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Nican Mopohua (“Thus It Is Told”)


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Chapter 6: The Third Visit to the Bishop

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147. In oacico itecpanchan Obispo connamiquito in icalpixcauh ihuan occequin itlanencahuan in Tlatocateopixqui. When he arrived at the Bishop's residence, the doorkeeper and the other servants of the Governing Priest went to meet him.
Form Challenge 147: What is the function of the word "in" at the beginning of this sentence? How does it differ from the next "in" in the same sentence?
148. Auh quintlatlauhti inic ma quimolhuilican in quenin quimottiliznequi, yece ayac ceme quinec. Amo conmocaccaneque azo ye inic huel oc yohuatzinco; And he begged them to tell him how much he wanted to see him, but none of them was willing. They pretended they didn't understand him, perhaps because it was still very dark;
149. auh anoce inic ye quiximatti zan quintepachoa inic imixtlan pilcatinemi, or perhaps because they felt by now that all he did was to bother them and to keep on insisting,
150. ihuan ye oquinonotzque in imicnihuan in quipoloto in iquac quitepotztocaque. and their companions had already told them, the ones who lost him from sight when they were following him.
151. Huel huecauhtica in otlatolchixticatca. For a long, long time he waited for his request to be granted.
152. Auh in oquittaque ye huel huecauhtica in oncan icac, motololtiticac, tlatenmaticac in azo notzaloz, ihuan in iuhquinma itla quihualitqui, quicuixanoticac; niman ye ic itech onacique inic quittilizque tlein quihuicatz inic inyollo pachihuiz. And when they saw that he was simply standing there for a long, long time with his head down, without doing anything, in case he should be called, and that it looked as if he was carrying something, as if he was bringing it in the hollow of his tilma (cuexäntli); then they came up close to him to see what he was bringing and thus satisfy their curiosity.
153. Auh in oquittac in Juan Diego ca niman ahuel quintlatiliz in tlein quihuicatz, ca ic quitolinizque quitotopehuazque noce ic quimictizque, tepiton quihualnexti ca xochitl. And when Juan Diego saw that there was no way in which he could hide from them what he was carrying and that therefore they might harass him or push him perhaps hurt him and the flowers, he finally gave them a little peek and they saw that it was flowers.
154. Auh in yuhquittaque ca moch caxtillan nepapan xochitl ihuan in camo imochiuhyan in icuac, huel cenca quimahuizoque, ihuan in. quenin huel cenca celtic, inic cueponqui, inic ahuiac, inic mahuiztic. And when they saw that they were all exquisite different flowers and that it wasn't the season for them to be blooming, they were very, very astonished by how fresh they were, how good they smelled, how handsome they seemed.
155. Auh quelehuique inic quezquitetl conanazque, quiquixtilizque. And they wanted to grab and pull a few out.
156. Auh huel expa mochiuhqui inic motlapaloque concuizquia; niman ahuel mochiuhqui, They dared to try to grab them three times, but there was no way in which they could do it,
157. yeica in icuac qui'itzquizquia aocmo huel xochitl in quittaya, zan yuhquima tlacuilolli, noce tlamachtli, noce tlatzontli in itech quittaya tilmatli. because when they would try, they could no longer see the flowers, they saw them as if they were painted or embroidered or sewn on the tilma.
158. Niman ic quimolhuilito. in Tlatoani Obispo in tlein oquittaque, They went immediately to tell the Governing Bishop what they had seen,
159. ihuan in quenin quimottiliznequi in macehualtzintli ye izquipa huallauh, ihuan in ye huel huecauh in ye ic azo onca tlatlatolchixtoc inic quimottiliznequi. and how much the lowly Indian who had come other times wanted to see him, and that he had been waiting a very long time there for permission, because he wanted to see him.
160. Auh in Tlatoani Obispo in oyuh quimocaquiti, niman ipan ya in iyollotzin ca yehuatl in ineltica inic iyollotzin maciz, inic quimoneltililiz in tlein ic nemi tlacatzintli. And as soon as the Governing Bishop heard it, he realized that this was the proof to convince him to get started on what the humble man was asking him for.
161. Niman motlanahuatili inic niman calaquiz, quimottiliz. He immediately ordered that he come in to see him.
Content Challenge 161: The Bishop has been an unbeliever so far, and Juan Diego has had to go back to the Virgin empty-handed twice because of the Bishop's lack of faith. Suddenly he seems far more sympathetic. Has he changed, or has he in fact been consistent? If he has changed, how do we understand the change? For example, has the Virgin exerted quiet influence on him not directly mentioned in the text? Or has he become curious, or weary? What makes sense from the standpoint of the flow of the narrative?
