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Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning

Page: 24

When the flood began to abate, the ark rested on Mount Parnassus, and Deucalion, with his wife Pyrrha, stepped forth upon the desolate earth. They then immediately constructed an altar, and offered up thanks to Zeus, the mighty being who sent the flood and saved them from its waters.[26:3]

According to Ovid (a Grecian writer born 43 B. C.), Deucalion does not venture out of the ark until a dove which he sent out returns to him with an olive branch.[26:4]

[Pg 27]

It was at one time extensively believed, even by intelligent scholars, that the myth of Deucalion was a corrupted tradition of the Noachian deluge, but this untenable opinion is now all but universally abandoned.[27:1]

The legend was found in the West among the Kelts. They believed that a great deluge overwhelmed the world and drowned all men except Drayan and Droyvach, who escaped in a boat, and colonized Britain. This boat was supposed to have been built by the "Heavenly Lord," and it received into it a pair of every kind of beasts.[27:2]

The ancient Scandinavians had their legend of a deluge. The Edda describes this deluge, from which only one man escapes, with his family, by means of a bark.[27:3] It was also found among the ancient Mexicans. They believed that a man named Coxcox, and his wife, survived the deluge. Lord Kingsborough, speaking of this legend,[27:4] informs us that the person who answered to Noah entered the ark with six others; and that the story of sending birds out of the ark, &c., is the same in general character with that of the Bible.


Dr. Brinton also speaks of the Mexican tradition.[27:5] They had not only the story of sending out the bird, but related that the ark landed on a mountain. The tradition of a deluge was also found among the Brazilians, and among many Indian tribes.[27:6] The mountain upon which the ark is supposed to have rested, was pointed to by the residents in nearly every quarter of the globe. The mountain-chain of Ararat was considered to be—by the Chaldeans and Hebrews—the place where the ark landed. The Greeks pointed to Mount Parnassus; the Hindoos to the Himalayas; and in Armenia numberless heights were pointed out with becoming reverence, as those on which the few survivors of the dreadful scenes of the deluge were preserved. On the Red River (in America), near the village of the Caddoes, there was an eminence to which the Indian tribes for a great distance around paid devout homage. The Cerro Naztarny on the Rio Grande, the peak of Old Zuni in New Mexico, that of Colhuacan on the Pacific coast, Mount Apoala in Upper Mixteca, and Mount Neba in the province of Guaymi, are some of many elevations asserted by the neighboring [Pg 28]nations to have been places of refuge for their ancestors when the fountains of the great deep broke forth.

The question now may naturally be asked, How could such a story have originated unless there was some foundation for it?

In answer to this question we will say that we do not think such a story could have originated without some foundation for it, and that most, if not all, legends, have a basis of truth underlying the fabulous, although not always discernible. This story may have an astronomical basis, as some suppose,[28:1] or it may not. At any rate, it would be very easy to transmit by memory the fact of the sinking of an island, or that of an earthquake, or a great flood, caused by overflows of rivers, &c., which, in the course of time, would be added to, and enlarged upon, and, in this way, made into quite a lengthy tale. According to one of the most ancient accounts of the deluge, we are told that at that time "the forest trees were dashed against each other;" "the mountains were involved with smoke and flame;" that there was "fire, and smoke, and wind, which ascended in thick clouds replete with lightning." "The roaring of the ocean, whilst violently agitated with the whirling of the mountains, was like the bellowing of a mighty cloud, &c."[28:2]

A violent earthquake, with eruptions from volcanic mountains, and the sinking of land into the sea, would evidently produce such a scene as this. We know that at one period in the earth's history, such scenes must have been of frequent occurrence. The science of geology demonstrates this fact to us. Local deluges were of frequent occurrence, and that some persons may have been saved on one, or perhaps many, such occasions, by means of a raft or boat, and that they may have sought refuge on an eminence, or mountain, does not seem at all improbable.

During the Champlain period in the history of the world—which came after the Glacial period—the climate became warmer, the continents sank, and there were, consequently, continued local floods which must have destroyed considerable animal life, including man. The foundation of the deluge myth may have been laid at this time.

[Pg 29]

Some may suppose that this is dating the history of man too far back, making his history too remote; but such is not the case. There is every reason to believe that man existed for ages before the Glacial epoch. It must not be supposed that we have yet found remains of the earliest human beings; there is evidence, however, that man existed during the


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