Maya and Aztec

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations

The Book of the People: POPOL VUH. Part IV. Chapter 1-12. Translated by Delia Goetz and Sylvanus Griswold Morley from Adrián Recino’s translation

Category: Books, Popol Vuh

PART IV: Chapter 1

NOW, THEN, MANY TOWNS WERE BEING founded, one by one, and

the different branches of the tribes were being reunited and settled close to the roads, their roads which they had opened.

As for Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah,

and Iqui-Balam, it was not known where they were. But when they saw the tribes that passed

on the roads, instantly they began to shout on the mountain-tops, howling like a coyote,

screaming like a mountain cat, and imitating the roaring of the puma and the jaguar.

And the tribes seeing these things, as they walked, said: “Their screams are like

those of the coyote, of the mountain cat, of the puma, and of the jaguar. They want to

appear to the tribes as though they are not men, and they only do this to deceive us, we the

people. Their hearts wish something. Surely, they do not frighten us with what they do. They

mean something with the roaring of the puma, with the noise of the jaguar which they break

into when they see one or two men walking; what they want is to make an end of us.”

Every day they [the priests] came to their houses and to their women, carrying only the

young of the bumblebees and the wasps, and the honeybees to give to their women.

Every day, too, they came before Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz and said in their hearts:

“Here are Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz. We can offer them only the blood of the deer and

the birds; we take only blood from our ears and our arms. Let us ask Tohil, Avilix, and

Hacavitz for strength and vigor. What will [the tribes] say about the deaths of the people,

which, one by one, we are killing?” they said to one another as they went into the

presence of Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz.

Then they punctured their ears and their

arms before the divinities; they caught their blood and put it in a vase near the stones.

They were not really stones, but each one appeared in the likeness of a youth.


were happy with the blood of the priests and sacrificers when they arrived with this example

of their work.

“Follow their tracks [those of the animals which they

sacrificed], there is your salvation! “From there, from Tulán, whence you

brought us,” they were told, “came the skin, called Pazilizib, which was given to

you, smeared with blood: spill your blood and let this be the offering of Tohil, Avilix, and


IV. Chapter 2

Here is how Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah. and

Iqui-Balam began the abduction of the men of the tribes [of Vuc Amag].

Then came the

killing of the tribes. They seized a man as he walked alone, or two when they were walking

together, and it was not known when they were seized, and then they went to sacrifice them

before Tohil. and Avilix. Afterward they sprinkled the blood on the road and placed the

heads separately on the road. And the tribes said, “The jaguar ate them.” And they

spoke thus because like footprints of the jaguar were the tracks which they had left,

although they did not show themselves.

Already, many were the men who had been

carried off, but the tribes did not notice it until later. “Could it be Tohil. and

Avilix who have been here among us? It must be they who are nourished by the priests and the

sacrificers. Where are their homes? Let us follow their footprints!” said all the


Then they held a council among themselves. Then they began to follow the

footprints of the priests and the sacrificers, but they were not clear. There were only

tracks of wild animals, tracks of jaguars that they saw, but the tracks were not distinct.

The first ones were not clear because they were reversed, as though made so that the people

went astray, and their way was not clear. A mist formed, a black rain fell and made much

mud; and it began to drizzle. This was what the people saw before them. And their hearts

became weary of searching and following them on the roads, because the beings of Tohil,

Avilix, and Hacavitz were so great that the latter withdrew to the summit of the mountains,

in the vicinity of the people, whom they killed.

Thus began the abduction of the

people when the sorcerers caught the tribes in the roads and sacrificed them before Tohil.

Avilix, and Hacavitz; but their [own] sons they saved there on the mountain.


Avilix, and Hacavitz had the appearance of three youths and walked by virtue of the magic

stone. There was a river in which they bathed, at the edge of the water and only there did

they appear. For this reason it was called “in the Bathing Place of Tohil,” and

this was the name of the river. Often the tribes saw them, but they disappeared immediately,

when they were seen by the people.

Then they had tidings of where

Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah. and Iqui-Balam were, and at once the tribes held

council as to the way in which they could be killed.

In the first place the tribes

wanted to discuss the way to overcome Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz. And all the priests and

sacrificers [of the tribes] said to the people: “Arise, all of you, call everyone, let

there be not one group, nor two groups, among us who remain behind the others.”

All assembled, they assembled in great numbers and deliberated among themselves. And they

said, asking each other: “What shall we do to overcome the Quiché of

Cavec by whose hands our sons and vassals are being killed? it is not known how our

people are being destroyed. If we must perish, because of these abductions, so let it be;

and if the power of Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz is so great then let our god be this Tohil,

and God grant that you take him captive. It is not possible that they shall overcome us. Are

there not, perchance, enough men among us? And the Cavec are not many,” they said, when

all were assembled.

And some said, turning to the tribes, when they spoke: “Who

has seen those who bathe in the river every day? If they are Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz,

then we shall overcome them first, and afterward, we shall begin the destruction of the

priests and sacrificers.” This, many of them said, when they talked.


how shall we overcome them?” they asked again.

“This shall be our way of

overcoming them. Since they have the appearance of youths when they let themselves be seen

in the water, then let two maidens who are really beautiful, and very lovely, go and provoke

in them desire to possess them,” they said.

“Very well. Let us go, then;

let us find two beautiful maidens,” they exclaimed, and then they went to find their

daughters. And truly beautiful were the maidens.

Then they instructed the maidens:

“Go, our daughters, go to wash clothes at the river, and if you see the three youths,

undress before them, and if their hearts desire you, call to them. If they say to you, ‘May

we come to you?’ answer, ‘Yes.’ And when they ask: ‘Where do you come from, whose daughters

are you?’ tell them, ‘We are daughters of the lords.’

“Then you shall say: ‘Give

us a token of yours.’ And if after they have given you something, they want to kiss your

faces, really give yourselves to them. And if you do not give yourselves to them, we shall

kill you. Afterward our hearts shall be satisfied. When you have the token, bring it here,

and this shall be proof, in our judgment, that they were joined with you.”


spoke the lords when they advised the two maidens. Here are their names: Xtah was the name

of one of the maidens, and the other was Xpuch. And the two maidens, Xtah and Xpuch, were

sent to the river, to the bathing place of Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz. This is what was

decided by all the tribes.