162. Auh in ocalac ixpantzinco mopechtecac, in yuh yeppa quichihuani. And when [Juan Diego] had come in, he prostrated himself in [the Bishop's] presence, as he had done before.
163. Auh occeppa quimotlapohuilili in ixquich oquittac in oquimahuizo ihuan in inetitlaniz. And again he told him what he had seen and admired, and his message.
164. Quimolhuili: "Notecuiyoé, Tlatoanié! Ca ye onicchiuh. Ca ye onicneltili in yuh otinechmonahuatili. He said to him, "Your Excellency, sir! I have done it. I have carried out your orders.
165. Ca huel yuh onicnolhuilito in Tlacatl in Notecuiyo in Ilhuicac Cihuapilli Santa María in Teotl Dios Itlazonantzin, in ticmitlania in tlanezcayotl inic huel tinechmoneltoquitiz, inic ticmochihuililiz in iteocaltzin in oncan mitzmitlanililia, ticmoquechiliz. That is, I went to tell my Mistress, the Queen of Heaven, Holy Mary, the Beloved Mother of God, that you were asking for proof so you could believe me, so that you would make her sacred little house, where she was asking you to build it.
166. Auh ca huel yuh onicnolhuili in onimitznomaquili in notlatol inic nimitzhualnohuiquiliz in itla inezca in ineltica in itlanequiliztzin inic nomac oticmocahuili. And I also told her that I had given you my word to come to bring you some sign, some proof of her will, as you told me to.
167. Auh ca oquihuelmocaquiti in mi'iyotzin in motlatoltzin; auh oquimopaccacelili in ticmitlania in itla inezca, ineltica, inic mochihuaz moneltiliz in itlanequiliztzin. And she listened carefully to your breath, your word, and was pleased to receive your request for the sign, the proof, so that her beloved will can be done, can be carried out.
Content Challenge 167: She was pleased? If so, why?
168. Auh ye in in axcan oc yohuatzinco onechmonahuatili inic occeppa nimitznottiliquiuh. And today, while it was still night, she ordered me to come again to see you.
169. Auh onicnitlanilili in itla inezca inic nineltocoz, in yuh onechmolhuili nechmomaquiliz, auh ca zan niman oquimoneltilili. And I asked her for the proof so that I would be believed, as she had said that she would give it to me, and she kept her promise immediately.
170. Auh onechmihuali in icpac tepetzintli in canin yeppa noconnottiliani inic ompa nictetequitiuh in nepapan Caxtillan xochitl. And she ordered me to the top of the little hill where I had seen her before, to cut different flowers up there; Castilian roses.
171. Auh in onictequito, onic'hualnohuiquilili in oncan tlatzintlan; And when I had cut them, I took them down to her at the bottom;
172. auh ca imaticatzinco conmocuili, and she took them with her holy hands,
Form Challenge 172: What element in the Nahuatl text is being translated "holy" here?
173. occeppa nocuixanco oconhualmotemili, again she placed them in the hollow of my tilma (cuexäntli),
Form Challenge 173: Identify the underlying verb stem in "oconhualmotemili" ("she placed").
174. inic nimitzhualnotquililiz in huel Tehuatzin nimitznomaquiliz. so that I would bring them to you, so I would give them only to you.
175. Macihui in ca huel nicmattia camo imochiuhyan xochitl in icpac tepetzintli, ca zan tetexcalla, netzolla, huitztla, tenopalla, mizquitla. Amo ic oninotzotzon; amo ic nomeyolloac. Although I knew very well that the top of the hill isn't a place where flowers grow, because there are only a lot of craggy rocks, thorns, spiny acacias, prickly pears, mesquite bushes. I didn't doubt because of that; I didn't hesitate because of that.
176. In nacito in icpac tepetzintli in nitlachix ca ye xochitlalpan. When I reached the top of the hill I saw that it was now a paradise.
177. Oncan cenquiztoc in ixquich nepapan tlazoxochitl caxtillancayotl ahuach, tonameyotoc, inic niman onictetequito. All kinds of different precious flowers were there, each one perfect, the very finest that there are, full of dew and shining so I immediately cut them.
178. Auh onechmolhuili inic ipampa nimitznomaquiliz; auh ca ye yuh nic neltilia inic oncan ticmottiliz in itla nezcayotl in ticmitlanilia inic ticmoneltililiz in itlanequiliztzin. And she told me that I should give them to you from her, and that in this way I would show the truth; that your should see the sign that you were asking for in order to carry out her beloved will.
179. Ihuan inic neci ca neltiliztli in notlatol, in nonetitlaniz. And so that it will be clear that my word, my message, is truth.
180. Ca izca; ma xicmocelili." Here they are; please receive them."
181. Auh ca niman ic quihualzouh in iztac itilma in oquicuixanoticaca xochitl. And then he held out his white tilma, in the hollow of which he had placed the flowers.
182. Auh in yuh hualtepeuh in ixquich nepapan caxtillan xochitl. And just as all the different kinds of Castilian roses fell out upon the floor,
All Kinds of Flowers Content Challenge 182: In lines 126, 127, 134, 153, 154, and 157 we were told that Juan Diego found and collected many kinds of (exquisite) flowers —nepäpan (tlazoh-) xöchitl.

