Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/100

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was at Patzcuaro, eighteen miles away. Legend says that when he chose to have a collation there, a line of servants was stationed all along the way between the two palaces, to pass the dishes from the royal kitchen to the royal table. However this may be, there are traces of a subterranean passage which perhaps connected the capital with the other town. Some years ago an excavation was attempted at Tzintzuntzan, with the hope of discovering this passage, but the natives quietly resisted this work by always filling up the place as soon as it was dug out. From generation to generation these people transmit the traditions of the ancient grandeur of their race, and silently preserve what they can of its traces. They have no written language of their own, and no orators. What they know of the past they do not wish to tell to outsiders; but their villages are full of legends, which the old people hand down to the younger ones in their strange Tarascan speech. They are tenacious of their manners and customs, and preserve in their church festivals the forms and rites which the early priests allowed them to transfer from their old religion to the ceremonials of the newly acquired Catholic faith. The Tarascans are skilful in carving in bone. They make tiny boxes, neatly fitted with lock and key, of wood. Their canoes are dug out of tree-trunks, and they kill the wild fowl which swarm and herd in quantities upon their lake, with a long wooden javelin hurled with skill. Their pottery, like that of all the Mexicans, is simple in design, graceful in form, and tasteful in color. From time immemorial they have