Maya and Aztec

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations

The Book of the People: POPOL VUH. Part III. Chapter 1-10. Translated by Delia Goetz and Sylvanus Griswold Morley from Adrián Recino’s translation

Category: Books, Popol Vuh

PART III: Chapter 1

Here, then is the beginning of when it was decided to make

man, and when what must enter into the flesh of man was sought.

And the Forefathers, the Creators and Makers, who were called Tepeu and Gucumatz said: “The time of dawn has

come, let the work be finished, and let those who are to nourish and sustain us appear, the

noble sons, the civilized vassals; let man appear, humanity, on the face of the earth.”

Thus they spoke.

They assembled, came together and held council in the darkness and

in the night; then they sought and discussed, and here they reflected and thought. In this

way their decisions came dearly to light and they found and discovered what must enter into

the flesh of man.

It was just before the sun, the moon, and the stars appeared over

the Creators and Makers.

From Paxil, from Cayalá, as they were called, came

the yellow ears of corn and the white ears of corn.

These are the names of the

animals which brought the food: yac (the mountain cat), utiú (the

coyote), quel (a small parrot), and hoh (the crow). These four animals gave

tidings of the yellow ears of corn and the white ears of corn, they told them that they

should go to Paxil and they showed them the road to Paxil.

And thus they found the

food, and this was what went into the flesh of created man, the made man; this was his

blood; of this the blood of man was made. So the corn entered [into the formation of man] by

the work of the Forefathers.

And in this way they were filled with joy, because they

had found a beautiful land, full of pleasures, abundant in ears of yellow corn and ears of

white corn, and abundant also in pataxte and cacao, and in innumerable

zapotes, anonas, jocotes, nantzes, matasanos, and honey.

There was an abundance of delicious food in those villages called Paxil and


There were foods of every kind, small and large foods, small plants

and large plants.

The animals showed them the road. And then grinding the yellow corn

and the white corn, Xmucané made nine drinks, and from this food came the strength

and the flesh, and with it they created the muscles and the strength of man. This the

Forefathers did, Tepeu and Gucumatz, as they were called.

After that they began to

talk about the creation and the making of our first mother and father; of yellow corn and of

white corn they made their flesh; of corn-meal dough they made the arms and the legs of man.

Only dough of corn meal went into the flesh of our first fathers, the four men, who were


III. Chapter 2


created and formed: the first man was Balam-Quitzé, the second, Balam-Acab, the

third, Mahucutah, and the fourth was Iqui- Balam.

These are the names of our first

mothers and fathers.

It is said that they only were made and formed, they had no

mother, they had no father. They were only called men. They were not born of woman, nor were

they begotten by the Creator nor by the Maker, nor by the Forefathers. Only by a miracle, by

means of incantation were they created and made by the Creator, the Maker, the Forefathers,

Tepeu and Gucumatz. And as they had the appearance of men, they were men; they talked,

conversed, saw and heard, walked, grasped things; they were good and handsome men, and their

figure was the figure of a man.

They were endowed with intelligence; they saw and

instantly they could see far, they succeeded in seeing, they succeeded in knowing all that

there is in the world. When they looked, instantly they saw all around them, and they

contemplated in turn the arch of heaven and the round face of the earth.

The things

hidden [in the distance] they saw all, without first having to move; at once they saw the

world, and so, too, from where they were, they saw it.

Great was their wisdom; their

sight reached to the forests, the rocks, the lakes, the seas, the mountains, and the

valleys. In truth, they were admirable men. Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and


Then the Creator and the Maker asked them: “What do you think of

your condition? Do you not see? Do you not hear? Are not your speech and manner of walking

good? Look, then! Contemplate the world, look [and see] if the mountains and the valleys

appear! Try, then, to see!” they said to [the four first men].

