Now we will say the name of the fathers of Junajpu and Xbalamke. Let us drink to them, let us drink because we are going to tell of the conception of Junajpu and Xbalamke. But we will only tell half, only a part of the story of their fathers. This is their tale.

Here are their names, Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu, they were called; and the names of their parents were Xpiyakok and Ixmukane. In the dark before the dawn, first Jun Junajpu and later Wuqub Junajpu were born of Xpiyakok and Ixmukane. Now Jun Junajpu begat two children, two sons: Jun Batz’, the first one was called, and Jun Chowen, the second. This was the name of their mother: Ixbaqiyalo, she was called, wife of Jun Junajpu.

Now Wuqub Junajpu had no wife, he was barely of an age to marry. He was the second son, little more than a boy.

They were indeed wise men, they had great knowledge. They were seers here upon the face of the Earth, well-inclined and well-mannered. They taught the sons of Jun Junajpu, Jun Batz’ and Jun Chowen, in arts and skills. Flute-players, song-singers, blowpipe shooters, writers they became; also sculpting, carving of jade, shaping of silver they learned, Jun Batz’ and Jun Chowen.

As for Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu, they loved above all the game of Pok ah’ Tok’ and spent every one of their days knocking the hard rubber ball about with their head, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and feet- never, never touching it with their hands. But this love of the game proved to be their ultimate undoing.

The four of them would play, two against two, and when they gathered at the game field a hawk would come and watch them. He was a messenger sent by Jun Raqan, Ch’ipi Kaqulja, Raxa Kaqulja. Now for this hawk Earth was not far, Xibalba was not far, and in an instant he could rise to Jun Raqan in Heaven. A long time passed, on the face of the Earth after the mother of Jun Batz’ and Jun Chowen died.

The field where they played was on the road to Xibalba, so they happened to disturb Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame, Lords of Death, in the city of Xibalba, deep in the crevices of the Earth.

“What is happening on the face of the Earth? Someone is jumping and stomping and bouncing. Send for them at once! Let them come and play Pok ah’ Tok’ here, and we will defeat them. They are no longer in awe of us, they do not respect us and they have no shame. Go and pull them down here,” said all the Lords of Xibalba in one voice, with one decision.

The ones called Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame were the supreme judges and heads of the council. As for the other Lords, ten all told, each had their office and their authority granted by Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame. So, then, were Xikiri Pat and Kuchuma Kik’, the names of these Lords, in charge of sickening the blood of the people. Next to them, Ajal Puj and Ajal Q’ana, the names of the Lords, were tasked with making people swell up, causing pus to ooze from their legs, and turning their faces yellow, what is known as jaundice. This was the authority of Ajal Puj and Ajal Q’ana. The following Lords were Ch’amiya Baq and Ch’amiya Jolom, sheriffs of Xibalba, and their scepters were fashioned from bone. Their work was cachexia, making people waste away until they were barely bones, barely skulls, and when they died it was only the skeleton that remained. This was the office of Ch’amiya Baq and Ch’amiya Jolom, thus called. The others were the Lords Ajal Mes and Ajal Toq’ob, these their names. Their mandate was to encounter people suddenly and inspire enmity and hatred among them, wherever they found them, coming or going from their homes. The people afflicted would then cause deadly wounds to each other, until they fell face down on the ground, and died. This was the attribute of Ajal Mes and Ajal Toq’ob, thus named. As for the Lords called Xik and Patan, their office was to bring sudden death to people on the roads, their mouths filling with blood and then dying, vomiting blood. They would press upon the throats of the people, and their breast, so they would die on the roads. It could happen when they were walking, or when they were sitting. This was, then, the occupation of Xik and Patan.

These were the twelve who brought their thoughts together, to accost and pursue Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu, lure them with an invitation to come and play in the city of Xibalba and then trap them in their houses of pain, punishment and death.

