FROM MOUSE TO BAT
When the Creator and Shaper made all the animals, each species was eager to know where they would live, and he assigned their habitats to them.
The happiest were the birds who flew singing to the trees to build their nests. Only Tx'ow, the mouse, didn't move. He stood there open-mouthed contemplating the marvelous flight of the birds.
"Go on," the Creator told him. "Go eat the kernels of corn, seeds, and all the forgotten pieces of food."
But Tx'ow wouldn't move. His body shook with resentment.
The Creator, very angry, picked him up by the tail and threw him in the brush. Tx'ow still could not say a word. He only stared at the flight of the singing birds with his eyes popping out. Then he looked at himself and became very sad. He could make little jumps, but fly? No, he could never achieve that.
Now is the time to act, he said to himself. He decided to call together all the members of his species. There weren't many in those times. Well, he thought, they must be as discontented as I am.
Tx'ow easily convinced his brothers and sisters that they deserved more. One afternoon the delegation of mice came before the god, as he rested from the work of creation.
"What do you want? Speak up," he ordered them.
The delegation tried to speak but it could not. All they could say was, witz'itz'i, witz'itz'i.
"What do you want? Speak up," the Creator commanded.
The mice tried with a great effort to speak but they could not.
They only said witz'itz'i, witz'itz'i.
The wise god understood what they had come for and he said to them, "You want to fly like the birds?"
The delegation broke out in a big racket of witz'itz'i, witz'ittti nodding their heads yes.
"Very good," the Creator said, "Tomorrow you should appear at tx'eqwob'al, the place for jumping, and, I will give you your opportunity."
The mice went away satisfied, believing that a favorable resolution was at hand. To celebrate, there was a great rejoicing among the roots that night.
When the sun came up, the Creator was waiting at the place he had chosen to meet the unhappy mice. "Ready for the test?" he asked. "Those who can jump over this ravine will instantly receive wings and go flying away. And those who do not succeed will remain as they are."
The discontented mice filed up one by one and launched out on the grand adventure. Those whose efforts carried them to the other side received wings and went flying off to the caverns, looking still like mice except for their wings. Those who did not succeed resigned themselves to their fate.
When the great test was over, the Creator warned them, "I don't want you returning to bother me anymore. You who are mice will continue eating grain and seeds. If you want, you can climb the trees and make your nests there. On the other hand those who now have wings will from now on be called Sotz', the bats. For them day will be night. They will feed on mosquitoes and blood, and sleep hanging upside down from the walls of nhach'en, the caverns, today and forever."
So it was that Tx'ow, the mouse, learned to accept himself and understood that his relatives, the bats, had not found happiness in their new condition either. They lost their tails and their toes grew long in order to cling to the rocks.
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