|CHAPTER V THE DELUGE LEGENDS OF AMERICA.
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"IT is a very remarkable fact," says Alfred Maury, "that we find in America traditions of the Deluge coming infinitely nearer to that of the Bible and the Chaldean religion than among any people of the Old World. It is difficult to suppose that the emigration that certainly took place from Asia into North America by the Kourile and Aleutian Islands, and still does so in our day, should have brought in these memories, since no trace is found of them among those Mongol or Siberian populations which were fused with the natives of the New World. . . . The attempts that have been made to trace the origin of Mexican civilization to Asia have not as vet led to any sufficiently conclusive facts. Besides, had Buddhism, which we doubt, made its way into America, it could not have introduced a myth not found in its own scriptures. The cause of these similarities between the diluvian traditions of the nations of the New World and that of the Bible remains therefore unexplained."
The cause of these similarities can be easily explained: the legends of the Flood did not pass into America by way of the Aleutian Islands, or through the Buddhists of Asia, but were derived from an actual knowledge of Atlantis possessed by the people of America.
Atlantis and the western continent had from an immemorial age held intercourse with each other: the great nations of America were simply colonies from Atlantis, sharing in its civilization, language, religion, and blood. From Mexico to the peninsula of Yucatan, from the shores of Brazil to the heights of Bolivia and Peru, from the Gulf of Mexico to the head-waters of the Mississippi River, the colonies of Atlantis
extended; and therefore it is not strange to find, as Alfred Maury says, American traditions of the Deluge coming nearer to that of the Bible and the Chaldean record than those of any people of the Old World.
"The most important among the American traditions are the Mexican, for they appear to have been definitively fixed by symbolic and mnemonic paintings before any contact with Europeans. According to these documents, the Noah of the Mexican cataclysm was Coxcox, called by certain peoples Teocipactli or Tezpi. He had saved himself, together with his wife Xochiquetzal, in a bark, or, according to other traditions, on a raft made of cypress-wood (Cupressus disticha). Paintings retracing the deluge of Coxcox have been discovered among the Aztecs, Miztecs, Zapotecs, Tlascaltecs, and Mechoacaneses. The tradition of the latter is still more strikingly in conformity with the story as we have it in Genesis, and in Chaldean sources. It tells how Tezpi embarked in a spacious vessel with his wife, his children, and several animals, and grain, whose preservation was essential to the subsistence of the human race. When the great god Tezcatlipoca decreed that the waters should retire, Tezpi sent a vulture from the bark. The bird, feeding on the carcasses with which the earth was laden, did not return. Tezpi sent out other birds, of which the humming-bird only came back with a leafy branch in its beak. Then Tezpi, seeing that the country began to vegetate, left his bark on the mountain of Colhuacan.
"The document, however, that gives the most valuable information," says Lenormant, "as to the cosmogony of the Mexicans is one known as 'Codex Vaticanus,' from the library where it is preserved. It consists of four symbolic pictures, representing the four ages of the world preceding the actual one. They were copied at Chobula from a manuscript anterior to the conquest, and accompanied by the explanatory commentary of Pedro de los Rios, a Dominican monk, who, in 1566, less than fifty years after the arrival of Cortez, devoted himself to the research of indigenous traditions as being necessary to his missionary work."
There were, according to this document, four ages of the world. The first was an age of giants (the great mammalia?)
who were destroyed by famine; the second age ended in a conflagration; the third age was an age of monkeys.
"Then comes the fourth age, Atonatiuh, 'Sun of Water,' whose number is 10 X 400 + 8, or 4008. It ends by a great inundation, a veritable deluge. All mankind are changed into fish, with the exception of one man and his wife, who save themselves in a bark made of the trunk of a cypress-tree. The picture represents Matlalcueye, goddess of waters, and consort of Tlaloc, god of rain, as darting down toward earth. Coxcox and Xochiquetzal, the two human beings preserved, are seen seated on a tree-trunk and floating in the midst of the waters. This flood is represented as the last cataclysm that devastates the earth."