They went at once, well adorned, and they were truly very

beautiful when they went there where Tohil was bathing, so that they would be seen, when

they were washing. When they went, the lords were happy because they had sent their two


As soon as the latter arrived at the river, they began to wash. The two

had already taken off their clothes and were bending over the stones when Tohil, Avilix, and

Hacavitz came. They came there to the edge of the river and paused a moment, surprised to

see the two young girls who were washing, and the girls became ashamed at the moment when

Tohil came. But the two girls did not appeal to Tohil. And then he asked them: “Where

did you come from?” Thus he asked the two maidens, and added: “What do you want

that you come here to the edge of our water?”

And they answered: “The lords

have sent us to come here. ‘Go look at the faces of Tohil and speak with them,’ the lords

told us; and ‘then bring proof that you have seen their faces.’ they told us.” Thus the

two girls spoke, making known the purpose of their coming.

Well, what the tribes

wanted was that the two maidens would be violated by the incarnation of Tohil. But Tohil,

Avilix, and Hacavitz said, speaking again to Xtah and Xpuch, as the two maidens were called:

“Very well, with you shall go proof of our conversation. Wait a little and then you

shall give it to the lords.” they said.

Then they held council with the priests

and sacrificers and they said to Balam-Quitzé, Balam- Acab, Mahucutah, and

Iqui-Balam: “Paint three capes, paint on them the symbol of your being in order that it

may be recognized by the tribes, when the maidens who are washing carry them back. Give the

capes to them,” Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, and Mahucutah were told.


once the three began to paint. First, Balam-Quitzé painted a jaguar; the figure was

made and painted on the surface of the cape. Then Balam-Acab painted the figure of an eagle

on the surface of a cape; and then Mahucutah painted bumblebees and wasps all over, figures

and drawings of which he painted on the cloth. And the three finished their painting, three

pieces they painted.

Then they went to give the capes to Xtah and Xpuch, as they were

called, and Balam-Quitzé.

Balam-Acab, and Mahucutah said to them: “Here

is proof of your conversation [with us]; take these before the lords: Say to them, ‘In

truth, Tohil has talked to us; here we bring the proof,’ tell them, and have them dress

themselves in the clothes which you will give them.” This they told the maidens when

they bade them farewell. The latter went at once, carrying the abovementioned painted


When they arrived, the lords were filled with joy to see their faces and their

hands, from which hung the things the maidens had gone for.

“Did you see the

face of Tohil?” they asked them.

“Yes, we saw it,” answered Xtah and


“Very well. And you bring the token, do you not?” the lords asked,

thinking that this was the proof of their sin.

Then the maidens held out the painted

capes, all covered with [the figures] of jaguars and eagles, and covered with bumblebees and

wasps, painted on the surface of the cloth and which shone before them. At once they felt a

desire to put the capes on.

The jaguar did nothing when the lord threw the first

painting on his back. Then the lord put on the second painting, with the figure of the

eagle. The lord felt very well wrapped within it.

And he turned about before all of


Then he undressed before all, and put on the third painted cape. And now he had

on himself, the bumblebees and wasps which were on it. Instantly the bumblebees and the

wasps stung his flesh. And not being able to suffer the stings of these insects, he began to

scream because of the insects whose figures were painted on the cloth, the painting of

Mahucutah, which was the third one that had been painted.

Thus they were overcome.

Then the lords reprimanded the two maidens named Xtah and Xpuch: “What kind of clothes

are those which you have brought? Where did you go to bring them, you devils?” they

said to the maidens when they reprimanded them. All the people were overcome by Tohil.

Well, what they [the lords] wanted was that Tohil should have gone to amuse himself with

Xtah and Xpuch, and that the [maidens] would have become whores, for the tribes believed

that they would serve to tempt them. But it was not possible that they should overcome them,

thanks to those miraculous men, Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and


IV. Chapter 3

Afterwards the tribes held council again.

“What shall we do with them? in truth, their estate is very great,” they said

when they assembled again in council.

“Well, then, we shall waylay them, we

shall kill them, we shall arm ourselves with bows and with shields. Perchance, are we not

many? Let there not be one or two among us who remains behind.” This they said when

they held council. And all the people armed. Many were the warriors when all the people

gathered together for the killing.

Meanwhile, there were Balam-Quitzé,

Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam, they were on the mountain Hacavitz, on the hill of

this name. They were there in order to save their sons who were on the mountain.


they did not have many people, they did not have multitudes such as the multitudes of the

tribes. The summit of the mountain where they had their place was small, and for that reason

when the tribes assembled together and rose, they decided to kill all of them.


this manner, then, took place the reunion of all the people, all armed with their bows and

their shields. It is impossible to describe the richness of their arms; the appearance of

all the chiefs and men was very beautiful, and certainly all obeyed their orders.

“They shall positively be destroyed, and as for Tohil. he shall be our god, we shall

worship him, if we take him prisoner,” they said to each other. But Tohil knew

everything and so did Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, and Mahucutah. They heard all the

plans, because they did not sleep, or rest, from the time the warriors armed themselves.

Then all the warriors rose up and started out on the road, intending to enter [the town]

by night. But they did not arrive, for all the warriors were watching on the road, and then

they were destroyed by Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, and Mahucutah.

All remained

watching along the road, but they heard nothing and they finally fell asleep.


they [Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, and Mahucutah] began to pull out their eyelashes and

their beards; they took off the metal ornaments from their throats–their crowns and


And they took the metal from the handles of their spears. They did this to

punish them and humiliate them, and give them an example of the power of the Quiché


When they [the warriors] awoke, they wanted to take their crowns and their

staffs, but they no longer had metal in the staff-handles, nor their crowns. “Who has

stripped us? Who has torn out our beards? Whence have they come to rob us of our precious

metals?” said all of the warriors. “Can it be these devils who are carrying off

the men? But they shall not succeed in frightening us. We shall enter their town by force,

and we shall again see the face of our silver; this we shall do,” said all the tribes,

and all truly intended to carry out their word.

