In the place where the spirits live, there was once a woman who cried constantly for food. She had mouths in her wrists, mouths in her elbows, and mouths in her ankles and knees. "She can't eat here," said the other spirits. "She will have to live somewhere else."

But up above, there was only the empty air, and to the right and to the left and in front and behind, it was just the same. In those days the world had not been created. Nevertheless, there was something underneath that seemed to be water. How it had got there nobody knew. "If we put her below," they thought, "then perhaps she will be able to satisfy her hunger."

No sooner had the thought occurred than the spirits Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca seized the woman and dragged her down to the water. When they saw that she floated, they changed into snakes, stretching over her in the form of a cross, from right arm to left leg and from left arm to right leg. Catching her hands and feet, they squeezed her from all four directions, pushing so hard that she snapped in half at the waist.

"Now look what we've done," they said, and not knowing what else to do, they carried the bottom half back to the spirit place. "Look," they cried. "What's to be done with this?"

"What a shame," said the other spirits. "But never mind. We'll use it to make the sky." Then, to comfort the poor woman, they all flew down and began to make grass and flowers out of her skin. From her hair they made forests, from her eyes, pools and springs, from her shoulders, mountains, and from her nose, valleys. At last she will be satisfied, they thought. But just as before, her mouths were everywhere, biting and moaning. And still she hasn't changed.

When it rains, she drinks. When flowers shrivel, when trees fall, or when someone dies, she eats. When people are sacrificed or killed in battle, she drinks their blood. Her mouths are always opening and snapping shut, but they are never filled. Sometimes at night, when the wind blows, you can hear her crying for food.