The Flood Legend According to the Hareskin Indians from North America

A Wise Man, long ago, decided to build a large hareskin_indians_north_americaraft. His wife watched him build it for several days. Finally, she asked him, ”Why do you build a great raft?”

”Because,” he answered, ”I foresee a terrible catastrophe. The earth will flood, and we shall all take refuge on my raft.” But when he told his plan to his neighbours, they all laughed at him. The Wise Man, nonetheless, continued to build his raft. He placed large logs side by side. Then he twisted roots together to make a sturdy rope, and used the rope to lash the trees together.

Without warning, a flood such as has never been seen before came upon the people of earth. Water came at them from every direction, and though men climbed trees, the water continued to rise, eventually washing them all away until everyone had drowned. The Wise Man, however, floated safely with his wife, who was also his sister, in their strong and sturdy raft. As he floated, it occurred to him that all of the animals would drown, too. So as he floated, he gathered pairs of all of the tame animals, the birds, and even the beasts of prey.

The earth was eventually gone. It disappeared under the water, and for many weeks, no one even considered going to look for it. The first to dive in was the muskrat, but swim as he might, he never reached the bottom. By the time he returned to the surface, he was nearly drowned to death! When he had caught his breath, he told the Wise Man that the earth was not to be found. After a few days, he tried again. This time, when he returned, he reported that he could smell the earth but could not touch it.

On the third attempt, the beaver tried. He kicked fast and hard and was gone for a very long time. At last, to everyone’s relief, he appeared. Though he was much out of breath and nearly unconscious, he was holding in his paw a bit of mud. The Wise Man thanked the beaver, took the mud and placed it in the water. He leaned over the edge of the raft and breathed on the mud whispering, ”I wish for there to be land once more!”

At that moment, the mud began to grow. The Wise Man placed a small bird on the patch of mud, and the mud did not sink. In fact, it continued to grow. So he breathed on it again and put a fox on it. Still the mud grew, and the fox ran around it in a single day.

Around and around the fox went, and the island continued to grow bigger and bigger. The fox ran around the island six times, but by the seventh time around, the land was complete, as if the flood had never even happened. Then the Wise Man unloaded all of the animals, and they walked, for the first time in a long time, on dry ground. Last of all came the man, his wife, and their son, and soon afterwards, the earth was re-peopled.

(Source: Martin, Charles. Flood Legends. pp. 140-141)