Meanwhile the hearts of the priests

and the sacrificers on the summit of the mountain were calm. And Balam-Quitzé,

Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam having talked together, they built a wall at the edge

of the town and enclosed it with boards and thorns. Then they made figures in the form of

men, and put them in rows on the wall, armed them with shields and arrows and adorned them,

putting metal crowns on their heads. These they put on the simple wooden figures, they

adorned them with the metal which they had taken from the tribes on the road and with them

they decorated the figures.

They made a moat around the town, and then they asked

advice of Tohil: “Shall they kill us? Shall they overcome us?” their hearts said

to Tohil.

“Do not be troubled! I am here. And this you will use. Do not be

afraid,” he [Tohil] said to Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam,

when they were given the bumblebees and the wasps. This is what they went to fetch. And when

they came, they put them inside four big gourds which were placed around the town. They shut

the bumblebees and wasps inside the gourds, in order to fight the people with them.

The city was watched from afar, spied upon and observed by the scouts of the tribes.

“They are not many,” they said. But they saw only the wooden figures which lightly

moved their bows and their shields. In truth, they had the appearance of men, had in truth

the appearance of warriors when the tribes looked at them, and all the tribes were happy

because they saw that they were not many.

There were many tribes; it was not possible

to count the people, the warriors and soldiers who were going to kill Balam-Quitzé,

Balam-Acab, and Mahucutah, who were on the mountain Hacavitz, the name of the place where

they were found.

Now we shall tell about their arrival.

IV. Chapter4

They were there, then, Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam,

were all together on the mountain with their wives and their children when all the warriors

and soldiers came. The tribes did not number sixteen thousand, or twenty-four thousand men,

[but even more].

They surrounded the town, crying out loudly, armed with arrows and

shields, beating drums, giving war whoops, whistling, shouting, inciting them to fight, when

they arrived in front of the town.

But the priests and sacrificers were not

frightened; they only looked at them from the edge of the wall, where they were in good

order with their wives and children. They thought only of the strength and the shouting of

the tribes when they came up the side of the mountain.

Shortly before they were about

to throw themselves at the entrance of the town, the four gourds which were at the edge of

the town were opened and the bumblebees and the wasps came out of the gourds; like a great

cloud of smoke they emerged from the gourds. And thus the warriors perished because of the

insects which stung the pupils of their eyes and fastened themselves to their noses, their

mouths, their legs, and their arms. “Where are they,” they said, “those who

went to get and bring in all the bumblebees and wasps that are here?”

They went

straight to sting the pupils of their eyes, the little insects buzzing in swarms over each

one of the men; and the latter, stunned by the bumblebees and wasps, could no longer grasp

their bows and their shields, which were broken on the ground.

When the warriors

fell, they were stretched out on the mountainside, and they no longer felt when they were

hit with arrows, and wounded by the axes. Balam-Quitzé and Balam-Acab used only blunt

sticks. Their wives also took part in this killing. Only a part [of them] returned and all

the tribes began to flee. But the first ones caught were put to death; not a few of the men

died, and those who died were not the ones they intended to kill but those who were attacked

by the insects. Neither was it a deed of valor, because the warriors were not killed by

arrows or by shields.

Then all the tribes surrendered. The people humbled themselves

before Balam-Quitzé, Balam- Acab, and Mahucutah. “Have pity on us, do not kill

us,” they exclaimed.

“Very well. Although you deserve to die, you shall

[instead] become [our] vassals for the rest of your lives,” they said to them.

In this way were all of the tribes destroyed by our first mothers and fathers; and this

happened there on the mountain Hacavitz, as it is now called. This was where they first

settled, where they multiplied and increased, begot their daughters, gave being to their

sons, on the mountain Hacavitz.

They were, then, very happy when they had overcome

all the tribes, whom they destroyed there on the mountaintop. In this way they carried out

the destruction of the tribes, of all the tribes. After this their hearts rested. And they

said to their sons that when they [the tribes] intended to kill them, the hour of their own

death was approaching.

And now we shall tell of the death of Balam-Quitzé,

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

IV. Chapter 5

And as they had had a presentiment of their death, they counseled their children. They were

not ill, they had neither pain nor agony when they gave their advice to their children.

These are the names of their sons: Balam-Quitzé had two sons, Qocaib the first was

called, and Qocavib was the name of the second son of Balam-Quitzé, the grandfather

and father of those of Cavec.

And these are the two sons which Balam-Acab begot, here

are their names: Qoacul the first of his sons was called, and Qoacutec was the name of the

second son of Balam-Acab [the founder] of those of Nihaib.

Mahucutah had but one son,

who was called Qoahau.

Those three had sons, but Iqui-Balam did not have children.

They were really the sacrificers, and these are the names of their sons.

So, then,

they bade [their sons] farewell. The four were together and they began to sing, feeling sad

in their hearts; and their hearts wept when they sang the camucú, as the song

is called which they sang when they bade farewell to their sons.

“Oh, our sons!

we are going, we are going away; sane advice and wise counsel we leave you.

And you,

also, who came from our distant country, oh our wives! they said to their women, and they

bade farewell to each one. “We are going back to our town, there already in his place

is Our Lord of the stags, to be seen there in the sky. We are going to begin our return, we

have completed our mission [here], our days are ended. Think, then, of us, do not erase us

[from your memory], nor forget us. You shall see your homes and your mountains again;

settle, there, and so let it be! Go on your way and you shall see again the place from which

we came.”

These words they said when they bade them farewell. Then

Balam-Quitzé left the symbol of his being: “This is a remembrance which I leave

you. This shall be your power. I take my leave filled with sorrow,” he added. Then he

left the symbol of his being, the Pizom-Gagal, as it was called, whose form was

invisible because it was wrapped up and could not be unwrapped; the seam did not show

because it was not seen when they wrapped it up.

In this way they took their leave

and immediately they disappeared there on the summit of the mountain Hacavitz.