The learned Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg translates from the Aztec language of the "Codex Chimalpopoca" the following Flood legend:
"This is the sun called Nahui-atl, '4 water.' Now the water was tranquil for forty years, plus twelve, and men lived for the third and fourth times. When the sun Nahui-atl came there had passed away four hundred years, plus two ages, plus seventy-six years. Then all mankind was lost and drowned, and found themselves changed into fish. The sky came nearer the water. In a single day all was lost, and the day Nahui-xochitl, '4 flower,' destroyed all our flesh.
"And that year was that of cé-calli, '1 house,' and the day Nahui-atl all was lost. Even the mountains sunk into the water, and the water remained tranquil for fifty-two springs.
"Now at the end of the year the god Titlacahuan had warned Nata and his spouse Nena, saying, 'Make no more wine of Agave, but begin to hollow out a great cypress, and you will enter into it when in the month Tozontli the water approaches the sky.'
"Then they entered in, and when the god had closed the door, he said, 'Thou shalt eat but one ear of maize, and thy wife one also.'
"But as soon as they had finished they went out, and the water remained calm, for the wood no longer moved, and, on opening it, they began to see fish.
"Then they lit a fire, by rubbing together pieces of wood, and they roasted fish.
The gods Citlallinicué and Citlalatonac, instantly looking down said: 'Divine Lord, what is that fire that is making there? Why do they thus smoke the sky?' At once Titlacahuan-Tezcatlipoca descended. He began to chide, saying, 'Who has made this fire here?' And, seizing hold of the fish, he shaped their loins and heads, and they were transformed into dogs (chichime)."
Here we note a remarkable approximation to Plato's account of the destruction of Atlantis. "In one day and one fatal night," says Plato, "there came mighty earthquakes and inundations that ingulfed that warlike people." "In a single day all was lost," says the Aztec legend. And, instead of a rainfall of forty days and forty nights, as represented in the Bible, here we see "in a single day. . . even the mountains sunk into the water;" not only the land on which the people dwelt who were turned into fish, but the very mountains of that land sunk into the water. Does not this describe the fate of Atlantis? In the Chaldean legend "the great goddess Ishtar wailed like a child," saying, "I am the mother who gave birth to men, and, like to the race of fishes, they are filling the sea."
In the account in Genesis, Noah "builded an altar unto the Lord, and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savor; and the Lord said in his heart, 'I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake.'" In the Chaldean legend we are told that Khasisatra also offered a sacrifice, a burnt offering, "and the gods assembled like flies above the master of the sacrifice." But Bel came in a high state of indignation, just as the Aztec god did, and was about to finish the work of the Deluge, when the great god Ea took ''pity in his heart and interfered to save the remnant of mankind.
These resemblances cannot be accidental; neither can they be the interpolations of Christian missionaries, for it will be observed the Aztec legends differ from the Bible in points
where they resemble on the one hand Plato's record, and on the other the Chaldean legend.
The name of the hero of the Aztec story, Nata, pronounced with the broad sound of the a, is not far from the name of Noah or Noe. The Deluge of Genesis is a Phœnician, Semitic, or Hebraic legend, and yet, strange to say, the name of Noah, which occurs in it, bears no appropriate meaning in those tongues, but is derived from Aryan sources; its fundamental root is Na, to which in all the Aryan language is attached the meaning of water--νάειν, to flow; νᾶμα, water; Nympha, Neptunus, water deities. (Lenormant and Chevallier, "Anc. Hist. of the East," vol. i., p. 15.) We find the root Na repeated in the name of this Central American Noah, Na-ta, and probably in the word "Na-hui-atl"--the age of water.
But still more striking analogies exist between the Chaldean legend and the story of the Deluge as told in the "Popul Vuh" (the Sacred Book) of the Central Americans:
"Then the waters were agitated by the will of the Heart of Heaven (Hurakan), and a great inundation came upon the heads of these creatures. . . . They were ingulfed, and a resinous thickness descended from heaven; . . . the face of the earth was obscured, and a heavy darkening rain commenced-rain by day and rain by night. . . . There was beard a great noise above their heads, as if produced by fire. Then were men seen running, pushing each other, filled with despair; they wished to climb upon their houses, and the houses, tumbling down, fell to the ground; they wished to climb upon the trees, and the trees shook them off; they wished to enter into the grottoes (eaves), and the grottoes closed themselves before them. . . . Water and fire contributed to the universal ruin at the time of the last great cataclysm which preceded the fourth creation."