But in lines 175, 176, and 181, they are specifically Castilian roses —caxtillan xöchitl— and in line 182 they are specifically many different kinds of Castilian roses —nepäpan caxtillan xöchitl.
Red Castilian Roses
Thus even in the text the flowers have evolved from many kinds of flowers to many kinds of Castilian roses. Some artists, like the one at left, show many different kinds of flowers, others various colors of roses, and some artists, like the one on the right, limit themselves to red roses only.

Is this inconsistency simply an error in Valeriano's account? Or is it somehow part of the story (perhaps the trace of a tradition that is not otherwise represented in this text)? What is the best way for an artist to deal with the problem?

(Thanks to Karandeep Singh, class of 2021, Eleanor Roosevelt College, UCSD, for pointing out this problem.)
183. Niman oncan, momachioti, neztiquiz in Itlazoixiptlatzin iz Cenquizca Ichpochtli SantaMaria Teotl Dios Inantzin in yuhcatzintli axcan moyetztica, then and there, the beloved Image of the Perfect Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of God, became the sign, suddenly appeared in the form and figure in which it is now,
184. in oncan axcan mopixtzinotica in itlazochantzinco in iteocaltzinco Tepeyacac, motocayotia Guadalupe. where it is preserved in her beloved little house, in her sacred little house at Tepeyac, which is called Guadalupe.
The tilma in its shrine todayContent Challenge 184: The narrator interrupts his flow of events just at this climactic moment by referring to the fact that the tilma is still extent and is in "her sacred little house at Tepeyac, which is called Guadalupe." What narrative purpose, if any, is served by that interruption? Explain.

Picture: The Tilma Behind Bulletproof Glass in Its Shrine Today
185. Auh in oyuhquimottili in Tlatoani Obispo ihuan in ixquichtin oncan catca motlancuaquetzque, cenca quimahuizoque. And as soon as the Governing Bishop and all those who were there saw it, they knelt, they were full of awe and reverence.

Bas Relief on the Façade of the Shrine Church at
Tepeyac (left) and the Parish Church of Cupilco (right)
186. Quimotztimoquetzque, tlaocoxque, moyoltoneuhque, yuhquin ahcoya in inyollo inintlalnamiquiliz. They stood up to see it, they became sad, they wept, and their hearts and minds were then in ecstasy.
187. Auh in Tlatoani Obispo choquiztica, tlaocoyaliztica quimotlatlauhtili, quimitlanilili in itlapopolhuililoca inic amo niman oquineltili, in itlanequiliztzin, in i'iyotzin in itlatoltzin. And the Governing Bishop weeping and with sadness begged and asked her to forgive him for not having immediately carried out her will, her holy breath, her holy word.
188. Auh in omoquetz quihualton in iquechtlan ic ilpitacatca in itlaquen, in itilma Juan Diego, And when he got up, he untied Juan Diego's garment, his tilma, from his neck where it was tied, and
189. in itech omonexiti in oncan omomachiotitzino in Ilhuicac Cihuapilli. on which the Queen of Heaven appeared, on which she became the sign.
190. Auh niman ic quimohuiquili; ompa quimotlalilito in ineteochihuayan. And then he took it and placed it in his private chapel.
191. Auh oc onca ocemilhuiti in Juan Diego in ichantzinco Obispo; oc quimotzicalhui. And Juan Diego still stayed for the day in the Bishop's house, he still kept him there.
192. Auh in imoztlayoc quilhui: "Zaque, inic ticteittitiz in canin itlanequiliztzin Ilhuicac Cihuapilli quimoquechililizque in iteocaltzin." And on the next day he said to him: "Come, let's go so you can show where it is that the Queen of Heaven wants her chapel built."
193. Niman ic tetlalhuiloc inic mochihuaz moquetzaz. People were immediately invited to make it, to build it.

Historical Note: The appearance of the roses might have been enough to convince Bishop Zumáraga of the reality of Juan Diego's vision, but the appearance of the Virgin's image inside Juan Diego's cloak provided a lasting object of veneration.

El Padre Eterno Pintando a la Virgen Despite skeptics, both in the past and today, the painting on the tilma is widely considered to be of miraculous origin. In this XVIIIth-century representation by Joaquín Villegas, now hanging in the Museo Nacional de Arte, we see great literalism as God the Father (accompanied by Jesus at the left and the holy spirit as a dove hovering overhead) wields a paintbrush while putti hold up the tilma to facilitate his work.

The miraculous quality of the image continues to be an article of faith today. In the XXth century, some claimed to see a "miraculous photograph" of Juan Diego as a reflection in the pupil of the Virgin's eye on the tilma. This has been taken to suggest that the image came into being as a kind of "photograph" of the Virgin as she looked at Juan Diego. Others see a second or even a third image in the pupil and have argued that they are Juan Gonzáles (Bishop Zumáraga's Nahuatl interpreter) and either the bishop or the Virgin herself (invisible to the human occupants of the chamber), suggesting that the image was formed in a split second just as the tilma was opened.

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