Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/382

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volcano is known as the "White Woman," and from the plains of Amecameca and from the city of Mexico the resemblance to a dead woman, lying on her bier and covered with a white sheet, is most suggestive. The neck is a trifle long, and the protuberance of the breasts carried a little too far down, giving an undue prominence to the abdomen; but the dead face is perfect, and the hair streams in silvery locks from the snowy forehead back over the head and down the sides of the bier. Her feet are turned toward her companion giant, grim old Popocatapetl, and between the two lies a long, uneven ridge, mainly beneath the snow-line, brown, and for the most part treeless. Popocatapetl wears a solid crown of glittering snow,

TLM D382 La Mujer Blanca.jpg


which appears jagged and sun-bitten at about the same level as La Mujer Blanca, where his diadem loses itself in little streams, that trickle down his giant shoulders.

There is a tradition among the Indians that these two volcanoes were once living beings, in the early years of the world, in the shape of a giant and giantess. The Supreme Deity became offended at some acts of theirs, and changed them into mountains. He struck the giantess dead, and there she lies to this day, stretched silent upon her bier, robed in glistening white. The giant was merely rooted fast to the spot, where he could contemplate his loved companion; and he was wont to express his indignation and grief by fiery floods of lava tears, and by