The myth of Huitzilopochtli and the hummingbirds

The hummingbirds are the warriors who died in battle -said Huitzilopochtli-, they are also messengers of good wishes, they attract love and good luck, but alive not dead.

The myth of Huitzilopochtli and the hummingbirds
Hummingbirds. Photo by James Wainscoat / Unsplash

The sorcerer was about to kill the little hummingbird that was struggling to save itself. He was going to take its life to create an amulet and attract love. I tried to save the hummingbird, I hit the sorcerer, but at that moment there was a roar in the sky and everything went dark. When the light came back, an incredible being appeared. A hummingbird, its feathers shone like jade, and although it was one-eyed, it was majestic. The most amazing thing was that it could speak.

Then he took human form and said: My name is Huitzilopochtli and I am the Mexica god of war. I have come because I am furious with humanity. When the Spaniards arrived I fought fiercely, but they shot me in the face, and I was blinded and lost an eye. Then they wiped out my people.

Ometecuhtli, the creator of everything, helped me to reach the Omeyocan, where the gods live. He helped me recover, and when I returned to Earth I found that they are running out of natural resources, the habitats of my hummingbirds, kill them to create love charms. Humans are a disgrace and at the moment my greatest enemy. I have returned to take revenge. The sorcerer knelt, and I fell sitting down from fright.

Hummingbirds are the warriors who died in battle," said Huitzilopochtli, "they are also messengers of good wishes, they attract love and good luck, but they are alive, not dead. If you look at them closely they are fighters by nature, although they are tiny they have great strength and always fight to defend their territory.

I put them in America because it is the most beautiful land. They are very special beings. When I left, I left 331 species in good condition, and 58 in Mexico, some of them migratory, 17 in total.

They are among the main pollinators. In one day, they consume their weight in nectar. Their flight is unique and godlike: they have 200 wing beats per second. And they can fly backward or hover in one place. When the Spaniards saw them they called them fly birds. But they are far superior, they can fly at a speed of 70 kilometers per hour and when they are in the breeding season, some reach up to 130 kilometers per hour in a dive.

Their favorite flowers are the red or yellow tubular ones. When they were created I gave them a huge heart so they could pump faster and get all the oxygen they need to flap at such high speeds. I gave them a very large brain compared to other species their size, so they could remember where the flowers are and when they produce nectar and also remember the migration route they take from Alaska to Mexico. I gave them long life, 12 to 18 years.

From the Omeyocan I listened to the little sounds they make with their throats, they were calling me. The Atoyac Coqueta hummingbird came up there, emitting sounds with its wing feathers when the wind hit them, like a harmonica. He told me in desperation that his brothers are in danger, their habitat, the tropical mountain forest in the State of Guerrero has been reduced to only 40 square kilometers, humans have depredated the area.

He also said that the Slender-tailed Hummingbird suffers the same, its home in the coastal dunes of the Yucatan Peninsula has lost half of its original extension, due to urban growth.

Of the 350 species, 10 percent are threatened; in Mexico, 20 percent are in danger of extinction. It is a shame that in the land of the Mexicas they do not respect natural resources and all living beings.

When I was wounded Ometecuhtli and Omecíhuatl, the creator couple helped me. In these years of absence, Ometecuhtli taught me to fight intelligently and not as I used to do: with my guts. Now I have returned to put an end to the evil towards the hummingbirds.

Huitzilopochtli struck the sorcerer, who defended himself bravely, cast spells, and tried to finish off the god of war. But it was useless, the titan killed him. Then he looked at me and said: all the souls of the hummingbirds you have killed I will take them to the Omeyocan. And if you kill them all, mankind will never see them again. That will be their punishment.

Then he returned to his bird form, suddenly I saw the souls of the hummingbirds flying after him, I heard another roar, and darkness came. When the light came back there was no one.

By Michel Olguín Lacunza and Myriam Núñez, Source: FCPyS-UNAM