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p. 95

II. Chapter 13

On the fifth day they appeared again and were seen in the water by the people. Both had the appearance of fishmen; 1 when those of Xibalba saw them, after having hunted them all over the river.

And the following day, two poor men presented themselves with very old-looking faces and of miserable appearance, [and] ragged clothes, whose countenances did not commend them. So they were seen by all those of Xibalba.

And what they did was very little. They only performed the dance of the puhuy [owl or chum-owl], the dance of the cux [weasel], and the dance of the iboy [armadillo], and they also danced the xtzul [centipede] and the chitic [that walks on stilts]. 2

Furthermore, they worked many miracles. They burned houses as though they really were burning and instantly they were as they had been before. 3 Many of those of Xibalba watched them in wonder.

Presently they cut themselves into bits; they killed each other; the first one whom they had killed stretched out as though he were dead, and instantly the other brought him back to life. Those of Xibalba looked on in amazement at all they did, and they performed it, as the beginning of their triumph over those of Xibalba.

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Presently word of their dances came to the ears of the lords Hun-Camé and Vucub-Camé. Upon hearing it they exclaimed: "Who are these two orphans? Do they really give you so much pleasure?"

"Surely their dances are very beautiful, and all that they do," answered he who had brought the news to the lords.

Happy to hear this, the [lords] then sent their messengers to call [the boys] with flattery. "'Tell them to come here, tell them to come so that we may see what they do; that we may admire them and regard them with wonder,' this the lords said. 'So you shall say unto them,'" this was told to the messengers.

They arrived at once before the dancers and gave them the message of the lords.

"We do not wish to, the [boys] answered," because, frankly, we are ashamed. How could we not but be ashamed to appear in the house of the lords with our ugly countenances, our eyes which are so big, and our poor appearance? Do you not see that we are nothing more than some [poor] dancers? What shall we tell our companions in poverty who have come with us and wish to see our dances and be entertained by them? How could we do our dances before the lords? 4 For that reason, then, we do not want to go, oh, messengers," said Hunahpú and Xbalanqué.

Finally, with downcast faces and with reluctance and sorrow they went; but for a while they did not wish to walk, and the messengers had to beat them in the face many times, when they led them to the house of the lords.

They arrived, then, before the lords, timid and with head bowed; they came prostrating themselves, making reverences and humiliating themselves. 5 They looked feeble, ragged, and their appearance was really that of vagabonds when they arrived

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They were questioned immediately about their country and their people; they also asked them about their mother and their father.

"Where do you come from?" [the lords] said.

"We do not know, Sir. We do not know the faces of our mother and father; we were small when they died," they answered, and did not say another word.

"All right. Now do [your dances] so that we may admire you. What do you want? We shall give you pay," they told them.

"We do not want anything; but really we are very much afraid," they said to the lord.

"Do not grieve, do not be afraid. Dance! And do first the part in which you kill yourselves; burn my house, do all that you know how to do. We shall marvel at you, for that is what our hearts desire. And afterwards, poor things, we shall give help for your journey," they told them.

Then they began to sing and dance. All the people of Xibalba arrived and gathered together in order to see them. Then they performed the dance of the cux, they danced the puhuy, and they danced the iboy.

And the lord said to them: "Cut my dog into pieces and let him be brought back to life by you," he said to them.

"Very well," they answered, and cut the dog into bits. Instantly they brought him back to life. The dog was truly full of joy when he was brought back to life, and wagged his tail when they revived him.

The Lord said to them then: "Burn my house now!" Thus he said to them. instantly they put fire to the lord's house, and although all the lords were assembled together within the house, they were not burned. Quickly it was whole again, and not for one instant was the house of Hun-Camé destroyed.

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All of the lords were amazed, and in the same way the [boys'] dances gave them much pleasure.

Then they were told by the lord: "Now kill a man, sacrifice him, but do not let him die," he told them.

"Very well," they answered. And seizing a man, they quickly sacrificed him, and raising his heart on high, they held it so that all the lords could see it.

Again Hun-Camé and Vucub-Camé were amazed. A moment afterward the man was brought back to life by them [the boys], and his heart was filled with joy when he was revived.

The lords were astounded. "Sacrifice yourselves now, let us see it! We really like your dances!" said the lords. "Very well, Sirs," they answered. And they proceeded to sacrifice each other. Hunahpú 6 was sacrificed by Xbalanqué; one by one his arms and his legs were sliced off, his head was cut from his body and carried away; his heart was torn from his breast and thrown onto the grass. All the Lords of Xibalba were fascinated. 7 They looked on in wonder, but really it was only the dance of one man; it was Xbalanqué.

