Quetzalcoatl Stories

QUETZALCOATL'S DISCOVERY OF CORN

Aztec Lore was passed on, as an oral tradition, from generation to generation. This is only one version of the many versions of this story:

The good god Quetzalcoatl was sitting on a mountainside contemplating the earth, when he noticed a red ant bringing a kernel of corn from inside the mountain. He saw the ants transfer them again and again and wondered upon the importance of this seed. He observed one seed that was left, by the ants, and decided to taste it. Quetzalcoatl found it pleasant and he thought that the people could use this seed to plant and produce more seeds to eat.

Quetzalcoatl decided to turn himself into a black ant so he could follow the red ants into the small crevice in the rock. He then discovered that there was a great pile of these seeds there. He ate a few more and became fond of the idea of this kernel being food for his people.

He has almost forgotten that this seed was put on earth for food. People had not found it yet, only the ants. He remembered one of his family telling him about this miracle called "maize" (zea mays)

Then Quetzalcoatl decided that this seed was much too valuable to only be used by ants. He decided to use his powers of harnessing the thunder and lightning and he made a great storm. This storm was so powerful that the thunder rumbled the earth's surface and the lightning lit up the sky. He then took the form of a bolt of lightning and hurled himself at the crack that passed into the caverns in the mountain. The rock began to tremble with the lightning's force. Then the rocks burst out and slide down the mountainside. The people in the village were frightened by the tumbling rock slide. However, no one was hurt, so they waited for the storm to end and then explored to see what might have happened, since even from their village they could see an opening in the mountain's side.

Their leader, Quetzalcoatl, told his people that the opening contained a seed that he thought the people could plant and grow. The resulting plants they could harvest for food. He then told them how to grind it into a powder for bread. He explained that it could also be boiled in water, and if put into a covered pottery vessel, over a flame, it could would burst open and produce a white softer form of the seed.

The people planted the seeds and watered and cared for them until they burst forth into a tall plant which bore wonderful fruit. When the storm passed the people traveled to the opening. They looked inside and could see many red ants carrying off seeds. One of the people walked inside the fissure and saw a great pile of maize. The people decided to taste it and found it to their liking. They planted the seeds, as instructed, and watered and nurtured them until they burst forth into a tall plant which bore the wonderful fruit of their labors. So they gathered more seeds, from the cobs, dried them, and grew them from that day onward.

Quetzalcoatl smiled, and decided to tell them about beans and squash.

*****

TITLACAUAN TEMPTS QUETZALCOATL

Because of the Toltec's great fortune, other gods became jealous of Quetzalcoatl's success. However, after a time, the people of this land became slothful. They had so many large fruits and vegetables that they tossed away the smaller ones, in waste. They grew so easily that they had to work less as the land was fertile. Their paradise made them soft.

Three demons decided to ruin this paradise at Tula. They were called Uitzilopichti, Titlacauan, and Tlacauepan.

The demon called Titlacauan decided he would turn himself into a weak, little old man. No one notices an old man. He made himself pitiful and bent over, and he walked with a limp. He decided to travel to Tula to meet Quetzalcoatl, the pure. When he arrived at Tula, it was said that Quetzalcoatl was sick. No one could offer him relief. This set Titlacauan's mind to plotting a trick.

The old man walked aimlessly around Tula so that people would notice his presence. His long white hair and his pitiful way of walking made the villagers feel sorry for him and many helped him from time to time. One day, one of the temple workers saw the man and asked if he could assist. The old man told him he wished to meet their great leader, Quetzalcoatl.

The man told his lord about the man, but cautioned him about the intent of a stranger. His men thought it could be an evil trap. However, Quetzalcoatl was a good man and wished to help the old man. Upon seeing Quetzalcoatl, the old man called him "grandson" and offered him a healing tonic. A potion he said he made for himself for his weary bones.

Quetzalcoatl offered the man his hospitality, but refused his potion. Quetzalcoatl then said he was tired and wished to rest. The old man again told him that his potion was miraculously soothing and intoxicating.

Quetzalcoatl refused it again, saying that he needed to keep his mind clear.

The old man tried to tempt Quetzalcoatl by saying: "There is another old man who can testify to the greatness of this elixir. He gave me his formula. You can be strong like you were in your youth. You can get it from him if you like. He lives in Tollan."

