How The Quetzal Got It's Red Breast
By: Aesha
A long time ago in the Sierra de las Minas, a bunch of mountains in Guatemala, A bird called the quetzal flew through the rain forest that was full of trees. The bird protected the Mayan leader in war flying above him with lots of colors of green on his feathery part. In the year 1524, a person from Spain called Pedro de Alvarado marched with his army into Guatemala. Alvarado found the Mayan world filled with art, science and greatness. Even at that time period, The Mayan culture was an old culture. The ancient people had made great pyramids and an very exact calendar. Their showy written language, carved in stone, told a intelligence of hard mathematics and astronomy. Pedro de Alvarado was not into these wonders. Instead, he had come to take over the Mayas and capture their gold. Coming at the highland city of Quetzaltenango, the red head person from Spain led a destructive attack on the Mayans. Spanish Conquerors with shining armors, knives and guns fought the Mayas, who tried to find things that they could protect themselves with like wicker shields, clubs and spears. Alvarado battled the Maya chief Tecun Uman by himself. Uman's guardian bird the quetzal flew above the bloody fight, flying in different ways because of the clubs and swords that were being thrown at other people. At that time Alvarado's lance cut through the chief's heart and the quetzal fell to the ground. It's emerald green feathery part covered Uman's not living body. At morning , the quetzal rose and flew up off of Uman's body. It's beautiful green chest feathers had turned crimson, covered with the blood of the dead Mayan chief. From that moment on, The chest feathers of the quetzals have been the color of blood. Quetzals still fly in the forests in Guatemala which are at risk of going away. Their long green tail feathers and blood red chests make them a good sight for naturalists. Artists have put quetzal birds in patterns that were woven into Guatemalan cloth. Modern hands trade Guatemalan money that have the quetzal name. They also trade official medals and signs that carry the bird's image. But the quetzals do not have their emerald green chest feathers anymore. The red stain of the blood, spilled by the conquerors long ago, is put up for public sight as the long ago, important quetzal bird flies over its forest habitat that is slowly going away.