Page 18 of Codex Boturini -- Extended Reading
by Karl Young

From Year 1-Flint to Year 4-Reed
they stayed in Techcatitlan.
In Year 5-Flint they moved
to Atlacuihuayan,
The Place of the Spear Thrower,
where the altlatl was given to man,
an old Toltec colony,
where the last Emperor of Tolan
had strangled himself
after his city perished.
Here some descendants
of Toltec knights
joined their company,
gave them counsel, and became a part
of the Mexica People.
In a dream, Huitzilopochtli,
The Blue Hummingbird of the South,
the patron god of the Mexica,
told their four priests:
"take what you can from this place
while it is time for you to stay here,
but do not think of it as yours:
your time of waiting isn't yet over.
You are near your Destined Home,
but a little time,
much pain, and a little space
keep it from you.
You will hold this place again,
but as a station in your Empire
when you are Lords of this World,
when precious stones
and gold banded feathers,
when cacao and incense,
fine tobacco and sweet fruits
are yours, when you have received
my Final Ordinance.
The city I promised you
is not far from here,
though you can't see it now."
They left Atlacuihuayan
in Year 8-Reed. In Year 9-Flint
they settled in Chapultepec,
Grasshopper Mountain,
the rock that looks like an insect,
the mountain that issues
fresh water into the salty lake,
the rock on which future Emperors
would have their portraits carved.
The people could see the whole lake
from this place,
could see canoes and caravans
pass from city to city,
could see the shining temples
of all the gods,
could see the colored palaces
of militant kings,
could take the measure of their neighbors'
strengths and weaknesses,
could see the islands that rose in the water.
On one of these islands
the heart of Copil,
Huitzilopochtli's last godly enemy,
had been cast,
in the place on the rock,
in the spot among the reeds
where Quetzalcoatl had rested
when he abandoned the Toltecs.
The priests new the Promised City
would rise in this place,
would rise
from Huitzilopochtli's victory,
from their tests and their suffering,
and from Quetzalcoatl's legacy.
Those in charge of provisions
saw the islands as places
to catch fish and hunt birds,
to pick berries and gather eggs
and the edible plants
remembered in legend
from the lake in Aztlan
where their journey began.
They learned the islands well,
explored their reeds and marshes,
studied their inlets and currents:
they did not know
that what they learned
would soon be put
to other uses.

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Copyright © 1983 and 1999 by Karl Young