[the four lords] were not buried by their wives nor by their children, because they were not

seen when they disappeared. Only their leaving was seen dearly, and therefore the bundle was

very dear to them. it was the reminder of their fathers and at once they burned incense

before this reminder of their fathers.

And then the lords, who succeeded

Balam-Quitzé, begot new generations of men, and this was the beginning of the

grandfathers and fathers of those of Cavec; but their sons, those called Qocaib and Qocavib,

did not disappear.

In this way the four died, our first grandfathers and fathers; in

this way they disappeared, leaving their children on the mountain Hacavitz, there where they

have remained.

And the people being subdued already, and their grandeur ended, the

tribes no longer had power, and all lived to serve daily.

They remembered their

fathers; great was the glory of the bundle to them. Never did they unwrap it, but it was

always wrapped, and with them. Bundle of Greatness they called it when they extolled and

named that which their fathers had left in their care as a symbol of their being.


this manner, then, came about the disappearance and end of Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab,

Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam, the first men who came there from the other side of the sea,

where the sun rises. They had been here a long time when they died, being very old, the

chiefs and sacrificers, as they were called.

IV. Chapter 6

Then they

decided to go to the east, thinking thus to fulfill the command of their fathers which they

had not forgotten. It had been a long time since their fathers had died, when the tribes

gave them their wives, and thus they acquired many relatives-in-law, when the three took


And starting on their journey, they said: “We are going to the East,

there whence came our fathers.” So they said when the three sons set out. One was

called Qocaib, and he was the son of Balam-Quitzé, of the Cavec. The one called

Qoacutec was son of Balam-Acab, of the Nihaib; and the other called Qoahau, was son of

Mahucutah, of the Ahau-Quiché.

These, then, are the names of those who went

there to the other side of the sea; the three went then, and were endowed with intelligence

and experience, but they were not common men.

They took leave of all their brothers

and relatives and left joyfully. “We shall not die; we shall return,” said the

three when they left.

Certainly they crossed the sea when they came there to the

East, when they went to receive the investiture of the kingdom. And this was the name of the

Lord, King of the East, where they went. When they arrived before Lord Nacxit, which was the

name of the great lord, the only supreme judge of all the kingdoms, he gave them the

insignia of the kingdom and all its distinctive symbols. Then came the insignia of Ahpop and

Ahpop-Camhá, and then the insignia of the grandeur and the sovereignty of the Ahpop

and the Ahpop-Camhá. And Nacxit ended by giving them the insignia of royalty, which

are: the canopy, the throne, the flutes of bone, the cham-cham, yellow beads, puma

claws, jaguar claws, the heads and feet of the deer, dais, snail shells, tobacco, little

gourds, parrot feathers, standards of royal aigrette feathers, tatam, and

caxcon. All the foregoing they carried, those who came after going to the other side

of the sea to receive the paintings of Tulán, the paintings, as these were called, in

which they wrote their histories.

Then, having arrived at their town called Hacavitz,

all the people of Tamub and of Ilocab assembled there; all the tribes were assembled and

were filled with joy when Qocaib, Qoacutec, and Qoahau arrived, and there they again assumed

the rule of the tribes.

The people of Rabinal, the Cakchiquel, and the people of

Tziquinahá rejoiced. Before them they showed the insignia of the grandeur of the

kingdom. Great, too, were the tribes, although they had not finished showing their might.

And they were there in Hacavitz, all were there with those who came from the East. There

they spent much time; there on the summit of the mountain they were in great numbers.

There, too, the wives of Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, and Mahucutah died.

Later they left, abandoning their country, and searching for other places in which to


innumerable were the places in which they settled, where they were, and which

they named.

There our first mothers and our first fathers were reunited and

increased. So said the old people when they told how they left their first capital, called

Hacavitz, and went to found another capital, called Chi-Quix.

They were a long

time in this other town, where they had daughters and sons. There were many of them there,

and there were four other places, to each of which they gave the name of their town. Their

daughters and sons married; they simply gave them away [in marriage] and the presents and

favors they received they considered as the price for their daughters, and, in this way,

they lived happily.

Afterward they went through each one of the wards of the town,

the different names of which are: Chi-Quix, Chichac, Humetahá, Culbá, and

Cavinal. These were the names of the places where they settled. And they surveyed the hills

and their towns and sought the uninhabited places, for, all together, they were now very


Those who had gone to the East to receive the sovereignty were now dead. They

were already old when they arrived at each of the towns. They did not become accustomed to

the different places through which they passed; they suffered many hardships and troubles

and only after a long time did the grandfathers and fathers arrive at their town. Here is

the name of the city to which they came.

Finally Qocaib returned and gave an account

of his mission. “He brought the titles of Ahpop, Ahtzalam, Tzanchinamital, and many

others; he showed the insignia which must accompany these titles, and they were the claws of

the jaguars and eagles, skins of other animals, and also stones, sticks, etc.” Seeing

his wife with a newly born child in her arms, he asked whence it had come. “‘It is of

thy blood,’ answered the woman, ‘of thy flesh and thy same bones.'” Qocaib accepted the

explanation, and taking the child’s cradle said: “‘From today on, and forever this

child shall be called Balam Conaché.’ And the latter began the House of

Conaché and Iztayul.” With respect to the second journey of the Quiché

princes, the Título says that they returned satisfied to Hacavitz Chipal, and

displayed the signs and symbols which they brought.

IV. Chapter 7

Chi-Izmachí is the name of the site of their town, where

they were afterward and where they settled. There, under the fourth generation of kings,

they developed their power and constructed buildings of mortar and stone.


Conaché and Beleheb-Queh, the Galel-Ahau, ruled. Then king Cotuhá and Iztayul

reigned, as they were called the Ahpop and the Ahpop-Camhá, who reigned there in

Izmachí, which was the beautiful city which they had built.

Only three great

houses were there in Izmachí. There were not twenty-four great houses then, only

their three great houses, only a great house of the Cavec, only a great house of the Nihaib,

and only one of the people of Ahau-Quiché. Only two had great houses, the two

branches of the family [the Quiché and the Tamub].

