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p. 19

I. Chapter 5

THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF THE DEFEAT and the ruin of the glory of Vucub-Caquix brought about by two youths, the first of whom was called Hunahpú and the second, Xbalanqué. They were really gods. 1 When they saw the harm which the arrogant one had done, and wished to do, in the presence of the Heart of Heaven, the youths said:

"It is not good that it be so, when man does not yet live here on earth. Therefore, we shall try to shoot him with our blowgun when he is eating. We shall shoot him and make him sicken, and then that will be the end of his riches, his green stones, his precious metals, his emeralds, his jewels of which he is so proud. 2 And this shall be the lot of all men, for they must not become vain, because of power and riches.

"Thus shall it be," said the youths, each one putting his blowgun to his shoulder.

Well, now Vucub-Caquix had two sons: the first was called Zipacná, the second was Cabracán; and the mother of the two was called Chimalmat, 3 the wife of Vucub-Caquix.

Well, Zipacná played ball with the large mountains: with Chigag, 4 Hunahpú, 5 Pecul, 6 Yaxcanul, 7 Macamob, 8 and Huliznab. These are the names of the mountains which existed when it dawned and which were created in a single night by Zipacná.

p. 20

In this way, then, Cabracán moved the mountains and made the large and small mountains tremble.

And in this way the sons of Vucub-Caquix proclaimed their pride. "Listen! I am the sun!" said Vucub-Caquix. "I am he who made the earth!" said Zipacná. "I am he who shook the sky and made the earth tremble!" said Cabracán, In this way the sons of Vucub-Caquix followed the example of their father's assumed greatness. And this seemed very evil to the youths. Neither our first mother nor our first father had yet been created.

Therefore, the deaths of Vucub-Caquix and his sons and their destruction was decided upon by the youths.


20:1 p. 204 Hunahpú, a hunter; Xbalanqué, small jaguar, the prefix ix is the sign of the feminine and also of the diminutive. It may also be "little sorcerer," because balam has two meanings, "jaguar" and "sorcerer." Xavi e qabauil, "these were also gods," according to Ximénez' translation. The Spanish missionaries found among the Quiché the word Qabauil, or cabauil, with which they designated their gods, and they usually translated it as "idol" or "demon"; the missionaries tried to compel the Indians to forget it, together with all their ancient religion, and to use only the new Spanish word, God, p. 205 to refer to the Christian divinity. The Franciscan friars in Yucatán used the same method with respect to the word ku, God, and kauil, a Maya adjective meaning "venerable," and one which almost always accompanies the name Itzamná, the sun, the principal god of the ancient Maya pantheon. In the early texts the name appears as Itzamná Kauil (Chronicle if Chumayel, Landa's Relación, etc.). In the Relación describing his two entrances into the Petén in 1695 and 1696, Father Avendaño says that he knew that among the gods which the Itzás had was "one, Itzamná Kauil, which means the Devil's horse." The similarity between the Maya term kauil and the Quiché qabauil suggests a very close relationship between them.

20:2 Chi ca coh vi u yab, ta quiz-oc u quinomal, u xit, u puvac, u cual, u yamanic ri cu gagabeh, in the original text.

20:3 Zipacná, a giant who carried mountains on his back. His food consisted of fish and crabs. Cabracán, "double giant," "earthquake" in Quiché. The similarity between the names Chimalmat, the wife of Vucub-Caquix, and Chimalman, the mother of Quetzalcoatl, has been noted. It may be merely a coincidence, but it may also be due to the influence of the Mexican legend.

20:4 Mouth of fire, Chi Gag, in the Cakchiquel Manuscript; the volcano of Fuego.

20:5 Volcano of Agua. The Vocabulario Cakchiquel (No. 41, at the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris) translates Hunahpú as "fragrant flower," fleur odoriférante, according to Raynaud. Father Vásquez, the Franciscan chronicler, calls it a small spray or bouquet of flowers. This interpretation is interesting because Hunahpú is the twentieth day of the Quiché and Cakchiquel calendars and corresponds to Xochitl, the twentieth day of the Mexican calendar, which also means flower.

20:6 Volcano of Acatenango. The three volcanoes known under the names of Fuego, Agua, and Acatenango dominate the landscape of central Guatemala, and the valley in which the Spanish Colonial capital was located.

20:7 Volcano of Santa Maria in the western part of the country. Gagxanul in Cakchiquel.

20:8 Volcano of Cerro Quemado in Quezaltenango, according to Herman Prowe; volcano of Zunil in the same zone, according to Villacorta and Rodas.

Next: I. Chapter 6