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p. 140

IV. Chapter 2

Here is how Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah. and Iqui-Balam began the abduction of the men of the tribes [of Vuc Amag].

Then came the killing of the tribes. They seized a man as he walked alone, or two when they were walking together, and it was not known when they were seized, and then they went to sacrifice them before Tohil. and Avilix. Afterward they sprinkled the blood on the road and placed the heads separately on the road. And the tribes said, "The jaguar ate them." And they spoke thus because like footprints of the jaguar were the tracks which they had left, although they did not show themselves.

Already, many were the men who had been carried off, but the tribes did not notice it until later. "Could it be Tohil. and Avilix who have been here among us? It must be they who are nourished by the priests and the sacrificers. Where are their homes? Let us follow their footprints!" said all the people.

Then they held a council among themselves. Then they began to follow the footprints of the priests and the sacrificers, but they were not clear. There were only tracks of wild animals, tracks of jaguars that they saw, but the tracks were not distinct. The first ones were not clear because

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they were reversed, as though made so that the people went astray, and their way was not clear. A mist formed, a black rain fell and made much mud; and it began to drizzle. This was what the people saw before them. And their hearts became weary of searching and following them on the roads, because the beings of Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz were so great that the latter withdrew to the summit of the mountains, in the vicinity of the people, whom they killed.

Thus began the abduction of the people when the sorcerers caught the tribes in the roads and sacrificed them before Tohil. Avilix, and Hacavitz; but their [own] sons they saved there on the mountain.

Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz had the appearance of three youths and walked by virtue of the magic stone. There was a river in which they bathed, at the edge of the water and only there did they appear. For this reason it was called "in the Bathing Place of Tohil," and this was the name of the river. 1 Often the tribes saw them, but they disappeared immediately, when they were seen by the people.

Then they had tidings of where Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah. and Iqui-Balam were, and at once the tribes held council as to the way in which they could be killed.

In the first place the tribes wanted to discuss the way to overcome Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz. And all the priests and sacrificers [of the tribes] said to the people: "Arise, all of you, call everyone, let there be not one group, nor two groups, among us who remain behind the others."

All assembled, they assembled in great numbers and deliberated among themselves. And they said, asking each other: "What shall we do to overcome the Quiché of Cavec 2

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by whose hands our sons and vassals are being killed? it is not known how our people are being destroyed. If we must perish, because of these abductions, so let it be; and if the power of Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz is so great then let our god be this Tohil, and God grant that you take him captive. It is not possible that they shall overcome us. Are there not, perchance, enough men among us? And the Cavec are not many," they said, when all were assembled.

And some said, turning to the tribes, when they spoke: "Who has seen those who bathe in the river every day? If they are Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz, then we shall overcome them first, and afterward, we shall begin the destruction of the priests and sacrificers." This, many of them said, when they talked.

"But how shall we overcome them?" they asked again.

"This shall be our way of overcoming them. Since they have the appearance of youths when they let themselves be seen in the water, then let two maidens who are really

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beautiful, and very lovely, go and provoke in them desire to possess them," they said.

"Very well. Let us go, then; let us find two beautiful maidens," they exclaimed, and then they went to find their daughters. And truly beautiful were the maidens.

Then they instructed the maidens: "Go, our daughters, go to wash clothes at the river, and if you see the three youths, undress before them, and if their hearts desire you, call to them. If they say to you, 'May we come to you?' answer, 'Yes.' And when they ask: 'Where do you come from, whose daughters are you?' tell them, 'We are daughters of the lords.' 3

"Then you shall say: 'Give us a token of yours.' And if after they have given you something, they want to kiss your faces, really give yourselves to them. And if you do not give yourselves to them, we shall kill you. Afterward our hearts shall be satisfied. When you have the token, bring it here, and this shall be proof, in our judgment, that they were joined with you."

Thus spoke the lords when they advised the two maidens. Here are their names: Xtah was the name of one of the maidens, and the other was Xpuch. 4 And the two maidens, Xtah and Xpuch, were sent to the river, to the bathing place of Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz. This is what was decided by all the tribes.

They went at once, well adorned, and they were truly very beautiful when they went there where Tohil 5 was bathing, so that they would be seen, when they were washing. When they went, the lords were happy because they had sent their two daughters.

As soon as the latter arrived at the river, they began to wash. The two had already taken off their clothes and were

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bending over the stones when Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz came. They came there to the edge of the river and paused a moment, surprised to see the two young girls who were washing, and the girls became ashamed at the moment when Tohil came. But the two girls did not appeal to Tohil. And then he asked them: "Where did you come from?" Thus he asked the two maidens, and added: "What do you want that you come here to the edge of our water?"

