Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/51

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
19
SHADOWY TRIBES.

The Otomis, still with the same northern origin, spread themselves very early over the territory which is now occupied by the states of San Luis, Potosi, Guanajuato, and Querétaro, reaching Michoacan, and spreading still farther. These were a rough people who lurked among the mountains, avoiding the life of large communities. They have left no record of progressive civilization. Their descendants are still traced in the regions which they chiefly occupied, by peculiarities of dialect. Mixtecas and Zapotecas are names of other peoples who came to occupy Anahuac, but the Toltecs are the first of these ancient tribes distinguished for the advancement of their arts and civilization, of which their monuments and the results of excavation give abundant proof.

The legends of those tribes who came to Mexico over the broad path leading down from the north refer to an ancient home, of which they retained a sad, vague longing, as the Moor still dreams of the glories of Granada. They preserved the tradition of their long migrations in their hieroglyphics and pictured writings. These traditions bear a strong resemblance to each other, and the dialects of the successive races which appeared in Mexico are so similar that it is probable they all belong to the same language, which is called Nahuatl. All these races are generalized as the Nahuas.

One of the traditions relates that seven families alone were saved from the Deluge. Their descendants, after long and weary wanderings, fixed themselves at Huehue-Tlapallan (the Old, Old, Red Rock), a fertile country and agreeable to live in, near a broad