popocatepetl leyend Picture

There are many versions in popular Mexican culture of supposed accounts of the mountains in Aztec mythology. For instance, in one version Ixtaccihuatl was a princess in an Aztec tribe. When she came of age, her father wanted her to marry an Aztec prince; however, she did not like any of them. One day by chance, she saw a prince named Popocatepetl in the street. He was the prince of a different indigenous tribe in Mexico (the Chichimeca tribe), so when he wrote a letter asking the emperor if he could marry his daughter, the emperor was furious and would not allow it. Ixtaccihuatl insisted on the marriage, though, so the emperor agreed to it on one condition: Popo and his tribe must help the emperor's troops in a war against their enemy. The emperor intended on the prince dying in the war.

Popo and the rest of the Chichimecas joined the Aztecs in war, but the Aztecs abandoned them at the height of the battle. Miraculously, the Chichimecas were still triumphant without the Aztecs' help. Even so, the emperor told his daughter that Popo had died in battle, and he wrote a letter to Popo saying that Ixtaccihuatl had died of sadness in his absence. Popo did not believe the emperor, and sneaked into the palace to reunite with Ixtac. Together, they ran away to get married. When the emperor found out, he disowned his daughter and proclaimed she was dead to him.

Ixtac and Popo built a humble house and lived happily for a few years. Suddenly, Ixtac got sick and died, in spite of Popo's efforts to save her. An earthquake occurred, and two volcanoes formed. A voice from the heavens ordered Popo to bring Ixtac’s body to the peak of one of the volcanoes. He obeyed and placed Ixtac’s body on top of a bed of flowers on the volcano. Popo then lay down next to her and waited to die. Years later, snow covered their dead bodies and they became two mountains. Popo became the mountain with smoke (known as “montaña humeante” or “smoking mountain”, and Ixtac became the mountain without (known as “mujer blanca” or “white woman”
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