And immediately

they [the four first men] began to see all that was in the world. Then they gave thanks to

the Creator and the Maker: “We really give you thanks, two and three times! We have

been created, we have been given a mouth and a face, we speak, we hear, we think, and walk;

we feel perfectly, and we know what is far and what is near. We also see the large and the

small in the sky and on earth. We give you thanks, then, for having created us, oh, Creator

and Maker! for having given us being, oh, our grandmother! oh, our grandfather!” they

said, giving thanks for their creation and formation.

They were able to know all, and

they examined the four comers, the four points of the arch of the sky and the round face of

the earth.

But the Creator and the Maker did not hear this with pleasure. “It is

not well what our creatures, our works say; they know all, the large and the small,”

they said. And so the Forefathers held counsel again. “What shall we do with them now?

Let their sight reach only to that which is near; let them see only a little of the face of

the earth! It is not well what they say. Perchance, are they not by nature simple creatures

of our making? Must they also be gods? And if they do not reproduce and multiply when it

will dawn, when the sun rises? And what if they do not multiply?” So they spoke.

“Let us check a little their desires, because it is not well what we see. Must they

perchance be the equals of ourselves, their Makers, who can, see afar, who know all and see


Thus spoke the Heart of Heaven, Huracán, Chipi-Caculhá,

Raxa-Caculhá, Tepeu, Gucumatz, the Forefathers, Xpiyacoc, Xmucané, the Creator

and the Maker. Thus they spoke, and immediately they changed the nature of their works, of

their creatures.

Then the Heart of Heaven blew mist into their eyes, which clouded

their sight as. when a mirror is breathed upon. Their eyes were covered and they could see

only what was close, only that was clear to them.

In this way the wisdom and all the

knowledge of the four men, the origin and beginning [of the Quiché race], were


In this way were created and formed our grandfathers, our fathers, by the

Heart of Heaven, the Heart of Earth.

III. Chapter 3

Then their wives had

being, and their women were made. God himself made them carefully.

And so, during

sleep, they came, truly beautiful, their women, at the side of Balam-Quitzé,

Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam.

There were their women when they awakened, and

instantly their hearts were filled with joy because of their wives.

Here are the

names of their wives: Cahá-Paluna was the name of the wife of Balam-Quitzé;

Chomihá was the wife of Balam-Acab; Tzununihá, the wife of Mahucutah; and

Caquixahá was the name of the wife of Iqui-Balam. These are the names of their wives,

who were distinguished women.

They conceived the men, of the small tribes and of the

large tribes, and were the origin of us; the people of Quiché.

There were many

priests and sacrificers; there were not only four, but those four were the Forefathers of

us, the people of the Quiché.

The names of each one were different when they

multiplied there in the East, and there were many names of the people: Tepeu, Olomán,

Cohah, Quenech, Ahau, as they called those men there in the East, where they multiplied.

The beginning is known, too, of those of Tamub and those of Ilocab who came together from

there in the East.

Balam-Quitzé was the grandfather and the father of the nine

great houses of the Cavec; Balam-Acab was the grandfather and father of the nine great

houses of the Nimhaib; Mahucutah, the grandfather and father of the four great houses of


Three groups of families existed; but they did not forget the

name of their grandfather and father, those who propagated and multiplied there in the


The Tamub and Ilocab also came, and thirteen branches of peoples, the thirteen

of Tecpán, and those of Rabinal, the Cakchiquel, those from Tziquinahá, and

the Zacahá and the Lamaq, Cumatz, Tuhalhá, Uchabahá, those of

Chumilahá, those of Quibahá, of Batenabá, Acul-Vinac, Balamihá,

the Canchahel, and Balam-Colob.

These are only the principal tribes, the branches of

the people which we mention; only of the principal ones shall we speak. Many others came

from each group of the people, but we shall not write their names. They also multiplied

there in the East.

Many men were made and in the darkness they multiplied. Neither

the sun nor the light had yet been made when they multiplied. All lived together, they

existed in great number and walked there in the East.

