THE VIRGIN THAT DECIDED TO LEAVE HOME
(Legend from Tlayacapan, Morelos)
Traveling in Mexico is wonderful. We like going to new places whenever the opportunity arises. One day, Emily and I decided to go down to Mexico City. We spent ten days there, and visited the pyramids in Teotihuacan, the city of Puebla, the charming mining town of Taxco and also a small town called Tepoztlan in the state of Morelos. That is a great place to visit! There’s so much tradition and there are lots of things to do. We even climbed a pyramid on top of a mountain!
Next time we visited our dear friend don Evaristo, we told him all about our trip and Emily showed him and doña Almanda some wonderful photos she took. Don Evaristo was really interested in the pictures of Tepoztlan.
“I’ve never been to Tepoztlan,” he said. “Even though we’re getting too old now for real traveling, next time we visit our son in Mexico City, we plan to get down to Tepoztlan.” Legend written by Homero Adame.
Doña Almanda went to get the lunch and we sat in the garden, chatting with don Evaristo, as usual. “Did you go to Tlayacapan?” he asked.
“No, we didn’t. Where’s that?” we wondered.
“It’s a little town in Morelos, very near Tepoztlan. And there’s a beautiful convent where there is a statue called ‘The Virgin of the Transit’,” he said, “and there’s a tale attached to Virgin of the Transit, a fine Colonial story. Legend has it that one day she decided to leave her original home in Tepoztlan, and went to find a new home in another town.” Legend written by Homero Adame.
“We’re all ears!,” Emily exclaimed.
“Well, it is said that this Virgin of the Transit was the patroness of Tepoztlan,” don Evaristo began, “and one day the Tepoztecos took her to Tlayacapan. The statue was in bad shape and there was a man from Tlayacapan who knew how to restore these Colonial figures. The statue was soon as good as new and the Tepoztecos started out on their journey to take it back home, but they were caught on the road at nightfall and had to sleep out under the stars. Imagine their consternation when they woke up the next morning and found that the image was gone! Vanished into thin air! They suspected that the inhabitants of Tlayacapan, envious of such a beautiful image, stole the figure while they were all asleep.
“So, they went straight back to Tlayacapan and… there was the statue! They were furious, and threatened their neighbors with war if they tried to steal the image of their beloved Virgin again. The Tlayacapanese were speechless! They could not explain the return of the figure!
“So the Tepoztecos set off again to take the image home to Tepoztlan. It was quite a long journey, so of course, they had to camp in the mountains again. This time, however, they decided to leave someone on guard all night. But in the morning, they found the figure was gone again! And the guard could not explain how it disappeared!
“The now extremely angry Tepoztecos saw some little footprints and decided to follow them. And, of course, the trail led straight back to…Tlayacapan! From the fresh tracks around the pool on Tlatoani hill, it appeared that the ‘Virgin’ had recently stopped to have a drink of water there…
“Their anger melted into incredulity at the discovery, since they realized that no one had stolen the statue at all! It walked back to Tlayacapan on its own two feet! This time, they were not in the least surprised to find the ‘Virgin’ back in the convent again! And there she is, to this very day!”
“What a sweet story, don Evaristo!” Emily said.
“Yes, isn’t it? And, since the conquest, similar legends of virgins or saints deciding to stay in a certain place, with slight regional variations, have become common all over Mexico,” don Evaristo explained.
“What happened in the end?” I asked. “Was there a war between the two villages?”
“No, not at all! From that day on, the people from Tepoztlan go on special pilgrimages to Tlayacapan, to honor their own patroness!” Legend found at http://adameleyendas.wordpress.com/2010/11/06/myths-and-legends-from-the-state-of-morelos-the-virgin-that-decided-to-leave-home/
Written by Homero Adame and translated by Pat Grounds. Originally published in the English textbook Orbit 3. By Homero Adame, Pat Grounds and Carol Lethaby. Ediciones Castillo, S.A. de C.V. Monterrey, Mexico. 2000. Pp. 112-113.
You can find more Mexican myths and legends on this link: Mexican folk stories.