What the Lords of Xibalba really wanted were the brothers’ Pok ah’ Tok’ gear: their leather breast protectors, their wide belts, their arm bands, their feather headdresses, their protective wraps, the adornments of Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu for the game. 

Now we will tell of their journey to Xibalba and how they left behind Jun Batz’ and Jun Chowen, the sons of Jun Junajpu. Their mother, Ixbaqiyalo, had already died, and above that they were to be one day defeated by their siblings, Junajpu and Xbalamke.

The Lords Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame called up their messengers and instructed them.

“You, Guardians of our Council, go and order Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu. Say when you are before them: ‘May them come!’ the Lords send their word thus. ‘Here is where they must play Pok ah’ Tok’ with us; our spirits will be lifted by them. We truly admire them! May they come, then,’ say the Lords. ‘Let them bring their playing gear, their belts and arm bands, and their ball.’ Thus say the Lords, you must tell them when you arrive.” This was the instruction given to the messengers.

The messengers were owls: Arrow Owl, One-Leg Owl, Macaw Owl, Head Owl, these were the names of the messengers of Xibalba. Arrow Owl was swift as a flying arrow, One-Leg Owl had only one leg but had his two wings, Macaw Owl had feathers of fire and also wings; as for Head Owl, he was only a head, and had no legs, but he did have wings. They were the four messengers, their rank was Guardians of the Council.

They rose out of Xibalba and soon came to the Pok ah’ Tok’ field. Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu were playing there in the great hollow, as it is called. The owls alighted at the edge of the field to give their message, repeating the words spoken by Jun Kame, Wuqub Kame; Ajal Puj, Ajal Q’ana; Ch’amiya Baq, Ch’amiya Jolom; Xikiripat, Kuchuma Kik’; Ajal Mes, Ajal Toq’ob; Xik, Patan, all the Lords by name. Thus was their message spoken by the owls.

“Did the Lords Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame truly speak so?”

“They did,” said the messengers. “Come! We will guide you. And the Lords said, ‘They must bring all their playing gear’.”

“That is good! But you must wait for us while we go and take leave of our mother,” said the brothers.

They went home and said to their mother (their father had passed away), “We must go, mother dear. The messengers from the Lords have come to take us. They say, the envoys, that the Lords want us to go. But we will leave our ball here,” the brothers said. They quickly climbed up into the loft and fastened it there.

“We will return! and we will play again. You both keep on playing your flutes, practice your songs, continue writing, continue carving. Keep the warmth of the home, brighten your grandmother’s heart,” they instructed Jun Batz’ and Jun Chowen when they took their leave.

All the while their mother, Ixmukane, wept bitterly.

“Come. We will not die. Do not be sad,” Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu said as they left.

Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu moved out quickly, guided by the messengers. They went down the road to Xibalba, descended intricate stairways into the depths and out through some ravines with wild waters, known as Restless Ravine, Noisy Ravine, thus called. They passed quickly through swirling currents full of thorns, countless thorns, but they were not hurt. Then they came to the bank of a river, a river of blood, and they passed it without drinking its waters. 

They arrived at another river, where the water ran foul, and they were not defeated there, either, when they crossed. They came then to the place where four roads came together: one road was red, the others were one black, one white, and the other was a yellow road. Four roads, they were.

Then the black road spoke: “You must follow me, I am the road that leads to the Lords,” the road said. And there they were first defeated, when they took the black road to Xibalba.

When they came to the council house of the Lords of Xibalba, they were again defeated. On the first seats were a wooden figure and a mannequin dressed up by the Lords. The brothers greeted them first: 

“Good day, Jun Kame!” they said to the wooden figure. “Good day, Wuqub Kame!” they said to the mannequin. But they received no answer, instead the Lords of Xibalba screamed with laughter at them, mocking them because they were practically defeated already. In their hearts, Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu were, indeed, already defeated. The Lords kept laughing, until Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame spoke:

“It is good that you have come, tomorrow you will gamble your belts and your arm bands,” they said. “Come, sit on our bench!” they added. But the bench they offered the brothers was made of searing hot stone. They were burnt on this stone bench; in truth, they tried to settle on the seat but found no ease; they really had to get up, but their backsides were already scorched. The Lords of Xibalba began laughing again, they laughed themselves into heaps, they laughed themselves into cramps that went to their hearts, their blood, their bones; all the Lords of Xibalba were choking with hilarity.

