Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/146

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the chronology of the kings of Mexico and Texcuco; it is long, stretching half across the large room of the museum in which it is exhibited.

If we only had more of these paintings, the daily life of the Aztecs would be before us, just, as we can read on the Egyptian monuments every detail of such remote living.

In the usual accounts of the religion of the Aztecs, more stress is laid upon the horror of their human sacrifice than upon its other features, which, however, deserve notice. They firmly believed in a future life. While some of the Nahuatl races imagined that after death the common people would be transformed into insects, the chiefs into birds, the Aztecs conceived of graduated stages of happiness for mankind. Warriors slain in battle were immediately to dwell in the house of the sun; less distinguished souls went to live in the various planets. But these starry houses were only temporary. For four years after the death of a relative the friends offered meat, wines, flowers, and perfumes to the dead in certain months of the year, one of which was dedicated to dead children, and the other to warriors killed in battle.

When a chief died among the Aztecs great care was taken in ornamenting the body, as if preparing it for a long journey. Several papers are presented to the corpse: one as a passport across the defile between the two mountains; one with which to avoid the great serpent; the third was to put to flight the alligator; the fourth would give a safe crossing over the eight great deserts and the eight hills. A little