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p. 30

I. Chapter 8

Now we shall tell how Zipacná was defeated by the two boys, Hunahpú and Xbalanqué.

Now follows the defeat and death of Zipacná, when he was overcome by the two boys, Hunahpú and Xbalanqué.

The boys' hearts were full of rancor because the four hundred young men had been killed by Zipacná. And he only hunted fish and crabs at the bank of the river, which were his daily food. During the day he went about looking for food, and at night he carried mountains on his back.

With a leaf of the ec plant 1 which is found in the forest, Hunahpú and Xbalanqué quickly made a figure to look like a very large crab.

With this they made the stomach of the crab; the claws, they made of pahac2 and for the shell, which covers the back, they used a stone. Then they put the crab at the bottom of a cave at the foot of a large mountain called Meaguán3 where he was overcome.

Then the boys went to find Zipacná on the river bank.

"Where are you going, young man?" they asked him.

"I am not going anywhere," Zipacná answered, "only looking for food, boys."

"And what is your food?"

"Fish and crabs, but there are none here and I have not found any; I have not eaten since day before yesterday,

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and I am dying of hunger," said Zipacná to Hunahpú and Xbalanqué.

"Over there in the bottom of the ravine there is a crab, a really large crab, and it would be well if you would eat it! Only it bit us when we tried to catch it and so we were afraid. We wouldn't try to catch it for anything," said Hunahpú and Xbalanqué.

"Have pity on me! Come and show it to me, boys," begged Zipacná.

"We do not want to. You go alone, you will not get lost. Follow the bank of the river and you will come out at the foot of a large hill; there it is making a noise at the bottom of the ravine. You have only to go there," said Hunahpú and Xbalanqué.

"Oh, unfortunate me! Won't you accompany me, boys? Come and show it to me. There are many birds which you can shoot with your blowguns and I know where to find them," said Zipacná.

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His meekness convinced the boys. And they asked him: But, can you really catch him? Because it is only for you that we are returning; we are not going to try to get it again because it bit us when we were crawling into the cave. After that we were afraid to crawl in, but we almost caught it. So, then, it is best that you crawl in," they said.

"Very well," said Zipacná, and then they went with him. They arrived at the bottom of the ravine and there, stretched on his back, was the crab, showing his red shell. And there also in the bottom of the ravine was the boys' hoax. 4

"Good! Good!" said Zipacná happily. "I should like to have it in my mouth already!" And he was really dying of hunger. He wanted to try to crawl in, he wanted to enter, but the crab was climbing. He came out at once and the boys asked, "Did you not get it?"

"No," he answered," because he was going up and I almost caught him. But perhaps it would be good if I go in from above," he added. And then he entered again from above, but as he was almost inside, with only the soles of his feet showing, the great hill slid and fell slowly down on his chest.

Zipacná never returned and he was changed into stone.

In this way Zipacná was defeated by the two boys, Hunahpú and Xbalanqué; he was the elder son of Vucub-Caquix, and he, according to the ancient legend, was the one who made the mountains.

At the foot of the hill called Meaguán he was vanquished. Only by a miracle was he vanquished, the second of the arrogant ones. One was left, whose history we shall tell now.


32:1 p. 206 Ec, a bromeliaceous plant of large, brilliant leaves which grows on the trees. "A large-leafed grass with which the rafters are covered during the feasts," says Basseta.

32:2 Other smaller leaves called pahac, says Ximénez.

32:3 The mountain Meaguán rises at the west of the village of Rabinal, in the region of the Chixoy River.

32:4 Qui cumatzih, "their enchantment," according to Brasseur de Bourbourg; "their secret," according to Ximénez. Mactzil in Maya is "miracle," "marvel."

Next: I. Chapter 9