Observe the similarities here to the Chaldean legend. There is the same graphic description of a terrible event. The "black cloud" is referred to in both instances; also the dreadful noises. the rising water, the earthquake rocking the trees, overthrowing the houses, and crushing even the mountain caverns;
[paragraph continues] "the men running and pushing each other, filled with despair," says the "Popul Vuh;" "the brother no longer saw his brother," says the Assyrian legend.
And here I may note that this word hurakan--the spirit of the abyss, the god of storm, the hurricane--is very suggestive, and testifies to an early intercourse between the opposite shores of the Atlantic. We find in Spanish the word huracan; in Portuguese, furacan; in French, ouragan; in German, Danish, and Swedish, orcan--all of them signifying a storm; while in Latin furo, or furio, means to rage. And are not the old Swedish hurra, to be driven along; our own word hurried; the Icelandic word hurra, to be rattled over frozen ground, all derived from the same root from which the god of the abyss, Hurakan, obtained his name? The last thing a people forgets is the name of their god; we retain to this day, in the names of the days of the week, the designations of four Scandinavian gods and one Roman deity.
It seems to me certain the above are simply two versions of the same event; that while ships from Atlantis carried terrified passengers to tell the story of the dreadful catastrophe to the people of the Mediterranean shores, other ships, flying from the tempest, bore similar awful tidings to the civilized races around the Gulf of Mexico.
The native Mexican historian, Ixtlilxochitl, gave this as the Toltec legend of the Flood:
"It is found in the histories of the Toltecs that this age and first world, as they call it, lasted 1716 years; that men were destroyed by tremendous rains and lightning from the sky, and even all the land, without the exception of anything, and the highest mountains, were covered up and submerged in water fifteen cubits (caxtolmolatli); and here they added other fables of how men came to multiply from the few who escaped from this destruction in a "toptlipetlocali;" that this word nearly signifies a close chest; and how, after men had multiplied, they erected a very high "zacuali," which is to-day a tower of great height, in order to take refuge in it should the
second world (age) be destroyed. Presently their languages were confused, and, not being able to understand each other, they went to different parts of the earth.
"The Toltecs, consisting of seven friends, with their wives, who understood the same language, came to these parts, having first passed great land and seas, having lived in caves, and having endured great hardships in order to reach this land; . . . they wandered 104 years through different parts of the world before they reached Hue Hue Tlapalan, which was in Ce Tecpatl, 520 years after the Flood." ("Ixtlilxochitl Relaciones," in Kingsborough's "Mex. Ant.," vol. ix., pp. 321, 322.)
It will of course be said that this account, in those particulars where it agrees with the Bible, was derived from the teachings of the Spanish priests; but it must be remembered that Ixtlilxochitl was an Indian, a native of Tezeuco, a son of the queen, and that his "Relaciones" were drawn from the archives of his family and the ancient writings of his nation: he had no motive to falsify documents that were probably in the hands of hundreds at that time.
Here we see that the depth of the water over the earth, "fifteen cubits," given in the Toltec legend, is precisely the same as that named in the Bible: "fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail." (Gen., chap. vii., 20.)
In the two curious picture-histories of the Aztecs preserved in the Boturini collection, and published by Gamelli Careri
THE STARTING POINT OF THE AZTECS, ACCORDING TO THE GAMELLI CARERI PICUTRED MS.
THE STARTING POINT OF THE AZTECS, ACCORDING TO THE BOTURINI PICTURED WRITING.
and others, there is a record of their migrations from their original location through various parts of the North American continent until their arrival in Mexico. In both cases their starting-point is an island, from which they pass in a boat; and the island contains in one case a mountain, and in the other a high temple in the midst thereof. These things seem to be reminiscences of their origin in Atlantis.