"I have done poorly since I have saved this for you alone, I can make more and restore myself, but I thought that you would appreciate its power. Let me know and I will give its secret to your people, " the old man promised. Quetzalcoatl said he was too weak to travel.

The old man told Quetzalcoatl a few days later: "Drink this potion and be of good cheer! You look very sick, this will help you feel better."

Again Quetzalcoatl refused.

The old man/Titlacauan was getting angry now. Why can't I get him to drink this? he thought. I have used every form of flattery and sympathy on this man. Then he had a new idea. The old man then asked: "Why don't you just take a sip? If you don't like it I will understand and I won't bother you again."

Quetzalcoatl didn't want to insult the man anymore, so he took a sip, just to get him off the idea.

"Hmmm," Quetzalcoatl smiled, "This is very pleasant." With that he downed the rest of the brew. Quetzalcoatl then felt relieved of his ailment. He felt no pain.

The old man said he had more of the tonic in his knapsack. He again, offered it to Quetzalcoatl saying: "It will give your body strength, it won't hurt you, it can only help."

After drinking the second batch of the elixir, Quetzalcoatl felt very odd. The liquid was soothingly warm and medicinal tasting. A feeling he never had felt before. Then he noticed his balance and vision were altered.

"What was that elixir made of?" Quetzalcoatl questioned.

The old man gave a toothy grin and said it was made from a local cactus juice.

Quetzalcoatl began to weep, now realizing that he had been tricked by the devil. "Why did you trick me?"

The old man told Quetzalcoatl that this was a white wine that fermented in the teometl plant. Titlacauan plotted to give the formula to the entire village.

You see intoxicating drinks were only for sacred occasions, and vision quests, not for everyday. Old men and women were the only ones that were allowed intoxicating drinks for the pain of aging. To drink frivously was frowned upon.

Quetzalcoatl was ashamed. Titlacauan was happy. Now the people of Tula would learn to crave intoxicating drink, which was disguised as a rejuvenator.

*****

Titlacuan Continues to Ruin Tula:

Titlacauan's treachery was never ending, he decided he needed to further corrupt Tula. He took the form of another stranger. He sold green chilis in the marketplace and dressed in an offending manner with no modesty whatsoever. The people noticed his bold display. He was unwashed and pock-marked as well.

The daughter of Uemec was the fairest virgin in the land. Many Toltec men asked for her hand in marriage, but her father could not bear to have the suitors take her from him. None of them were thought to be good enough for her.

One day the girl walked to the market, with her maid servant, and saw the lewd, hateful man. She was embarrassed by his large male member being exposed. She came back home and felt sick. She had been mesmerized, by the evil demon, to have lustful thoughts. She felt ashamed and could not tell a soul of her feelings. One of her maids, who accompanied her to the marketplace saw her blush at the sight of the man and she told her master about the wanton, ugly man that week. She also mentioned the princess' restless, troubled sleep.

Her father was angry and asked to have the man brought to him. Meanwhile, Titlacuan's spell was making the princess more lustful, in her thoughts, with each passing day. No one could find the man until he wished to be found. When, at last, the man was located, the king had noticed a growing distance between him and his daughter. She would not leave her bedroom, and slept more hours than was respectable, because her dreams now dominated her life. The chief ordered the man to wear, from that day forward, a breechcloth so as not to frighten other young girls, or he would be punished and killed. The man said that in his village it was not customary for men to wear a breech cloth. They had no embarrassment about their bodies, where he came from, and young girls were taught early about a woman's place in society.

The king noticed his daughter's embarrassment around men, and she still harbored pain from her sinful, wanton feelings. The father king decided that he would bring the man to his daughter and have him tell her he was sorry. The man smelled and looked very bad, so he had the man bathed and dressed properly. The king's men took the man to see the princess, she recognized the man's face and blushed, turned away, and wept. Titlacauan knew the princess had led a very sheltered life, and was taught nothing of men. Somehow Titlacuan mesmerized the king's guards into sleep, then he lay with the girl and her servant all night. The girl saw a beautiful man, not the pock-marked stranger. Her vision was altered by magic. She remembered that night well. However, no man, such as he, was known to their court, so she thought it only a pleasant dream.

