As the world grew older, men became more and
more quarrelsome. At last they dug gold out
of the ground, where it had lain for so long
a time; and they dug out iron too. They
quarrelled more sadly than ever over the
possession of the bright yellow gold they
had found; and, what was worst of all, they
made sharp knives and other weapons out of
iron, and fought fiercely with each other.
After this, robbery, murder, and many other
crimes were common on the earth. Things grew
worse and worse, till a man's life was not
safe anywhere. Finally, in all the whole
world there were only two people who
continued to sacrifice to the gods. These
two were Deucalion and Pyrrha, who were good
and gentle, like the people who had lived in
the Golden Age.
Jupiter, the father of the gods, looking
down from Mount Olympus and seeing how
wicked the people of the earth had grown,
made up his mind that he would destroy them
all. So he shut up the North Wind in the
caves of Aeolus, and sent forth the South
Wind, for the South Wind was the wind that
would bring the rain.
Clouds gathered over all the earth, and
great drops of rain began to fall, slowly at
first, then faster and faster. It rained
till the grain was laid flat in the fields,
still the clouds did not lighten, nor the
rain cease falling. The rivers overflowed
their banks, and rushed in over the plains,
uprooting great trees, and carrying away
houses and cattle and men. The sea, as well
as the rivers, flowed in over the land, till
dolphins played among the branches of forest
trees. Sea-nymphs, too, might have been seen
peeping out from among great oaks. Still the
rain never stopped, and the water rose
higher and higher.
Men and animals made their way to the hills
as well as they could, wolves, lions, and
tigers swimming side by side with sheep or
cattle, all in one common danger. They made
their way first to the hills and then to the
mountains, but the water came creeping up,
up, till all but the tops of the highest
mountains were out of sight. At last, when
the rain stopped, and the clouds broke away
a little, only the top of Mount Parnassus,
which was the highest mountain of all,
remained above water.
Deucalion and Pyrrha were sailing in a
little ship, which they had managed to keep
afloat. When they saw that the top of Mount
Parnassus was still out of water, they
anchored their ship there, and sacrificed to
Now, as you know, Deucalion and Pyrrha had
not become wicked like the rest of mankind.
Jupiter saw that only these two were
left, he sent out the North Wind to blow
away the clouds. Then
Neptune, the god of
the sea, sent his chief Triton, to blow a
long, twisted horn, and the sea heard, and
went back to the place where it rightfully
As the waters rapidly fell away, the earth
appeared again, but what a change!
Everything was covered with a dismal coating
of yellow mud. And it was so very still - not
a sound from any living thing! Deucalion and
Pyrrha felt as if even the sound of
quarrelling would be better than such
Near by, with its fires out, and covered
with mud, was the temple of one of the gods.
Deucalion and Pyrrha felt a sense of
companionship in its familiar porch, so they
went and sat there in the shade, wondering
what would become of them - they two, alone in
such a great world.
Then a mysterious voice told them to throw
the bones of their great mother behind them.
It sounded like a friendly voice, but
neither Deucalion nor Pyrrha could imagine
what was meant by "the bones of their great
mother." After they had puzzled over it for
some time, they came to the conclusion that
their "great mother" must mean Mother Earth,
and that her "bones" must be the stones that
lay around them. So, standing with their
faces toward the temple, they threw the
stones behind them. When they turned to see
what had happened, they found that the
stones which they had thrown had changed
into men and women.
In this way, after the Great Deluge, the
earth was peopled again; but it is to be
feared that some of the people of this new
race had hearts as hard as the stones from
which they were made.
The Legend and Myth of Deucalion and Pyrrha
The Myth of Deucalion and Pyrrha
The story of Deucalion and Pyrrha is featured in the book
entitled Favorite Greek Myths by Lilian
Stoughton Hyde, published in 1904 by D. C.
Heath and Company.