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A War Hero

According to Mexican Aztec legend

A very long time ago, the Aztecs were a tribe of nomads wandering through Mexico looking for a homeland where the sun was hot and the mountain breezes fresh. The tribe was led by a brave warrior named Huitzitzil. One day, they found the spot they had been seeking and began to build their city.

What they didn't know was that neighbouring tribes coveted this location. Warriors from neighbouring tribes were therefore approached to chase Huitzitzil and his tribe away. The Aztecs put up a brave fight. Huitzitzil's skill with his long, pointed spear was outstanding. Just as the last of the fighters from the neighbouring tribes were at the point of taking refuge, an arrow soared through the air and pierced Huitzitzil's heart, killing him immediately.

Many of the Aztec warriors saw their chief fall. They knew they couldn't stay there any longer, because the enemy had renewed courage and was beginning to regroup. The Aztecs hurried to attack again. Some of them rushed to retrieve the body of their hero, but it had disappeared. Suddenly, a beautiful green hummingbird appeared, humming at the spot where Huitzitzil had fallen. The Aztecs knew right away that this bird was the spirit of their hero.

Since Huitzitzil means "to be outstanding with a spear," there was no doubt in the minds of the Aztecs: the bird that used its long beak as a warrior's spear was their hero. But because Huitzitzil had always worn a bracelet of bright hummingbird feathers on his left wrist to show the esteem in which he held this bird, the Aztecs asked themselves if their leader had been a hummingbird before becoming a warrior, or if he had been transformed into a bird as a reward from the gods for his courage.

The Aztecs revered the hummingbird as their god of war. When they later learned that the Toltecs - their conquering enemy - had also had a warrior transformed into a hummingbird, they began to believe that every warrior who died in the battle was transformed into a hummingbird. At first, each hummingbird warrior was given a moment of rest in gardens full of bird-of-paradise flowers. This was believed necessary to become a warrior.

After a while, they were ordered to wander the fields. They were warned to always be ready for battle; they had to polish their skills. Thus, if you see hummingbirds fighting, don't be surprised they are training for war before becoming warriors!