Floods - Mythical, Religious, Folklore
Noah and his Ark. I think most people have heard of this story. This, however, is not the only story of floods. These stories are found in folklore and religious writings of cultures all over the world. They can be found in the Near East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
Noah, Utnapishtim, Xisuthrus, and other ancients were all told to save mankind by divine orders. They were told to take the animals as well because of a universal flood. There was another individual, Deucalion. This individual was a favored survivor, chosen to live by the Titan Prometheus, and others like them, all over the world.
Most race or ethnic groups that have ever existed have had their flood story - mythology of American Indians, Polynesians, and Scandinavians. Even the Mayans recorded their own flood story, done in the religious writings called "Popol Vuh".
There is actually a flood story that was told before Noah's Ark flood story was ever told. This is the story of Utnapishtim, told in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and became the most commonly known universal flood story. Twelve large stone tablets, later on others as well, told a tale that a God called Ea had secretly warned Utnapishtim, a Babylonian patriarch, that other Gods had a plan to destroy the earth and everyone on the planet with a gigantic flood.
The God Ea then ordered Utnapishtim to tear down his reed house so he can use the material to build a huge six-story vessel. He was told to load the vessel with family, a pilot, a few craftsmen, and pairs of all the animals plus provisions to ride out the storm. Utnapistim, being the righteous man that he was did what he was told. But he was also a prudent man, so he took all his gold and silver with him. He always kept an eye on the future.
Noah, with his Ark and cargo, were afloat about 40 days. Not Utnapishtim, he spent seven days on his wooden vessel. He did do something Noah did which was to send birds out three times after the water stopped. Then he beached his vessel on the peak of Mount Nisir, which is now known as Pir Magrun. This mountain is in Iraqi Kurdistan, which is about 300 miles from Noah's Mount Ararat.
Both Noah and Utnapishtim were rewarded for following God's orders. Utnapishtim's reward was eternal life. Noah and his wife were rewarded a long life, not eternal life. They were told to multiple.
There are other accounts of the universal flood. In Chaldean, Xisuthrus was told of an approaching flood in a vision. Like the others, he too was told to build a gigantic ark. Xisuthrus also put pairs of animals, his wife, daughter, a pilot, and other family members on board. After riding out the storm, he also sent birds out three times to find evidence of dry land. Once dry land was located, ancient accounts state they left the ark on a mountain top in now what is present day Armenia.
There is also an account of flood survivors in ancient Greece. The account says that the King of the Gods Zeus was so disgusted with earthly mortals he decided to drown them all with a flood. Decucation, the mortal son of the Giant Titan Prometheus, was tipped off by his father of this disaster to come. Titan Prometheus had some God-like powers who created man and gave them fire. Decucation, upon hearing of the disaster, began building an ark.
On the ark with his wife Pyrrha and animal companions only, Decucation rode out the storm for nine days. After nine days and no other earthly survivors, the Greek ark landed on a mountain top. He sent one bird out to find dry land, then they left the ark. At this time, with his wife, Decucation offered a sacrifice to show thanks.
An account from India tells of a flood that is extremely different from all the others. The account, the Hindu Legend, tells how a man named Manu discovers a small fish in wash water. The fish speaks to Manu, asking him for protection from the larger fish. Being the kind person that he was, Manu agrees to help the fish. Once the fish became an adult, he warned Manu of the approaching disaster. He told Manu to build a large boat, which he did. Manu then held onto the horn on the fish's head and he was led through the flood to the top of a mountain.
Manu is now the only human survivor. Now he makes an offer to the God's of clarified butter, sour milk, curds, and whey. To Manu's amazement, from these offerings, appears a woman. When asked who she was, she called herself Manu's daughter. Together, the two of them saved mankind from extinction.