Nevertheless, they did not

sustain nor maintain [their God]; they only raised their faces to the sky, and they did not

know why they had come so far as they did.

There they were then, in great number, the

black men and the white men, men of many classes, men of many tongues, that it was wonderful

to hear them.

There are generations in the world, there are country people, whose

faces we do not see, who have no homes, they only wander through the small and large

woodlands, like crazy people.

So it is said scornfully of the people of the wood. So

they said there, where they saw the rising of the sun.

The speech of all was the

same. They did not invoke wood nor stone, and they remembered the word of the Creator and

the Maker, the Heart of Heaven, the Heart of Earth.

in this manner they spoke, while

they thought about the coming of the dawn. And they raised their prayers, those worshipers

of the word [of God], loving, obedient. and fearful, raising their faces to the sky when

they asked for daughters and sons:

“Oh thou, Tzacol, Bitol! Look at us, hear us!

Do not leave us, do not forsake us, oh, God, who art in heaven and on earth, Heart of

Heaven, Heart of Earth! Give us our descendants, our succession, as long as the sun shall

move and there shall be light. Let it dawn; let the day come! Give us many good roads, flat

roads! May the people have peace, much peace, and may they be happy; and give us good life

and useful existence! Oh, thou Huracán, Chipi- Caculhá,

Raxá-Caculhá, Chipi-Nanauac, Raxá-Nanauac, Voc, Hunahpú, Tepeu,

Gucumatz, Alom, Qaholom, Xpiyacoc, Xmucané, grandmother of the sun, grandmother of

the light, let there be dawn, and let the light come!”

Thus they spoke while

they saw and invoked the coming of the sun, the arrival of day; and at the same time that

they saw the rising of the sun, they contemplated the Morning Star, the Great Star, which

comes ahead of the sun, that lights up the arch of the sky and the surface of the earth, and

illuminates the steps of the men who had been created and made.

III. Chapter4

Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam said, “Let us await

the break of day.” So said those great wise men, the enlightened men, the priests and

sacrificers. This they said.

Our first mothers and fathers did not yet have wood nor

stones to keep; but their hearts were tired of waiting for the sun. Already all the tribes

and the Yaqui people, the priests and sacrificers, were very many.

“Let us go,

let us go to search and see if our [tribal] symbols are in safety; if we can find what we

must burn before them. For being as we are, there is no one who watches for us,” said

Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam.

And having heard of a

city, they went there.

Now then, the name of the place where Balam-Quitzé,

Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui- Balam and those of Tamub and Ilocab went was

Tulán-Zuivá, Vucub-Pec, Vucub-Ziván. This was the name of the city

where they went to receive their gods.

So, then, all arrived at Tulán. It was

impossible to count the men who arrived; there were very many and they walked in an orderly


Then was the appearance of their gods; first those of Balam-Quitzé,

Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam who were filled with joy: “At last we have found

that for which we searched!” they said.

And the first that appeared was Tohil,

as this god was called, and Balam-Quitzé put him on his back, in his chest. Instantly

the god called Avilix appeared, and Balam-Acab carried him.

The god called Hacavitz

was carried by Mahucutah; and Iqui-Balam carried the one called Nicahtacah.


together with the people of the Quiché, they also received those of Tamub. And in the

same way Tohil was the name of the god of the Tamub who received the grandfather and father

of the Lords of Tamub, whom we know today.

In the third place were those of Ilocab.

Tohil was also the name of the god who was received by the grandfathers and the fathers of

the lords, whom we also know today.

In this way, the three Quiché [families]

were given their names and they did not separate, because they had a god of the same name,

Tohil of the Quiché, Tohil of the Tamub and [Tohil] of the Ilocab; one only was the

name of the god, and therefore the three Quiché [families] did not separate.

Great indeed was the virtue of the three, Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz.

