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p. 37

PART II: Chapter 1

Now we shall also tell the name of the father of Hunahpú and Xbalanqué. We shall not tell his origin and we shall not tell the history of the birth of Hunahpú and Xbalanqué. We shall tell only half of it, only a part of the history of his father.

Here is the story. Here are the names of Hun-Hunahpú [and Vucub-Hunahpú], as they are called. Their parents were Xpiyacoc and Xmucané. During the night 1 Hun-Hunahpú and Vucub-Hunahpú were born of Xpiyacoc and Xmucané. 2

Well now, Hun-Hunahpú had begotten two sons; the first was called Hunbatz and the second Hunchouén. 3

The mother of the two sons was called Xbaquiyalo. 4 Thus was the wife of Hun-Hunahpú called. As for the other son, Vucub-Hunahpú, he had no wife; he was single.

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By nature these two sons were very wise, and great was their wisdom; on earth they were soothsayers of good disposition and good habits. All the arts were taught to Hunbatz and Hunchouén, the sons of Hun-Hunahpú. They were flautists, singers, shooters with blowguns, painters, sculptors, jewelers, silversmiths; these were Hunbatz and Hunchouén. 5

Well, Hun-Hunahpú and Vucub-Hunahpú did nothing

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but play dice and ball A day long; and when the four got together to play ball, one pair played against the other pair.

And Voc, 6 the messenger of Huracán, of Chipi-Caculhá, of Raxa-Caculhá came there to watch them, but Voc did not stay far from the earth nor far from Xibalba, 7 and in an instant he went up to heaven to the side of Huracán.

They were still here on earth when the mother of Hunbatz and Hunchouén died.

And having gone to play ball on the road to Xibalba, they were overheard by Hun-Camé and Vucub-Camé, the lords of Xibalba. 8

"What are they doing on earth? Who are they who are making the earth shake, and making so much noise? Go and call them! Let them come here to play ball. Here we will overpower them! We are no longer respected by them. They no longer have consideration, or fear of our rank, and they even fight above our heads," said all the lords of Xibalba.

All of them held a council. Those called Hun-Camé and Vucub-Camé were the supreme judges. All the lords had been assigned their duties. Each one was given his own authority by Hun-Camé and Vucub-Camé.

They were, then, Xiquiripat and Cuchumaquic 9 lords of these names. They were the two who caused the shedding of blood of the men.

Others were called Ahalpuh and Ahalganá, 10 also lords. And their work was to make men swell and make pus gush forth from their legs 11 and stain their faces yellow, what is called Chuganal. 12 Such was the work of Ahalpuh and Ahalganá.

Others were Lord Chamiabac and Lord Chamiaholom, 13 constables of Xibalba whose staffs were of bone. Their work

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was to make men waste away until they were nothing but skin and bone and they died, and they carried them With their stomach and bones stretched out. This was the work of Chamiabac and Chamiaholom, as they were called.

Others were called Lord Ahalmez and Lord Ahaltocob; 14 their work was to bring disaster upon men, as they were going home, or in front of it, and they would be found wounded, stretched out, face up, on the ground, dead. This was the work of Ahalmez and Ahaltocob, as they were called.

Immediately after them were other lords named Xic and Patán 15 whose work it was to cause men to die on the road, which is called sudden death, making blood to rush to their mouths until they died vomiting blood. The work of each one of these lords was to seize upon them, squeeze their throats and chests, so that the men died on the road, making the blood rush to their throats when they were walking. This was the work of Xic and Patán.

And having gathered in council, they discussed how to torment and wound Hun-Hunahpú and Vucub-Hunahpú. What the Lords of Xibalba coveted were the playing implements of Hun-Hunahpú and Vucub-Hunahpú-their leather pads 16 and rings 17 and gloves 18 and crown 19 and masks 20 which were the playing gear of Hun-Hunahpú and Vucub-Hunahpú.

Now we shall tell of their journey to Xibalba and how they left behind them the sons of Hun-Hunahpú, Hunbatz, and [Hun] Chouén, 21 whose mother had died.

Then we shall tell how Hunbatz and Hunchouén were overcome by Hunahpú and Xbalanqué.


40:1 p. 207 Chi agabal, that is to say, before there was sun, or moon, or before man had been created.

40:2 Hun-Hunahpú, 1 Hunahpú; Vucub-Hunahpú, 7 Hunahpú, are two days of the Quiché calendar. As is known, the ancient Indians of the Maya area designated the days by putting a number before each day, thus forming a series of thirteen days which are repeated without interruption until a cycle of 260 days is formed, which the Maya called tzolkín, the Quiché, cholquih, and the Mexicans, tonalpohualli. It was the custom to give an individual the name of the day upon which he was born.

The Quiché calendar is made up of twenty days. Each day is preceded by a number, a coefficient of from 1 to 13, and this is repeated indefinitely so that a name of a day and the number which accompanies it may not be repeated until 260 is reached, or 13 times 20. This period of 260 days constitutes the ritual year, or cholquih. The names of the days and their meaning in English are as follows:

1. Imox, name of a fish
2. Ic, moon, wind, spirit
3. Acbal, night
4. Cat, net with which to carry corn, or a lizard
5. Can, serpent
6. Camey, death
7. Queh, deer
8. Canel, wealth, car of yellow corn
9. Toh, rain, storm
10. Tzi, dog
11. Batz, monkey
12. E, ei, teeth, brush
13. Ah, cane, or tender corn
14. Balam, jaguar
15. Tziquin, bird
16. Ahmac, owl
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17. Noh, strong, resin
18. Tihax, edge, obsidian
19. Caoc, lightning and thunder
20. Hunahpú, hunter, chief, or lord

