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Now we shall tell how the two youths shot their blowguns at Vucub-Caquix and how each one of those, who had become arrogant, was destroyed.
Vucub-Caquix had a large nantze tree 1 and he ate the fruit of it. Each day he went to the tree and climbed to the top. Hunahpú and Xbalanqué had seen that this fruit was his food. And they lay in ambush at the foot of the tree, hidden among the leaves. Vucub-Caquix came straight to his meal of nantzes.
Instantly he was injured by a discharge from Hun-Hunahpú's 2 blowgun which struck him squarely in the jaw, and screaming, he fell straight to earth from the treetop.
Hun-Hunahpú ran quickly to overpower him, but Vucub-Caquix seized his arm and wrenching it from him, bent it back to the shoulder. In this way Vucub-Caquix tore out Hun-Hunahpú's arm. Surely the two youths did well in not letting themselves be defeated first by Vucub-Caquix.
Carrying Hun-Hunahpú's arm, Vucub-Caquix went home, and arrived there nursing his jaw.
"What has happened to you, my lord?" said Chimalmat, his wife.
"What could it be, but those two demons who shot me
with blowguns and dislocated my jaw? For that reason my teeth are loose and pain me very much. But I have brought it [his arm], to put it on the fire. Let it hang there over the fire, for surely these demons will come looking for it." So said Vucub-Caquix as he hung up the arm of Hun-Hunahpú.
Having thought it over, Hun-Hunahpú and Xbalanqué went to talk with an old man who had snow-white hair and with an old woman, really very old and humble, both already bent, like very old people. The old man was called Zaqui-Nim-Ac and the old woman, Zaqui-Nima-Tziís. 3 The youths said to the old woman and the old man:
"Come with us to Vucub-Caquix's house to get our arm. We will follow you, and you shall tell them: 'These with us are our grandchildren; their mother and father are dead; so they follow us everywhere we are given alms, for the only thing that we know how to do is take the worm from the teeth.' 4
"So Vucub-Caquix shall think we are boys and we shall also be there to advise you," said the two youths.
"Very well," answered the old man and woman.
Then they started out for the place where they found Vucub-Caquix reclining on his throne. The old woman and man walked along followed by the two boys, who stayed behind them. In this way they arrived at the house of the lord who was screaming because his tooth pained him.
When Vucub-Caquix saw the old man and the old woman and those who accompanied them, he asked, "Where do you come from, grandparents?"
"We come looking for something to eat, honorable sir," they answered.
"And what do you eat? Are those not your sons who are with you?"
"Oh, no, sir! They are our grandsons; but we are sorry for them and what is given to us, we share with them, sir," answered the old woman and the old man.
Meanwhile, the lord was suffering terrible pain from his
tooth, and it was only with great difficulty that he could speak.
"I earnestly beseech you to have pity on me. What can you do? What do you know how to cure?" the lord asked them.
And the old ones answered, "Oh, sir! we only take the worm from the teeth, cure the eyes, and set bones."
"Very well. Cure my teeth, which are really making me suffer day and night, and because of them and of my eyes I cannot be calm and cannot sleep. All of this is because two demons shot me with a pellet [from their blowgun] and for that reason I cannot eat. Have pity on me, then, tighten my teeth with your hands."
"Very well, sir. It is a worm which makes you suffer. It will end when these teeth are pulled and others put in their place."
"It is not well that you pull my teeth, because it is only with them that I am a lord and all my ornaments are my teeth and my eyes."
"'We will put others of ground bone in their place." But the ground bone was nothing but grains of white corn.
"Very well, pull them out, come and relieve me," he replied.
Then they pulled Vucub-Caquix's teeth; but in their place they put only grains of white corn, and these grains of corn shone in his mouth. Instantly his features sagged and he no longer looked like a lord. They removed the rest of his teeth which shone like pearls in his mouth. And finally they cured Vucub-Caquix's eyes, piercing the pupils of his eyes, and they took all his riches.
But he felt nothing any more. He only watched, because at the advice of Hunahpú and Xbalanqué, they took
from him all of the things of which he had been so proud.
Then Vucub-Caquix died. Hun-Hunahpú recovered his arm. Chimalmat, the wife of Vucub-Caquix, also perished.
In this way Vucub-Caquix lost his riches. The healer took all the emeralds and precious stones which had been his pride here on earth.
The old woman and the old man who did this were miraculous beings; and having recovered the arm of Hun-Hunahpú, they put it in place, and it was all right again.
It was only to bring about the death of Vucub-Caquix that they did this, because it seemed wicked to them that he should become so arrogant.
And then the two youths went on, having in this way carried out the order of the Heart of Heaven.
25:1 p. 205 Byrsonima Cotintfolia, B. crassifolia, a beautiful tropical tree which produces a very aromatic fruit similar to the white cherry.
25:2 Hun-Hunahpú appears in this passage instead of the usual Hun-Ahpú, an error which is corrected in the course of the narration.
25:3 Zaqui-Nim-Ac, the Great White Wild Boar; Zaqui-Nimá-Tziís, the Great White Coati. The old man and the old woman represent the Creator couple who, under different names, appear throughout the first part of these chronicles.
25:4 It is a common belief among the Indians of Guatemala that toothache is caused by a worm which gets inside the tooth and produces pain and discomfort.
Next: I. Chapter 7