The flood myth of the Incas

Once there was a period called the Pachachama, when humankind was cruel, barbaric, and murderous. Human beings did whatever they pleased without any fear. They were so busy planning wars and stealing that they completely ignored the gods. The only part of the world that remained uncorrupted was the high Andes.

In the highlands of Peru there were two shepherd brothers who were of impeccable character. They became very concerned when their llamas acted strangely. The llamas stopped eating and spent the night gazing sadly up at the stars. When the brothers asked the llamas what was going on, they replied that the stars had told them that a great flood was coming that would destroy all creatures on earth.

The two brothers and their families decided to seek safety in the caves in the highest mountain. They took their flocks with them into a cave and then it began to rain. It rained for months without end. Looking down from the mountains, they saw that the llamas were right: The entire world was being destroyed. They could hear the cries of the miserable dying humans below. Miraculously, the mountain grew taller and taller as the waters rose. Even so, the waters began to lap at the door of their cave. Then the mountain grew still higher.

One day they saw that the rain had ceased and that the waters were subsiding. Inti, the sun-god, appeared once again and smiled, causing the waters to evaporate. Just as their provisions were running out, the brothers looked down to see that the earth was dry. The mountain then returned to its usual height, and the shepherds and their families repopulated the earth.

Human beings live everywhere; llamas, however, remember the flood and prefer to live only in the highlands