The Queen With One Hundred Lovers

An Aztec Folktale

When Axaiacatzin, King of Mexico, and other lords sent their daughters to King Nezahualpilli, for him to choose one to be his queen and lawful wife, whose son might succeed to the inheritance, she who had the highest claims among them, for nobility of birth and rank, was Chachiuhnenetzin, the young daughter of the Mexican King. She had been brought up by the monarch in a seperate palace, with great pomp, and with numerous attendants, as became the daughter of so great a monarch. The number of sevants attached to her household exceeded two thousand. Young as she was, she was exceedingly artful and vicious; so that, finding herslf alone, and seeing that her people feared her on account of her rank and importance, she began to give way to an unlimited indulgence of her power. Whenever she saw a young man who pleased her fancy she gave secret orders that he should be brought to her, and shortly afterwards he would be put to death. She would then order a statue or effigy of his person to be made, and, adourning it with rich clothing, gold, and jewellry, place it in the apartment in which she lived. The number of staues of those whom she thus sacrificed was so great as to almost fill the room. When the king came to visit her, and inquired respecting these statues, she answered that they were her gods; and he, knowing how strict the Mexicans were in the worship of their false dieties, believed her. But, as no inquity can be long committed with entire secrecy, she was finally found out in the manner: Three of the young men, for some reason or other, she had left alive. Their names were Chicuhcoatl, Huitzilimitzin, and Maxtla, one of whom was lord ofTesoyucan and one of the grandees of the kingdom, and the other two nobles of high rank.

It happened that one day the king recognized on the apparel of one of these a very precious jewel which he had given to the queen; and although he had no fear of treason on her part it gave him some uneasiness. Proceeding to visit her that night, her attendants told him she was asleep, supposing that the king would then return, as he had done at other times. But the affair of the jewel made him insist on entering the chamber in which she slept; and, going to wake her, he found only a statue in the bed, adorned with her hair, and closely resembling her. Seeing this, and noticing that the attendants around were in much trepidation and alarm, the king called his guards, and, assembling all the people of the house, made a general search for the queen, who was shortly found at an entertainment with the three young lords, who were arrested with her. The king referred the case to the judges of his court, in order that they might make an inquiry into the matter and examine the parties implicated. These discovered many individuals, servants of the queen, who had in some way or other been accessory to her crimes - workmen who had been engaged in making and adorning the statues, others who had aided in introducing the young men into the palace, and others, again, who had put them to death and concealed their bodies.

The case having been sufficiently investigated, the king dipatched ambassadors to the rulers of Mexico and Tlacopan, giving them information of the event, and signifying the day on which the punishment of the queen and her accomplices was to take place; and he likewise sent through the empire to summon all the lords to bring their wives and their daughters, however young they might be, to be witnesses of a punishment which he designed for a great example. He also made a truce with all the enemies of the empire, in order that they might come freely to see it. The time having arrived, the number of people gathered together was so greatt that, large as was the city of Tezuco, they could scarcely all find room in it. The execution took place publicly, in sight of the whole city. The queen was put to the garrotte, as well as her three gallants; and, from their being persons of high birth, their bodies were burned, together with the effigies before mentioned. The other parties who had been accessory to the crimes, who numbered more than two thousand persons, were also put to the garrotte, nad burned in a pit made for the purpose in a ravine near a temple of the Idol of Adulterers. All applauded so severe and exemplary a punishment, except the Mexican lords, the relatives of the queen, who were much incensed at so public an example, and, although for the time they concealed their resentment, meditated future revenge. It was not without reason, says the chronicler, that the king experienced this disgrace in his household, since he was thus punished for an unworthy subterfuge amde use of by his father to obtain his mother as a wife!

Taken from Spence p129.

The Queen With One Hundred Lovers is tale is about an Aztec king who puts his wife to death for her infidelity, thus bringing disgrace to his household. At the end we find that this disgrace was due because his father had tricked his mother into marrying him. The tale revolves around the royal family, common in Aztec myths. The sacrifices to the idol and the invitations to witness the executions may have served to instill values in the Aztec society through fear. This tale is an example of Aztec folklore, it teaches a lesson, in a uniquely Aztec way, incorporating themes of sacrifice and royalty.

Written by Daniel Larsen.