And there they were in

Izmachí with only one thought, without disputes or difficulties, peaceful was the

kingdom, they had no quarrels nor disputes, in their hearts were only peace and happiness.

They were not envious nor jealous. Their grandeur was limited, they had not thought of

aggrandizing themselves, nor of expanding. When they tried to do it, they fastened the

shield there in Izmachí but only to give a sign of their empire, as a symbol of their

power and a symbol of their greatness.

Seeing this, the people of Ilocab began the

war; they wanted to kill King Cotuhá, wishing to have a chief of their own. And as

for Lord Iztayul, they wanted to punish him, that he be punished and killed by those of

Ilocab. But their evil plans against King Cotuhá did not succeed, for he fell upon

them before the people of Ilocab were able to kill him.

This, then, was the beginning

of the revolution and the dissensions of the war. First they attacked the town, and the

warriors came. And what they wanted was to ruin the Quiché race; they wanted to reign

alone. But they only came to die; they were captured and fell into captivity, and few among

them succeeded in escaping.

Immediately afterward the sacrifices began; the people of

Ilocab were sacrificed before the god, and this was the punishment for their sins by order

of King Cotuhá. Many also fell into slavery and servitude; they only went to give

themselves up to be overcome because of having arranged the war against the lords and

against the town. The destruction and ruin of the Quiché race and their king was what

they wished, but they did not succeed in accomplishing it.

In this way the sacrifice

of men began before the gods, when the war of the shields broke out, which was the reason

that they began the fortifications of the city of Izmachí.

There began and

originated their power, because the empire of the King of the Quiché was really

large. They were in every sense marvelous kings; there was no one who could dominate them,

neither was there anyone who could humble them. And at the same time they were the builders

of the grandeur of the kingdom which they had founded there in Izmachí.


the fear of god waxed, they were inspired with awe, and the tribes large and small were

filled with fear, for they saw the arrival of the captives, those who were sacrificed and

killed because of the power and sovereignty of King Cotuhá, the King Iztayul, and the

people of Nihaib and Ahau-Quiché.

There were only three branches of the

[Quiché] family there in Izmachí, as the town was called, and there they also

began the feasts and orgies for their daughters when [suitors] came to ask for them in


There the so-called three great houses gathered, and there they drank their

drinks, there they also ate their food, which was the price of their sisters, the price of

their daughters, and their hearts were joyful when they did it, and they ate and drank in

the great houses.

“In this way we show our gratitude, and thus we open the road

for our posterity and our descendants, this is the demonstration of our consent to their

becoming husbands and wives,” they said.

There they identified themselves, and

there they took their names; they distributed themselves in clans in the seven principal

tribes and in cantons.

“Let us unite, we of the Cavec, we of the Nihaib, and we

of the Ahau-Quiché,” said the three clans, and the three great houses. For a

long time they were there in Izmachí, until they found and saw another town, and

abandoned that of Izmachí.

IV. Chapter 8


THEY CAME here to the town of Gumarcaah, as the Quiché named it when Kings

Cotuhá and Gucumatz and all the lords came. There had then begun the fifth generation

of men, since the beginning of civilization and of the population, the beginning of the

existence of the nation.

There, then, they built many houses and at the same time

constructed the temple of God; in the center of the high part of the town they located it

when they arrived and settled there.

Then their empire grew. They were very numerous,

when they held their council in their great houses. They reunited, but later divided,

because dissensions had arisen and jealousies grew up amongst them over the price for their

sisters and their daughters, and because they no longer drank together.

This, then,

was the reason why they divided and why they turned against each other, and they threw the

skulls of the dead, they hurled them around among each other.

Then they divided into

nine families, and having ended the dispute over the sisters and the daughters, they carried

out the plan of dividing the kingdom into twenty-four great houses, as they did. It is a

long time since they came here to their town, and finished the twenty-four great houses,

there in the City of Gumarcaah, which was blessed by the Bishop. Later the city was


There they increased, there they installed their splendid thrones and

royal seats, and they distributed their honors among all the lords. The nine lords of Cavec

formed nine families; the lords of Nihaib formed another nine; the lords of

Ahau-Quiché formed another four; and the lords of Zaquic formed another two


They became very numerous, and many also followed each of the lords; these

were the first among their vassals, and each of the lords had large families.


shall tell now the names of the lords of each of the great houses. Here, then, are the names

of the lords of Cavec. The first of the lords was Ahpop, [then] Ahpop-Camhá,

Ah-Tohil, Ah- Gucumatz, Nim-Chocoh-Cavec, Popol-Vinac-Chituy, Lolmet-Quehnay, Popol-Vinac

Pa-Hom Tzalatz, and Uchuch-Camhá.

These, then, were the lords of Cavec, nine

lords, each one of which had his great house, which afterward will appear again.


then are the lords of Nihaib. The first was Ahau-Galel, then Ahau-Ahtzic-Vinac, Galel-

Camhá, Nima-Camhá, Uchuch-Camhá, Nim-Chocoh-Nihaibab, Avilix,

Yacolatam, Utzampop- Zalclatol, and Nimá-Lolmet-Ycoltux, the nine lords of


And as for those of Ahau-Quiché, these are the names of the lords:

Ahtzic-Vinac, Ahau- Lolmet, Ahau-Nim-Chocoh-Ahau, and Ahau-Hacavitz, four lords of

Ahau-Quiché, in the order of their great houses.

And the house of Zaquic had

two families, the Lords Tzutuhá and Galel Zaquic. These two lords had only one great


IV. Chapter 9

In this way [the number] of the twenty-four lords was

completed and the twenty-four great houses came into being. Thus the grandeur and power of

the sons of the Quiché grew, when they built the town of the ravines out of stone and


Then the small tribes and the great tribes came before the king. The

Quiché increased when their glory and majesty waxed, when they raised the house of

their gods and the house of their lords. But it was not they who worked, or constructed

their houses either, or made the house of the gods, for they were [made] by their sons and

vassals, who had multiplied.

And they were not cheating them, nor robbing them, nor

seizing them by force, because in reality each belonged to the lords, and many of their

brothers and relatives had come together and had assembled, to hear the commands of each of

the lords.

