A Greek Flood Story
11 December, 2007
The cat was out of the bag. The fire was in the hands of mortals. After locking away the Titans Zeus had thought that things would be a bit quieter, but oh no, Prometheus had to give fire to mortal man. Now like a plague, humanity covered all of Greece and indeed all of the world. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing except that Pandora had let a great amount of evil into the world, and some of it came to rest in the hearts of men. After getting back from a particularly fine lunch in Ethiopia (where the gods would often do business lunches with untainted men from the silver age), Zeus noticed that men had become pretty nasty once again.
“Hmmm, perhaps I shall kill them all as I did the mortals of the silver age who had been corrupted by the Titans.” said the almighty sky father Zeus. Hermes happened to be nearby while Zeus said this and commented, “But who will people the land?”
“Well, I reckon Prometheus and I will just have to create some more humans, maybe not from clay this time, perhaps from sand, or aluminium! Where is Prometheus anyway?”
“You tied him to the mountain where an eagle pecks out his liver every day, oh supposedly omniscient one” replied Hermes, “Perhaps you shouldn’t be too hasty. Let us both travel down to the world below, disguise ourselves as travellers and see what reception we get. If out of three places we visit, two of them are evil then by all means destroy the world completely, but if only one is, or none, then spare the humans.”
“I agree to this arbitrary plan!” thundered the king of the gods.
[At this point the two gods visited three households, one of which was evil, two were good. Zeus being rather forgetful decided to destroy the world anyway.]
At the last house he visited Zeus prepared the flood waters to kill everyone by putting a call into his brother Poseidon who was handy with the old oceans. Poseidon was always up for a bit of mayhem and readily agreed to have the flood waters rise to cover all but Mount Olympus, since the home of the gods was not insured. At this house the friendly Deucalion had just been really nice to Zeus and Hermes, not that it helped stop the flood, but he knew it was coming and dragged his wife into a handy boat they had for just such an occasion.
The tide waters rose and drowned the world (possibly not Ethiopia since they did a good meal), only the dolphins and nymphs were happy. Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha survived in their boat, and when the waters flowed away they came to rest at the top of a mountain. There a voice spoke a naff riddle which Deucalion worked out and the two of them walked through a valley below throwing stones over their shoulders. (It was a really naff riddle). Eventually noises behind them (mainly ‘Ow, stop throwing stones at us!’) caused the pair to turn. There they saw that the stones they had thrown had turned into humans when they had hit the earth. And so from this group of people the world was repopulated. And Zeus never again tried to wipe out humanity. Well, not for a while anyway.