Tlamachilliztlatolçaçanilli: A Performance Translaton of the Nahuatl "Wisdom-Discourse Fables" from the Manuscript of 1558

Willard Gingerich


The 10 page Nahuatl manuscript included at the end of the so called Codice ChimalPopoca and commonly referred to since 1903 as Leyenda de los soles, "Legend of the Suns", or the "Manuscript of 1558", is a fundamental witness to indigenous Nahua-Mexica memories of their own cosmogony and earliest history as they recalled these things some twenty-five-pIus years into the colonial era. As supplement to the later Anales de Cuauhtitlan manuscript (ca. 1570-73) which accompanies it in the Chimalpopoca, the 1558 manuscript provides a privileged view of Nahua-Aztec genesis myths, from a Mexica informant. The narrative frame of this retelling makes it c1ear that by 1558 these memories had become "fabIes," tales, fictions -a mythology- but fables of still hauting power and beauty, unforgettable and irrepressible for all their putative demonic origins. 1 have chosen to can this witness record by the name it gives itself: Tlarnachiliztlatolraranilli, "Wisdom Discourse Fables."