Index  Previous  Next 

p. 151

IV. Chapter 4

They were there, then, Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam, were all together on the mountain with their wives and their children when all the warriors and soldiers came. The tribes did not number sixteen thousand, or twenty-four thousand men, 1 [but even more].

They surrounded the town, crying out loudly, armed with arrows and shields, beating drums, giving war whoops, whistling, shouting, inciting them to fight, when they arrived in front of the town.

But the priests and sacrificers were not frightened; they only looked at them from the edge of the wall, where they were in good order with their wives and children. They thought only of the strength and the shouting of the tribes when they came up the side of the mountain.

Shortly before they were about to throw themselves at the entrance of the town, the four gourds which were at the edge of the town were opened and the bumblebees and the wasps came out of the gourds; like a great cloud of smoke they emerged from the gourds. And thus the warriors perished because of the insects which stung the pupils of their eyes 2 and fastened themselves to their noses,

p. 152

their mouths, their legs, and their arms. "Where are they," they said, "those who went to get and bring in all the bumblebees and wasps that are here?"

They went straight to sting the pupils of their eyes, the little insects buzzing in swarms over each one of the men; and the latter, stunned by the bumblebees and wasps, could no longer grasp their bows and their shields, which were broken on the ground.

When the warriors fell, they were stretched out on the mountainside, and they no longer felt when they were hit with arrows, and wounded by the axes. Balam-Quitzé and Balam-Acab used only blunt sticks. Their wives also took part in this killing. Only a part [of them] returned and all the tribes began to flee. But the first ones caught were put to death; not a few of the men died, and those who died were not the ones they intended to kill but those who were attacked by the insects. Neither was it a deed of valor, because the warriors were not killed by arrows or by shields.

Then all the tribes surrendered. The people humbled themselves before Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, and Mahucutah. "Have pity on us, do not kill us," they exclaimed.

"Very well. Although you deserve to die, you shall [instead] become [our] vassals for the rest of your lives," 3 they said to them.

In this way were all of the tribes destroyed by our first mothers and fathers; and this happened there on the mountain Hacavitz, as it is now called. This was where they first settled, where they multiplied and increased, begot their daughters, gave being to their sons, on the mountain Hacavitz.

They were, then, very happy when they had overcome all the tribes, whom they destroyed there on the mountaintop.

p. 153

[paragraph continues] In this way they carried out the destruction of the tribes, of all the tribes. After this their hearts rested. And they said to their sons that when they [the tribes] intended to kill them, the hour of their own death was approaching.

And now we shall tell of the death of Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam, as they were called.


153:1 Mavi xa ca chuy, ox chuq ri amac. Chuy, chuguy, literally the bag or sack in which the cacao was stored and which contained eight thousand beans, equivalent to the xiquipil of Mexico. The same word is used here also to count the troops. The text gives one to understand that the army of the tribes contained more than 24,000 men. In the Memorial Cakchiquel de Sololá one finds the same form of enumeration: Maqui xa hu chuvy, ca chuvy x-pe, x-ul ca chi amag; "neither eight thousand nor sixteen thousand came, all the people came."

153:2 Tacatoh chu bac qui vach, in the original.

153:3 The Quiché expression is very picturesque: chi be quih, chi be zac, "so long as the sun walks, so long as there is light."

Next: IV. Chapter 5