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Mexican Flood Legend

by Troy Lacey on May 4, 2016

The land of Mexico has many Flood legends, most of which are short and quite different from one another. Here are a few from different regions around Mexico.

Aztec

In this legend a man and a woman were warned by the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca that a flood is coming. They were saved from the flood in a hollow tree (or canoe). After the flood they were hungry and they chopped up the tree, made a fire, and began to cook fish.1 But the Aztec gods smelled the smoke and sent Tezcatlipoca down to punish the survivors, and he turned the man and woman into dogs.2 A different version of the legend gave the names of the man and woman: “humanity was wiped out by a flood, but one man Coxcoxtli and one woman Xochiquetzal escaped in a boat, and reached a mountain called Colhuacan.”3

Aztec Pottery

By Rodtico21, via Wikimedia Commons

Aztec pottery depicting Tezcatlipoca and a jaguar on display at the Jade Museum, Costa Rica, circa 800–1350 AD.

Otomi

In this very short legend, the earth and all living things were destroyed by a great flood. Only seven people were saved in an ark.4

Tarascan

In this legend, a priest named Tespi is warned of a coming great flood and so he made an ark. Together with his wife and children they gathered different seeds and animals and brought them onto the ark, surviving the flood.5 Another version of this story says that it rained for six months and the man (Tespi) sent first a raven and then a dove to see if the ground was dry.6

In all of these different stories, we see small bits of the true Flood account that’s recorded in the Bible, like being saved on an Ark, landing on a mountain, or sending out a raven and a dove. But the biblical account makes much more sense than any of these stories. God wouldn’t save people from a worldwide flood and then turn them into dogs, or punish them for building a fire and eating meat. In fact, the first thing Noah did after coming off the Ark was to build a fire and make sacrifices to God. God was pleased with this worship (Genesis 8:20–21) and told mankind they could now eat meat (Genesis 9:3). And there were eight people on board the Ark, not seven. God didn’t have seven people come on the Ark because then one person would be alone and have no husband or wife. The Bible’s account makes sense and shows that God was merciful, not angry, with the people on the Ark.

Footnotes

  1. Fernando Horcasitas, “An Analysis of the Deluge Myth in Mesoamerica” in The Flood Myth, Alan Dundes, ed., (Berkely and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988), 195
  2. Ibid., 184.
  3. Pam Sheppard, “Tongue-Twisting Tales,” Answers, https://answersingenesis.org/tower-of-babel/tongue-twisting-tales/
  4. Horcasitas, 192.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid., 196.