Gift to the Hummingbird – Mayan

Tzunuum, the hummingbird, was created by the Great Spirit as a tiny,
delicate bird with extraordinary flying ability. She was the only bird in
the kingdom who could fly backwards and who could hover in one spot for
several seconds. The hummingbird was very plain. Her feathers had no bright
colors, yet she didn’t mind. Tzunuum took pride in her flying skill and was
happy with her life despite her looks.

When it came time to be married, Tzunuum found that she had neither a
wedding gown nor a necklace. She was so disappointed and sad that some of
her best friends decided to create a wedding dress and jewelry as a

Ya, the vermilion-crowned flycatcher wore a gay crimson ring of feathers
around his throat in those days. He decided to use it as his gift. So he
tucked a few red plumes in his crown and gave the rest to the hummingbird
for her necklace. Uchilchil, the bluebird, generously donated several blue
feathers for her gown. The vain motmot, not to be outdone, offered more
turquoise blue and emerald green. The cardinal, likewise, gave some red

Then, Yuyum, the oriole, who was an excellent tailor as well as an engineer,
sewed up all the plumage into an exquisite wedding gown for the little
hummingbird. Ah-leum, the spider, crept up with a fragile web woven of shiny
gossamer threads for her veil. She helped Mrs. Yuyum weave intricate designs
into the dress. Canac, the honeybee, heard about the wedding and told all
his friends who knew and liked the hummingbird. They brought much honey and
nectar for the reception and hundreds of blossoms that were Tzunuum’s

Then the azar tree dropped a carpet of petals over the ground where the
ceremony would take place. She offered to let Tzunuum and her groom spend
their honeymoon in her branches. Pakal, the orange tree, put out
sweet-smelling blossoms, as did Nicte, the plumeria vine. Haaz (the banana
bush), Op the custard apple tree) and Pichi and Put (the guava and papaya
bushes) made certain that their fruits were ripe so the wedding guests would
find delicious refreshments. And, finally, a large band of butterflies in
all colors arrived to dance and flutter gaily around the hummingbird’s
wedding site.

When the wedding day arrived, Tzunuum was so surprised, happy and grateful
that she could barely twitter her vows. The Great Spirit so admired her
humble, honest soul that he sent word down with his messenger, Cozumel, the
swallow, that the hummingbird could wear her wedding gown for the rest of
her life. And, to this day, she has. How did the humility of one long-ago
hummingbird cause its descendants to sport brilliant colors?