A to Z Q is for Quetzalcotl

The Quetzalcoatl is a winged serpent, a Mexican legend.

The Quetzalcoatl is a favorite of mine and he plays a role in my latest story. It’s late, and I’m lazy and I had already done all this research, so I’m going to tell his story through the voice of Papi, from Altered. He tells it well. I think you will enjoy it!



“They think they are the winged serpent that has come to save the world?”

“What winged serpent? Oh,” she laughed, remembering the childhood stories. “You mean Quetzalcoatl? You don’t believe in that legend still, do you?”

“You don’t?”

She set her fork down. Her grandfather had not taken his eyes off of her. Neither had her brother.

“It would be good to remember. The stories of your people are not fairy tales.”

Ivana sneered, and then relented. She was in Mexico now. Tradition had not been compromised here. “I’ll listen, Papi.”

“There was another world before ours. Even your scientists know. Quetzalcoatl survived the destruction of that world. When all was done, he took his blood and mixed it with clay.” Papi spat on his hands, clapped them together and rubbed his arms. “He stirred it into the bones from men who died.”

Ivana bit her cheek to keep from smiling. Papi was serious.

Papi tapped his forehead, a scowl on his face. “Science. Just like your NCF.”

If the candles hadn’t been casting eerie shadows on both the men’s faces, Ivana may have laughed, but her grandfather’s words were haunting, and she felt like a little child again, listening to a ghost story.

“Okay. Then what happened after that?”

“What do you think? All of a sudden Quetzalcoatl had a million people at his knees. He had to feed them or they would die. Just like a mother with los niños, he loved them. But where to find food for such a crowd? Ah! Quetzalcoatl had sharp eyes. He saw a red ant, scurrying across the ground with a kernel of corn in his jaws.”

“Ah! Yes, the ant people? The ones who know enough to put food away for winter.”

Papi’s smile broke free. “Now you remember! Good. Quetzalcoatl stopped the ant and asked ‘Where do you get this corn I see’? But the red ant….” Papi shook his head and pouted. “He wouldn’t say. Maybe he doesn’t trust Quetzalcoatl. He said, ‘You will make me a slave to bring food to a million people!’ I don’t know.”

“Still, the ant’s resistance didn’t stop our dragon friend though, did it, Papi?” José laughed.

Papi chuckled. “No. Our dragon is like the Cartel.” Papi gave José a curt glance. “A bully. Azcatl, the ant, finally took Quetzalcoatl to the volcano, the opening to the Earth. The dragon was too big to go where the ant went, so he had to change into an ant. Dyed black by the coal under the Earth, he became a black ant. He followed Azcatl through the narrow cracks in the mountain. Deep inside, Quetzalcoatl discovered the corn. Azcatl let Quetzalcoatl take some to his people. The dragon chewed on the maize to make mash and then fed it to the little people and then they grew. The rest of the seed they planted.”

Ivana laughed. “That’s a crazy story, Papi.”

About Dianne Gardner

With a passion for wholesome and entertaining stories, Dianne Lynn Gardner dives into fantasy novels both adult and young adult. She is both a best selling author and an award winning illustrator who lives in the Pacific Northwest, USA. Mother of seven and grandmother of 16, Dianne wants to make sure that books which ignite imaginations, strengthen friendships, spur courage and applaud honor are available to every reader in the world.
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4 Responses to A to Z Q is for Quetzalcotl

  1. I remember hearing about Quetzalcoatl in primary school, but we never had any amount of detail :). They only told us the winged serpent part.
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  2. I remember studying the Aztecs at school and trying to spell, let alone pronounce Quetzalcotl – the name always scared me and the teacher never told us that legend.
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  3. Yes, I usually need someone to help me say it though. 🙂

  4. timsbrannan says:

    GREAT choice for Q. Plus it is so fun to say.

    Timothy S. Brannan
    The Other Side, April Blog Challenge: The A to Z of Witches
    Ask an Atheist Day

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