vegetable world nothing escaped but the cassia.
The ancestor of the Ipurina was the sloth. He climbed the cassia-tree to fetch down the fruits, for men had nothing else to subsist upon. On earth it was very dark, for the sun and moon were hidden. The sloth plucked the fruit and threw down the kernels. The first kernel fell on hard earth, the second in water, the third in deep water, and so on. At the fall of the first kernel, the sun appeared again but still very small, hardly an inch across ; at the fall of the second, it was larger ; at the fall of the third, it measured a span across; and so on until it expanded to its present dimensions. Next the sloth begged Mayuruberu to give him seeds of useful fruits. So Mayuruberu appeared with a great basketful of plants, and the Ipurina began to till their fields. He who would not work was eaten by Mayuruberu. Every day Mayuruberu received a man to devour. Thus the world gradually became such as it is at the present time. The kettle still stands in the sun, but it is empty
Again, the Pamarys, Abederys, and Kataushys, on the river Purus, relate that once on a time people heard a rumbling above and below the ground The sun and moon, also, turned red, blue, and yellow, and the wild beasts mingled fearlessly with men A month later they heard a roar and saw darkness ascending from the earth to the sky, accompanied by thunder and heavy rain, which blotted out the day and the earth.
Some people lost themselves, some died, without knowing why ; for everything was in a dreadful state of confusion The water rose very high, till the earth was sunk beneath the water and only the branches of the highest trees still stood out above the flood Thither the people had fled for refuge, and there, perched among the boughs, they perished of cold and hunger ; for all the time it was dark and the rain fell. Then only Uassu and his wife were saved When they came down after the flood they could not find a single corpse, no, not so much as a heap of bleached bones.
After that they had many children, and they said one to the other, " Go to, let us build our houses on the river, that when the water rises, we too may rise with it." But when they saw that the land was dry and solid, they thought no more about it. Yet the Pamarys build their houses on the river to this day. The Jibaros, an Indian tribe on the upper waters of the Amazon, in the territories of Peru and Ecuador, have also a tradition, more or less confused, of a great deluge which happened long ago. They say that a great cloud fell from heaven, which turned into rain and caused the death of all the inhabitants of the earth ; only an old man and his two sons were saved, and it was they who repeopled the earth after the deluge, though how they contrived to do so without the assistance of a woman is a detail about which our authority does not deign to enlighten us. However that may be, one of the two sons who survived was cursed by his father, and the Jibaros are descended from him.
The curse may be a reminiscence of the story of Noah and his sons recorded in Genesis, of which the Jibaros may have heard through missionaries. The difficulty of propagating the human species without the help of the female sex would seem to have struck the acuter minds among the Jibaros, for according to some of them the survivors of the deluge were a man and a woman, who took refuge in a cave on a high mountain, together with samples of all the various species of the animal kingdom. This version provides, with commendable foresight, for the restoration of animals as well as of men after the great flood. Yet another version of the story told by the Jibaros solves the problem of population in a more original manner. Nobody, they say, escaped the flood but two brothers, who found refuge in a mountain which, strange to tell, rose higher and higher with the rise of the waters. When the flood had subsided, the two brothers went out to search for food, and on their return to the hut what was their surprise to find victuals set forth ready for them ! To clear up the mystery, one of the brothers hid himself, and from his place of concealment he saw two parrots with the faces of women enter the hut and prepare the meal.
Darting out from his ambush he seized one of the birds and married it or her, and from this marriage sprang three boys and three girls, who became the ancestors of the Jibaros.
