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p. 104

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, 1 as they were called, came the yellow ears of corn and the white ears of corn.

p. 105

These are the names of the animals which brought the food: 2 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. 3

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, 4 and in innumerable zapotes, anonas, jocotes, nantzes, matasanos, and honey. 5 There was an abundance of delicious food in those villages called Paxil and Cayalá. 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 created.


105:1 p. 225 Paxil means separation, spreading of the waters, inundation. Cayalá, derived from cay, "rotten," may also be interpreted as putrid matter in the water. These legendary places which gave to the Middle American people the native fruits which are the base of their subsistence and economic development, were found, in the opinion of Brasseur de Bourbourg, in the region of Tabasco, where the Usumacinta River, after watering northern Guatemala, divides into various branches and overflows this entire region during the period when the rivers rise. This phenomenon is similar in its cause and effects to the inundations by the Nile, that spread the fertile sediment which produces the rich harvests of Egypt. Bancroft believed that Paxil and Cayalá were in the region of Palenque and the Usumacinta. Both opinions would have some foundation, if it were possible to establish the location of these mythological places, for that was, without doubt, the region which was inhabited for some time by the Guatemalan tribes in their wanderings toward the lands of the south.

105:2 Echá, "food," "nourishment." In the case of man, echá is the cooked and ground corn which was the common food of the American Indian, and which the Quiché thought, logically, had been used to fashion the first men.

105:3 "Which was the paradise," Ximénez adds in his first version, of their own harvest. The Cakchiquel Manuscript says that, when the Creator and the Maker made man, they had nothing with which to feed him until they found corn in Paxil, fighting for it with two animals, the coyote and the crow, who knew where it was raised. The coyote was killed in the middle of the cornfield. From the dough of the corn, mixed with the blood of the snake, the flesh of man was made. The Mexican legend tells of the discovery of corn in a similar way. According to the Códice Chimalpopoca, Azcatl, the ant, told Quetzalcoatl that there was corn in Tonacatepetl (mountain of our subsistence). Quetzalcoatl immediately changed himself into a black ant and went with Azcatl, entered that place, and brought the corn to Tamoanchán.

105:4 Cacau in Maya and Quiché, a well-known plant of tropical America. A variety of cacao, Theobroma bicolor, called pec in Quiché, commonly known under the Mexican name pataxte.

105:5 p. 225 Tulul, zapote, mamey in Yucatán, Lucuma mammosa. The anona is well known by this name and also as chirimoya, the Quiché name is cavex. The jocote, a name derived from the Náhuatl xocotl, Spondias purpurea, L., is the quinom of the Quiché and Cakchiquel. The nantze, so called in Náhuatl, Byrsonima crassifolia, is the tapal in the languages of Guatemala. The matasano, ahaché in these languages, Casimiroa edulis, Llave, and Lex., completes the list of those fruits which abound in the hot and temperate lands of Guatemala.

Next: III. Chapter 2