|Why do people come in
different sizes? This Aztec myth tries to explain.
Mictlan was the Aztec underworld, ruled over by its Lord and Lady. It was a gloomy place,
reached by the dead only after wandering for four years beneath the earth with a friendly
||As the Fifth Sun burned
bright there were no people on the Earth so Quetzalcoatl journeyed to Mictlan to collect
the bones of those who had lived long ago.
|(He thought that bones
were like seeds: everything that dies goes into the earth, and from the earth new life is
the Lord of Mictlan, who sat on his throne surrounded by spiders and owls.
"I've come for the bones, the
precious bones, the jade bones," said Quetzalcoatl.
"Can I have them in order to populate the earth?"
The Lord of Mictlan agreed ... but on
"You may take away the bones
- after you walk four times around my throne blowing on this trumpet."
|The Lord of Mictlan gave
Quetzalcoatl a conch shell that had no finger holes. Quetzalcoatl could not play the
trumpet but worms bored some fingerholes, and bees flew inside to make a sound.
So he took the bones and left quickly.
Quetzalcoatl began to run.
Unfortunately, the Lord of Mictlan
ordered that a pit be dug in the fleeing god's path. A flock of quail flew out of a bush
and started Quetzalcoatl and sure enough he fell into the pit. Those bones that were
shattered were and pecked at by the quail. Long bones, short bones, big bones, little
bones ... which is why humans come in all sizes.
Quetzalcoatl scooped up the bones and,
once safely beyond the dead land, ground them up in a bowl. Together with other gods, he
sprinkled them with his own blood, restoring them to life.
|And thus humankind was
born one more .