The Muratos, a branch of the Jibaros in Ecuador, have their own version of the deluge story. They say that once on a time a Murato Indian went to fish in a lagoon of the Pastaza River ; a small crocodile swallowed his bait, and the fisherman killed the young animal. The crocodile's mother, or rather the mother of crocodiles in general, was angry and lashed the water with her tail, till the water overflowed and flooded all the neighbourhood of the lagoon. All the people were drowned except one man, who climbed a palm-tree and stayed there for many days. All the time it was as dark as night. From time to time he dropped a fruit of the palm, but he always heard it splash in the water. At last one day the fruit which he let fall dropped with a simple thud on the ground ; there was no splash, so he knew that the flood had subsided. Accordingly he descended from the tree, built a house, and set about to till a field. He was without a wife, but he soon provided himself with one by cutting off a piece of his own body and planting it in the ground ; for from the earth thus fertilized there sprang up a woman, whom he married.
The incident of a moving mountain, which meets us in the Jibaro story of the flood, recurs in another Indian narrative of the great catastrophe. The Araucanians of Chili have a tradition of a great deluge, in which only a few persons were saved. These fortunate survivors took refuge on a high mountain called Thegtheg, the thundering, or the sparkling, which had three points and possessed the property of floating on water. " From hence," says the Spanish historian, " it is inferable that this deluge was in consequence of some volcanic eruption, accompanied by terrible earthquakes, and is probably very different from that of Noah. Whenever a violent earthquake occurs, these people fly for safety to those mountains which they fancy to be of a similar appearance, and which of course, as they suppose, must possess the same property of floating on the water, assigning as a reason, that they are fearful after an earthquake that the sea will again return and deluge the world. On these occasions, each one takes a good supply of provisions, and wooden plates to protect their heads from being scorched, provided the Thegtheg, when raised by the waters, should be elevated to the sun. Whenever they are told that plates made of earth would be much more suitable for this purpose than those of wood, which are liable to be burned, their usual reply is, that their ancestors did so before them."
The Ackawois of British Guiana tell a story of the great flood which is enriched by a variety of details They say that in the beginning of the world the great spirit Makonaima created birds and beasts and set his son Sigu to rule over them Moreover, he caused to spring from the earth a great and very wonderful tree, which bore a different kind of fruit on each of its branches, while round its trunk bananas, plantains, cassava, maize, and corn of all kinds grew in profusion ; yams, too, clustered round its roots ; and in short all the plants now cultivated on earth flourished in the greatest abundance on or about or under that marvellous tree In order to diffuse the benefits of the tree all over the world, Sigu resolved to cut it down and plant slips and seeds of it everywhere, and this he did with the help of all the beasts and birds, all except the brown monkey, who, being both lazy and mischievous, refused to assist in the great work of transplantation.
So to keep him out of mischief Sigu set the animal to fetch water from the stream in a basket of open-work, calculating that the task would occupy his misdirected energies for some time to come. In the meantime, proceeding with the labour of felling the miraculous tree, he discovered that the stump was hollow and full of water in which the fry of every sort of fresh-water fish was swimming about.
The benevolent Sigu determined to stock all the rivers and lakes on earth with the fry on so liberal a scale that every sort of fish should swarm in every water But this generous intention was unexpectedly frustrated For the water in the cavity, being connected with the great reservoir somewhere in the bowels of the earth, began to overflow; and to arrest the rising flood Sigu covered the stump with a closely woven basket This had the desired effect But unfortunately the brown monkey, tired of his fruitless task, stealthily returned, and his curiosity being aroused by the sight of the basket turned upside down, he imagined that it must conceal something good to eat. So he cautiously lifted it and peeped beneath, and out poured the flood, sweeping the monkey himself away and inundating the whole land. Gathering the rest of the animals together Sigu led them to the highest point of the country, where grew some tall coco-nut palms. Up the tallest of these trees he caused the birds and climbing animals to ascend ; and as for the animals that could not climb and were not amphibious, he shut them up in a cave with a very narrow entrance, and having sealed up the mouth of it with wax he gave the animals inside a long thorn with which to pierce the wax and so ascertain when the water had subsided. After taking these measures for the preservation of the more helpless species, he and the rest of the creatures climbed up the palm-tree and ensconced themselves among the branches.