Then all

the people arrived, those from Rabinal, the Cakchiquel, those from Tziquinahá, and

the people who now are called the Yaqui. And there it was that the speech of the tribes

changed; their tongues became different. They could no longer understand each other clearly

after arriving at Tulán. There also they separated, there were some who had to go to

the East, but many came here.

And their clothing was only the skins of animals; they

had no good clothes to put on, the skins of animals were their only dress. They were poor,

they possessed nothing, but they had the nature of extraordinary men.

When they

arrived at Tulán-Zuivá, Vucub-Pec, Vucub-Zivan, the old traditions say that

they had traveled far in order to arrive there.

III. Chapter 5

And they did

not have fire. Only the people of Tohil had it. He was the god of the tribes which first

created fire. It is not known how it was made, because it was already burning when

Balam-Quitzé and Balam-Acab saw it.

“Ah, we have no fire yet! We shall

die of cold,” they said. Then Tohil said to them: “Do not worry! Yours shall be

the lost fire which is talked of. Yours shall be what is spoken of as lost fire,” Tohil

said to them.

“Really? Oh, God, our support, our maintenance, thou, our

God!” they said, returning thanks.

And Tohil answered: “Very well,

certainly I am your God; so shall it be! I am your Lord; so let it be!” Thus it was

told to the priests and sacrificers by Tohil. And in this manner the tribes received fire

and they were joyful because of it.

Instantly a great shower began to fall when the

fire of the tribes was burning. Much hail fell on all the tribes and the fire was put out

because of it, and again the fire was extinguished.

Then Balam-Quitzé and

Balam-Acab again asked Tohil for fire. “Oh, Tohil, we are truly dying of cold!”

they said to Tohil.

“Very well, do not worry,” Tohil answered, and

instantly he made fire, turning about in his shoe.

Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab,

Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam were at once happy and immediately they became warm.


the fire of the peoples [of Vucamag] had also gone out and they were dying of cold.

immediately they came to ask Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam

for fire. They could no longer bear the cold nor the ice; they were shivering and their

teeth were chattering; they were numb; their legs and hands shook and they could not hold

anything in them, when they came.

“We are not ashamed to come before you, to beg

for a little of your fire,” they said. But they were not well received. And then the

tribes were very sad.

“The speech of Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah,

and Iqui-Balam is different! Oh! We have given up our speech! What have we done? We are

lost. How were we deceived? We had only one speech when we arrived there at Tulán; we

were created and educated in the same way. It is not good what we have done,” said all

the tribes under the trees, under the vines.

Then a man came before

Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam and [this man], who was a

messenger of Xibalba, spoke thus: “This is, in truth, your God; this is your support;

this is, furthermore, the representation, the memory of your Creator and Maker. Do not give

your fire to the tribes until they present offerings to Tohil. It is not necessary that they

give anything to you. Ask Tohil what they should give when they come to receive fire,”

said the man from Xibalba. He had wings like the wings of a bat. “I am sent by your

Creator, your Maker,” said the man of Xibalba.

They were filled with joy then,

and Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz were also gladdened when the man from Xibalba spoke, who

disappeared instantly from their presence.

But the tribes did not perish when they

came, although they were dying of cold. There was much hail, black rain and mist, and

indescribable cold.

All the tribes were trembling and shivering with cold when they

came where Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam were. Their hearts

were greatly troubled and their mouths and eyes were sad.

In a moment the beggars

came before Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui- Balam and said: “Will

you not have pity on us, we only ask a little of your fire? Perchance, were we not [once]

together and reunited? Did we not have the same home and one country when we were created,

when we were made? Have mercy, then, on us!” they said.

“What will you give

us so that we shall have mercy on you?” they were asked.

“Well, then, we

shall give you money,” the tribes answered.

“We do not want money,”

said Balam-Quitzé and Balam-Acab.

“And what do you want?” [asked the


“We shall ask now” [said Balam-Quitzé].


well, “said the tribes.

“We shall ask Tohil and then we shall tell

you,” they answered.