The lords were really loved and great was their glory; and the sons and

the vassals held the birthdays of the lords in great respect when the inhabitants of the

country and the city multiplied.

But it did not happen that all the tribes delivered

themselves up, and neither did the country and towns [the inhabitants of them] fall in

battle, but instead they increased, because of the marvels of the lords, King Gucumatz and

King Cotuhá. Gucumatz was truly a marvelous king. For seven days he mounted to the

skies and for seven days he went down into Xibalba; seven days he changed himself into a

snake and really became a serpent; for seven days he changed himself into an eagle; for

seven days he became a jaguar; and his appearance was really that of an eagle and a jaguar.

Another seven days he changed himself into clotted blood and was only motionless blood.

The nature of this king was really marvelous, and all the other lords were filled with

terror before him. Tidings of the wonderful nature of the King were spread and all the lords

of the towns heard it. And this was the beginning of the grandeur of the Quiché, when

King Gucumatz gave these signs of his power. His sons and his grandsons never forgot him.

And he did not do this in order to be an extraordinary king, he did it as a means of

dominating all the towns, as a means of showing that only one was called upon to be chief of

the people.

The generation of the wonderful king called Gucumatz was the fourth

generation, and Gucumatz was also the Ahpop and the Ahpop-Camhá.

They left

successors and descendants who reigned and ruled, and begot children, and did many things.

Tepepul and Iztayul whose reign was the fifth generation of kings were begotten; and in the

same way, each of the generations of these lords had succession.

IV. Chapter10

Here are the names of the sixth generation of kings. There were two great kings,

the first was called Gag-Quicab, and the other, Cavizimah, and they performed heroic deeds

and aggrandized the Quiché; for surely they were of marvelous nature.

Here is

the destruction and division of the fields and the towns of the neighboring nations, small

and large. Among them was that, which in olden times, was the country of the Cakchiquel, the

present Chuvilá, and the country of the people of Rabinal, Pamacá, the country

of the people of Caoqué, Zaccabahá and the towns of the peoples of Zaculeu, of

Chuvi-Miquiná, Xelahuh, Chuva-Tzac, and Tzolohche.

These [peoples] hated

Quicab. He made war on them and certainly conquered and destroyed the fields and towns of

the people of Rabinal, the Cakchiquel, and the people of Zaculeu; he came and conquered all

the towns, and the soldiers of Quicab carried his arms to distant parts.

One or two

tribes did not bring tribute, and then he fell upon all the towns and they were forced to

bring tribute to Quicab and Cavizimah.

They were made slaves, they were wounded, and

they were killed with arrows against the trees [to which they had been tied] and for them

there was no longer any glory, they no longer had power. In this way came about the

destruction of the towns, which were instantly razed to the ground. Like a flash of

lightning which strikes and shatters the rock, so, in an instant were the conquered people

filled with terror.

Before Colché, as a symbol of a town destroyed by him,

there is now a pile of stones, which look almost as if they had been cut With the edge of an

ax. it is there on the coast, called Petatayub, and it may be clearly seen today by people

who pass, as proof of the valor of Quicab.

They could neither kill him nor overcome

him, for, in truth, he was a brave man, and all the people rendered tribute unto him.

And all the lords, having gathered in council, went to fortify the ravines and the towns,

having conquered the towns of all the tribes. Then spies went out to observe the enemy and

they founded something like towns in the occupied places. “Just in case by chance the

tribes might return to occupy the town,” they said, when they reassembled in


Then they went out to [take up] their positions. “These shall be like

our forts and our town, our walls and defenses, here shall our valor and our manhood be

proved,” said all the lords, when they went to take up the position assigned to each

clan in order to fight the enemy.

And having received their orders they went to the

places that had been founded in the land of the tribes. “Go there, for now it is our

land. Do not be afraid, if there are still enemies who come to kill you, come quickly and

let me know, and I will go to kill them!” said Quicab, when he took leave of all of

them in the presence of the Galel and the Ahtzic-Vinac.

Then the bowmen and the

slingers, as they were called, set out. Then the grandfathers and the fathers of all the

Quiché nation took their [battle] positions. They were on each one of the mountains,

and they were like guards–of the mountains; they were guarding [with] their bows and

slings; they were the sentinels of the war. They were not of different origin, nor did they

have a different god, when they went. They went only to fortify their towns.

Then all

the people of Uvilá went out, those of Chulimal, Zaquiyá, Xahbaquieh,

Chi-Temah, Vahxalahuh, and the people of Cabracán, Chabicac-Chi-Hunahpú, and

those of Macá, those of Xoyabah and those of Zaccabahá, those of

Ziyahá, those of Miquiná, those of Xelahuh, and those of the coast. They went

to observe the war and to guard the land, when they went by order of Quicab and Cavizimah,

[who were] the Ahpop and the Ahpop-Camhá, and the Galel and the Ahtzic-Vinac, who

were the four lords.

They were sent in order to watch the enemies of Quicab and

Cavizimah, names of the kings, both of the House of Cavec, of Queemá, name of the

lord of the people of Nihaib, and of Achac-Iboy, the name of the lord of the people of

Ahau-Quiché. These were the names of the lords who sent them, When their sons and

vassals went to the mountains, to each one of the mountains.

They went at once and

they took captives; they brought their prisoners into the presence of Quicab, Cavizimah, the

Galel, and the Ahtzic-Vinac. The bowmen and slingers made war, taking captives and

prisoners. Some of the defenders of he positions were heroes, and the lords gave [them

gifts] and lavished rewards upon them, when they came to deliver up all their captives and


Later they gathered in council by order of the lords, the Ahpop, the

Ahpop-Camhá, the Galel, and the Ahtzic-Vinac, and they decided and said, that those

who were there first should have the rank of representing their families. “I am the

Ahpop! I am the Ahpop-Camhá! Mine shall be the rank of the Ahpop; meanwhile thou, the

Ahau-Galel, shall have the rank of Galel,” said all the lords when they held


Those of Tamub and of Ilocab did likewise; equal in position were the three

clans of the Quiché when for the first time they named their sons and vassals

captains, and ennobled them.

