A Story from the Aztec People of Mexico

Aztec
Image by GazzaS via Flickr

It is said by our Grandparents that a long time ago there was a great fire in the forests that covered our Earth. People and animals started to run, trying to escape from the fire. Our brother owl, Tecolotl, was running away when he noticed a small bird hurrying back and forth between the nearest river and the fire. He headed toward this small bird.

He noticed it was our brother the Quetzal bird, Quetzaltototl, running to the river, picking up small drops of water in his beak, then returning to the fire to throw that tiny bit of water on the flame. Owl approached Quetzal bird and yelled at him: “What are you doing brother? You are not going to achieve anything by doing this. You must run for your life!”

Quetzal bird stopped for a moment and looked at owl, and then answered: “I am doing the best I can with what I have.”

It is remembered by our Grandparents that a long time ago the forests that covered our Earth were saved from a great fire by a small Quetzal bird, on owl, and many other animals and people who got together and put out the flames.

— As told by Margaret J. Wheatley in Turning to One Another

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