“What must the tribes give, oh, Tohil! who have come

to ask for your fire?” said Balam- Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and


“Well! Are they willing to give their waist and their armpits? Do

they want me to embrace them? For if they do not want to do that, neither shall I give them

fire,” answered Tohil.

“Tell them that this shall come later, that they do

not have to come now to give me their waist and their armpits. This is what Tohil orders us

to tell you, you will say.” This was the answer to Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab,

Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam.

Then they took Tohil’s message. “Very well, we shall

join you and we shall embrace him,” they [the people] said when they heard and were

told the message from Tohil. And they did not delay in acting. “Good,” they said,

“but may it be soon!” And immediately they received the fire. Then they became


III. Chapter 6

There was nevertheless a tribe who stole the fire in

the smoke; and they were from the house of Zotzil. The god of the Cakchiquel was called

Chamalcán and he had the form of a bat.

When they passed through the

smoke, they went softly and then they seized the fire. The Cakchiquel did not ask for the

fire, because they did not want to give themselves up to be overcome, the way that the other

tribes had been overcome when they offered their breasts and their armpits so that they

would be opened. And this was the opening [of the breasts] about which Tohil had spoken;

that they should sacrifice all the tribes before him, that they should tear out their hearts

from their breasts.

And this had not yet begun when the taking of power and

sovereignty by Balam-Quitzé, Balam.-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam was prophesied by


There in Tulán-Zuivá, whence they had come, they were accustomed

to fast, they observed a perpetual fast while they awaited the coming of dawn and watched

for the rising sun.

They took turns at watching the Great Star called Icoquih,

which rises first before the sun, when the sun rises, the brilliant Icoquih, which was

always before them in the East, when they were there in the place called

Tulán-Zuivá, whence came their god.

It was not here, then, where they

received their power and sovereignty, but there they subdued and subjected the large and

small tribes when they sacrificed them before Tohil, and offered him the blood, the

substance, breasts, and sides of all the men.

In Tulán power came instantly to

them; great was their wisdom in the darkness and in the night.

Then they came, they

pulled up stakes there and left the East. “This is not our home; let us go and see

where we should settle,” Tohil said then.

In truth, he was accustomed to talk to

Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui- Balam: “Give thanks before

setting out; do what is necessary to bleed your ears, prick your elbows, and make your

sacrifices, this shall be your thanks to God.”

“Very well, “they said,

and took blood from their ears. And they wept in their chants because of their departure

from Tulán; their hearts mourned when they left Tulán.

“Pity us!

We shall not see the dawn here, when the sun rises and lights the face of the earth,”

they said at leaving. But they left some people on the road which they followed so that they

would keep watch.

Each of the tribes kept getting up to see the star which was the

herald of the sun. This sign of the dawn they carried in their hearts when they came from

the East, and with the same hope they left there, from that great distance, according to

what their songs now say.

III. Chapter 7

They came at last to the top of a

mountain and there all the Quiché people and the tribes were reunited. There they all

held council to make their plans. Today this mountain is called Chi- Pixab, this is the name

of the mountain.

There they reunited and there they extolled themselves: “I am,

I, the people of the Quiché! And thou, Tamub, that shall be thy name.” And to

those from Ilocab they said: “Thou, Ilocab, this shall be thy name. And these three

Quiché [peoples] shall not disappear, our fate is the same,” they said when they

gave them their names.

Then they gave the Cakchiquel their name: Gagchequeleb was

their name. In the same way they named those of Rabinal, which was their name, and they

still have it. And also those of Tziquinahá, as they are called today. Those are the

names which they gave to each other.

There they were come together to await the dawn

and to watch for the coming of the star, which comes just before the sun, when it is about

to rise. “We came from there, but we have separated,” they said to each other.

And their hearts were troubled; they were suffering greatly; they did not have food; they

did not have sustenance; they only smelled the ends of their staffs and thus they imagined

they were eating; but they did not eat when they came.

