Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/50

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historic beasts, of which the bones lie buried deep below the present surface. This race of giants was wild and rude; they lived by hunting, and devoured raw the flesh of the game they secured with bows and arrows; they were brave, daring, and agile, but were given over to the vice of drunkenness.

We cannot stop to be very much interested in this rudimentary people, called Quinames, who have left us scarcely more than a name, and little even of legend to charm us. The pyramid of Cholula and that of Teotihuacan are ascribed to them, rather by way of pushing back these monuments to an ancient period. Their conception and execution show ambition, perhaps veneration, as well as determination and perseverance.

Whence they came, therefore, it is vain to speculate: how long they were there, what manner of men they were. A wave of life more civilized swept down upon them from the north and exterminated the whole race, so that we have nothing more to tell about them. The tribes which have the credit of destroying the giants bear the names of Xicalancas and Ulmecas. They paused a while upon the plateau, and passed on to people the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico.

Next came the Mayas, still always from the north. Although they left some traces upon Anahuac, they too moved farther on, to establish in Yucatan and the territory between Chiapas and Central America their greatly advanced civilization. Of this great family the many different branches speak dialects varying from the mother tongue, but allied to each other.