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p. 106

III. Chapter 2

THESE ARE THE NAMES OF THE FIRST men who were created and formed: the first man was Balam-Quitzé, the second, Balam-Acab, the third, Mahucutah, and the fourth was Iqui-Balam. 1

These are the names of our first mothers and fathers. 2

It is said that they only were made and formed, they had no mother, they had no father. They were only called men. 3 They were not born of woman, nor were they begotten by the Creator nor by the Maker, nor by the Forefathers. 4 Only by a miracle, by means of incantation were they created and made by the Creator, the Maker, the Forefathers, 5 Tepeu and Gucumatz. And as they had the appearance of men, they were men; they talked, conversed, saw and heard, walked, grasped things; they were good and handsome men, and their figure was the figure of a man.

They were endowed with intelligence; they saw and instantly they could see far, they succeeded in seeing, they succeeded in knowing all that there is in the world. When they looked, instantly they saw all around them, and they contemplated in turn the arch of heaven and the round face of the earth.

The things hidden [in the distance] they saw all, without first having to move; at once they saw the world, and so, too, from where they were, they saw it.

Great was their wisdom; their sight reached to the forests,

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the rocks, the lakes, the seas, the mountains, and the valleys. In truth, they were admirable men. Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam.

Then the Creator and the Maker asked them: "What do you think of your condition? Do you not see? Do you not hear? Are not your speech and manner of walking good? Look, then! Contemplate the world, look [and see] if the mountains and the valleys appear! Try, then, to see!" they said to [the four first men].

And immediately they [the four first men] began to see all that was in the world. Then they gave thanks to the Creator and the Maker: "We really give you thanks, two and three times! 6 We have been created, we have been given a mouth and a face, we speak, we hear, we think, and walk; we feel perfectly, and we know what is far and what is near. We also see the large and the small in the sky and on earth. We give you thanks, then, for having created us, oh, Creator and Maker! for having given us being, oh, our

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grandmother! oh, our grandfather!" they said, giving thanks for their creation and formation.

They were able to know all, and they examined the four comers, the four points of the arch of the sky and the round face of the earth.

But the Creator and the Maker did not hear this with pleasure. "It is not well what our creatures, our works say; they know all, the large and the small," they said. And so the Forefathers held counsel again. "What shall we do with them now? Let their sight reach only to that which is near; let them see only a little of the face of the earth! It is not well what they say. Perchance, are they not by nature simple creatures of our making? Must they also be gods? And if they do not reproduce and multiply when it will dawn, when the sun rises? And what if they do not multiply?" 7 So they spoke.

"Let us check a little their desires, because it is not well what we see. Must they perchance be the equals of ourselves,

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their Makers, who can, see afar, who know all and see all?"

Thus spoke the Heart of Heaven, Huracán, Chipi-Caculhá, Raxa-Caculhá, Tepeu, Gucumatz, the Forefathers, Xpiyacoc, Xmucané, the Creator and the Maker. Thus they spoke, and immediately they changed the nature of their works, of their creatures.

Then the Heart of Heaven blew mist into their eyes, which clouded their sight as. when a mirror is breathed upon. Their eyes were covered and they could see only what was close, only that was clear to them.

In this way the wisdom and all the knowledge of the four men, the origin and beginning 8 [of the Quiché race], were destroyed.

In this way were created and formed our grandfathers, our fathers, by the Heart of Heaven, the Heart of Earth.


109:1 p. 226 Ximénez explains the significance of these names as follows: Balam-Quitzé means jaguar of sweet laughter, or much laughter, or fatal laughter, like poison. Balam-Acab, jaguar of the night. Mahucutah, not brushed. Iqui-Balam, jaguar of moon or of chile, black jaguar, in Maya. The god of the people of Yucatán was worshiped under the name of "Ek-Balam or Eque-balam, black jaguar." (Relaciones de Yucatán, II, 53). It is very difficult, if not impossible, to find the true origin of these names. Ximénez' explanation has been generally accepted, although it is not entirely satisfactory. It must be noted that balam also has the meaning of "sorcerer, "and that the ancient Quiché, who believed in sorcery and incantations, saw their first fathers as sorcerers and wizards.

109:2 Meaning the forefathers, the ancestors. In the next chapter the author begins to call them mothers, in the same generic sense.

109:3 Xa utuquel achih. They had no family name. They had no ancestors. They were the beginning of the human race.

109:4 Rumal ri Ahtzac, Ahbit, ri Alom, Qaholom.

109:5 Rumal ri Tzacol, Bitol, Alom, Qaholom.

109:6 Chi camul camo, oxmul camo. Like the expression "a thousand and one times" in modern languages.

109:7 Que quiritahic, "they multiply"; qui iaric, as it is in the original, literally, "they bear many," "they propagate," are synonyms, derived from the adverb of quantity qui, "many." Like multos, multiplicare in Latin.

109:8 U xe u ticaribal.

Next: III. Chapter 3