With these twenty days the Quiché formed the following eighteen months:

1. Tequexepual, time to plant the cornfields
2. Tziba pop, painted mat
3. Zac, white like certain flowers
4. Ch'ab, muddy ground
5. Nabey mam, first old man
6. Ucab mam, second old man (both this and the preceding are months of ill-omen)
7. Nabey liquin ca, soft and slippery soil
8. Ucab liquin ca, second month of soft and slippery soil
9. Nabey pach, first time of hatching
10. Ucab pach, second time of hatching
11. Tzizil lakam, the sprouts show
12. Tziquin kih, season of birds
13. Cakam, red clouds
14. Botam, tangled mats
15. Nabey zih, first month of white flowers
16. Ucab zih, second month of white flowers
17. Rox zih, third month of white flowers
18. Chee, trees, Pariché, in the Cakchiquel calendar

Brinton (The Native Calendar of Central America and Mexico) took these and other facts from various Indian calendars which date back to the seventeenth century and from the Geografía by Francisco Gavarrete.

40:3 Brasseur de Bourbourg incorrectly translates this passage as follows: Or, ces Hunhun-Ahpu étaient deux; ils avaient engendré deux fils légitimes, et le nom du premier né [était] Hunbatz et Hunchouén le nom du second. As is seen farther on, Hunbatz and Hunchouén were only the sons of Hun-Hunahpú and Xbaquiyalo, his wife. Hun-Batz, 1 monkey, is the eleventh day of the Quiché calendar; Hun-Chouén, also, 1 Chuén, 1 monkey, is the eleventh day of the Maya calendar. Note that, with the exception of the indication that the names of the parents of Hunahpú and Xbalanqué will be given, these heroes are not mentioned again until their birth is announced in Chapter s of Part II. There the other half of the history is told, but in this part the reader is left intentionally in the dark.

40:4 p. 209 Xbaquiyalo, "of the fastened bones," according to Ximénez. It might also be "of the uneven bones."

40:5 A chuen, in Maya, means "artisan." Diccionario de Motul.

40:6 To the place where they played ball, pa hom in the original. Voc or Vac, the hawk, came to watch them. In speaking of the Maya of Yucatán, Bishop Landa, says that "they played ball, and also with beans they played a game-like dice."

40:7 Chi-Xibalba. In ancient times, says Father Coto, this name Xibalbay meant the devil, or the dead, or visions which appeared to the Indians. It has the same meanings in Yucatán. Xibalba was the devil, and xibil is to disappear like a vision or a phantom, according to the Diccionario de Motul. The Maya performed a dance which they called Xibalba ocot, or "dance of the demon." The Quiché believed that Xibalba was the underground region inhabited by the enemies of man.

40:8 Hun-Camé, 1 dead; Vucub-Camé, 7 dead; are days of the calendar. The Quiché hierarchy had frequently the numbers one to seven.

40:9 Xiquiripat, "flying pannier," according to Ximénez. Cuchumaquic, "gathered blood," according to the same translator.

40:10 Ahalpuh, "he who makes pus." Name of a disease among the Cakchiquel. Ahalganá, "he who causes dropsy," according to Ximénez.

40:11 Chi pe puh chiri r'acan.

40:12 Literally, "in the yellow color of his body" (Ximénez); a kind of ictericia.

40:13 Chamiabac, he who carries a staff of bone. Chamiaholom, he who carries a staff with a skull. Both are symbols of emaciation and death. Ahchamí, the man of the staff, symbol of authority, or of the big stick which the guardians of public order were accustomed to carry.

40:14 Ahalmez, "he who makes filth" (Ximénez); "he who works in filth" (Brasseur de Bourbourg). Ahaltocob, "he who causes misery" (Ximénez); "he who works or produces misery" (Brasseur de Bourbourg). it might be he who causes wounds, the assassin. The verb toc means "to punch or stab," to wound, to behead. Tocopé has the same meaning.

40:15 Xic, hawk; Patán, leather band which the Indians wear around their foreheads and from which the load they carry on their backs hangs. It is known today by the Mexican name mecapal. Many of these names are found in the Vocabulario de las lenguas Quiché y Kakchiquel which classifies them as "names of demons," explaining that they are derived from Ahau, "lord"; Ahalpuh, Calel Ahau, Ahal Tocol, Ahal Xic, Ahal Canyá. The last is evidently the Ahalganá of the Popol Vuh. Father Pantaleón de Guzmán says that, among other deities, the Cakchiquel worshiped Ahal Puh, Ahal Tecob, p. 210 Ahal Xic and Ahal Canyá--all of these in reality are also names of diseases; and in addition they worshiped Tatan bak and Tatan holom, father of bones and father of skulls, gods of death. These last names, as will be seen later, are not very different from Chamiabac and Chamiaholom. Ahal Puh seems to be the same god of death as that of the Maya of Yucatán, who knew him under the name of Ah Puch or Hunhau, and who had his kingdom in Mitnal or the Maya inferno.

40:16 Tzuun, leather leggings, according to Ximénez. They were the leathers with which they covered their legs and thus protected them against blows by the hall.

40:17 Baté, rings, collar for the neck (Vocabulario Quiché-Cakchiquel).

40:18 Pachgab, gloves.

40:19 Yachvach, crown, or adornment which they wore on the head.

40:20 Vachzot, rim of the face, according to Ximénez, "mask." All of these objects were necessities for their strenuous ball game, and as decorations for the ball players.

40:21 Like this in the original, by Hun-Chouén.

Next: II. Chapter 2