The myth of the first flood!

By Emmanuelle

CHILDREN of God-loving and God-fearing parents were told early in life of the Bible story of how the first man and woman came to be. Or, at least, most of the children were. The rest were left to their inquisitive selves to learn the story of the beginning of their race.

A certain tribe in the Cordilleras had this myth that, before life began on earth, Lumawig, the Great Spirit, came down from heaven and cut reeds. He divided the reeds in pairs and delivered a pair to different parts of the earth. Each pair of reeds became man and woman. And to make sure they talk to each other and not just club the other’s head in confused despair, each pair was commanded by Lumawig to learn to speak a language of their own. The first pairs of men and women bore other men and women, speaking a language different from the other reeds who became men and women delivered to different parts of the earth.

And that is how we came to have so many of us men and women all over the world. And that is also how we speak so many different languages. And both not because reeds were a-plenty then and now.

Ay, aliwa! This article was supposed to be about rain, not about reeds and languages!

Anyway, the same Great Spirit Lumawig had two sons whose favorite pursuit was hunting deer and wild pigs. And since it was still the beginning of time, everyplace was lowland. There were no hills no mountains from which forests the deer and wild pigs forage. The brothers got bored quickly early in life. There was really no fun from hunting in flat lands.

The two brothers had powers of their own, being the sons of the Great Spirit Himself. So they decided to create a mountain themselves. They told each other: “let us flood the world, and when it is covered with water, we will make a mountain rise!” For these sons of a Great Spirit, planning and development was that easy. Not a committee job at all.

And so they did the deed. They made the water rise. It flooded the world, drowning all men and women and children and all. It was a cruel time, having to live in centuries even earlier than medieval.

This then was the myth of the first flood.

When there was nothing to be seen but water, water everywhere, the two brothers took a huge headbasket (you read right, a headbasket is where you basket the chopped-off heads of your enemies) and used it as a trap to catch bodies of the deer and wild pigs. And also men and women and their children, who, during those earlier than medieval times were treated as very very cheap commodities talaga. Akin, andi la natan?

Wait a minute, but where was the mountain the brothers intended to create after they made the first flood that drowned not only the deer and wild pigs but all the men and women created from reeds? Alingwanan da met la amo.

Their father, the Great Spirit Lumawig himself, happened to look down from the sky and saw his sons’ mischief. He must have blamed Himself for not making them a playpen, with one huge mountain plopped on its mid.

And lo and behold! He sees not all the world was flooded! There was this one small spot, where a little boy and his sister was standing on tiptoes, keeping their shivering little selves as far away from the flood as their littleness can manage.

The Great Spirit Lumawig rushed to send his two trusted alalay, a dog and a deer, to bring fire to the little boy and girl. But, as you and I know, it was extremely difficult, almost impossible, to hold a fire in your paws as the dog did, or in your bony limbs as the deer did, and swim in all that flood to the small spot where the little boy and girl stood on tiptoes.

The Great Spirit Lumawig had no choice but to go down to earth himself and hand over the fire to the little boy and girl. It took a real Great Spirit to do that. It took a Greater Spirit to build the fire himself on that small unflooded spot. The two little ones were holding each other up on their tiptoes, the flood lapping at their feet. No way can they build a fire.

The fire warmed the little boy and girl. And as soon as they were warm, the warmth spread to the surroundings. The flood receded and all that water evaporated. And the world returned to what it was before. Except there was no one alive, but the little boy and the little girl. Oh, and there were mountains now; it was not flat land anymore.

Eventually, the little boy and girl were the beginning of the next batch of human race. Or so the myth says. Let the priests and preachers take over the incest bit. We were just delving into the myth.

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