During the darkness and storm which followed, they all suffered intensely from cold and hunger ; the rest bore their sufferings with stoical fortitude, but the red howling monkey uttered his anguish in such horrible yells that his throat swelled and has remained distended ever since ; that, too, is the reason why to this day he has a sort of bony drum in his throat.
Meanwhile Sigu from time to time let fall seeds of the palm into the water to judge of its depth by the splash. As the water sank, the interval between the dropping of the seed and the splash in the water grew longer; and at last, instead of a splash, the listening Sigu heard the dull thud of the seeds striking the soft earth. Then he knew that the flood had subsided, and he and the animals prepared to descend. But the trumpeter-bird was in such a hurry to get down that he flopped straight into an ants' nest, and the hungry insects fastened on his legs and gnawed them to the bone. That is why the trumpeter-bird has still such spindle shanks.
The other creatures profited by this awful example and came down the tree cautiously and safely. Sigu now rubbed two pieces of wood together to make fire, but just as he produced the first spark, he happened to look away, and the bush-turkey, mistaking the spark for a firefly, gobbled it up and flew off. The spark burned the greedy bird's gullet, and that is why turkeys have red wattles on their throats to this day. The alligator was standing by at the time, doing no harm to anybody ; but as he was for some reason an unpopular character, all the other animals accused him of having stolen and swallowed the spark. In order to recover the spark from the jaws of the alligator Sigu tore out the animal's tongue, and that is why alligators have no tongue to speak of down to this very day.
The Arawaks of British Guiana believe that since its creation the world has been twice destroyed, once by fire and once by flood. Both destructions were brought on it by Aiomun Kondi, the great " Dweller on High," because of the wickedness of mankind. But he announced beforehand the coming catastrophe, and men who accepted the warning prepared to escape from the great fire by digging deep into a sand-reef and there making for themselves a subterranean chamber with a roof of timber supported on massive pillars of the same material. Over it all they spread layers of earth and a thick upper coating of sand. Having carefully removed everything combustible from the neighbourhood, they retired to this underground dwelling and there stayed quietly till the roaring torrent of flame, which swept across the earth's surface, had passed over them. Afterwards, when the destruction of the world by a deluge was at hand, a pious and wise chief named Marerewana was informed of the coming flood and saved himself and his family in a large canoe. Fearing to drift away out to sea or far from the home of his fathers, he had made ready a long cable of bush-rope, with which he tied his bark to the trunk of a great tree. So when the waters subsided he found himself not far from his former abode.
The Macusis of British Guiana say that in the beginning the good spirit Makunaima, whose name means " He who works in the night," created the heaven and the earth. When he had stocked the earth with plants and trees, he came down from his celestial mansion, climbed up a tall tree, and chipped off the bark with a big stone axe. The chips fell into the river at the foot of the tree and were changed into animals of all kinds. When he had thus provided for the creation of animals, the good spirit next created man ; and when the man had fallen into a sound sleep he awoke to find a woman standing at his side. Afterwards the evil spirit got the upper hand on earth ; so the good spirit Makunaima sent a great flood. Only one man escaped in a canoe ; he sent out a rat to see whether the water had abated, and the rat returned with a cob of maize. When the deluge had retreated, the man repeopled the earth, like Deucalion and Pyrrha, by throwing stones behind him In this story the special creation of woman, the mention of the evil spirit, and the incident of the rat sent out to explore the depth of the flood, present suspicious resemblances to the Biblical narrative and may be due to missionary, or at all events European, influence. Further, the mode in which, after the flood, the survivors create mankind afresh by throwing stones behind them, resembles so exactly the corresponding incident in the Greek story of Deucalion and Pyrrha, that it is difficult to regard the two as independent.