In each case we see the crooked mountain of the Aztec legends, the Calhuacan, looking not unlike the bent mountain of the monk, Cosmos.
In the legends of the Chibchas of Bogota we seem to have distinct reminiscences of Atlantis. Bochica was their leading divinity. During two thousand years he employed himself in elevating his subjects. He lived in the sun, while his wife Chia occupied the moon. This would appear to be an allusion to the worship of the sun and moon. Beneath Bochica in their mythology was Chibchacum. In an angry mood he brought a deluge on the people of the table-land. Bochica punished him for this act, and obliged him ever after, like Atlas, to bear the burden of the earth on his back. Occasionally be shifts the earth from one shoulder to another, and this causes earthquakes!
Here we have allusions to an ancient people who, during thousands of years, were elevated in the scale of civilization, and were destroyed by a deluge; and with this is associated an Atlantean god bearing the world on his back. We find even the rainbow appearing in connection with this legend. When Bochica appeared in answer to prayer to quell the deluge he is seated on a rainbow. He opened a breach in the earth at Tequendama, through which the waters of the flood escaped, precisely as we have seen them disappearing through the crevice in the earth near Bambyce, in Greece.
The Toltecs traced their migrations back to a starting-point called "Aztlan," or "Atlan." This could be no other than, Atlantis. (Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. v., p. 221.) "The
original home of the Nahuatlacas was Aztlan, the location of which has been the subject of much discussion. The causes that led to their exodus from that country can only be conjectured; but they may be supposed to have been driven out by their enemies, for Aztlan is described as a land too fair and beautiful to be left willingly in the mere hope of finding a better." (Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. v., p. .306.) The Aztecs also claimed to have come originally from Aztlan. (Ibid., p. 321.) Their very name, Aztecs, was derived from Aztlan. (Ibid., vol. ii., p. 125). They were Atlanteans.
The "Popul Vuh" tells us that after the migration from Aztlan three sons of the King of the Quiches, upon the death of their father, "determined to go as their fathers had ordered to the East, on the shores of the sea whence their fathers had come, to receive the royalty, 'bidding adieu to their brothers and friends, and promising to return.' Doubtless they passed over the sea when they went to the East to receive the royalty. Now this is the name of the lord, of the monarch of the people of the East where they went. And when they arrived before the lord Nacxit, the name of the great lord, the only judge, whose power was without limit, behold he granted them the sign of royalty and all that represents it . . . and the insignia of royalty . . . all the things, in fact, which they brought on their return, and which they went to receive from the other side of the sea--the art of painting from Tulan, a system of writing, they said, for the things recorded in their histories." (Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. v., p. 553 "Popul Vuh," p. 294.)
This legend not only points to the East as the place of origin of these races, but also proves that this land of the East, this Aztlan, this Atlantis, exercised dominion over the colonies in Central America, and furnished them with the essentials of civilization. How completely does this agree with the statement of Plato that the kings of Atlantis held dominion over parts of "the great opposite continent!"
Professor Valentini ("Maya Archæol.," p. 23) describes an Aztec picture in the work of Gemelli ("Il giro del mondo," vol. vi.) of the migration of the Aztecs from Aztlan:
"Out of a sheet of water there projects the peak of a mountain; on it stands a tree, and on the tree a bird spreads its wings. At the foot of the mountain-peak there comes out of the water the heads of a man and a woman. The one wears on his head the symbol of his name, Coxcox, a pheasant. The other head bears that of a hand with a bouquet (xochitl, a flower, and quetzal, shining in green gold). In the foreground is a boat, out of which a naked man stretches out his hand imploringly to heaven. Now turn to the sculpture in the Flood tablet (on the great Calendar stone). There you will find represented the Flood, and with great emphasis, by the accumulation of all those symbols with which the ancient Mexicans conveyed the idea of water: a tub of standing water, drops springing out--not two, as heretofore in the symbol for Atl, water--but four drops; the picture for moisture, a snail; above, a crocodile, the king of
the rivers. In the midst of these symbols you notice the profile of a man with a fillet, and a smaller one of a woman. There can be doubt these are the Mexican Noah, Coxcox, and his wife, Xochiquetzal; and at the same time it is evident (the Calendar stone, we know, was made in A.D., 1478) that the story of them, and the pictures representing the story, have not been invented by the Catholic clergy, but really existed among these nations long before the Conquest."