It is not quite clear,

however, how they crossed the sea; they crossed to this side, as if there were no sea; they

crossed on stones, placed in a row over the sand. For this reason they were called Stones in

a Row, Sand Under the Sea, names given to them when they [the tribes] crossed the sea, the

waters having parted when they passed.

And their hearts were troubled when they

talked together, because they had nothing to eat, only a drink of water and a handful of

corn they had.

There they were, then, assembled on the mountain called Chi-Pixab. And

they had also brought Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz. Balam-Quitzé and his wife

Cahá-Paluna, which was the name of his wife, observed a complete fast. And so did

Balam-Acab and his wife, who was called Chomihá; and Mahucutah and his wife, called

Tzununihá, also observed a complete fast, and Iqui-Balam. with his wife, called

Caquixahá, likewise.

And there were those who fasted in the darkness, and in

the night. Great was their sorrow when they were on the mountain, called Chi-Pixab.

III. Chapter 8

And their gods spoke to them again. Thus Tohil, Avilix, and

Hacavitz spoke to Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam: “Let us

go, let us get up, let us not stay here, take us to a secret place! Already dawn draws near.

Would it not be a disgrace for you if we were imprisoned by our enemies within these walls

where you, the priests and sacrificers. keep us? Put each of us, then. in a safe

place,” they said when they spoke.

“Very well. We shall go on, we shall go

in search of the forests,” all answered.

Immediately after, they took up their

gods and put them on their backs. In this way they carried Avilix to the ravine called

Euabal-Ziván, so named by them, to the large ravine of the forest. now called

Pavilix, and there they left him. In this ravine he was left by Balam-Acab.

They were

left one by one. The first one left was Hacavitz, he was left on a large red pyramid, on the

mountain now called Hacavitz. There they founded their town, there in the place where

the god called Hacavitz, was.

In the same way, Mahucutah left his god, who was the

second one hidden by them.

Hacavitz was not in the forest, but on a hill cleared of

trees, Hacavitz was hidden.

Then Balam-Quitzé came, he came there to the large

forest; Balam-Quitzé came to hide Tohil at the hill which is today called

Patohil. Then they celebrated the hiding of Tohil in the ravine, in his refuge. A

great quantity of snakes, jaguars, vipers, and cantiles were in the forest where they

were hidden by the priests and sacrificers.

Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab,

Mahucutah. and Iqui-Balam were together; together they awaited the dawn, there on the

mountain, called Hacavitz.

And a short distance away, was the god of the people of

Tamub and of the people of Ilocab.

Amac-Tan, the place is called, where the god of

the Tamub [people] was, and there dawn came to the tribes. The place where those from Ilocab

awaited the dawn was called Amac- Uquincat; there was the god of those of

Ilocab, a short distance from the mountain.

There. too, were all the people of

Rabinal, the Cakchiquel, the Tziquinahá, all the small tribes, and the large tribes.

Together they stayed. awaiting the coming of the dawn and the rising of the large star

called Icoquih, which rises just before the sun, when it dawns, according to the legend.

There they were together, then, Balam-Quitzé. Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and


They did not sleep; they remained standing and great was the anxiety of

their hearts and their stomachs for the coming of dawn and the day. There, too, they felt

shame; they were overcome with great sorrow, great suffering. and they were oppressed with


They had come that far. “Oh. we have come without joy! If only we could

see the rising of the sun! What shall we do now? If we lived in harmony in our country, why

did we leave it?” they said to each other, in the midst of their sadness and

affliction, and with mournful voices.

They talked, but they could not calm their

hearts which were anxious for the coming of the dawn. “The gods are seated in the

ravines, in the forests, they are among the air-plants, among the mosses, not even a seat of

boards were they given,” they said.