Legends of a great flood are current also among the Indians of the Orinoco. On this subject Humboldt observes : " I cannot quit this first chain of the mountains of Encam-arada without recalling a fact which was not unknown to Father Gili, and which was often mentioned to me during our stay among the missions of the Orinoco. The aborigines of these countries have preserved a belief that at the time of the great flood, while their fathers were forced to betake themselves to canoes in order to escape the general inundation, the waves of the sea broke against the rocks of Encamarada. This belief is not found isolated among a single people, the Tamanaques ; it forms part of a system of historical traditions of which scattered notices are discovered among the Maypures of the great cataracts, among the Indians of the Rio Erevato, which falls into the Caura, and among almost all the tribes of the Upper Orinoco. When the Tamanaques are asked how the human race escaped this great cataclysm, ' the Age of Water,' as the Mexicans call it, they say that one man and one woman were saved on a high mountain called Tamanacu, situated on the banks of the Asiveru, and that on casting behind them, over their heads, the fruits of the Mauritia palm, they saw springing from the kernels of these fruits men and women, who repeopled the earth." This they did in obedience to a voice which they heard speaking to them as they descended the mountain full of sorrow at the destruction of mankind by the flood. The fruits which the man threw became men, and the fruits which the woman threw became women.
The Muyscas or Chibchas of Bogota, in the high Andes of Colombia, say that long ago their ancestors offended Chibchachum, a deity of the second rank, who had hitherto been their special patron and protector. To punish them, Chibchachum created the torrents of Sopo and Tibito, which, pouring down from the hills, flooded the whole plain and rendered cultivation impossible. The people fled to the mountains, but even there the rising waters of the inundation threatened to submerge them. In despair they prayed to the great god Bochica, who appeared to them seated on a rainbow and holding a golden wand in his hand. " I have heard your prayers," said he, " and I will punish Chibchachum. I shall not destroy the rivers, which he has created, because they will be useful to you in time of drought, but I will open a passage for the waters." With these words he threw his golden wand at the mountain, split it from top to bottom at the spot where the river Funzha now forms the famous waterfall of Tequendama. So all the waters of the deluge flowed away down this new opening in the circle of mountains which encloses the high upland tableland of Bogota, and thus the plain became habitable again. To punish Chibchachum, the great god Bochica condemned him to bear on his shoulders the whole weight of the earth, which before that time was supported on massive pillars of wood. When the weary giant tries to *get a little ease by shifting his burden from one shoulder to another, he causes an earthquake.
This tradition is in so far well founded as the evidence of geology appears to prove that for ages the mountain-girt plain of Bogota was occupied by a lake, and that the pent-up waters at last found vent and flowed away through a fissure suddenly cleft by a great earthquake in the sandstone rocks. The cleft in the rocky dam may be seen to this day. It is near the meeting of the rivers Bogota and Muño. Here the wall of sandstone is broken by a sort of natural gateway formed by a beetling crag on one side and a mass of shattered, crumbling rocks on the other. The scene is one well fitted to impress the mind and excite the imagination of primitive man, who sees in the sublime works of nature the handiwork of awful and mysterious beings. The sluggish current of the tawny river flows in serpentine windings towards the labyrinth of rocks and cliffs where it takes its leap into the tremendous abyss.
As you near the fall, and the hollow sound of its tumbling waters grows louder and louder, a great change comes over the landscape. The bare monotonous plain of Bogota is left behind, and you seem to be entering on enchanted land. On every side rise hills of varied outline mantled to their tops with all the luxuriant vegetation of the tropics, from the grasses which carpet the ground to the thickets and tall forest trees which spread over the whole a dense veil of green. At their foot the river hurries in a series of rapids, between walls of rock, to the brink of the fall, there to vanish in a cloud of mist and spray, lit up by all the gay colours of the rainbow, into the dark and dizzy chasm below, while the thunderous roar of the cataract breaks the stillness of the lonely hills. The cascade is thrice as high as Niagara ; and by a pardonable exaggeration the river is said to fall perpendicularly from the temperate to the tropical zone.
