Popocatepetl, a great Aztec warrior, was in love with a beautiful maiden named Iztaccihuatl. Iztaccihuatl was the daughter of the tribal king. The two lovers went to the king to ask for permission to be married. The king told them he would allow the marriage only if Popocatepetl was successful in battle with an enemy tribe. Popocatepetl went off to battle and stayed away for many, many long days.
Another soldier who had secretly loved Iztaccihuatl came to the home of Iztaccihuatl and told the king that Popocatepetl had been killed in battle. Hearing this terrible news, the king called his daughter and told her of her lover’s death. Iztaccihuatl was so saddened by this news that she was unable to do anything but cry. She could not eat. She could not sleep. All she was able to do was cry, for her heart had broken.Unable to console his grieving daughter, the king blamed himself for making Popocatepetl prove himself in battle.
Soon, Iztaccihuatl, unable to be consoled, died of her broken heart. The king, greatly saddened by the death of his only daughter, had her taken up high into the mountains where he could always look up and see her.
On the very day that she was taken to the mountains, Popocatepetl returned, victorious, and went to Iztaccihuatl’s father to claim his bride. Upon hearing of her death, Popocatepetl was so shocked and saddened that he went up into the mountains to look for Iztaccihuatl. Upon finding her, he knelt down and picked her up, placing her on his raised knee. Popocatepetl lit a torch so that Iztaccihuatl’s spirit might find its way back to her body and she might come back to life.
To this day, Popocatepetl still stands guard over his lovely bride and the torch still smokes. They can both be seen for hundreds of miles.
High above Mexico City are two volcanoes, the larger one named Popocatepetl and the smaller, Iztaccihuatl.