First there were Tohil, Avilix, and

Hacavitz. Great was their glory, their strength, and their power over the gods of all the

tribes. Many were their miracles, and countless their journeys, and their pilgrimages in the

midst of the cold; and the hearts of the tribes were filled with fear.

But calm were

the hearts of Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam. With respect to

them [the gods]. They felt no anxiety in their hearts for the gods whom they had received,

and had carried on their backs when they came there from Tulán-Zuivá, from

there in the East.

They were there, then, in the forest, now called Zaquiribal,

Pa-Tohil, P’Avilix, Pa-Hacavitz.

And next came the dawn, and light shone for our

grandparents and our parents.

Now we shall tell of the coming of the dawn and the

appearance of the sun, the moon, and the stars.

III. Chapter 9

Here, then,

is the dawn, and the coming of the sun, the moon, and the stars.


Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam were very happy when they saw the Morning Star. It

rose first, with shining face, when it came ahead of the sun.

Immediately they

unwrapped the incense which they had brought from the East, and which they had planned to

burn, and then they untied the three gifts which they had planned to offer.


incense which Balam-Quitzé brought was called Mixtán-Pom; the incense which

Balam- Acab brought was called Cavixtán-Pom; and that which Mahucutah brought was

called Cabauil-Pom. The three had their incense and burned it when they began to dance

facing toward the East.

They wept for joy as they danced and burned their incense,

their precious incense. Then they wept because they did not yet behold nor see the


But, then, the sun came up. The small and large animals were happy; and

arose from the banks of the river, in the ravines, and on the tops of the mountains, and all

turned their eyes to where the sun was rising.

Then the puma and the jaguar roared.

But first the bird called Queletzú burst into song. In truth, all the animals were

happy, and the eagle, the white vulture; the small birds and the large birds stretched their


The Priests and the sacrificers were kneeling; great was the joy of the

priests and sacrificers and of the people of Tamub and Ilocab and the people of Rabinal, the

Cakchiquel, those from Tziquinahá, and those from Tuhalhá, Uchabahá,

Quibahá, from Batená, and the Yaqui Tepeu, all those tribes which exist today.

And it was not possible to count the people. The light of dawn fell upon all the tribes at

the same time.

Instantly the surface of the earth was dried by the sun. Like a man

was the sun when it showed itself, and its face glowed when it dried the surface of the


Before the sun rose, damp and muddy was the surface of the earth, before the

sun came up; but then the sun rose, and came up like a man. And its heat was unbearable. It

showed itself when it was born and remained fixed [in the sky] like a mirror. Certainly it

was not the same sun which we see, it is said in their old tales.


afterward Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz were turned to stone, together with the deified beings

the puma, the jaguar, the snake, the cantil, and the hobgoblin. Their arms became

fastened to the trees when the sun, the moon, and the stars appeared. All alike, were

changed into stone. Perhaps we should not be living today because of the voracious animals,

the puma, the jaguar, the snake, and the cantil, as well as the hobgoblin; perhaps

our power would not exist if these first animals had not been turned into stone by the


When the sun arose, the hearts of Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah,

and Iqui-Balam were filled with joy. Great was their joy when it dawned. And there were not

many men at that place; only a few were there on the mountain Hacavitz. There dawn came to

them, there they burned their incense and danced, turning their gaze toward the East, whence

they had come. There were their mountains and their valleys, whence had come

Balam-Quitzé, Balam- Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam, as they were called.


it was here where they multiplied, on the mountain, and this was their town; here they were,

too, when the sun, the moon, and the stars appeared, when it dawned and the face of the

earth and the whole world was lighted. Here, too, began their song, which they call

camucú; they sang it, but only the pain in their hearts and their innermost

selves they expressed in their song. “Oh pity us! In Tulán we were lost, we were

separated, and there our older and younger brothers stayed. Ah, we have seen the sun! but

where are they now, that it has dawned?” so said the priests and the sacrificers of the


Because, in truth, the so-called Tohil is the same god of the Yaqui, the one

called Yolcuat- Quitzalcuat.