The Cañaris, an Indian tribe of Ecuador, in the ancient kingdom of Quito, tell of a great flood from which two brothers escaped to a very high mountain called Huaca-yñan. As the waters rose, the hill rose with them, so that the flood never reached the two brothers on the summit. When the water sank and their store of provisions was consumed, the brothers descended and sought their food in the hills and valleys. They built a small house, where they dwelt, eking out a miserable subsistence on herbs and roots, and suffering much from hunger and fatigue. One day, after the usual weary search, they returned home, and there found food to eat and chicha to drink without knowing who could have prepared or brought it. This happened for ten days, and after that they laid their heads together to find out who it was that did them so much good in their time of need. So the elder brother hid himself, and presently he saw two macaws approaching, dressed like Cañaris. As soon as the birds came to the house, they began to prepare the food which they had brought with them. When the man saw that they were beautiful and had the faces of women, he came forth from his hiding-place ; but at sight of him the birds were angry and flew away, leaving nothing to eat. When the younger brother came home from his search for food, and found nothing cooked and ready as on former days, he asked his elder brother the reason, and they were both very angry.
Next day the younger brother resolved to hide and watch for the coming of the birds. At the end of three days the two macaws reappeared and began to prepare the food. The two men waited till the birds had finished cooking and then shut the door on them. The birds were very angry, at being thus trapped, and while the two brothers were holding the smaller bird, the larger one escaped. Then the two brothers took the smaller macaw to wife, and by her they had six sons and daughters, from whom all the Cañaris are descended. Hence the hill Huaca-yñan, where the macaw lived as the wife of the brothers, is looked upon as a sacred place by the Indians, and they venerate macaws and value their feathers highly for use at their festivals
The Indians of Huarochiri, a province of Peru in the Andes to the east of Lima, say that once on a time the world nearly came to an end altogether. It happened thus. An Indian was tethering his llama in a place where there was good pasture, but the animal resisted, showing sorrow and moaning after its manner. The master said to the llama, " Fool why do you moan and refuse to eat? Have I not put you where there is good food ?" The llama answered, " Madman, what do you know about it ? Learn that I am not sad without due cause ; for within five days the sea will rise and cover the whole earth, destroying all there is upon it." Wondering to hear the beast speak, the man asked whether there was any way in which they could save themselves. The llama bade him take food for five days and to follow him to the top of a high mountain called Villca-coto, between the parish of San Damian and the parish of San Geronimo de Surco.
The man did as he was bid, carrying the load of food on his back and leading the llama. On reaching the top of the mountain he found many kinds of birds and animals there assembled. Hardly had he reached this place of refuge when the sea began to rise, and it rose till the water flooded all the valleys and covered the tops of the hills, all but the top of Villca-coto, and even there the waves washed so high that the animals had to crowd together in a narrow space, and some of them could hardly find foothold. The tail of the fox was dipped in the flood, and that is why the tips of foxes' tails are black to this day. At the end of five days the waters began to abate, and the sea returned to its former bounds ; but all the people in the world were drowned except that one man, and from him all the nations of the earth are descended
A similar story of the flood is told by the Indians of Ancasmarca, a province five leagues from Cuzco. They say that a month before the flood came, their sheep displayed much sadness, eating no food by day and watching the stars by night. At last their shepherd asked them what ailed them, and they answered that the conju
nction of stars foreshadowed the coming destruction of the world by water. So the shepherd and his six children took counsel, and gathered together all the food and sheep they could get, and with these they betook themselves to the top of an exceeding great mountain called Ancasmarca. They say that as the water rose, the mountain still rose higher, so that its top was never submerged ; and when the flood sank, the mountain sank also. Thus the six children of that shepherd returned to repeople the province after the great flood.
