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p. 17

I. Chapter 4

IT WAS CLOUDY AND TWILIGHT THEN ON the face of the earth. There was no sun yet. Nevertheless, there was a being called Vucub-Caquix, 1 who was very proud of himself.

The sky and the earth existed, but the faces of the sun and the moon were covered.

And he [Vucub-Caquix] said: "Truly, they are clear examples of those people who were drowned, and their nature is that of supernatural beings. 2

"I shall now be great above all the beings created and formed. I am the sun, the light, the moon," he exclaimed. "Great is my splendor. Because of me men shall walk and conquer. For my eyes are of silver, bright, resplendent as precious stones, as emeralds; my teeth shine like perfect stones, like the face of the sky. My nose shines afar like the moon, my throne is of silver, and the face of the earth is lighted when I pass before my throne.

"So, then, I am the sun, I am the moon, for all mankind. 3 So shall it be, because I can see very far."

So Vucub-Caquix spoke. But he was not really the sun; he was only vainglorious of his feathers and his riches. And he could see only as far as the horizon, and he could not see over all the world.

p. 18

The face of the sun had not yet appeared, nor that of the moon, nor the stars, and it had not dawned. Therefore, Vucub-Caquix became as vain as though he were the sun and the moon, because the light of the sun and the moon had not yet shown itself His only ambition was to exalt himself and to dominate. And all this happened when the flood came because of the wooden-people.

Now we shall tell how Vucub-Caquix was overthrown and died, and how man was made by the Creator and the Maker.


18:1 p. 204 Vucub-Caquix, that is to say, Seven Macaws. Ximénez believed he saw in this personage a kind of Lucifer. To Brasseur de Bourbourg he was a prince, perhaps the chief of a large part of Central America. It is hardly necessary to point out that this entire episode of Vucub-Caquix and his sons is wholly imaginary and has no relation to historical fact. The Quiché frequently used the number seven (vucub) in their own names, as is seen throughout this book.

18:2 This seems to be an allusion to the flood which destroyed the wooden men. Farther on the narrator says that Vucub-Caquix existed at the time of the flood. The general idea among the Indians was that not all the primitive men perished during the flood. In the place cited in Chap. 3, n. 12, Bishop Las Casas says: "They believed that certain persons who escaped the flood populated their lands, and that they were called the great father and the great mother."

18:3 Quehecut in quih vi, in pu ic rumal zaquil al, zaquil qahol. This passage presents much difficulty for the translator. The Vocabulario de las lenguas Quiché y Kakchiquel defines the words zaquil al, zaquil qahol, as it "shall be the human family." The meaning generally accepted is that of vassals or descendants.

Next: I. Chapter 5