very early times
there was a man named Deucalion, and he was the son of Prometheus. He
only a common man and not a Titan like his great father, and yet he was
known far and wide for his good deeds and the uprightness of his life.
His wife's name was Pyrrha, and she was one of the fairest of the
Jupiter had bound Prometheus
on Mount Caucasus and had sent diseases and cares into the world, men
very, very wicked. They no longer built houses and tended their flocks
and lived together in peace; but every man was at war with his
and there was no law nor safety in all the land. Things were in much
case now than they had been before Prometheus had come among men, and
was just what Jupiter wanted. But as the world became wickeder and
every day, he began to grow weary of seeing so much bloodshed and of
the cries of the oppressed and the poor.
men," he said to his
mighty company, "are nothing but a source of trouble. When they were
and happy, we felt afraid lest they should become greater than
and now they are so terribly wicked that we are in worse danger than
There is only one thing to be done with them, and that is to destroy
So he sent
a great rain-storm
upon the earth, and it rained day and night for a long time; and the
was filled to the brim, and the water ran over the land and covered
the plains and then the forests and then the hills. But men kept on
and robbing, even while the rain was pouring down and the sea was
up over the land.
No one but
son of Prometheus, was ready for such a storm. He had never joined in
of the wrong doings of those around him, and had often told them that
they left off their evil ways there would be a day of reckoning in the
end. Once every year he had gone to the land of the Caucasus to talk
his father, who was hanging chained to the mountain peak.
"The day is
Prometheus, "when Jupiter will send a flood to destroy mankind from the
earth. Be sure that you are ready for it, my son."
And so when
the rain began
to fall, Deucalion drew from its shelter a boat which he had built for
just such a time. He called fair Pyrrha, his wife, and the two sat in
boat and were floated safely on the rising waters. Day and night, day
night, I cannot tell how long, the boat drifted hither and thither. The
tops of the trees were hidden by the flood, and then the hills and then
the mountains; and Deucalion and Pyrrha could see nothing anywhere but
water, water, water-and they knew that all the people in the land had
while the rain stopped
falling, and the clouds cleared away, and the blue sky and the golden
came out overhead. Then the water began to sink very fast and to run
the land towards the sea; and early the very next day the boat was
high upon a mountain called Parnassus, and Deucalion and Pyrrha stepped
out upon the dry land. After that, it was only a short time until the
country was laid bare, and the trees shook their leafy branches in the
wind, and the fields were carpeted with grass and flowers more
than in the days before the flood.
Deucalion and Pyrrha
were very sad, for they knew that they were the only persons who were
alive in all the land. At last they started to walk down the mountain
towards the plain, wondering what would become of them now, all alone
they were in the wide world. While they were talking and trying to
what they should do, they heard a voice behind them. They turned and
a noble young prince standing on one of the rocks above them. He was
tall, with blue eyes and yellow hair. There were wings on his shoes and
on his cap, and in his hands he bore a staff with golden serpents
around it. They knew at once that he was Mercury, the swift messenger
the Mighty Ones, and they waited to hear what he would say.
anything that you
wish?" he asked. "Tell me, and you shall have whatever you desire."
like, above all
things," said Deucalion, "to see this land full of people once more;
without neighbors and friends, the world is a very lonely place indeed."
"Go on down
said Mercury, "and as you go, cast the bones of your mother over your
behind you;" and, with these words, he leaped into the air and was seen
he mean?" asked
do not know," said
Deucalion. "But let us think a moment. Who is our mother, if it is not
the Earth, from whom all living things have sprung? And yet what could
he mean by the bones of our mother?"
he meant the stones
of the earth," said Pyrrha. "Let us go on down the mountain, and as we
go, let us pick up the stones in our path and throw them over our
rather a silly thing
to do," said Deucalion; "and yet there can be no harm in it, and we
see what will happen."
And so they
walked on, down
the steep slope of Mount Parnassus, and as they walked they picked up
loose stones in their way and cast them over their shoulders; and
to say, the stones which Deucalion threw sprang up as full-grown men,
and handsome, and brave; and the stones which Pyrrha threw sprang up as
full-grown women, lovely and fair. When at last they reached the plain
they found themselves at the head of a noble company of human beings,
eager to serve them.
Deucalion became their
king, and he set them in homes, and taught them how to till the ground,
and how to do many useful things; and the land was filled with people
were happier and far better than those who had dwelt there before the
And they named the country Hellas, after Hellen, the son of Deucalion
Pyrrha; and the people are to this day called Hellenes.
But we call
the country GREECE.