Nor, in that happy age, was the land unworthy such a glorious city. Where now the neglected corn-patches surround 98the shabby huts of Tula, in the good old time “the crops of maize never failed, and each ear was as long as a man’s arm; the cotton burst its pods, not white only, but spontaneously ready dyed to the hand in brilliant scarlet, green, blue and yellow; the gourds were so large that they could not be clasped in the arms; and birds of brilliant plumage nested on every tree!”

The subjects of Quetzalcoatl, the Toltecs, were not less marvelously qualified. They knew the virtues of plants and could read the forecast of the stars; they could trace the veins of metals in the mountains, and discern the deposits of precious stones by the fine vapor which they emit; they were orators, poets and magicians; so swift were they that they could at once be in the place they wished to reach; as artisans their skill was unmatched, and they were not subject to the attacks of disease.

The failure and end of all this goodly time came about by a battle of the gods, by a contest between Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli on the one hand, and Quetzalcoatl on the other. Quetzalcoatl refused to make the sacrifices of human beings as required by Huitzilopochtli, and the latter, with Tezcatlipoca, set about the destruction of Tula and its people. This was the chosen theme of the later Aztec bards. What the siege of Troy was to the Grecian poets, the fall of Tula was to the singers and story-tellers of Anahuac— 밤일알바 an inexhaustible field for imagination, for glorification, for lamentation. It was placed in the remote past—according to Sahagun, perhaps the best authority, about the year 319 before Christ.[121] All arts and sciences, 99all knowledge and culture, were ascribed to this wonderful mythical people; and wherever the natives were asked concerning the origin of ancient and unknown structures, they would reply; “The Toltecs built them.”[122]