The servants remembered nothing of that night. Six months after that encounter, people began to gossip about the princess' weight gain and in another month they thought she was with child.

Her father was shocked!

"How did this happen? Who is responsible?" the king bellowed.

The girl did not know why her father was angry-she had done nothing. "No one!" She said she only had a recurring dream about a beautifully handsome gentleman who came to lay with her in her bed.

Her father furled his eyebrows. "A dream? I think this is more than a dream daughter!!!"

The king then asked the court mid-wives to examine the girl. They confirmed that she was with child.

The girl sobbed. Her maid servant said that the princess had moaned in her sleep many times, since seeing the man in the marketplace.

The king's wrath rose and he wanted to kill the chile vendor! There seemed to be some connection with this day and the condition of his daughter. The king knew that she was an innocent girl before meeting him. He thought her bewitched. The king sent his men to find the chili vendor again post haste! When they brought the man before the king, he said the girl was crazy. He had never seen her since her father made him apologize to her. The king again questioned the girl and Titlacuan conveniently made her memory return, except she saw before her the man of her dreams. She wept with tears of joy. She said that she loved this man because he came to her each night in her sleep. The king decided to hold a trial. He questioned all his guards, but they could remember nothing. The verdict was a sentence of death for breaking into the palace univited and taking advantage of an innocent girl.

"He will die tommorow!" they pronounced.

"No! If you must kill him, then you must also kill me, for I did lay with him many times. I love him father! I thought I would never see him in my waking hours ever again. Now that he is here, I will have no other man. He is my handsome one, my love."

Since the king could not bring himself to kill his own daughter, the stranger was then made the king's son-in-law. The king could not see what his daughter saw in this lowly man. He certainly was NOT handsome, youthful, or even pleasant to have around.

On their marriage day, the girl beamed thinking she was marrying the beautfully handsome, gentleman of her dreams. After the ceremony, at the wedding feast, she acted so in love with her new husband. The people could not believe their eyes, all the fancy clothes did not cover his wretchedness of appearance or his evil smell. . After the party, the newlyweds went home to the palace and consummated their love. The princess was very happy. Her attitude changed abruptly when she woke to a pock-scarred, smelly, and disgustingly ugly man, the same man who had embarassed her in the marketplace.

"Good Morning!" he smiled and then kissed her.

She screamed in horror. He covered her mouth and told her that he was the same gentleman of her dreams.

"I fell in love with you on that first day in the marketplace. I never thought a beautiful princess could love me for myself, so I became a man you could love, a young, virile, vibrant, handsome gentleman. It was a sorcerer's spell to win your heart. Now that you are with child and have proclaimed that you love me, I no longer must hide my true appearance from the others."

"I must be dreaming!" the princess screamed even louder.

Everyone ran into her room. The princess was babbling, saying that she was tricked.

The court felt very sad for the princess, even though they thought her mad. Afterall, they saw her proclaim her love at his trial.

All her former suitors were angry!!!

"How could you give your daughter to that disgusting, wanton stranger?" they asked. "He has no royal lineage, no money, nothing to offer a princess."

From that day forward the king was held in ill regard. His daughter's mind was gone and her reputation was ruined. Most of the villagers shunned her.

In truth she had been possessed by the evil Titlacauan. Titlacauan stood near the edge of Tula and smiled. He disappeared from the village and the pregnant, mad princess was left without a husband. She would now be forever in her father's charge. No one else would have her.

"Goodbye, my princess. Sorry I was such a disappointment!" The princess then heard an evil howl of laughter. Titlacaun taunted her for the last time, and all was silent and cold.

The princess would never trust or love again.

Quetzalcoatl upon hearing of this event wept. He knew this was the evil of Titlacauan and his jealousy. Tula was now shrouded in evil cloud, so Quetzalcoatl decided to burn everything: his house of gold, his house of coral, his works of art, all his magnificent treasures he buried and hid in the mountains and canyons. He changed all the cacao trees into mesquites. All the precious birds went away and he moved to Anauac. He was disillusioned, and disheartened, with the world.

The city fell into ruin and ashes, and Titlacuan was longer jealous.

*****

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