“We became separated there in Tulán, in

Zuyva, from there we went out together, and there our race was created when we came,”

they said to each other.

Then they remembered their older brothers and their younger

brothers, the Yaqui, to whom dawn came there in the land which today is called Mexico. Part

of the people remained there in the East, those called Tepeu Olimán, who stayed

there, they say.

They felt much grief in their hearts, there in Hacavitz; and sad,

too, were the people from Tamub and Ilocab, who were also there in the forest called

Amac-Tan. Where dawn came to the priests and sacrificers of Tamub and to their god, who also

was Tohil, because one and the same was the name of the god of the three branches of the

Quiché people. And this is also the name of the god of the people of Rabinal, for

there is little difference between that and the name of Huntoh, as the god of the people of

Rabinal is called; for that reason, it is said, they wanted to make their speech the same as

that of the Quiché.

Well, the speech of the Cakchiquel is different, because

the name of their god was different when they came from there, from Tulán-Zuyva.

Tzotzihá Chimalcan was the name of their god, and today they speak a different

tongue; and also from their god the families of Ahpozotzil and Ahpoxa, as they are called,

took their names.

The speech of the god was also changed when they were given their

god there, in Tulán, near the stone; their speech was changed when they came from

Tulán in the darkness. And being together, dawn came to them and the light shone on

all the tribes, in the order of the names of the gods of each of the tribes.

III.Chapter 10

And now we shall tell of their stay and abode there on the mountain, where

the four called Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam were together.

Their hearts mourned for Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz, whom they had placed among the

air-plants and the moss.

We shall tell now how they made the sacrifices at the foot

of the place where they had carried Tohil, when they arrived in the presence of Tohil and

Avilix. They went to see them, to greet them, and also to give them thanks for the arrival

of the dawn. They were in the thicket amidst the stones, there in the woods. And only by

magic art did they speak when the priests and sacrificers came before Tohil. They did not

bring great gifts, only resin, the remains of the gum, called noh, and

pericón, they burned before their gods.

Then Tohil spoke; only by a

miracle he gave counsel to the priests and sacrificers. And they [the gods] spoke and said:

“Truly here shall be our mountains and our valleys. We are yours; great shall be our

lory and numerous our descendents, through the work of all men. Yours are all the tribes and

we, your companions. Care for your town, and we shall give you your learning.

“Do not show us before the tribes when we are angered by the words of their mouths,

or because of their conduct. Neither shall you permit us to fall into a snare. Give us,

instead, the creatures of the woods and of the fields, and also the female deer, and the

female birds. Come and give us a little of your blood, have pity upon us. You may have the

skins of the deer and guard us from those whose eyes have deceived us.


then, [the skin of] the deer shall be our symbol which you shall show before the tribes.

When they ask ‘Where is Tohil?’ show the deerskin before their eyes. Neither shall you

show yourselves. for you shall have other things to do. Great shall be their position; you

shall dominate all the tribes; you shall bring your blood and their substance before us, and

those who come to embrace us, shall be ours also,” thus spoke Tohil, Avilix, and


They had the appearance of youths, when those who came to offer gifts saw

them. Then the persecution of the young of the birds and of the deer began, and the fruit of

the chase was received by the priests and sacrificers. And when they found the young of the

birds and the deer, they went at once to place the blood of the deer and of the birds in the

mouths of the stones, that were Tohil and Avilix.

As soon as the blood had been drunk

by the gods, the stones spoke, when the priests and the sacrificers came, when they came to

bring their offerings. And they did the same before their symbols, burning

pericón and holom-ocox.

The symbols of each one were there where

they had been placed on the top of the mountain.

But they [the priests] did not live

in their houses by day, but walked over the mountains, and ate only the young horseflies,

and the wasps, and the bees which they hunted; they had neither good food nor good drink.

And neither were the roads from their homes known, nor did they know where their wives had


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