Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/55

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23
SHADOWY TRIBES.

which floated upon the water, and stopped at last on top of a mountain of Culhuacan. They had many children, but all of them were dumb. The great spirit took pity on them, and sent a dove, who hastened to teach them to speak. Fifteen of the children succeeded in grasping the power of speech, and from these the Toltecs and Aztecs are descended.

Another account describes a deluge in which men perished and were changed to fish; the earth disappeared, and the highest mountain tops were covered with water. But before this happened, one of the Nahua gods, called Tezcatlipoca, spoke to a man named Nata and his wife Nana, saying: "Do not busy yourselves any longer making pulque, but hollow out for yourselves a large boat of an ahuehuete tree, and make your home in it when you see the waters rising to the sky." The Mexican historian, Ixtlilxochitl, has conceived that after the dispersion of the human race, which succeeded the attempt to build the Tower of Babel, seven Toltecs reached America, and became the parents of that race. Thus having learned of the Tower of Babel from his Catholic instructors, Ixtlilxochitl skilfully pieces the Hebrew legend upon the Toltec fabric.

The friends of the Atlantis theory in like manner seize upon the universal fable of the deluge to weave into their tissue. It remains for every reader to decide for himself whether to regard these theories as the airy fabric of a vision, or made up out of the whole cloth.