folklore and legends

The Legend of Fire and the Hummingbird

The Hummingbird Drinks its Sweet Food (Fernando Delgado Aguirre)

Once upon a time there was a woman who went to her chacra, her fields, to gather yucas, beans, and squash in order to make a meal. On her way back she found a hummingbird that was not moving and was in her path. It had gotten wet and could not move. Much less could it insert its long beak into a flower in order to drink its sweet food.

The women felt bad and picked up the hummingbird and took it home to warm it up and return to it the power of its wings and beak. In her house she brought it close to her burning stove so that the heat would dry the hummingbird’s beautiful wings.

With great pleasure the bird rolled around in the hot ashes and shook its wings as if giving itself a dust bath for health. It felt life returning after a strange and dark trip. Its wings were agile and light like before. Its beak now would obey it to get nectar from flowers.

But then without being aware, the women stepped on one of the hummingbird’s dark feet. In shock it shook its wings and accidentally caught its tail on fire. It flew away and once distant from the house paused on a dry trunk in the forest and there it left its flames.

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