Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/64

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south, and settled at Cholula; perhaps founding there the first settlement, perhaps elevating the tone of the village Indians already settled there. The beneficial effects of the coming of Quetzalcoatl were the introduction, or improvement, of the arts of pottery, weaving, stonework, and feather-work; the organization of government of a higher type, and the introduction of a mode of worship free from human sacrifice. Perhaps his aversion to this bloody custom made him withdraw to the mythical Tlapalla, a place on no map and only known to tradition, which puts it on the sea-coast, and generally on the Gulf of Mexico.

The mystery of his departure and death led to his deification, and the worship of his person became the leading feature of the religion at Cholula.

It is likely that The Shining Serpent developed, if he did not originate, many of the gentle and graceful forms of worship, which still have a great part of the religion of the simple Indians of Mexico, of sacrificing the fruits and flowers, of each season to its appropriate divinity and festival.

In Holy Week, now, in the city of Mexico, the shores of the canal leading to the town are decorated with flowers. Native boats float over the water heaped with bright blossoms, and the dark heads of the Indian girls are crowned with wreaths of poppies. They bring these blossoms in masses to decorate the altars of Nuestra Señora in the churches. Her image is the symbol of their divinity transferred from the earlier idols their remote ancestors worshipped.