[Flood Myths IMAGE]

Last Updated:Wednesday, February 21st, 1996

Flood Myths

Maori (New Zealand):

The worship of Tane was being neglected. Two teachers prayed for the deluge to convince men of Tane's powers. [Kelsen, in Dundes]


Grumuduk, a medicine man who lived in the hills, had the power to bring rain and to make plants and animals plentiful. A plains tribe kidnapped him, wanting his power, but Grumuduk escaped and decreed that whereever he walked in the country of his enemies, salt water would rise in his footsteps. [Flood]

During the Dreamtime flood, _woramba_, the Ark Gumana carrying Noah, Aborigines, and animals, drifted south and came to rest in the flood plain of Djilinbadu (about 70 km south of Noonkanbah Station, just south of the Barbwire Range and east of the Worral Range), where it can still be seen today. The white man's claim that it landed in the Middle East was a lie to keep Aborigines in subservience. [Kolig, in Dundes]

Arnhem Land (northern Northern Territory)

In one version of the myth of the Wawalik sisters, the sisters, with their two infant children, camped by the Mirrirmina waterhole. Some of the older sister's menstrual blood fell into the well. The rainbow serpent Yurlunggur smelled the blood and crawled out of his well. He spit some well water into the sky and hissed to call for rain. The rains came, and the well water started to rise. The women hurriedly built a house and went inside, but Yurlunggur caused them to sleep. He swallowed them and their sons. Then he stood very straight and tall, reaching as high as a cloud, and the flood waters came as high as he did. When he fell, the waters receeded and there was dry ground. [Buchler]

Two orphaned children were left in the care of a man called Wirili-up, who shirked the responsibility. The children, always hungry, cried so much that a _ngaljod_ (rainbow serpent) rose from his waterhole and flooded the countryside. Wirili-up fled, but the children drowned. [Mountford]

Lake Tyres (Victoria)

All the water was in a giant frog. After many animals failed, eel, with his remarkable contortions, made the frog laugh, releasing the water. Many were drowned in the flood. [Roheim, in Dundes]
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