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p. 135

III. Chapter 10

And now we shall tell of their stay and abode there on the mountain, where the four called Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam were together. Their hearts mourned for Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz, whom they had placed among the air-plants and the moss.

We shall tell now how they made the sacrifices at the foot of the place where they had carried Tohil, when they arrived in the presence of Tohil and Avilix. They went to see them, to greet them, and also to give them thanks for the arrival of the dawn. They were in the thicket 1 amidst the stones, there in the woods. And only by magic art did they speak when the priests and sacrificers came before Tohil. They did not bring great gifts, only resin, the remains of the gum, called noh, and pericón2 they burned before their gods.

Then Tohil spoke; only by a miracle he gave counsel to the priests and sacrificers. And they [the gods] spoke and said: "Truly here shall be our mountains and our valleys. We are yours; great shall be our lory and numerous our descendents, through the work of all men. Yours are all the tribes and we, your companions. Care for your town, and we shall give you your learning.

p. 136

"Do not show us before the tribes when we are angered by the words of their mouths, or because of their conduct. Neither shall you permit us to fall into a snare. Give us, instead, the creatures of the woods and of the fields, and also the female deer, and the female birds. 3 Come and give us a little of your blood, have pity upon us. You may have the skins of the deer 4 and guard us from those whose eyes have deceived us. 5

p. 137

"So, then, [the skin of] the deer shall be our symbol which you shall show before the tribes. When they ask 'Where is Tohil?' show the deerskin before their eyes. Neither shall you show yourselves. for you shall have other things to do. Great shall be their position; you shall dominate all the tribes; you shall bring your blood and their substance before us, and those who come to embrace us, shall be ours also," thus spoke Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz. 6

They had the appearance of youths, when those who came to offer gifts saw them. Then the persecution of the young of the birds and of the deer began, and the fruit of the chase was received by the priests and sacrificers. And when they found the young of the birds and the deer, they went at once to place the blood of the deer and of the birds in the mouths of the stones, that were Tohil and Avilix.

As soon as the blood had been drunk by the gods, the stones spoke, when the priests and the sacrificers came, when they came to bring their offerings. And they did the same before their symbols, burning pericón and holom-ocox7

The symbols of each one were there where they had been placed on the top of the mountain. But they [the priests] did not live in their houses by day, but walked over the mountains, and ate only the young horseflies, and the wasps, and the bees which they hunted; they had neither good food nor good drink. And neither were the roads from their homes known, nor did they know where their wives had remained.


137:1 E cu vonovoh, in the dense and thick.

137:2 Xa col xa r'achac noh ruq yiá. Instead of the incense of the East, the Quiché burned a kind of aromatic substance on the altars of their gods: turpentine, or the resin from the pine, which they called col; pom, which is the copalli of Mexico; the gum called noh, which is another resin, according to Ximénez, and the large fan-grass, or hypericum, Tagetes lucida, of the composite family made up of them. According to Sahagún, the Aztecs used the grass called yiauhtli, dried and ground, which burned like incense and which seems to be the same grass which the Quiché called yiá. The gum noh which the text mentions may be the same that the Maya of Yucatán call xnoh, "resin which drips from the pine" or turpentine, according to Roys.

137:3 As has been said in another part, by the word queh, "deer," all quadrupeds are understood.

137:4 Ch'y canah cut r'izmal ri queh. The text probably refers to the skin of the deer covered with hair, which the priests must show to the people instead of the real gods of the Quiché, thus obeying the command of Tohil.

137:5 Ch'y chahih are e ri u mucuvach chi mich canoc, in the original.

137:6 It will be noted here that the three gods spoke together to the tribes.

137:7 "Which is a grass," says Ximénez; literally, head of a mushroom.

Next: IV. Chapter 1