Quetzalcoatl told the people about the Gods and about the creation of men and women. . . . At first there was Citlalatonac and Citlalicue, the Sky-father and the Earth-mother. Then Citlalicue gave birth to a knife of flint, and when this knife of flint was flung down it became the sixteen hundred Earth-gods. They had to live as men and women of to-day have to live--by labouring and searching for their food. But after a while they began to think that it was unfitting that they should have to do this--they, the children of the Sky-father and the Earth-mother. They sent Tlotli the Hawk to their mother, asking that men be made who would serve them, the sixteen hundred Earth-gods.
Now there had been an earth before the earth they lived on, and men and women had been upon it, and the earth and the men and women on it had been destroyed, not once, but many times. Once the earth and all that was on it had been destroyed by floods. Once all had been destroyed by the force of great winds, and once all had been destroyed by fire. Now when the sixteen hundred Earth-gods asked that a race of men and women be created who would serve them, the Earth-mother told them what they should do to bring about this creation.
They were to send one of their number down to Mictlampa, the place where there is no light, and the one who went down was to ask the Lord of that place for a bone the bone of a man of the last race that had perished. The Earth-gods chose Xolotl for their messenger; they sent him down to Mictlampa, the place where there is no light.
Xolotl went where they sent him; he came before Mictlantecutli, the Lord of Mictlampa, and found him pouring fire into a vessel of blood. And Mictlantecutli, he whose head is a bare skull, thinking that he might beguile one of the Earth-gods and keep him for ever in that place where there is no light, spoke fairly to him. He would give the Earth-gods a bone, he said, a bone of one of the giants who had dwelt upon the earth; this bone should be put into a vessel when it was brought into the Upperworld, and each of the Earth-gods was to put a drop of his blood into the vessel with the bone; out of what would brew in the vessel two who would make the new race of men and women would come.
Xolotl knew that Mictlantecutli intended evil to him. He stole the bone and bore it away through that place of darkness. The bone was a great one, for it was a bone of one who belonged to the giant race. Yet the messenger of the Earth-gods was able to go swiftly with it through the darkness. But when he came near to the Upperworld the great owls that guard Mictlantecutli's realm flew at him and tore at his eyes. Xolotl stumbled and the great bone fell and broke into fragments. He gathered up the fragments and carried them into the Upperworld where the rest of the Earth-gods waited for him.
Then the sixteen hundred Earth-gods put the fragments of the great bone in a vessel, and each of them drew blood from his own body and dropped the blood into the vessel that held the fragments of the bone. For three days they watched over it, stirring what was in the
vessel. Their labour, it seemed, was in vain. Then, on the fourth day, what was in the vessel simmered and bubbled. Out of the brew emerged a human child, a boy. The Earth-gods watched over the vessel for another four days. Then out of the brew emerged a human child, a girl. The Earth-gods took the children and nourished them on the juice of the maguey-plant; the children grew to be a man and a woman. They became man and wife, and from them come the men and women of our time.
The bone that Xolotl brought into the Upperworld was in fragments: for that reason the men and women whom it went to form are not great of stature like the giants who had lived on the earth before; the fragments were of different sizes, and for that reason the men and woman of to-day are not all of one size--some are very tall, and others are small, and there are dwarfs amongst them. The world that the first men and women of our race came into was without sun or moon. Then the great Gods held a council to decide how luminaries might be made for the sky.
At that council the gods declared that it was their will that luminaries should be formed by transformations of a pair of gods; they declared that the two who should enter a fire and allow themselves to be consumed should become the sun and the moon. They built two towers, one for each of the gods who would undertake to make a luminary for the day and for the night, and they strewed the ground with branches and flowers, and they made sacrifices. Two of the gods agreed to cast themselves down into the fires and make themselves into the sun and the moon. These two put on their crowns and their robes of bright feathers and they went up upon the towers. The rest of the gods sat around the fires that had been lighted for four days. Then the two who were upon the towers cast themselves into the fires beneath them; they were consumed.
Then the gods, at that sacred place, waited to witness the resurrection of the pair as the sun and the moon. Four days they waited beside the towers. Then they saw the sky grow red; they knew not what was going to come about; they were terrified. The sun appeared in the sky; it was very red, and none of the gods could look at it because of its blinding rays. Then the moon appeared at the other side of the sky; its light was no less great than the sun's. One of the gods took a
rabbit and flung the rabbit in the face of the moon. The rabbit remained there to dim the moon's brightness. And so the moon was made more dim than the sun.
But the two luminaries stayed moveless in the sky. "Die, all of you," they cried down to the gods, "die all of you and create the stars." Then a great Wind came. It blew upon them until the gods were destroyed by the force of it. Their remains were carried up to the sky, and in the sky they stay, having become the stars. The wind blew upon the sun; it made it hurry across the sky. It did not blow upon the moon, and so the moon remains moveless in the sky. But the moon comes into the sky at a different time from the sun.
All this Quetzalcoatl told the dwellers in Tollan.