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The Deluge


Source: Myths & Legends Of Our New Possessions & Protectorate

Like many unschooled peoples, the Antillean tribes had their legend of
a time when the earth was covered by a flood. The island of St. Thomas
was one of the first to rise out of the sea. The Haytiens said that
the deluge did not subside and that the present islands are the
summits of mountains that formerly towered to a great height above
the plains. Far back in the days when people lived more simply, and
white men, with their abominable contrivings for work, had not even
been invented, a _cacique_ or chief of their island killed his son,
who had tried to harm him, albeit when the lad was dead a natural
affection prompted the father to clean his bones and conceal them
in a gourd. Some time afterwards the _cacique_ and his wife opened
this vegetable tomb, to look on the mortal relics of their child,
when a number of fish jumped out. Believing that he now had in the
gourd a magic receptacle, from which he could take food at any time,
the chief placed it on his roof, where mischief-makers might not reach
it. While absent on a hunting-trip his four surviving sons took down
the gourd to see what peculiar properties it had, and why it had been
thus set apart. In passing it from one to the other it fell and was
broken into little pieces. Instantly a vast quantity of water gushed
from it, increasing in volume every instant. The water arose so that it
reached their knees, and they had to climb the hills. Whales, sharks,
porpoises, dolphins, and smaller creatures came swimming forth, and
the flow of the water never ceased until the whole world was flooded,
as we see it now, for the ocean came from that gourd.

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