The above figure represents the Flood tablet on the great Calendar stone.
When we turn to the uncivilized Indians of America, while we still find legends referring to the Deluge, they are, with one exception, in such garbled and uncouth forms that we can only see glimpses of the truth shining through a mass of fable.
The following tradition was current among the Indians of the Great Lakes:
"In former times the father of the Indian tribes dwelt toward the rising sun. Having been warned in a dream that a deluge was coming upon the earth, be built a raft, on which be saved himself, with his family and all the animals. He floated thus for several months. The animals, who at that time spoke, loudly complained and murmured against him. At last a new earth appeared, on which he landed with all the animals, who from that time lost the power of speech, as a punishment for their murmurs against their deliverer."
According to Father Charlevoix, the tribes of Canada and the valley of the Mississippi relate in their rude legends that all mankind was destroyed by a flood, and that the Good Spirit, to repeople the earth, had changed animals into men. It is to J. S. Kohl we owe our acquaintance with the version of the Chippeways--full of grotesque and perplexing touches--in which the man saved from the Deluge is called Menaboshu. To know if the earth be drying, he sends a bird, the diver, out of his bark; then becomes the restorer of the human race and the founder of existing society.
A clergyman who visited the Indians north-west of the Ohio in 1764 met, at a treaty, a party of Indians from the west of the Mississippi.
"They informed him that one of their most ancient traditions was that, a great while ago, they had a common father, who lived toward the rising of the sun, and governed the whole world; that all the white people's heads were under his feet; that he had twelve sons, by whom he administered the government; that the twelve sons behaved very bad, and tyrannized over the people, abusing their power; that the Great Spirit, being thus angry with them, suffered the white people to introduce spirituous liquors among them, made them drunk, stole the special gift of the Great Spirit from them, and by this means usurped power over them; and ever since the Indians' heads were under the white people's feet." (Boudinot's "Star in the West," p. 111.)
Here we note that they looked "toward the rising sun"--toward Atlantis--for the original home of their race; that this
region governed "the whole world;" that it contained white people, who were at first a subject race, but who subsequently rebelled, and acquired dominion over the darker races. We will see reason hereafter to conclude that Atlantis had a composite population, and that the rebellion of the Titans in Greek mythology was the rising up of a subject population.
In 1836 C. S. Rafinesque published in Philadelphia, Pa., a work called "The American Nations," in which he gives the historical songs or chants of the Lenni-Lenapi, or Delaware Indians, the tribe that originally dwelt along, the Delaware River. After describing a time "when there was nothing but sea-water on top of the land," and the creation of sun, moon, stars, earth, and man, the legend depicts the Golden Age and the Fall in these words: "All were willingly pleased, all were easy-thinking, and all were well-happified. But after a while a snake-priest, Powako, brings on earth secretly the snake-worship (Initako) of the god of the snakes, Wakon. And there came wickedness, crime, and unhappiness. And bad weather was coming, distemper was coming, with death was coming. All this happened very long ago, at the first land, Netamaki, beyond the great ocean Kitahikau." Then follows the Song of the Flood:
"There was, long ago, a powerful snake, Maskanako, when the men had become bad beings, Makowini. This strong snake had become the foe of the Jins, and they became troubled, hating each other. Both were fighting, both were, spoiling, both were never peaceful. And they were fighting, least man Mattapewi with dead-keeper Nihaulowit. And the strong snake readily resolved to destroy or fight the beings or the men. The dark snake he brought, the monster (Amanyam) he brought, snake-rushing water he brought (it). Much water is rushing, much go to hills, much penetrate, much destroying. Meanwhile at Tula (this is the same Tula referred to in the Central American legends), at THAT ISLAND, Nana-Bush (the great hare Nana) becomes the ancestor of beings and men. Being born creeping, he is ready to move and dwell at Tula. The beings and men all go forth from the flood creeping in shallow water or
