Friday, June 10, 2011

How Lizard Found the Sun

an Aztec Legend
(retold by Cornerstoregoddess and the Beads)

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Long long ago, one sad day,  the sun disappeared.  The land became very cold.
Lizard woke up cold.  She had been cold for days.  Everything was dark.  Everyone was cold.  The children had stopped playing; the birds had stopped singing.  All the people and animals were afraid.
And so the animals decided to look for the sun.

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The fish and the turtles looked in the rivers and the lakes.

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The frogs and toads looked in the puddles. The deer and the squirrels searched  the forests. The rabbits and the hares searched  the fields.  The jaguar even searched the jungles.  But none of the animals could find the sun.  Finally the land animals gave up.

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Next the birds announced that they would find the sun.  After all, they could fly up into the sky.  Surely they would find the sun, hiding behind the clouds.

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So the birds searched through the branches where they made their nests.  The eagles flew high in the mountains and to the cones of volcanoes.

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The vultures searched the desserts and the empty roads. But none of the birds could find the sun.  Finally the birds, too, gave up.
Everyone had given up looking for the sun. Everyone except Lizard.  Lizard kept looking. She crawled up mountains; she crawled down the valleys; she looked in the cacti .  She searched and searched and searched.   Then, one day, she saw something very strange: a glowing rock beside a prickly pear cactus. 
“I have found the sun,” Lizard shouted.  “I must tell the Emperor.  The Emperor will be able to get the sun from the rock, and we shall all be warm again."  

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Lizard ran through the desert, and through the cacti, and through the city, where all lay in darkness. At last, she found the Emperor's palace.  She climbed up the huge stairs of the pyramid to find the Emperor. At last she saw the Emperor, sitting on his throne with sandals of gold and a tall crown of bright feathers. The emperor was sad... and very cold.
“I have found a stone with a light shining under it," said Lizard, as she bowed before the Emperor.  "I am sure the sun is hiding there."
The Emperor was thrilled.  He commanded Lizard to return to the rock immediately, turn it over, and release the sun. "We will be in your debt," the Emperor told Lizard.
Lizard ran back, as fast as a lizard can run.  When she could run no more, she crawled.  At last she reached the rock.

Lizard began to push the rock.  She pushed and pushed, but the rock would not move.  She wedged sticks beneath it, and pushed some more, but still the rock would not move.  No matter how she tried, Lizard could not move the rock.  

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Lizard knew she had failed the Emperor, and all the people, and all the animals. She knew that they needed the sun for warmth and light and life.  She herself was very cold, having been without the sun's rays for so long.  

There was nothing to do but return to the Emperor and admit her failure.   With a heavy heart, Lizard made her way back to the city and slowly climbed the pyramid steps.  There she found the Emperor, sitting sad and worried in the dark.

“Emperor, " said Lizard.  "I have tried and tried, but I cannot move the rock. I have failed.  I cannot bring the sun back.”
“Do not worry Lizard," said the Emperor.  He rose and spoke as if thunder were coming from his mouth.  “Woodpecker!  Come here!  We have a  job for you!”
As his voice echoed through the palace, a huge woodpecker flew in.  He swooped down and  landed beside the Emperor.  Woodpecker was so big, he reached the Emperor's waist.  Though his body was dull with gray and white feathers,  his head was magnificent.  He had long tufts of feathers going back over his head, in crimson red, emerald green, and a brilliant yellow the color of the long-lost sun.

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“I am ready to serve,” Woodpecker said.  He bowed his  head to the Emperor.
Together the Lizard, the Woodpecker and the Emperor traveled from the palace to the place of the rock.  There the rock shone as if the light of the sun were buried beneath it. 
“Woodpecker," commanded the Emperor.  "Peck with all your might!"
The Woodpecker pecked and at last, the rock cracked, releasing the sun.


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But the Sun would not open his eyes.

Sun!" cried the Emperor.  "You must awaken.  The plants and animals are dying."

 Still the Sun would not wake up.  The Emperor, and Woodpecker, and Lizard  begged.  They pleaded.  They commanded.  But the sun kept its eyes tightly shut.

But the Emperor had a plan.  He announced a great festival, with music and dancing and food.  All were invited: the humans, the birds, the mammals, the lizards, the plants!

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And then, at last, the Sun woke up.  All the life on  Earth rejoiced.  And from that day on, every year there was a festival to celebrate the sun, and because of this, the sun continues to give life to everything in its path, dawn, to noon, to evening, to night.  

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The Emperor was pleased and, for their great service he made Lizard and Woodpecker the most sacred of animals in the kingdom.

Lizard and friends can be found here and here.  

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful story! We love all the characters too, many that we already have...and some to order! Love the cute lizard with her smiling sun face charm. Thanks! Hanna

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