This was the result of the council. But they were not

made captains here in Quiché. The mountain where the sons and vassals were made

captains for the first time has its name, when all were sent, each one to his mountain, and

all were reunited. Xebalax and Xecamax are the names of the mountains where they were made

captains and they received their commands.

This happened in Chulimal.

In this

manner was the naming, the promotion, and distinction of the twenty Galel, of the twenty

Ahpop, who were named by the Ahpop and the Ahpop-Camhá and by the Galel and the

Ahtzic-Vinac. All of the Galel-Ahpops received their rank: eleven Nim-Chocoh, Galel- Ahau,

Galel-Zaquic, Galel-Achih, Rahpop-Achih, Rahtzalam-Achih, Utzam-Achih were the names which

the warriors received when their titles and distinctions were conferred upon them, as they

were on their thrones and on their seats, being the first sons and vassals of the

Quiché nation, their spies, their scouts, the bowmen, the slingers, the walls, doors,

forts, and bastions of the Quiché.

Those of Tamub and Ilocab also did thus;

they named and ennobled the first sons and vassals who were in each place.


then, was the origin of the Galel-Ahpops, and of the titles which are now preserved in each

one of these places. This is the way their titles were created, by the Ahpop and the

Ahpop-Camhá, by the Galel and the Ahtzic-Vinac they were created.

IV.Chapter 11

WE SHALL NOW TELL OF THE HOUSE of the God. The house was also given the

same name as the god. The Great Edifice of Tohil was the name of the Temple of Tohil, of

those of Cavec. Avilix was the name of the Temple of Avilix, of the people of Nihaib; and

Hacavitz was the name of the Temple of the God of the people of Ahau-Quiché.

Tzutuhá, which is seen in Cahbahá, is the name of a large edifice in which

there was a stone which all the lords of Quiché worshiped and which was also

worshiped by all the tribes.

The people first offered their sacrifices before Tohil,

and afterward went to pay their respects to the Ahpop and the Ahpop-Camhá. Then they

went to Present their gorgeous feathers and their tribute before the king. And the kings

whom they maintained were the Ahpop and the Ahpop-Camhá, who had conquered their


Great lords and wonderful men were the marvelous kings Gucumatz and

Cotuhá, the marvelous kings Quicab and Cavizimah. They knew if there would be war,

and everything was clear before their eyes; they saw if there would be death and hunger, if

there would be strife. They well knew that there was a place where it could be seen, that

there was a book which they called the Popol Vuh.

But not only in this way was

the estate of the lords great, great also were their fasts. And this was in recognition of

their having been created, and in recognition of their having been given their kingdoms.

They fasted a long time and made sacrifices to their gods. Here is how they fasted: Nine men

fasted and another nine made sacrifices and burned incense. Thirteen more men fasted, and

another thirteen more made offerings and burned incense before Tohil. And while before their

god, they nourished themselves only with fruits, with zapotes, matasanos, and

jocotes. And they did not eat any tortillas. Now if there were seventeen men

who made sacrifice, or ten who fasted, the truth is they did not eat. They fulfilled their

great precepts, and thus showed their position as lords.

Neither had they women to

sleep with, but they remained alone, fasting. They were in the House of God, all day they

prayed, burning incense and making sacrifices. Thus they remained from dusk until dawn,

grieving in their hearts and in their breasts, and begging for happiness and life for their

sons and vassals as well as for their kingdom, and raising their faces to the sky.

Here are their petitions to their god, when they prayed; and this was the supplication of

their hearts:

“Oh, Thou, beauty of the day! Thou, Huracán; Thou, Heart of

Heaven and of Earth! Thou, giver of richness, and giver of the daughters and the sons! Turn

toward us your power and your riches; grant life and growth unto my sons and vassals; let

those who must maintain and nourish Thee multiply and increase; those who invoke Thee on the

roads, in the fields, on the banks of the rivers, in the ravines, under the trees, under the


“Give them daughters and sons. Let them not meet disgrace, nor

misfortune, let not the deceiver come behind or before them. Let them not fall, let them not

be wounded, let them not fornicate, nor be condemned by justice. Let them not fall on the

descent or on the ascent of the road. Let them not encounter obstacles back of them or

before them, nor anything which strikes them. Grant them good roads, beautiful, level roads.

Let them not have misfortune, nor disgrace, through Thy fault, through Thy sorceries.

“Grant a good life to those who must give Thee sustenance and place food in Thy

mouth, in Thy presence, to Thee, Heart of Heaven, Heart of Earth, Bundle of Majesty. And

Thou, Tohil; Thou, Avilix; Thou, Hacavitz, Arch of the Sky, Surface of the Earth, the Four

Corners, the Four Cardinal Points. Let there be but peace and tranquility in Thy mouth, in

Thy presence, oh, God!”

Thus [spoke] the lords, while within, the nine men

fasted, the thirteen men, and the seventeen men. During the day they fasted and their hearts

grieved for their sons and vassals and for all their wives and their children when each of

the lords made his offering.

This was the price of a happy life, the price of power,

the price of the authority of the Ahpop, of the Ahpop-Camhá, of the Galel and of the

Ahtzic-Vinac. Two by two they ruled, each pair succeeding the other in order to bear the

burden of the people of all the Quiché nation.

One only was the origin of

their tradition and [one only] the origin of the manner of maintaining and sustaining, and

one only, too, was the origin of the tradition and the customs of those of Tamub and Ilocab

and the people of Rabinal and the Cakchiquel, those of Tziquinahá, of Tuhalahá

and Uchabahá. And there was but one trunk [a single family] when they heard there in

Quiché what all of them were to do.

But it was not only thus that they

reigned. They did not squander the gifts of those whom they sustained and nourished, but

they ate and drank them. Neither did they buy them; they had won and seized their empire,

their power, and their sovereignty.