swimming afloat, asking which is the way to the turtle-back, Tula-pin. But there are many monsters in the way, and some men were devoured by them. But the daughter of a spirit helped them in a boat, saying, 'Come, come;' they were coming and were helped. The name of the boat or raft is Mokol. . . . Water running off, it is drying; in the plains and the mountains, at the path of the cave, elsewhere went the powerful action or motion." Then follows Song 3, describing the condition of mankind after the Flood. Like the Aryans, they moved into a cold country: "It freezes was there; it snows was there; it is cold was there." They move to a milder region to hunt cattle; they divided their forces into tillers and hunters. "The good and the holy were the hunters;" they spread themselves north, south, east, and west." Meantime all the snakes were afraid in their huts, and the Snake-priest Nakopowa said to all, 'Let us go.' Eastwardly they go forth at Snakeland (Akhokink), and they went away earnestly grieving." Afterward the fathers of the Delawares, who "were always boating and navigating," find that the Snake-people have taken possession of a fine country; and they collect together the people from north, south, east, and west, and attempt "to pass over the waters of the frozen sea to possess that land." They seem to travel in the dark of an Arctic winter until they come to a gap of open sea. They can go no farther; but some tarry at Firland, while the rest return to where they started from, "the old turtle land."
Here we find that the land that was destroyed was the "first land;" that it was an island "beyond the great ocean." In all early age the people were happy and peaceful; they became wicked; "snake worship" was introduced, and was associated, as in Genesis, with the "fall of man;" Nana-Bush became the ancestor of the new race; his name reminds us of the Toltec Nata and the Hebrew Noah. After the flood came a dispersing of the people, and a separation into hunters and tillers of the soil.
Among the Mandan Indians we not only find flood legends, but, more remarkable still, we find an image of the ark preserved from generation to generation, and a religious ceremony performed
which refers plainly to the destruction of Atlantis, and to the arrival of one of those who escaped from the Flood, bringing the dreadful tidings of the disaster. It must be remembered, as we will show hereafter, that many of these Mandan Indians were white men, with hazel, gray, and blue eyes, and all shades of color of the hair from black to pure white; that they dwelt in houses in fortified towns, and manufactured earthen-ware pots in which they could boil water--an art unknown to the ordinary Indians, who boiled water by putting heated stones into it.
I quote the very interesting account of George Catlin, who visited the Mandans nearly fifty years ago, lately republished in London in the "North American Indians," a very curious and valuable work. He says (vol. i., p. 88):
"In the centre of the village is an open space, or public square, 150 feet in diameter and circular in form, which is used for all public games and festivals, shows and exhibitions. The lodges around this open space front in, with their doors toward. the centre; and in the middle of this stands an object of great religious veneration, on account of the importance it has in connection with the annual religious ceremonies. This object is in the form of a large hogshead, some eight or ten feet high, made of planks and hoops, containing within it some of their choicest mysteries or medicines. They call it the 'Big Canoe.'"
This is a representation of the ark; the ancient Jews venerated a similar image, and some of the ancient Greek States followed in processions a model of the ark of Deucalion. But it is indeed surprising to find this practice perpetuated, even to our own times, by a race of Indians in the heart of America. On page 158 of the first volume of the same work Catlin describes the great annual mysteries and religious ceremonials of which this image of the ark was the centre. He says:
"On the day set apart for the commencement of the ceremonies a solitary figure is seen approaching the village.
"During the deafening din and confusion within the pickets
of the village the figure discovered on the prairie continued to approach with a dignified step, and in a right line toward the village; all eyes were upon him, and he at length made his appearance within the pickets, and proceeded toward the centre of the village, where all the chiefs and braves stood ready to receive him, which they did in a cordial manner by shaking hands, recognizing him as an old acquaintance, and pronouncing his name, Nu-mohk-muck-a-nah (the first or only man). The body of this strange personage, which was chiefly naked, was painted with white clay, so as to resemble at a distance a white man. He enters the medicine lodge, and goes through certain mysterious ceremonies.
