Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/185

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153
TLAXCALLA.

to their city, and consulted their oracle. The head priest pronounced that their enemies were children of the sun, and invincible during the day, while their father was shining in the sky, but that by night they would lose their strength and be like other mortals.

The next night, encouraged by this divine decree, an attack was made, but Cortés was on his guard. The enemy, who, relying on their priests, had imagined they were marching to certain victory, took flight, in abject terror.

After this, the Tlaxcallans made no further resistance. Peace was solemnly concluded, and the republic recognized as a vassal to the crown of Castile, pledging itself to sustain Cortés in all his expeditions. Mass was celebrated, and the conclusion of the treaty was an occasion of great joy. This alliance was absolutely important to Cortés. The Tlaxcallans remained to the end faithful to it; later on, without their support, and their chief city to fall back upon, the conqueror must have inevitably failed in his enterprise.

The Tlaxcallans consented to accept the God of the Christians, but were unwilling to give up their old protecting divinities for fear of appearing ungrateful to them. Cortés insisted upon the abolition of human sacrifices, and himself made a chapel in the palace assigned to him and erected in it the cross. The first mass celebrated there attracted immense crowds, and many natives, especially young girls of good birth, were voluntarily baptized.

The Conquistadores entered Tlaxcalla the 22d of September, receiving demonstrations of the greatest