"Get up!" he said, and instantly 8 [Hunahpú] returned to life. They [the boys] were very happy and the lords were also happy. In truth, what they did gladdened the hearts of Hun-Camé and Vucub-Camé, and the latter felt as though they themselves were dancing. 9

Then their hearts were filled with desire and longing by the dances of Hunahpú and Xbalanqué; 10 and Hun-Camé and Vucub-Camé gave their commands.

"Do the same with us! Sacrifice us!" they said. "Cut us into pieces, one by one!" Hun-Camé and Vucub-Camé said to Hunahpú and Xbalanqué. 11

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"Very well; afterward you will come back to life again. Perchance, did you not bring us here in order that we should entertain you, the lords, and your sons, and vassals?" they said to the lords. 12

And so it happened that they first sacrificed the one, who was the chief and [Lord of Xibalba], the one called Hun-Camé, king of Xibalba.

And when Hun-Camé was dead, they overpowered Vucub-Camé, and they did not bring either of them back to life.

The people of Xibalba fled as soon as they saw that their lords were dead and sacrificed. In an instant both were sacrificed. And this they [the boys] did in order to chastize them. Quickly the principal lord was killed. And they did not bring him back to life.

And another lord humbled himself then, and presented himself before the dancers. They had not discovered him, nor had they found him. "Have mercy on me!" he said when they found him.

All the sons and vassals of Xibalba fled to a great ravine, and all of them were crowded into this narrow, deep place. There they were crowded together and hordes of ants came and found them and dislodged them from the ravine. In this way [the ants] drove them to the road, and when they arrived [the people] prostrated themselves and gave themselves up; they humbled themselves and arrived, grieving.

In this way the Lords of Xibalba were overcome. Only by a miracle and by their [own] transformation could [the boys] have done it. 13


99:1 p. 221 Vinac-car, literally "fish man." The author no doubt plays with these words to give the idea that the heroes of the story were sons of the water. Vinac car is really the common name of a variety of fish," a very large fish," says Barela, which is caught with barbasco [a poisonous plant]." However, the Vocabulario de las lenguas Quiché y Cakchiquel, closely following the literal meaning of the words, interprets them as "a large fish or mermaid."

99:2 In the dance of Xtzul, the dancers wear small masks, and tails of the macaw on the napes of their necks, according to Barela. Landa says that when the New Year fell on the day Muluc, the Maya of Yucatán danced a dance on very tall stilts during the corresponding fiestas.

99:3 p. 222 Vinaquir chic, literally, "they were created again."

99:4 The exact sentence in the original is as follows: Ma quehe la cu x-chi ca ban chique ri ahauab?

99:5 Here there is a repetition of the same idea expressed in a series of synonymous verbs: que mocho chic, chi qui xule la qui vach, x-qui quemelah quib, chi qui luc quib, chi quipach quib. This last word was omitted by Brasseur de Bourbourg. All these sentences have identical, meaning and are undoubtedly used to emphasize the respect which the youthful heroes, so cleverly disguised as vagabonds, wished to feign before their enemies, the Lords of Xibalba.

99:6 Xhunahpú in the original.

99:7 Que gabar cu ri ronohel rahaual Xibalba, literally, "all the Lords of Xibalba were drunk."

99:8 Libah chicut, omitted in the Brasseur de Bourbourg transcription.

99:9 This juggling, which brings to mind the deceptions of the fakirs of India, was also well known by the Maya Indians of Mexico. Sahagún, describing the customs of the Huasteca, a Mexican tribe related to the Maya of Yucatan, says that when they returned to Panutla, or Pánuco, "they took with them the old songs which they used when they danced and all the adornment which they used in the dance or areyto. They were also fond of trickery, with which they deceived the people, making them believe as true that which is false, as they made them believe that they burned the houses, when it was not so; that they made a fountain with fishes appear, and it was nothing but an optical illusion; that they killed each other, slicing their flesh into pieces, and other things which were apparent but not true. . . ."As Brasseur de Bourbourg observes, this paragraph seems to have been taken from the Popol Vuh. Cf. Sahagún, Historia general . . . de Nueva España, Book X, Chap. XXIX, par. 12.

99:10 Xhunahpú, and Xbalanqué in the original.

99:11 Hunal tah coh i puzu x-e cha cut, omitted by Brasseur de Bourbourg.

99:12 Ma pa yx qo cam oh pu quicotirizay yve, etc. The verb cam means "to die" and "to bring." Brasseur de Bourbourg translates this passage as follows: est-ce que pour vous peut exister la mort? but the complete meaning of the sentence justifies the interpretation which Ximénez gives it and which, in the main, is the same as mine.

99:13 This refers naturally to the changing of Hunahpú and Xbalanqué into two poor boys who tragically deceived the Lords of Xibalba with their magic art.

Next: II. Chapter 14