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Papalotzin and the Monarchs: A Bilingual Tale of Breaking Down Walls

“Papalotzin and the Monarchs: A Bilingual Tale of Breaking Down Walls” is a story written by Rigoberto González and published in the Fall 2006 issue of Teaching Tolerance magazine.  
Author
Rigoberto González
Grade Level

English

The day finally arrived when the Great North built a Great Wall to separate itself from the Great South. Nothing and no one was allowed to pass anymore, not even the clouds or the wind that once flowed from one side of the sky to the other.

A wall with butterflies on one side.

At first, the people of the Great South didn’t mind so much. Besides, they thought, they were the fortunate ones: The monarch butterflies had remained on their side of the wall, fluttering around like flakes of orange and gold every day of the year.

 

But Papalotzin, Royal Butterfly among the Aztecs, was very upset by this. Since time began the butterflies had moved freely back and forth. Their migration was like the circulation of life on Earth!

Papalotzin was right to be concerned. When the butterflies tired of flying in circles before the imposing wall, they began to drop to the ground. Once the monarchs were gone, there was no more color in the sky, and everything began to fade to gray. The sunflowers lost their yellows. The browns of the tree trunks, the reds of the apples, the pinks of people’s hands — all of it began to disappear! Even the proud grasshopper became depressed when he was left invisible without his green coat.

The people of the Great South cried for help: “Oh, great Papalotzin, soon we will all be colorless ... as death!”

Papalotzin peeked over the Great Wall and discovered that the people of the Great North also were suffering. Everything on the other side also was fading into gray. The strawberries were no longer red. The oranges were no longer orange. And the conversational blue jay stopped talking because he had nothing to say without the brilliant blue of his feathers. “Whatever shall we do?” the people of the Great North cried out.

Papalotzin knew he had to save the people on both sides, but also the animals, the flowers, the fruits, and even the sun, which was losing its shine, and even the moon, which was losing its sheen, and even the skies, which were becoming dull as sand.

With his Royal Butterfly foot, Papalotzin kicked and crumbled the Great Wall that divided the Great North from the Great South. He then breathed deeply and blew a gust of wind from his Royal Butterfly lungs to launch the monarchs into the air.

A large red butterfly blows other butterflies over a pile of stones.

 

In flight once more, the monarchs spread across the skies; immediately the colors started coming back. Everyone celebrated, North and South: “¡Urraaa! Hooraaay!” The grasshopper jumped in happiness now that he was visible again, and the blue jay sang, joyful in his brilliant blue.

The Great North and the Great South decided it was best to leave things this way, to let the monarchs, and everything and everyone, migrate back and forth for the rest of time. And Papalotzin thought so, too, as he flapped his great wings and pushed the beautiful rainbows high into the sky.

Español

 Al fin llegó el día en el que el Gran Norte construyó una Gran Muralla para apartarse del Gran Sur. Nada ni nadie podía pasar de un lado al otro, ni siquiera las nubes, ni el viento que antes había zurcado el cielo.

Al principio, a la gente del Gran Sur no le había importado el asunto. Además, pensaban, eran afortunados. Las mariposas monarcas se habían quedado de su lado. Y allí estaban todas, revoloteando como hojuelas anaranjadas y doradas todos los días del año.

La situación molestó a Papalotzin, dios de los monarcas. Desde tiempos lejanos las mariposas siempre se habían desplazado libremente de un lado al otro. ¡La migración era como la circulación de la vida en la Tierra!

Sus razones tenía Papalotzin por preocuparse. Cuando las mariposas se cansaron de revolotear ante la imponente muralla, empezaron a caer al suelo. Al desaparecer ellas, ya no hubo colores en el cielo. Todo lo demás empezó a descolorarse. Los girasoles perdieron su amarillo. El café de los troncos de árbol, el rojo de las manzanas, el rosado en las manos de la gente—todo ello desaparecía. Hasta el digno saltamontes se deprimió cuando se quedó invisible al perder su abrigo verde.

La gente del Gran Sur ayuda: "¡Oh, Papalotzin!, ¡pronto estaremos tan descoloridos … como la muerte!"

Papalotzin se asomó sobre la Gran Muralla y descubrió que la gente del Gran Norte también sufría. Todo de ese lado también se estaba quedando descolorido. Las fresas ya no eran rojas. Las naranjas ya no estaban anaranjadas. Y el pájaro azul tan platicador dejó de hablar por que ya no tenía más que decir sin el azul brillante de sus plumas. "¿Qué vamos a hacer?" gritó la gente del Gran Norte.

Papalotzin sabía que tenía que rescatar a las gentes de ambos lados, al igual que a los animales, las flores, las frutas, y hasta el sol que ya estaba perdiendo su resplandor, y hasta la luna que iba perdiendo su lustre, y hasta los cielos que se estaban quedando gris como la arena.

Con su gran pié de dios, Papalotzin pateó y derrumbó la Gran Muralla que había dividido al Gran Norte del Gran Sur. Luego resolló profundamente y sopló un aire fuerte con sus pulmones de dios lanzando al aire a las mariposas.

De nuevo en vuelo, los monarcas se desparramaron por todos los cielos y de inmediato los colores regresaron con vida. Todo el Norte y el Sur se puso de fiesta: ¡Urraaa! Hooraaaay! Y hasta el saltamontes brincó de felicidad una vez que volvió a ser visible. El pájaro azul comenzó a cantar, alegre de su color brillante.

El Gran Norte y el Gran Sur decidieron que era mejor dejar las cosas así, que los monarcas, y que todo y todos, pudieran migrar de un lado al otro de así en adelante. Y Papalotzin pensó lo mismo mientras que aleteaba sus grandes alas que empujaban a los bellos arcos iris hacia lo alto del cielo.

Source
Copyright © Teaching Tolerance.
Text Dependent Questions
Question
What happened as a result of the Great Wall?
Answer
“Nothing and no one was allowed to pass anymore.”
Question
Based on the rest of the paragraph, what does the word “concerned” mean in the first sentence?
Answer
It means worried.
Question
What happened once the monarch butterflies fell to the ground?
Answer
All the colors of things began to fade to gray.
Question
How did Papalotzin resolve the story’s problem?
Answer
He broke down the wall and sent the monarchs into the air on the north side of the wall. Once they were flying again,
 the colors came back.
Question
What words would you use to describe Papalotzin?
Answer
Choices could include words like courageous, colorful, brave, caring, concerned and heroic.