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Deucalion and Pyrrha


In the Bronze Age men were not very good. The reports of their wickedness came to Jupiter, the greatest of gods. He decided to come to the earth to see for himself. He came there in the form of a man.
One day he came to Arcadia. When he told everyone he was a god, the people dropped to their knees, but their king, Lycaon, didn't. He said:
"Let's see if he is a mortal or a god."
He killed a poor hostage from Molossia, cooked him in water and served this for dinner. But Jupiter knew about this and sent a fire over the castle and changed Lycaon into a wolf.
When Jupiter returned to Olympus, he had a meeting with the gods and decided to destroy all people. He sent rain from heaven over all the earth. The thunder rolled, floods of rain burst from the heavens. Neptune, god of the sea, sent the rivers into the houses, fields and forests destroying everything.
Men tried to save themselves as best as they could. Some climbed the high mountains, others entered boats and rowed over the houses and fields. Many people died in the flood, others died of hunger on the barren mountains.
The great Mount Parnassus was still above water. A boat arrived there with Deucalion, the son of Prometheus, and his wife Pyrrha. They were good and pious people. When Jupiter saw that only a single pair of mortals remained of the many million people, he stopped the rain. The ocean resumed its banks, the rivers returned to their beds, forests and land appeared and the earth was as before.
Deucalion looked around him. The country was destroyed and silent. Together with his wife, Pyrrha, they started crying and prayed at the half-destroyed altar of the goddess Themis.
"Tell us, oh goddess, how can we start new life on earth?"
"Leave my altar," said the goddess. "Uncover your heads, ungird your garments and throw the bones of your mother behind you."

Deucalion and Pyrrha throwing stones
For a long time Deucalion and Pyrrha wondered over the puzzling words of the goddess. Then Deucalion had an idea.
"I think that I know what the goddess meant. The great mother of all of us is the Earth. Her bones are the stones, and these, Pyrrha, we will throw behind us!"
Pyrrha was not sure about this, but what harm would it do to try? So, they uncovered their heads, ungirded their garments and began throwing stones behind them.
Then a wonderful thing happened. The stones began to soften and change. Whatever was moist and earthy in the stones was changed into flesh, the harder parts became bones, the veins in the rock remained as veins in the bodies. In a little while the stones which Deucalion threw assumed the form of men, those which Pyrrha threw, the form of women. The earth was populated again.
***


Adapted from "MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF ALL NATIONS Translated and Edited by LOGAN MARSHALL"

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