|Edward Hicks, 1846|
You probably know the story about Noah, but in case you don't, here's how it happened. A long, long time ago, like maybe 4,500 years ago, God got angry because of all the bad and wicked people in the world, so He decided to make a flood and wash them all away. But Noah was a good guy, so God told Noah that he and his family would get saved from the flood. But first, Noah had to build a great big boat called an "ark," and he had to bring lots of animals into the ark, like one pair of every kind of animal, and seven pairs of every clean animal.
|Paul Alexandre John|
When God said "clean animal," He didn't mean an animal that had had a bath. What He meant was an animal that was kosher to eat. But I don't want to get into the rules of keeping kosher, because that is a whole different subject.
Anyway, Noah made the ark, and he put all the animals on it, plus food for them and for his family. Then the rain started, and it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. And the water got so deep that it even covered up the mountains. And after the water started going down, the ark got stuck on top of Mount Ararat, which is in the country that we now call Turkey.
Finally, after several months, the flood water all went away, and the ground dried out. Then everybody came out of the ark and started to make babies to repopulate the earth. God told Noah that He would not make any more big floods like that, and to show that He was serious about this promise, He made a rainbow in the sky.
|Italian agate, late 16th century|
So that's how the story goes, and some people believe that it happened exactly that way, but other people think that it's more of a legend. Anyway, the people who think that Noah was a real man who built a real ark have been trying to find the ark for a long time, and guess what! They finally think they found it. Well, actually, they have said several different times that they found it, but this latest time might be the real thing.
|Possible location of ark on Mt. Ararat|
Here's a picture of the place where Noah's ark maybe landed at the end of the flood. As you can see, this shape is very much like a boat shape. Also there were some some buried, fossilized wood compartments that the archeologists found. All of this was about 13,000 feet above sea level, on Mt. Ararat. The group that says they found the ark is called Noah's Ark Ministries International, and they say they are 99.9 percent sure that the structure they found is the ark.
|Buried wood structure|
But other scientists say the wood is not old enough to be from the time of Noah, so the structure must be something else. Also, some people say that Noah and his family would have used the wood from the ark to build houses after the flood because all the trees would have been destroyed.
Of course, another question is whether the ark could have really held that many animals for that long a time. And what made the wolves not eat the rabbits? Or why didn't the lions eat Noah? I guess if you believe the story, then you believe that God made everybody live in peace on the ark, because that is the only way it could have really worked out, at least in my opinion.
Anyway, it turns out that lots of artists have made pictures with Noah's ark in them. And besides that, some people have even built real arks, using the same measurements that God gave Noah. One ark that got built was in the Netherlands, and it was made by a man named Johan Huibers. Except that this ark is only about half the width and one-third the length of Noah's. And the reason Mr. Huibers made his ark smaller was because he wanted to be able to fit through canals and rivers and under bridges, and that way he could go all over Europe in his ark.
|Johan Huibers' replica ark|
Another ark was built in Hong Kong by three billionaire brothers named Kwok. This ark is the same true size of Noah's. But it's not meant to sail around. Instead, it's a luxury hotel. Which I guess means that there are real bedrooms to stay in, and not just horse stalls.
|Replica ark in Hong Kong|
So getting back to all the rain we are having here, I still feel kind of nervous about it, and I wish Mom would build us an ark. But she keeps saying she won't even consider doing it, and sometimes there is just no arguing with Mom!
|Why the unicorns went extinct|