The Flood Legend According to the Karina People

The Karina people, known as the Carib Indians, Carib_Indians_Venezuelawere native to eastern Venezuela. Historically and anthropologically, it is believed that they moved southward from the northern coast of South America, passing through the region of the Lesser Antilles. Eventually, Karina people settled in the valley between the Orinoco River and the eastern shore of Venezuela. The Karina story about the Flood, which is told in Caribbean dialect, was only popular within their tribe. Here is the story:

In days long-past, the sky-god, Kaputano, came down to the kingdom of the Karina. ”Children, ” he called, ”hear me well! Soon, a great rain will fall upon the earth, and will cover all with water.” Out of everyone there, however, only four couples were afraid. When they heard his words, they listened, though the rest scoffed.

”I am your father and your god,” he insisted. ”I desire that none of you should perish. I will help you build a canoe that will hold everyone, so that no one drowns.”

”You are not Kaputano, ”they said, ”and there is no flood.” But the four couples, scared half out of their wits, listened to what he said. The rest continued to make fun of him.

”So be it,” said Kaputano.

Then Kaputano, with the other eight people, began to build a very large canoe. It was a great canoe, and when they were done, they went about gathering two of each animal to put on board. They also brought seeds from every plant on earth.

The moment everyone was on board, the sky grew black. The wind picked up, the earth shook, and it began to rain. It rained and rained. The rain kept on for many, many days. It rained so hard, that the rivers overflowed. Water was everywhere, and all the animals outside were swept away. There was so much water, not even theĀ  tops of the tallest trees were visible. Those Karina who were outside – those who would not believe Kaputano – could not be rescued, and they were drowned. The waves came and came, and they were so high that the entire world was covered.

Many days later, when the waters began to recede and the land began to dry, the four couples exited the canoe. They looked at their world. It was void and empty, with nothing to be seen. Kaputano asked them, ”Do you like it like this, or would you want something else? How do you want it to look?”

The Karina told him that no one could survive in a place like this. ”Where are the trees?” they asked. ”How are we to weave baskets, and make roofs for our houses. If there aren’t any palm leaves? How are we supposed to grow food, without mountain slopes? Where is the shelter?”

So Kaputano, out of love for his children, created a new earth for the Karina. He filled it with rivers and trees, lakes and marshes, mountains and hills. And the Karina lived there forever, happy and content.” (Source: Martin, Charles. Flood Legends. pp.128-129)