"During the whole of this day Nu-mohk-muck-a-nah (the first or only man) travelled through the village, stopping in front of each man's lodge, and crying until the owner of the lodge came out and asked who he was, and what was the matter? To which be replied by narrating the sad catastrophe which had happened on the earth's surface by the overflowing of the waters, saying that 'he was the only person saved from the universal calamity; that he landed his big canoe on a high mountain in the west, where he now resides; that be has come to open the medicine lodge, which must needs receive a present of an edged tool from the owner of every wigwam, that it may be sacrificed to the water; for,' he says, 'if this is not done there will be another flood, and no one will be saved, as it was with such tools that the big canoe was made.'
"Having visited every lodge in the village during the day, and having received such a present from each as a hatchet, a knife, etc. (which is undoubtedly always prepared ready for the occasion), be places them in the medicine lodge; and, on the last day of the ceremony, they are thrown into a deep place in the river--'sacrificed to the Spirit of the Waters."'
Among the sacred articles kept in the great medicine lodge are four sacks of water, called Eeh-teeh-ka, sewed together, each of them in the form of a tortoise lying on its back, with a bunch of eagle feathers attached to its tail. "These four tortoises," they told me, "contained the waters from the four quarters of the world--that those waters had been contained therein ever since the settling down of the waters," "I did
not," says Catlin, who knew nothing of an Atlantis theory, "think it best to advance anything against such a ridiculous belief." Catlin tried to purchase one of these water-sacks, but could not obtain it for any price; he was told they were "a society property."
He then describes a dance by twelve men around the ark: "They arrange themselves according to the four cardinal points; two are painted perfectly black, two are vermilion color, some were painted partially white. They dance a dance called 'Bel-lohck-na-pie,'" with horns on their heads, like those used in Europe as symbolical of Bel, or Baal.
Could anything be more evident than the connection of these ceremonies with the destruction of Atlantis? Here we have the image of the ark; here we have a white man coming with the news that "the waters had overflowed the land," and that all the people were destroyed except himself; here we have the sacrifice to appease the spirit that caused the Flood, just as we find the Flood terminating, in the Hebrew, Chaldean, and Central American legends, with a sacrifice. Here, too, we have the image of the tortoise, which we find in other flood legends of the Indians, and which is a very natural symbol for an island. As one of our own poets has expressed it,
"Very fair and full of promise
Lay the island of St. Thomas;
Like a great green turtle slumbered
On the sea which it encumbered."
Here we have, too, the four quarters of Atlantis, divided by its four rivers, as we shall see a little farther on, represented in a dance, where the dancers arrange themselves according to the four cardinal points of the compass; the dancers are painted to represent the black and red races, while "the first and only man" represents the white race; and the name of the dance is a reminiscence of Baal, the ancient god of the races derived from Atlantis.
But this is not all. The Mandans were evidently of the race
of Atlantis. They have another singular legend, which we find in the account of Lewis and Clarke:
"Their belief in a future state is connected with this theory of their origin: The whole nation resided in one large village, underground, near a subterranean lake. A grape-vine extended its roots down to their habitation, and gave them a view of the light. Some of the most adventurous climbed up the vine, and were delighted with the sight of the earth, which they found covered with buffalo, and rich with every kind of fruit. Returning with the grapes they had gathered, their countrymen were so pleased with the taste of them that the whole nation resolved to leave their dull residence for the charms of the upper region. Men, women, and children ascended by means of the vine, but, when about half the nation had reached the surface of the earth, a corpulent woman, who was clambering up the vine, broke it with her weight, and closed upon herself and the rest of the nation the light of the sun."
This curious tradition means. that the present nation dwelt in a large settlement underground, that is, beyond the land, in the sea; the sea being represented by "the subterranean lake." At one time the people had free intercourse between this "large village" and the American continent, and they founded extensive colonies on this continent; whereupon some mishap cut them off from the mother country. This explanation is confirmed by the fact that in the legends of the Iowa Indians, who were a branch of the Dakotas, or Sioux Indians, and relatives of the Mandans (according to Major James W. Lynd), "all the tribes of Indians were formerly one, and all dwelt together on an island, or at least across a large water toward the east or sunrise. They crossed this water in skin canoes, or by swimming; but they know not how long they were in crossing, or whether the water was salt or fresh." While the Dakotas, according to Major Lynd, who lived among them for nine years, possessed legends of "huge skiffs, in which the Dakotas of old floated for weeks, finally gaining dry land"--a reminiscence of ships and long sea-voyages.
