Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians

By John R. Swanton | Go to book overview

NATCHEZ STORIES

1. THE FLOOD (2)

A certain man had a Dog. One day the Dog looked westward and began howling. The man also had a hen and chickens which began to dance about in the stomp dance. Then the man said to his Dog, "Why are you howling?""I have discovered something that is making me howl. In about four days everything is going to be overflowed by water. You ought to make a raft on which to escape, gather all the wood you can on top of it, and keep a little fire burning upon it. When you have finished the raft plait a hickory rope with which to tie it so that it will not drift off into the ocean."

After the man had gotten everything gathered together the mountains burst open and water poured from them, flooding everything. He and the Dog got on the raft. The Dog had said, "When all of the mountains burst open all kinds of dangerous creatures will appear. Therefore, get a forked stick made of sumac, take the bark off, and use it to push away anything that comes toward your raft." When the water rose the raft rose upon it, and many people could be seen climbing up into trees. When it rose still higher the man could see all sorts of dangerous creatures swimming about devouring people. Finally the flood rose so high that all living things were drowned out and he was carried far up above the clouds where the country looked as it does on earth, all mountains and rocks. There were also all kinds of cedars and birds hanging to them. Then the Dog asked him to throw him off, saying, "You will go back by yourself to the place from which you started. When the water begins to fall you must return, but you must stay on the raft seven days before you get off. It will be too boggy until then." After some hesitation the man obeyed his Dog and threw him off into the water. On the seventh day after his return people began to appear to get fire from that he had on his raft. Some of them were naked, some wore ragged clothes, and some wore very good clothes. After they had divided the fire up and the ground had begun to get firm he kept hearing noises toward the east as if there were people there. He went in that direction in order to find them, but when he reached the place where he had thought they were he found none, and the noises turned out to have been made by all kinds of bugs and mosquitoes. By and by an old man came and stood near him. He said, "All these noises you hear are made by people you think are not living. You must know that they are living. The people that came to get fire were people that had died a long time ago. Some had not been dead so long as others. They have kept on living until the present time."1

____________________
1
For another Natchez version of the flood legend see Bull. 73, Bur. Amer. Ethn., p. 316.

-214-

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Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Letter of Transmittal iii
  • Contents v
  • Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians 1
  • Creek Stories 2
  • Hitchiti Stories 87
  • Alabama Stories 118
  • Koasati Stories 166
  • Natchez Stories 214
  • Comparison of Myths 267
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