This is the beginning of the old traditions of this place called Quich Here
we shall write and we shall begin the old stories, the beginning and the origin
of all that was done in the town of the Quich by the tribes of the Quichnation.
And here we shall set forth the revelation, the declaration, and the narration
of all that was hidden, the revelation by Tzacol, Bitol, Alom, Qaholom, who are
called HunahpVuch, HunahpUti Zaqui-NimTzi, Tepeu, Gucumatz, u Qux cho,
u Qux Pal Ah RaxLac, Ah RaxTzel, as they were called.*And [at the same time] the declaration, the combined narration of the Grandmother
and the Grandfather, whose names are Xpiyacoc, and Xmucan**helpers and protectors, twice grandmother, twice grandfather, so called in the
Quiche chronicles. Then we shall tell all that they did in the light of existence,
in the light of history.
*These are the names of the divinity, arranged in pairs
of creators in accord with the dual conception of the Quich Tzacol and Bitol,
Creator and Maker. Alom, the mother god, she who conceived the sons, from al,
"son," al, "to give birth." Qaholom, the father god who begat the sons, from
qahol, "son of the father," qaholah, "to beget." Ximez calls them mother and
Father; they are the Great Father and the Great Mother, so called by the Indians,
according to Las Casas; and they were in heaven.
**Xpiyacoc and Xmucan the old man and the old woman
(in Maya, xnuc is "old woman"), equivalents of the Mexican gods Cipactonal and
Oxomoco, the sages who, according to the Toltec legend, invented their astrology
and arranged the counting of time, that is, the calendar. Although in the Quich
legend there was also the other abstract pair previously mentioned, Xpiyacoc and,
above all, his consort Xmucan this pair had a more direct contact with the things
of this world; together they were what the Mexican archaeologist Enrique Juan
Palacios calls "the active Creator-couple who are directly concerned with the
making of material things."
This we shall write now under the Law of God and Christianity; we shall bring
it to light because now the Popol Vuh, as it is called,***cannot be seen any more, in which was clearly seen the coming from the other side
of the sea and the narration of our obscurity, and our life was clearly seen.
The original book, written long ago, existed, but its sight is hidden to the searcher
and to the thinker. Great were the descriptions and the account of how all the
sky and earth were formed, how it was formed and divided into four parts; how
it was partitioned, and how the sky was divided; and the measuring-cord was brought,
and it was stretched in the sky and over the earth, on the four angles, on the
four corners, as was told by the Creator and the Maker, the Mother and the Father
of Life, of all created things, he who gives breath and thought, she who gives
birth to the children, he who watches over the happiness of the people, the happiness
of the human race, the wise man, he who meditates on the goodness of all that
exists in the sky, on the earth, in the lakes and in the sea.
***Popo Vuh, or Popol Vuh, literally the "Book of the
Community." The word popol is Maya and means "together," "reunion," or "common
house." Popol na is the "house of the community where they assemble to discuss
things of the republic," says the Diccionario de Motul. Pop is a Quichverb which
means "to gather," "to join," "to crowd," according to Ximez; and popol is a
thing belonging to the municipal council, "communal," or "national." For this
reason Ximez interprets Popol Vuh as Book of the Community or of the Council.
Vuh or u is "book," "paper," or "rag" and is derived from the Maya bn or n,
which means at the same time both paper and book, and finally the tree, the bark
of which was used in making paper in ancient times, and which the Nahua call amatl,
commonly known in Guatemala as amatle (Ficus cotinifolia). Note that in many words
the n from the Maya is changed to j or h in Quich Na, "house" in Maya, is changed
to ha, or ja; hn or n, "book" in Maya, becomes vuh or h in Quich
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