The Mandans celebrated their great religious festival above described in the season when the willow is first in leaf, and a dove is mixed up in the ceremonies; and they further relate a legend that "the world was once a great tortoise, borne on the waters, and covered with earth, and that when one day, in digging the soil, a tribe of white men, who had made holes in the earth to a great depth digging for badgers, at length pierced the shell of the tortoise, it sank, and the water covering it drowned all men with the exception of one, who saved himself in a boat; and when the earth re-emerged, sent out a dove, who returned with a branch of willow in its beak."
The holes dug to find badgers were a savage's recollection of mining operations; and when the great disaster came, and the island sunk in the sea amid volcanic convulsions, doubtless men said it was due to the deep mines, which had opened the way to the central fires. But the recurrence of "white men" as the miners, and of a white man as "the last and only man," and the presence of white blood in the veins of the people, all point to the same conclusion--that the Mandans were colonists from Atlantis.
And here I might add that Catlin found the following singular resemblances between the Mandan tongue and the Welsh.
Major Lynd found the following resemblances between the Dakota tongue and the languages of the Old World.
According to Major Lynd, the Dakotas, or Sioux, belonged to the same race as the Mandans; hence the interest which .attaches to these verbal similarities.
"Among the Iroquois there is a tradition that the sea and waters infringed upon the land, so that all human life was destroyed. The Chickasaws assert that the world was once destroyed by water, but that one family was saved, and two animals of every kind. The Sioux say there was a time when there was no dry land, and all men had disappeared from existence." (See Lynd's "MS. History of the Dakotas," Library of Historical Society of Minnesota.)
"The Okanagaus have a god, Skyappe, and also one called Chacha, who appear to be endowed with omniscience; but their principal divinity is their great mythical ruler and heroine, Scomalt. Long ago, when the sun was no bigger than a star, this strong medicine-woman ruled over what appears to have now become a lost island. At last the peace of the island was destroyed by war, and the noise of battle was heard, with which Scomalt was exceeding wroth, whereupon she rose up in her might and drove her rebellious subjects to one end of the island, and broke off the piece of land on which they were huddled and pushed it out to sea, to drift whither it would. This floating island was tossed to and fro and buffeted by the winds till all but two died. A man and woman escaped in a canoe, and arrived on the main-land; and from these the Okanagaus are descended." (Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. iii., p. 149.)
Here we have the Flood legend clearly connected with a lost island.
The Nicaraguans believed "that ages ago the world was destroyed by a flood, in which the most part of mankind perished. Afterward the teotes, or gods, restored the earth as at the beginning." (Ibid., p. 75.) The wild Apaches, "wild from their natal hour," have a legend that "the first days of the world were happy and peaceful days;" then came a great flood, from which Montezuma and the coyote alone escaped. Montezuma became then very wicked, and attempted to build a house that would reach to heaven, but the Great
Spirit destroyed it with thunderbolts. (Bancroft's "Native Races," vol. iii., p. 76.)
The Pimas, an Indian tribe allied to the Papagos, have a peculiar flood legend. The son of the Creator was called Szeu-kha (Ze-us?). An eagle prophesied the deluge to the prophet of the people three times in succession, but his warning was despised; "then in the twinkling of an eye there came a peal of thunder and an awful crash, and a green mound of water reared itself over the plain. It seemed to stand upright for a second, then, cut incessantly by the lightning, goaded on like a great beast, it flung itself upon the prophet's hut. When the morning broke there was nothing to be seen alive but one man--if indeed be were a man; Szeu-kha, the son of the Creator, had saved himself by floating on a ball of gum or resin." This instantaneous catastrophe reminds one forcibly of the destruction of Atlantis. Szeu-kha killed the eagle, restored its victims to life, and repeopled the earth with them, as Deucalion repeopled the earth with the stones.
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