“You go on now to that house where they will give you torches and cigars, the place where you will sleep,” they finally said to the brothers. They were taken then to the House of Darkness, where deep shadows reigned. The Lords of Xibalba quickly agreed among themselves:

“Tomorrow we will sacrifice them, may it be soon, may they die quickly. We will take their playing gear, their Pok ah’ Tok’ trappings,” they murmured.

As for their own playing gear, it had a round whittled edge, White Quartz it was called, the game played in Xibalba. It was so sharp, this instrument, that when it came into play it ravaged the bones of any who faced it.

So Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu entered the House of Darkness. A splinter of resinous wood was given to them; but the resinous splinter was already lit, they had set fire to it in the chambers of Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame and brought it already alight. They also gave them one cigar each, but these were also lit before, in the chambers of Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame, and were burning when they were delivered to Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu. They were squatting in the darkness when the porters brought the resinous splinter and the cigars, the sentinels’ torches bright and flaming.

“Each of you, take your cigars now; but you must return them intact at daybreak. They may not be consumed, because we must collect them again. Thus have the Lords spoken,” the porters said.

And so they were defeated, thus: the resinous wood splinter was consumed and the cigars burnt to ashes, and they failed the first of the trials.

The trials of Xibalba were several, varied the forms of punishment: the first trial was the House of Darkness, where the shadows reigned. The second was the House of Ice, called thus, so intensely cold, the freezing wind, ice coming in through the cracks. The third trial was called the House of Jaguars, full of prowling angry big cats, swirling and growling, these jaguars, furious at being enclosed in such a house. The House of Bats was the fourth trial, only bats lived there, only bats were inside; they squeaked and screeched and fluttered all about the place. The bats were closed in, there was no way they could get out. The fifth trial was the House of Shards, thus called, full of sharp cutting pieces of obsidian glass; the pieces rubbed together and filled the house with terrible shrill and sharp sounds. There were many trials in Xibalba, but Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu did not go into all of them; we just mention them here, their names and their nature.

Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu were taken then before Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame. “Where are my cigars? Where is my resinous wood splinter that was delivered to you this night past?” they asked.

“They are done, Sirs. They are gone.”

“Very well! Today your days have ended. You are going to die; you are going to disappear; we will finish you, here your presence will remain hidden: You will be sacrificed!” said Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame.

And they were quickly sacrificed, and their bodies buried. The place of sacrifice is the name of the place where they were buried. But first they severed the head from Jun Junajpu’s body and took it. The body they buried alongside his younger brother.

“Go and leave his head in the middle of that tree growing by the road,” said Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame.

The porters took the head and placed it among the branches of the tree, and at that instant green leaves sprouted thickly all along them, the tree blossomed and gave fruit. It never had, it had always been dry and fruitless, until the head of Jun Junajpu was placed among its branches. This is the tree now called jícaro, head of Jun Junajpu, it is called.

They were amazed, then, Jun Kame and Wukub Kame, at the blossoming of the tree. The round green gourd-like fruits were everywhere, the head of Jun Junajpu could not be distinguished among them. This was observed by all who came from Xibalba to see the tree. It became a great portent for them, because it happened in an instant when the head of Jun Junajpu was placed among its branches.

The Lords of Xibalba, uneasy, said then among themselves: “Let no person come and pick these fruits and nobody stand under the tree,” they said, restraining themselves as well, limiting themselves, all those of Xibalba.

The head of Jun Junajpu was mimetized by then among the fruits of the tree called jícaro, it looked just the same as the rest. This event was much talked about, until it came to be heard by a maiden; and now we will tell of her arrival.