The Incas of Peru had also a tradition of a deluge. They said that the water rose above the highest mountains in the world, so that all people and all created things perished. No living thing escaped except a man and a woman, who floated in a box on the face of the waters and so were saved. When the flood subsided, the wind drifted the box with the two in it to Tiahuanacu, about seventy leagues from Cuzco. There the Creator commanded them to dwell, and there he himself set to work to raise up the people who now inhabit that country. The way in which he did so was this. He fashioned each nation out of clay and painted on each the dresses they were to wear. Then he gave life and soul to every one of the painted clay figures and bade them pass under the earth. They did so, and then came up at the various places where the Creator had ordered the different nations to dwell. So some of them came out of caves, others issued from hills, others from fountains, and others from the trunks of trees. And because they came forth from these various places, the Indians made various idols (huacas) and places of worship in memory of their origin ; that is why the idols (huacas) of the Indians are of diverse shapes.
The Peruvian legends of a great flood are told more summarily by the Spanish historian Herrera as follows. " The ancient Indians reported, they had received it by tradition from their ancestors, that many years before there were any Incas, at the time when the country was very populous, there happened a great flood, the sea breaking out beyond its bounds, so that the land was covered with water, and all the people perished To this the Guancas inhabiting the vale of Xauxa, and the natives of Chiquito in the province of Collao, add, that some persons remained in the hollows and caves of the highest mountains, who again peopled the land Others of the mountain people affirm that all perished in the deluge, only six persons being saved on a float, from whom descended all the inhabitants of that country That there had been some particular flood may be credited, because all the several provinces agree in it."
The Chiriguanos, a once powerful Indian tribe of southeastern Bolivia, tell the following story of a great flood. They say that a certain potent but malignant supernatural being, named Aguara-Tunpa, declared war against the true god Tunpaete, the Creator of the Chiriguanos His motive for this declaration of war is unknown, but it is believed to have been pure spite or the spirit of contradiction In order to vex the true god, Aguara-Tunpa set fire to all the prairies at the beginning or middle of autumn, so that along with the plants and trees all the animals perished on which in those days the Indians depended for their subsistence ; for as yet they had not begun to cultivate maize and other cereals, as they do now.
Thus deprived of food the Indians nearly died of hunger However, they retreated before the flames to the banks of the rivers, and there, while the earth around still smoked from the great conflagration, they made shift to live on the fish which they caught in the water. Seeing his human prey likely to escape him, the baffled Aguara-Tunpa had recourse to another device in order to accomplish his infernal plot against mankind He caused torrential rain to fall, hoping to drown the whole Chiriguano tribe in the water He very nearly succeeded But happily the Chiriguanos contrived to defeat his fell purpose.
Acting on a hint given them by the true god Tunpaete, they looked out for a large mate leaf, placed on it two little babies, a boy and a girl, the children of one mother, and allowed the tiny ark with its precious inmates to float on the face of the water.
Still the rain continued to descend in torrents; the floods rose and spread over the face of the earth to a great depth, and all the Chiriguanos were drowned ; only the two babes on the leaf of mate were saved. At last, "however, the rain ceased to fall, and the flood sank, leaving a great expanse of fetid mud behind. The children now emerged from the ark, for if they had stayed there, they would have perished of cold and hunger. Naturally the fish and other creatures that live in the water were not drowned in the great flood ; on the contrary they throve on it, and were now quite ready to serve as food for the two babes. But how were the infants to cook the fish which they caught ? That was the rub, for of course all fire on earth had been extinguished by the deluge. However, a large toad came to the rescue of the two children. Before the flood had swamped the whole earth, that prudent creature had taken the precaution of secreting himself in a hole, taking with him in his mouth some live coals, which he contrived to keep alight all the time of the deluge by blowing on them with his breath. When he saw that the surface of the ground was dry again, he hopped out of his hole with the live coals in his mouth, and making straight for the two children he bestowed on them the gift of fire. Thus they were able to roast the fish they caught and so to warm their chilled bodies. In time they grew up, and from their union the whole tribe of the Chiriguanos is descended.
The natives of Tierra del Fuego, in the extreme south of South America, tell a fantastic and obscure story of a great flood. They say that the sun was sunk in the sea, that the waters rose tumultuously, and that all the earth was submerged except a single very high mountain, on which a few people found refuge