And it was not at small cost, that they conquered

the fields and the towns; the small towns and the large towns paid high ransoms; they

brought precious stones and metals, they brought honey of the bees, bracelets, bracelets of

emeralds and other stones, and brought garlands made of blue feathers, the tribute of all

the towns. They came into the presence of the marvelous kings Gucumatz and Cotuhá,

and before Quicab and Cavizimah, the Ahpop, the Ahpop-Camhá, the Galel and the


It was not little what they did, neither were few, the tribes which

they conquered. Many branches of the tribes came to pay tribute to the Quiché; full

of sorrow they came to give it over. Nevertheless, the [Quiché] power did not grow

quickly. Gucumatz it was, who began the aggrandizement of the kingdom. Thus was the

beginning of his aggrandizement and that of the Quiché nation.

And now we

shall name the generations of the lords and give their names; again we shall name all of the


IV. Chapter 12

Here, then, are the generations and the order of all

the rulers which began with our first grandfathers and our first fathers,

Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam, when the sun appeared, and the

moon and the stars were seen.

Now, then, we shall give the beginning of the

generations, the order of kingdoms from the beginning of their lineage, how the lords

entered into power, from their accessions to their deaths: [we shall give] each generation

of lords and ancestors, as well as the lord of the town, all and each of the lords. Here,

then, the person of each one of the lords of the Quiché shall be shown.

Balam-Quitzé, the root of those of Cavec.

Qocavib, second generation [of

the line] of Balam-Quitzé.

Balam-Conaché, with whom the title of Ahpop

began, third generation.

Cotuhá [I] and Iztayub, fourth generation.

Gucumatz and Cotuhá, [II] first of the marvelous kings, who were of the fifth


Tepepul and Iztayul, of the sixth order.

Quicab and Cavizimah, of

the seventh order of succession to the kingdom.

Tepepul and Iztayub, eighth


Tecum and Tepepul, ninth generation.

Vahxaqui-Caam and Quicab,

tenth generation of kings.

Vucub-Noh and Cauutepech, eleventh order of kings.

Oxib-Queh and Beleheb-Tzi, the twelfth generation of kings. These were those who reigned

when Donadiú came, and who were hanged by the Spaniards.

Tecum and Tepepul,

who paid tribute to the Spaniards, they left sons, and the former were the thirteenth

generation of kings.

Don Juan de Rojas and don Juan Cortés, the fourteenth

generation of kings, were the sons of Tecum and Tepepul.

These are, then, the

generations and the order of the kingdom of the lords Ahpop and Ahpop- Camhá of the

Quiché of Cavec.

And now we shall name again the families. These are the Great

Houses of each of the lords who followed the Ahpop and the Ahpop-Camhá. These are the

names of the nine families of those of Cavec, of the nine Great Houses, and these are the

titles of the lords of each one of the Great Houses: Ahau-Ahpop, one Great House.

Cuhá was the name of this Great House.

Ahau-Ahpop-Camhá, whose Great

House was called Tziquinahá.

Nim-Chocoh-Cavec, one Great House.

Ahau-Ah-Tohil, one Great House.

Ahau-Ah-Gucumatz, one Great House.

Popol-Vinac Chituy, one Great House.

Lolmet-Quehnay, one Great House.

Popol-Vinac Pahom Tzalatz Xcuxebá, one Great House.

Tepeu-Yaqui, one Great


These, then, are the nine families of Cavec. And very numerous were the sons

and vassals of the tribes which followed these nine Great Houses.

Here are the nine

Great Houses of those of Nihaib. But first we shall give the lineage of the rulers of the

kingdom. From one root only these names originated when the sun began to shine, with the

beginning of light.

Balam-Acab, first grandfather and father.

Qoacul and

Qoacutec, second generation.

Cochahuh and Cotzibahá, third generation.

Beleheb-Queh [I], fourth generation.

Cotuhá, [I] fifth generation of


Batza, sixth generation.

Iztayul, seventh generation of kings.

Cotuhá [II], eighth order of the kingdom.

Beleheb-Queh [II], ninth


Quemá, so called, tenth generation.

Ahau-Cotuhá, eleventh


Don Cristóval, so called, who ruled in the time of the


Don Pedro de Robles, the present Ahau-Galel.

These, then, are all

the kings who descended from the Ahau-Galel. Now we shall name the lords of each of the

Great Houses.

Ahau-Galel, first lord of the Nihaib, head of one Great House.

Ahau-Ahtzic-Vinac, one Great House.

Ahau-Galel-Camhá, one Great House.

Nima-Camhá, one Great House.

Uchuch-Camhá, one Great House.

Nim-Chocoh-Nihaib, one Great House.

Ahau-Avilix, one Great House.

Yacolatam, one Great House.

Nima-Lolmet-Ycoltux, one Great House.


then, are the Great Houses of the Nihaib; these were the names of the nine families of those

of Nihaib, as they were called. Numerous were the families of each one of the lords, whose

names we have given first.

Here, now, is the lineage of those of Ahau-Quiché,

who were their grandfather and father.

Mahucutah, the first man.

Qoahau, name

of the second generation of kings.








These were the kings of those of the Ahau-Quiché; this is the order of their


Here now are the tides of the lords who made up the Great Houses; there

were only four Great Houses.

Ahtzic-Vinac-Ahau, title of the first lord, one Great


Lolmet-Ahau, second lord, a Great House.

Nim-Chocoh-Ahau, third lord, a

Great House.

Hacavitz, fourth lord, a Great House.

Therefore, four were the

Great Houses of the Ahau-Quiché.

There were, then, three Nim-Chocoh, who were

like fathers [vested with authority] of all the lords of the Quiché. The three Chocoh

came together in order to make known the orders of the mothers, the orders of the fathers.

Great was the position of the three Chocoh. There were, then, the Nim-Chocoh of those of

Cavec, the Nim-Chocoh of those of Nihaib, who was second, and the Nim-Chocoh-Ahau of the

Ahau-Quiché, who was third. Each one of the three Chocoh represented his family.

And this was the life of the Quiché, because no longer can be seen [the book of

the Popol Vuh] which the kings had in olden times, for it has disappeared.

In this

manner, then, all the people of the Quiché, which is called Santa Cruz, came to an


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