The Deluge

: 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, wi
h 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.