And they answered: "The lords have sent us to come here. 'Go look at the faces of Tohil and speak with them,' the lords told us; and 'then bring proof that you have seen

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their faces.' they told us." Thus the two girls spoke, making known the purpose of their coming.

Well, what the tribes wanted was that the two maidens would be violated by the incarnation of Tohil. 6 But Tohil, Avilix, and Hacavitz said, speaking again to Xtah and Xpuch, as the two maidens were called: "Very well, with you shall go proof of our conversation. Wait a little and then you shall give it to the lords." they said.

Then they held council with the priests and sacrificers and they said to Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam: 7 "Paint three capes, paint on them the symbol of your being in order that it may be recognized by the tribes, when the maidens who are washing carry them back. Give the capes to them," Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, and Mahucutah were told.

At once the three began to paint. First, Balam-Quitzé painted a jaguar; the figure was made and painted on the surface of the cape. Then Balam-Acab painted the figure of an eagle on the surface of a cape; and then Mahucutah painted bumblebees and wasps all over, figures and drawings of which he painted on the cloth. And the three finished their painting, three pieces they painted.

Then they went to give the capes to Xtah and Xpuch, as they were called, and Balam-Quitzé. Balam-Acab, and Mahucutah said to them: "Here is proof of your conversation [with us]; take these before the lords: Say to them, 'In truth, Tohil has talked to us; here we bring the proof,' tell them, and have them dress themselves in the clothes which you will give them." This they told the maidens when they bade them farewell. The latter went at once, carrying the above-mentioned painted capes. 8

When they arrived, the lords were filled with joy to see

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their faces and their hands, from which hung the things the maidens had gone for.

"Did you see the face of Tohil?" they asked them.

"Yes, we saw it," answered Xtah and Xpuch.

"Very well. And you bring the token, do you not?" the lords asked, thinking that this was the proof of their sin.

Then the maidens held out the painted capes, all covered with [the figures] of jaguars and eagles, and covered with bumblebees and wasps, painted on the surface of the cloth and which shone before them. At once they felt a desire to put the capes on.

The jaguar did nothing when the lord threw the first painting on his back. Then the lord put on the second painting, with the figure of the eagle. The lord felt very well

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wrapped within it. And he turned about before all of them.

Then he undressed before all, and put on the third painted cape. And now he had on himself, the bumblebees and wasps which were on it. Instantly the bumblebees and the wasps stung his flesh. And not being able to suffer the stings of these insects, he began to scream because of the insects whose figures were painted on the cloth, the painting of Mahucutah, which was the third one that had been painted.

Thus they were overcome. Then the lords reprimanded the two maidens named Xtah and Xpuch: "What kind of clothes are those which you have brought? Where did you go to bring them, you devils?" they said to the maidens when they reprimanded them. All the people were overcome by Tohil.

Well, what they [the lords] wanted was that Tohil should have gone to amuse himself with Xtah and Xpuch, and that the [maidens] would have become whores, for the tribes believed that they would serve to tempt them. But it was not possible that they should overcome them, thanks to those miraculous men, Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam.


147:1 p. 236 Chi r'atinibal Tohil. Brasseur de Bourbourg locates the river of this name thirteen to fifteen miles to the southeast of Cubulco, on the road to Joyabaj, on the summit of the mountain which separates both towns.

147:2 The family of Cavec was the most important and numerous in the Quiché kingdom.

147:3 The chiefs of the tribes of Vucamag, who were enemies of the Quiché and fathers of the maidens, were called Rotzhaib, Uxab, Qibahá, and Quebat-Zunuhá, according to the Título de los Señores de Totonicapán.

147:4 Are qui bi va Xtah u bi hun gapoh, Xpuch chicut u bi hunchic, in the original. Xtán is "girl" in Cakchiquel. Ichpoch also means "girl" in Náhuatl, according to Brasseur de Bourbourg. The Título de los Señores de Totonicapán adds a third maiden called Quibatzunah ("well arranged," or "polished"). It is more logical to believe that the mission sent out by the tribes was composed of three sirens, since the gods whom they were trying to seduce were three in number. Another version of the legend in the Título de Totonicapán is that Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, and Mahucutah, and not the gods of the Cavec, were the youths whom they tried to tempt.

147:5 Here Tohil again becomes a collective noun.

147:6 According to the Quiché belief, these youths who appeared in the Bath of Tohil were the reincarnation of the gods in human form, their bodily representatives, their alter egos. The nagual was the person or animal into which the Indians could be transformed at will.

147:7 p. 237 The name of Iqui-Balam appears here with that of the other Quiché chiefs, but later the manuscript says that there were only the other three who painted the capes.

147:8 Ta x-e be cut x-cu caah u bi ri tziban cul, in the original.

Next: IV. Chapter 3