Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/241

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209
FRAY MARTIN DE VALENCIA.

pray early in the morning; and it is asserted that as soon as he placed himself there to pray, the tree swarmed with birds which by their songs made sweet harmony, through which he felt much consolation, and praised and blessed the Lord; and when he went away from there the birds went also; and so, after the death of this servant of God nevermore gathered there in this manner. Both these things were noted by many who used to hold converse there with the servant of God, as well seeing them come and go before him, as their not appearing after his death. I have been informed by a monk of good life that in this hermitage of Amecameca, there appeared to the man of God Saint Francisco and Saint Antonio, who leaving him much comforted departed from his presence."

"Just outside Amecameca, is a hill, rising abrubtly from the plain and closely covered with a growth of ancient trees, some of them ahuehuetes which rival those at Chapultepec in size and venerable aspect. This hill is called the Sacro Monte; there is room for thinking that it was sacred to the Aztec deities even before the coming of the Spanish priests, and that they adopted it to carry on the traditions belonging to it. However, this may be, it was one of Fray Martin's favorite retreats for retiring sometimes to an oratory which he had made in a cave on the mountain, to give himself to special exercises of the highest contemplation and rigorous penance. He continued to labor in teaching the Indios, especially boys, for whom he manifested singular love; he remained there but little