Page:Journal of American Folklore vol. 12.djvu/49

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Trique Theogony. 41

told, were safely landed upon a mountain, and a ditch of nine yards' depth was dug around it to keep it intact.

Of those two beings, who were saved from general destruction, the Triques say that they had been their progenitors and those of all inhabitants of our earth. Herewith the tale ends. Signed, Cayetano Esteva.

Let something still be said as to the impression which this curi- ous composition has made upon my mind.

On account of the above inscription and its brief yet somewhat suggestive tenor, one is, of course, induced to believe that the young folk-lorist must have gathered his material either from the lips of the native Triques themselves, or, at least, from the mouths of other individuals whom he supposed to be equipped with authentic infor- mation in regard to the legends of this world-forgotten tribe. Whether the one or the other was the case, it is difficult to elicit from the tenor of the few inscriptive lines. But I do not think that any of the items or compounds of his report are an arbitrary product of his poetic turn of mind. From such reproach we must absolve him. We only wish he would have told his tale in a language less refined, less filled with the perfume of Castilian literary fragrance. When he believed that this specimen of ancient Mexican folk-lore would thereby be rendered more attractive to the ear of the cultured reader, he was mistaken. But to his praise we must say that some- times he felt that in his polishing he went too far. For at certain passages we observe that he chooses to introduce the persons ad- dressing each other just in that idiomatic and specific idiomatic metaphorical language bred in the Mexican " t/atoaui."

As to the items of which the framework of the theogony is con- structed, it is not my impression that the latter is a genuine product of the Trique tribe. More than half a dozen specimens of ancient Mexican cosmogonies are extant. Therefore we are able to make comparisons. I mention a few that just occur to my memory. We possess cosmogonies told by Alva de Ixtlilxochitl, by Veytia, Men- dieta, Anales de Quauhtitlan, the Libro de Oro, the Popol Vuh. In painting we have the cosmogony of the Codex Vaticanus, and in sculpture that on the Calendar-Stone. Comparison leads to the apparent result that the Trique version is but a very ingenious sum- mary of characteristics common to the cosmogonies of the other Mexican tribes. That which is recognizable as specifically Trique is only the nomenclature of the gods. To enter upon the literary anatomy, and to expound which of each Trique item may be consid- ered a loan from the one or the other tribes, would require too much time. Moreover, dissecting is sometimes a tedious and thank- less affair, to be left to the professional surgeon.

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