Page 19 of Codex Boturini -- Extended Reading
by Karl Young

For twenty years the Mexica
lived in Chapultepec.
From year 9-Flint to Year 2-Reed
they stayed in Chapultepec.
Here, too,
descendants of Toltec knights
joined their company,
gave them counsel,
and strengthened their lineage.
Here they elected their first ruler,
Huehue Huitzilihuitl,
Hummingbird Feather the Elder,
a Prince descended
from the noblest lineage
of the House of Tolan,
and of the strongest blood
of the Desert Warriors.
Here they codified
The Divine Hummingbird's laws.
In Year 2-Reed
they tied up the counts of time,
the bundle of the fiftytwo years
just ended;
in Year 2-Reed
they celebrated New Fire,
the Rebirth of the World,
the beginning of a new era,
a new cycle of time -
it would be the cycle
of their foundation,
the era in which their Empire
would begin, the time when
The Blue Hummingbird's Mandate
would be given them fully.
But the cities around the lake
hated the Mexica:
they grew jealous of their prosperity,
they envied their courage in war,
they feared the strength of their arms,
the power of their hearts,
the metal of their faces.
The Lords of Colhuacan,
of Azcapotzalco and Xaltocan
impatiently waited
for the time to destroy the Mexica.
They formed a league together
and attacked Chapultepec.
After desperate fighting
against impossible odds,
some of the Mexica escaped
to Acolco Island,
The Place of Twisted Water,
and hid in the whipping cane,
the grass of sorrow
the calendar had given them.
Misery covered their faces.
They dressed themselves
in grass and weeds.
Some did penance
in this place of sorrow.
Some charted the currents
where fresh water and salt
swirled into each other.
Some mortified themselves
seeking visions.
Some died in this quest.
Some died of hunger,
a disgrace among warriors.
Some died of diseases
sent by the Gods.
Some searched
the Omens and Legends
for the cause and cure
of their torment.
Some searched the muck below them
for anything that could be eaten.
The sky weighed heavy above them;
the lake grabbed at their feet.
In despair
they twisted reeds into nets
and slept in wet grass.
They kept the God's bundle dry
and prayed before it in anguish.
At last some surrendered
to the Tepanecs.
The future Rulers of the World
accepted the status of slaves.

Go to facsimile of page 20
Go to Introduction

Copyright © 1983 and 1999 by Karl Young