How Music Came To The World
The tale of how the sky god Tezcatlipoca, and the wind god Quetzalcoatl brought music into the world.
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One day two gods met on a wild and windy plain. One was Tezcatlipoca, the sky god. The other was Quetzalcoatl, the wind god. They were both very powerful. Sometimes they fought each other. But sometimes, like this time, they helped each other.
Tezcatlipoca spoke first. 'What took you so long?' he said. 'It's the hurricane season,' said Quetzalcoatl. 'I've been busy. I've been whipping up the waves.'
'This is more important than hurricanes!'
'I'll be the judge of that,' said the wind god. 'Stop huffing for a moment and listen,' said Tezcatlipoca. 'What do you hear?' Quetzalcoatl listened. 'Nothing,' he said.
'Exactly! Nothing! No one sings. No one plays a note. The only sound to be heard is the sound of your roaring. We need to wake up the world, Wind. And I don't mean hurricanes. We need music!'
'Music?' said Quetzalcoatl. 'What does that have to do with me? I have no music.' 'I know,' the sky god said, 'but I'll tell you who does have it: the Sun. He surrounds himself with singers and music-makers who play and sing for him all day long, and he won't share their music with us.' 'Won't share?' said Quetzalcoatl. 'That's not fair.'
'I know,' said Tezcatlipoca. 'So listen, Wind. I want you to travel to the House of the Sun. I want you to bring back the best singers and the best musicians. Remember,' he said as the wind god unfolded his wings, 'we need to wake up the world. We need music!'
Quetzalcoatl hurled himself into the air. He flew over land and sea, searching the endless coastline for a single beach. He knew there was only one way he could travel to the House of the Sun.
Spying the beach, at last, he landed and called out the names of the sky god's three servants: Cane and Conch, Water Woman, and Water Monster. When they were all before him, he ordered them to make a bridge.
The servants grabbed hold of each other. They began to grow tall and thin and to twine together like a rope. They turned into a strong rope bridge that disappeared into the sky. Quetzalcoatl climbed the bridge, following it higher and higher, as the Earth grew smaller and smaller below. Finally, he came to the House of the Sun. He could see its towers shimmering in the distance. Getting to them was not so easy, though. He had to find his way through a maze of streets with high walls. He kept getting lost and going around in circles.
Nearly ready to give up, he heard a beautiful sound that he had never heard before. It was cool and bright. It was sweet and light. It was music. Quetzalcoatl followed the sound until it led him out of the maze. Then he saw the musicians in the great courtyard of the Sun. The flute players were dressed in golden yellow. The wandering minstrels wore blue. The lullaby singers were dressed in white, and the singers of love songs wore red.
Suddenly the Sun saw Quetzalcoatl. 'Stop playing!' he cried. 'Stop singing! It's that terrible wind! Don't even speak to him, or he will take you back to that silent planet of his!'
Quetzalcoatl lifted his wings and called 'Musicians! Come with me!'
None of them said a word.
Again the wind god cried out, 'Singers! Musicians! The Lord of the Sky commands you!'
The musicians remained silent.
Quetzalcoatl did not like to be ignored. He exploded with anger, like a hundred hurricanes going off at once. Lightning cracked and thunder boomed and clouds swirled around the House of the Sun, turning the daylight into darkness. The wind god roared as if there was no end to his voice. Everything fell down. The Sun flickered like a tiny flame. The musicians ran to the wind and huddled in his lap, trembling with fear.
Instantly the wind's anger passed. The thunder faded and the clouds vanished. Quetzalcoatl took the musicians in his arms and left the House of the Sun, moving through the maze as if it were not there. The wind god was filled with great happiness as he followed the sky bridge back to Earth. He felt like a father carrying his children home.
The Earth could also feel that something new was coming - something it needed and had been secretly wishing for. As the wind god came nearer, the Earthlet out a slow sigh of relief. Its fruit began to ripen and its flowers began to bloom with new, deeper colours. The whole planet seemed to be waking up from a long sleep.
Finally Quetzalcoatl touched down on the Earth with the musicians and singers. They looked around curiously at the silent, waiting planet. Then they began to play. Through forests and valleys and deserts and oceans they wandered, filling the air with music. Soon people learned to sing and play, and so did the trees and birds, the whales and wolves, the running streams, the crickets and frogs, and every other creature. From dawn to dusk the melodies spread until music covered the Earth. The wind god was pleased. So was the sky god. The musicians were happy with their new home. And ever since that day, the Earth has been filled with music.
Last updated on: Sunday 20th August 2017
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