This is a heartfelt journey you will not soon forget. A boy and his tiger will capture your heart on their journey to becoming a legend.
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Chapter 1 The Flames of Ignorance
July 12, 1562.
Bishop Diego de Landa Calderon stands and watches as a large bonfire is started. A young priest stands by a table that has a large pile of Mayan codices on it. Many Spanish conquistadors are guarding them and thousands of Mayans are watching this ceremony, put on for their benefit. The Mayans whisper among themselves about the scene they are observing.
The priest walks over to the bishop and says, "Your Grace… is this really necessary? It seems wrong to destroy all of their written history. They seem to be upset by this. Should we not be trying to build a more harmonious relationship--?"
The bishop raising his finger to the sky cuts off the priest. He has a very angry look on his face and yells, "God! Is the only one these people should seek harmony with! There is no written history here. These are teachings of Satan, which must be destroyed. There are none that are not teachings of Satan."
The bishop walks over to the table and grabs one of the codices. He opens it, holding one end as the other end falls to the ground. It is folded back and forth, and opens like an accordion. He points to one of the crudely drawn pictures close to the top and says, "Do you see!"
It seems to be a Mayan priest on top of a pyramid. He is standing over a woman with a dagger raised above his head. The woman is lying on her back on a table about to be sacrificed.
The bishop says in a calm condescending tone, "Do you see? The very first one I take is showing them how to sacrifice another human being. Have I not spoken the truth?"
The priest seems to be ignoring the bishop. His eyes are fixed on the picture below the one the bishop refers to. It seems to be a white man on top of a pyramid. He is wearing a long black robe and holding a woman in his arms, like one might carry in wood for a fireplace. Beside him is a large white tiger that stands as tall as him.
The priest says in a puzzled tone, "Your grace... look... it seems to be a white man and a tiger."
The bishop looks at the picture with a furrowed brow. He motions to one of the Mayans, his translator, who quickly walks over to the bishop.
The bishop asks," What does this mean?"
The Mayan nervously says something in his language. The only word they can understand is Aztec.
The bishop says in an angry frustrated tone, "In English!"
The Mayan seems to be thinking of how to word it for a moment and says, "It is... Aztec… it is story… legend."
The bishop starts violently putting the codices back together.
In an angry tone he says, "This is my proof. The people of these lands share the teachings of Satan. The only way to stop this is to destroy all of the writings. If we do not, then they will return to the teachings of Satan."
The priest says, "But your grace."
The bishop walks over near the fire and throws the codices. As it flies through the air it comes unraveled again and lands in the fire. The flames lick around it. The picture of the man… holding the woman… by the tiger… is consumed by the fire.