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Thus it was recorded <by> the first sage, Melchise<dek>, 6 the first prophet, Napuc Tun, 7 the priest, the first priest. This is a song of how the uinal came to be created before the creation of the world. 8 Then he began to march by his own effort alone. Then said his maternal grandmother, then said his maternal aunt, then said his paternal grandmother, then said his sister-in-law: "What shall we say when we see man on the road?" These were their words as they marched along, when there was no man <as yet>. Then they arrived there in the east and began to speak. "Who has passed here? Here are footprints. Measure it off with your foot." So spoke the mistress of the world. 9 Then he measured the footstep of our Lord, God 10 the Father. This was the reason it was called counting off the whole earth, lahca (12) Oc. 11 This was the count, after it had been created by <the day> 13 Oc, after his feet were joined evenly, after they had departed there in the east. Then he spoke

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its name when the day had no name, after he had marched along with his maternal grandmother, his maternal aunt, his paternal grandmother and his sister-in-law. The uinal was created, the day, as it was called, was created, heaven and earth were created, the stairway 1 of water, the earth, rocks and trees; the things of the sea and the things of the land were created.

On 1 Chuen he raised himself to his divinity, after he had made heaven and earth.

On 2 Eb he made the first stairway. It descended from the midst of the heavens, in the midst of the water, when there were neither earth, rocks nor trees.

On 3 Ben he made all things, as many as there are, the things of the heavens, the things of the sea and the things of the earth. /
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On 4 Ix sky and earth were tilted. 2

On 5 Men he made everything.

On 6 Cib the first candle 3 was made; it became light when there was neither sun nor moon.

On 7 Caban honey 4 was first created, when we had none.

On 8 E¢nab his hand and foot were firmly set, then he picked up small things on the ground.

On 9 Cauac hell was first considered.

On 10 Ahau wicked men went to hell because of God the Father, that they might not be noticed.

On 11 Imix rocks and trees were formed; this he did within the day.

On 12 Ik the breath of life 5 was created. The reason it was called Ik was because there was no death in it.

On 13 Akbal he took water and watered the ground. Then he shaped it and it became man.

On 1 Kan he first created anger because of the evil he had created.

On 2 Chicchan occurred the discovery of whatever evil he saw within the town.

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On 3 Cimi he invented death; it happened that our Lord God invented the first death. 1

On 5 Lamat he established the seven great waters of the sea.

On 6 Muluc all valleys were submerged, when the world was not yet created. 2 Then occurred the invention of the word of our Lord God, when there was no word in heaven, when there were neither rocks nor trees.

Then they went to consider <what they were>, and <the voice> spoke as follows: /
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"Thirteen entities, seven entities, one." 3 So it spoke when the word came forth, at the time when there was no word. Then the reason was sought by the first ruling day (the first day Ahau) why the meaning of the word to them was not revealed 4 so that they could declare themselves. Then they went to the center of heaven and joined hands. Then the following were set up in the middle of the land: the Burners, four of them:

4 Chicchan,

the Burner.

4 Oc,

the Burner.

4 Men,

the Burner.

4 Ahau,

the Burner.


These are the four Rulers.

8 Muluc


5 Cauac

9 Oc


6 Ahau

10 Chuen


7 Imix

11 Eb


8 Ik

12 Ben


9 Akbal

13 Ix


10 Kan

1 Men


11 Chicchen

2 Cib


12 Cimi

3 Caban


13 Manik

4 E¢nab


1 Lamat 5,


The day-name Oc is a homonym for the word meaning foot. Ix has a slight resemblance to the root of nixpahal meaning to tilt. Men means to make or to do something. The syllable of E¢nab means to set something firmly on the ground. Nevertheless the Maya were not unaware of the relation between this day and the flint knife pictured by its glyph, for in another manuscript we find it associated with a flint, as well as with the blood-letter and the warrior, both of whom employed this implement (Kaua, p. 21).

The association of the day Ahau with hell (metnal) may be because of its resemblance to that of Cumhau (or Hun Ahau,) one of the names of the god of the underworld and whom the author of the Motul Dictionary identifies as "Lucifer, the prince of the devils." Akbal is associated with the verb akzah, which means to water the ground. Chicchan resembles chictahal which means to find. The day-name Cimi and the Maya word meaning death are homonyms. Muluc resembles the verb mucchahal meaning to be buried or submerged.}

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The uinal was created, the earth was created; sky, earth, trees and rocks were set in order; all things were created by our Lord God, the Father. /
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Thus he was there in his divinity, in the clouds, alone and by his own effort, when he created the entire world, when he moved in the heavens in his divinity. Thus he ruled in his great power. 1 Every day is set in order according to the count, beginning in the east, as it is arranged.


116:5 The Maya uinal was a period of twenty days, each with a different name. The Maya year, or haab, was composed of eighteen such uinals and a closing period of five days known as xma kaba kin, or nameless days.

116:6 Written Merchise in the Maya text. The presence of an r indicates a European word or name, but it does not follow that it was an r in Spanish. R and l sounded alike to the Maya ear, and in native documents we find the name Melchor written Merchor. We have already seen Bible names piously interpolated in native legends. The last syllable is here supplied by the translator.

116:7 A famous Maya prophet who foretold the coming of the Spaniards. See Appendix D.

116:8 Tima to ahac cab; this could also be translated: before it dawned.

116:9 The mistress of the world. Cf. 114, note  6.

116:10 Alternative translation: Then our Lord, God the Father, measured his footstep.

116:11 In other words, the day 12 Oc (lahca Oc) is derived from the phrase, xoc lah cab oc, which means counting off the whole world by footsteps.

117:1 Maya eb is the name of one of the days, and also means stairway. It is probably derived from e, a point, and refers to a series of points or indentations (Seler 1902, p. 482). Why it is connected with water is uncertain, but the fact is confirmed on page 74 of the Dresden Codex. Here we see the old goddess with the jaguar claws emptying a jar of water upon the earth, and in the descending stream of water is pictured the day-sign Eb.

117:2 Possibly a reference to the horizon where earth and sky meet.

117:3 Cib, which has meant candle since the Spanish occupation, appears to have always been the word for wax. We can find no evidence of the use of candles before the Conquest, but according to the reports of the Sixteenth Century settlers there was such an extensive trade in beeswax that it is difficult to believe that it dated only from the Spanish occupation of the country (Relaciones de Yucatan). Cf. p. 101, note  6.

117:4 Cab, here translated as honey, could also mean the earth.

117:5 Ik can mean either wind or the breath of life. The context appears to call for the latter rendering.

118:1 Following the day 3 Cimi, 4 Manik is omitted.

118:2 Possibly a reference to the belief in a previous creation which was destroyed by water. Throughout this passage everything that occurred is told in language which is a play of words on the name of the day.

118:3 The twenty day-names were combined with the numbers one to thirteen. When the numerical series of thirteen was completed, it began over again and was repeated for seven days more. Consequently we have 13 days + 7 days = 1 uinal.

118:4 Hepahac, here translated as revealed, literally means opened, like a door.

118:5 This series of twenty days could be the first uinal of a Year 8 Muluc which recurred every 52 years. From the time of the Conquest down to the compilation of the Chumayel, this year could have fallen in 1562, 1614, 1666, 1718 and 1770. The meaning of the numbers between the columns of days is not clear. If it is a secondary count beginning on the day 6 Ahau, then 13 Manik is wrongly numbered 7.

119:1 Among the modern Jacalteca Indians it is still believed that the days were once men who lived on the earth. They were rulers who protected the village or divided the land (Lafarge and Byers 1931, p. 159).

Next: XIV: A History of the Spanish Conquest