Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/92

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cucan annals. It is well, however, to keep the different dynasties distinct, in order to understand, when we come to the Conquest, the various parts these distinct peoples played in that exciting drama.

Texcuco maintained for some time its place and distinction, but never surpassed the height it reached in the fifteenth century. After that it began to diminish; family dissensions in the royal house, and external warfare, together with too much prosperity and the relaxation that comes with it, were preparing this nation for the tempest and change already gathering afar off.

This glowing account of the splendors of Texcuco is gathered by Prescott from the writings of Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl, who traced his descent, in direct line, from the royal house of Texcuco. He lived in the sixteenth century, occupying the position of interpreter to the Viceroy, being familiar with the Indian dialects, and of course with the Spanish language.

He was in other respects a man of cultivation and learning, had a library of his own, and pursued diligently the study of the picture-writings, hieroglyphics, and legends of his ancestors, with the object of throwing light on the obscure places of their story. He wrote, in Spanish, various books about the primitive races of Anahuac, among them the "Historia Chichimeca," which has been used as a source of authority since it was first written.

As a Christian, Ixtlilxochitl has given to the legends of the Quetzalcoatl and other mysteries of the early Mexican races, a color evidently borrowed from the light of Christian traditions, and the author