THE LEGEND OF THE KWAYTAYS

By Micki Wendt

 

lake-chapalaOnce upon a time there was a village on a beautiful lake in the mountains of a very faraway land that had almost perfect weather almost all the time. The people fished, grew crops, raised families, and were peaceful and happy and spent a lot of time thanking their gods for their good life.

They had a very wise leader named Mixitupalot who had a strong talent for prophetic dreams. One night, Mixitupalot had a crystal clear vision of a group of light-skinned, strange invaders who would come to take over their land and change their lives forever.  The second part of the vision revealed the peaceful Mixit people repelling these strangers, not with bloodshed, but sheer annoyance, by preventing the invaders from communing with their gods in their strange ways, hoping that they would finally just leave.

It came to pass that in the very lifetime of Mixitupalot, invaders did arrive, and his prophecy was manifested in reality. Called an unprintable name by the Mixits, we will call them the Early Invaders, not to be confused with the Later Invaders who had not yet arrived to completely fulfill Mix’s prophecy. 

Mixitupalot told his people that they could repel these ugly strangers by making as much noise as possible.  The villagers were inspired and energized by building much larger drums and other noisy instruments and having much longer and louder rituals, which had previously been used to repel evil spirits, and lions and tigers and bears as well, evidently a successful strategy.

However, the Early Invaders did not quite respond as expected. They were fascinated by the use of all the drums, but desired to change it to a ritual that would better suit their own selfish goals. These conniving conquerors showed the Mixit people a powder of wondrous properties which could be made to explode in the sky with much noise and bright flashes of light, while propelling the people’s prayers to their gods. 

The Mixits were even more fascinated by this miraculous powder, and so its use began a strange hybrid of the customs of both groups of people resulting in a new form of worship that propelled the prayers of the people to their god, was mostly agreeable to both, and a lot of fun, to boot. The explosive powder was used in a form that came to be known as Kwaytays.

Centuries went by in the lovely fishing village with its many noisy and fun fiestas, until gradually, a new type of Invaders began to arrive.  With the vision of Mixitupalot firmly entrenched in the DNA of his descendents and the lore handed down from the elders, the Mixits realized what was happening and what they had to do. 

The Later Invaders were not hostile or warlike, but rather, very annoying in some of their customs, such as their elders parading around the pueblo flashing their flaccid flesh as if they were perpetual teenagers, a propensity to anger quickly and complain about small things, and a somewhat arrogant but befuddled pomposity.  Therefore, annoyance seemed to be the best way to get rid of them.

The second part of Mixitupalot’s vision became more clear as his descendants actually sometimes witnessed the strange worship of the Later Invaders, which curiously occurred not in public rituals, but inside their houses.  These people had strange devices that allowed them to connect to their main god, Jaytec, and his daughter, Teleheroina, and her brother, the lesser, but still great god, Gugul. They devoutly spent hours a day worshipping this trinity, but perfect quiet and concentration were required – a somber discipline, indeed.

The Descendants of Mixitupalot were inspired by the prophecy to make their own worship rituals even louder and more frequent, hoping that their exuberance would interfere with the connection of the Later Invaders to their own gods, and hopefully, they would just leave out of frustration.

Neither group wanted all-out warfare, so a certain subtle friction ensued between the Mixits and the Later Invaders. The Descendents of Mixitupalot loved their traditions too much to change, and the Later Invaders loved the weather too much to leave.

So, a certain uneasy truce evolved, and both groups lived happily ever after.  Well, sort of.

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