Cortés' version of Montezuma's speech on the day the
Spaniards entered Tenochtitlán, as he reports in his letter to
the King of Spain:
"For a long time we have known from the
writing of our ancestors that neither I, not any of those who
dwell in this land, are natives of it, but foreigners who came
from very distant parts; and likewise we know that a chieftain
of whom they were all vassals brought our people to this region.
And he returned to his native land and after many years came again,
by which time all those who had remained were married to native
women and had built villages and raised children. And when he
wished to lead them away again they would not go, not even admit
him as their chief; and so he departed. And we have always held
that those who descended from him would come and conquer this
land and take us as their vassals. So because of the place from
which you claim to come, namely from where the sun rises, and
the things you tell us of the great lord or king who sent you
here, we believe and are certain that he is our natural lord,
especially as you say that he has known of us for some time. So
be assured that we will obey you and hold you as our lord in place
of that great sovereign of whom you speak; and in this there shall
be no offence or betrayal whatsoever. And in all the land that
lies in my domain, you may command as you will, for you shall
be obeyed; and all that we own is for you to dispose of as you
choose. Thus now as you are in your own country and your own house,
rest now after the hardships of your journey."
The Aztec version of the same speech:
"Our lord, thou hast suffered fatigue,
thou hast endured weariness. Thou hast come to arrive on earth.
Thou hast come to govern thy city of Mexico; thou hast come to
descend upon thy mat, upon thy seat, which for a moment I have
guarded for thee. For thy governors are departed - the rulers
Itzcoatl, Montezuma the Elder, Axayactl, Tizoc, Auitzotl, who
yet a very short time ago had come to govern the city of Mexico.
O that one of them might witness, might marvel at what to me
now hath befallen, at what I see now that they have quite gone.
I by no means merely dream, I do not merely dream that I see thee,
that I look into thy face. I have been afflicted [troubled] for
some time. I have gazed at the unknown place whence thou hast
come - from among the clouds, from among the mists. And so this.
The rulers departed maintaining that thou wouldst come to visit
thy city, that thou wouldst come to descend upon thy mat, upon
thy seat. And now it has been fulfilled; thou hast come. Thou
hast endured fatigue, thou hast endured weariness. peace be with
thee. Rest thyself. Visit thy palace. Rest thy body. My peace
be with our lords...."