The Ancient Maya (Myths of the World) by Virginia Schomp

By Virginia Schomp

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Extra resources for The Ancient Maya (Myths of the World)

Example text

Then she heard the voice again, and when she looked, the fruit had turned into a gruesome skull. “Do not be afraid,” said the skull. “My spittle is a sign that I have given you. When a man dies, the flesh leaves his skull, but he does not disappear. His substance lives on in his sons and daughters. ” Blood Woman returned home. She kept everything that she had seen and heard secret in her heart. Six months passed, and her belly grew big with the child that had been placed in her through the spittle of The severed head of One Hunahpu spit into Blood Woman’s hand.

While Seven Macaw plotted his revenge, the Hero Twins were thinking. How could they get back Hunahpu’s arm and complete the defeat of their enemy? At last they came up with an idea. They went to visit their grandparents, the wise old diviners Xpiyacoc and Xmucane. “Please help us get our arm back,” said the boys. “Go to the home of Seven Macaw and tell him that you are traveling healers. We will follow 44 Th e A N C I E N T M AYA right behind you, pretending to be harmless children. ” Xpiyacoc and Xmucane agreed to the plan.

After death One Hunahpu’s head still had enough sacred power to father the Hero Twins. This reflects the ancient Maya’s belief in the life-giving power of blood and sacrifice. According to this view, the death of a sacrificial victim was not an ending but a transformation that created new life out of old. CA S T o f C H A R AC T E R S One Hunahpu (hoo-nah-POO) Father of the Hero Twins Seven Hunahpu Twin brother of One Hunahpu Xpiyacoc (shpee-yah-KAWK) Grandfather of the gods Xmucane (shmoo-kah-NAY) Grandmother of the gods One Death Head lords of Xibalba Seven Death Blood Woman Mother of the Hero Twins; also called Xquic Blood Gatherer One of the demon lords of Xibalba Hunahpu The Hero Twins Xbalanque (shbah-lahn-KAY) } } 58 Th e A N C I E N T M AYA The Descent to Xibalba O NE HUNAHPU AND HIS BROTHER, SEVEN HUNAHPU, were the twin sons of the wise old couple Xpiyacoc and Xmucane.

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