Legend of the Tule Tree

A long time ago, when men began to be sedentary, a very little place was settled. It was a place with many animals and different kinds of weather. I'll continue telling you the story...there was a beautiful tree and under its roots ran an underground river which gave food to the tree for its beautiful foliage, and it made the tree the most beautiful in the town.

Under its fresh leaves, the animals were pleased to go to rest and to talk peacefully because, at that time, all the animals lived together and spoke the same language. They were complaining, especially the lion, the deer, the crocodile, the snake, the elephant and the turtle, about the wickedness of men and they said that they suffered because of them.

One day, all of the animals decided to talk with "Pitao", the god who protected the animals. He listened very carefully to the problems of his subjects and he thought it over for a short time and said: "This is the problem. The winner in the infinite food chain is the strongest and, in this case, men, with their intelligence can capture you, and you don't know how to defend the freedom that nature gives you."

But, Lord, we don't have their weapons to defend ourselves, the animals said. "But you have your bodies and the environment as weapons. Now, go home because it's late and you have already listened to my advice. Use your own strength to defend yourselves and be nimble, clever and alert to any danger."

After the god's words, the animals walked in line to the exit of the cave where the god "Pitao" lived. They walked in silence, under the moonlight; nobody did even the least activity. They were walking near the tree when suddenly a lot of hunters arrived from all directons. The animals were very scared and they tried to run away. The tree was watching this entire episode and thinking about the impending slaughter and decided to do something. He called the animals and said, "Quick! You need to hide yourselves inside my branches." and they did so. The hunters didn't find them and they were very disappointed. But something happened. The animals were stuck in the tree, and they couldn't get out.

The tree's action made the god 'Xoco", protector of the hunt, angry and he turned the animals into the trunk of the tree. They would be his religious offering. And with the animals' lives the tree was fed life and this supply helped it to live for many centuries. The heads of the animals were drawn on the trunk for eternity.

The god "Pitao" took pity on them and he decided to talk with the god, "Xoco". This god refused to give this gift to the animals because the tree had taken his offering and with all his anger he wanted to punish the god, "Pitao" because the tree was his responsibility.

"Since you love the most uncommon animals, I will kill them," "Xoco'" said; he pointed with his finger and out shot a lot of little needles. They flew all over the town and they were buried in the necks of the animals and killed them immediately. The god, "Pitao", became so indignant that he made the sun hotter so that all kinds of flora were dried up because he said that they were no longer helpful for the extinct animals.

And when the god, "Xoco" saw how the land had dried up, he said: "Stop it and I will give a gift to your tree, but stop the dryness that is spreading over my kingdom."

The god, "Pitao" stopped the strong sunbeams and said: "Give me all the animals that men need and you and I will be happy." And in this way he returned the dog, the cow, the sheep, the cattle, and the hens to the men, but there was something left: the climate was not good, and the gods agreed to give a steppe climate to this land.

And not far from there, people see a very beautiful and luminous tree. Yes, it was our tree! It survived thanks to the underground river. The god, "xoco' thought that this was divine and said: "I don't know how I hesitated to give a gift to this tree of our beautiful garden." And with these words, magically, the tree was surrounded by people. Yes, the gift was human protection! and now and forever, people will protect it.
The gods saw this and said these heavenly words to the tree: "You will be named the Tule Tree. It means:

  • T: you (Tu')
  • U: will unite (Uniras)
  • L: the (Los)
  • E: enemies (Enemigos)

And the men listened to the words of the gods and told the tree with much love: "Tule Tree, you are our friend!"

The Tule Tree
Author: Ximena Diaz-Cid
Original Language: Spanish
English Tranlation: Carmen Cid-Velasco

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