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p. 114

III. Chapter 4

Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam said, "Let us await the break of day." So said those great wise men, the enlightened men, the priests and sacrificers. This they said.

Our first mothers and fathers did not yet have wood nor stones to keep; 1 but their hearts were tired of waiting for the sun. Already all the tribes and the Yaqui people, 2 the priests and sacrificers, were very many.

"Let us go, let us go to search and see if our [tribal] symbols are in safety; if we can find what we must burn before them. 3 For being as we are, there is no one who watches for us," said Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam.

And having heard of a city, they went there.

Now then, the name of the place where Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam and those of Tamub and Ilocab went was Tulán-Zuivá, Vucub-Pec, Vucub-Ziván. 4 This was the name of the city where they went to receive their gods.

So, then, all arrived at Tulán. It was impossible to count the men who arrived; there were very many and they walked in an orderly way.

Then was the appearance of their gods; first those of Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam.

p. 115

who were filled with joy: "At last we have found that for which we searched!" they said.

And the first that appeared was Tohil, as this god was called, and Balam-Quitzé put him on his back, in his chest. 5 Instantly the god called Avilix appeared, and Balam-Acab carried him. The god called Hacavitz was carried by Mahucutah; and Iqui-Balam carried the one called Nicahtacah. 6

And together with the people of the Quiché, they also received those of Tamub. And in the same way Tohil was the name of the god of the Tamub who received the grandfather and father of the Lords of Tamub, whom we know today.

In the third place were those of Ilocab. Tohil was also the name of the god who was received by the grandfathers and the fathers of the lords, whom we also know today.

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In this way, the three Quiché [families] were given their names and they did not separate, because they had a god of the same name, Tohil of the Quiché, Tohil of the Tamub and [Tohil] of the Ilocab; one only was the name of the god, 7 and therefore the three Quiché [families] did not separate.

Great indeed was the virtue of the three, Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz.

Then all the people arrived, those from Rabinal, the Cakchiquel, those from Tziquinahá, and the people who now are called the Yaqui. And there it was that the speech of the tribes changed; their tongues became different. They could no longer understand each other clearly after arriving at Tulán. There also they separated, there were some who had to go to the East, 8 but many came here.

And their clothing was only the skins of animals; they had no good clothes to put on, the skins of animals were their only dress. They were poor, they possessed nothing, but they had the nature of extraordinary men.

When they arrived at Tulán-Zuivá, Vucub-Pec, Vucub-Zivan, the old traditions say that they had traveled far in order to arrive there.


116:1 p. 228 Which means idols.

116:2 Yaqui-Vinac, ahqixb, ahcahb, the Mexicans, the ancient Tolteca, the Náhuatl tribe, which united with the Maya of the south, were the origin of the Indian nations of Guatemala. The author calls the Yaquis the priests and sacrificers, and these same names are given in various places to the Quiché chiefs, Balam-Quitzé and his companions. In describing the death of these chiefs, the text designates them in this way: "the chiefs and sacrificers, so called." Cf. end of Chap. 5, Part IV.

116:3 p. 229 Chi ca ric ri coh tzihón ta chuvach, evidently they searched for the incense to burn before the gods.

116:4 This passage of the Popol Vuh is very interesting as proof of the common origin of the Quiché and the other peoples of Guatemala, and of the tribes which established themselves in ancient times in various parts of Mexico and Yucatán. Tulán-Zuivá, the Cave of Tulán, Vucub-Pec, Seven Caves, and Vucub-Ziván, Seven Ravines, are the Quiché names of the place to which Mexican tradition gives the name of Chicomoztoc, which in Náhuatl also means Seven Caves. In the Manuscript of Sahagún from the Academia de la Historia these words are found: "Our fathers had news that from Chicomoztoc they had come, as they themselves said, the seven tribes who proceeded from there, born there." (Cf. Seler, Los Cantares de los dioses, in Sahagún, Historia General, 1938 ed., V, 84.) According to Maya tradition, the name of the cradle of the human race is similar to that which was given by the Quiché, Holtún Çuuyva, the Zuivá Cave, according to the Books of Chilan Balam. Although it has not been possible to locate exactly the site of ancient Tulán of the caves or ravines, the common tradition preserved in Mexico and Guatemala gives all the people of this vast region an origin which, although purely legendary, marks the beginning of their historical evolution. The ancient chronicles of Guatemala are remarkable in this sense, for the clarity with which they show the movement of the tribes from their place of reunion to the places where they finally settled and reached the state of civilization in which the Spaniards found them in the early XVIth century.

116:5 U coc, in this case is the chest or wooden frame which the Indians bear on their backs and in which they carry their products, or burdens, from one place to another. The common name in Guatemala is cacaxte, taken, like many others, from the Mexicans.

116:6 Tohil gets his name from toh, "rain," according to Ximénez. The people of Rabinal called him Huntoh, 1 Toh, which is a day of the calendar. Farther on, the author writes that Tohil and Quetzalcoatl were the same being. The Cakchiquel Manuscript calls Tohohil the principal god of the Quiché. There is no satisfactory etymology for the names of Avilix and Hacavitz. Nicahtacah, literally "in the middle of the plain," does not appear again in the narration, probably because Iqui-Balam had a very secondary part, and did not leave descendants. Explaining the origin of the name Tohohil, the Cakchiquel Manuscript says that when the tribes were in the region of the Laguna de Términos, before going southward into the mountains of Guatemala, the Quiché said: Xaqui tohoh quihilil xibe chi cah, or "thus like it thundered and resounded in the sky," and adds, "in truth in the sky is our p. 230 salvation. Thus they said and for that reason they were called those of Tohohil." The name Tohil, is, in effect, associated with the idea of rain and thunder, as stated at the beginning of this note.

116:7 Xahun u bi u cabauil, in the original.

116:8 To Yucatán.

Next: III. Chapter 5