Junajpu and Xbalamke were also flutists and singers, and did many wondrous things while they lived with their mother and grandmother.  Little by little they began to show the ladies what they were capable of, what they really were.

The first thing they did was the incident with the milpa.  “We are going to plant the milpa, mother dear, grandmother dear,” they said.  “Don’t be sad, we are here, your young ones, instead of our older brothers.  We will work the milpa.”

The very next day the twins took their ax and their hoe and went to the fields, and they took their blowpipes as well.  As they were leaving the house, they asked their grandmother to take them lunch: “At noon, granny dear, please bring it.”

“Very well, my children,” answered Ixmukane.

But they truly did no work at all, because they just came to the field and sank the hoe into the ground, and the hoe began to work on its own.  The ax, too, they simply chopped one time into the tree trunk and it went on cutting branches and vines.  Piles of trees grew under the blade of one lone ax.

As for the hoe, it turned over the soil of acres.  The amount of brush and thorns the one hoe dug up, was beyond measure as it went on over hills and mountains.

Then Junajpu and Xbalamke instructed a bird, called Xmuqur.  They set him high on a tree stump and said: “Just keep an eye out for our grandmother, who is coming to bring us our lunch. You sing out when you see her coming, then we will grab the ax and the hoe.”

“Very well,” answered Xmuqur.

While their tools worked themselves, the twins spent the day hunting for birds with their blowpipes.  They didn’t work the milpa field at all.

But when Xmuqur sang out, they came back right away; Junajpu picked up the ax, Xbalamke took up the hoe.  They tied bands across their foreheads, Xbalamke rubbed dirt into her hands and face like a true laborer.  As for Junajpu, he sprinkled wood splinters over his head to seem like a real woodcutter.  So Ixmukane found them when she arrived with the food, and they all ate heartily.

They didn’t deserve to have their lunch brought to them, as they hadn’t worked a bit on the cornfield.

They went home and said: “We’re really tired, grandmother,” and rubbed their legs and stretched their arms while she was watching.  However, the following day they went back to the field and everything had returned to its previous wild condition, trees and vines standing, brush and thornbushes entwined.

The twins were angry, and wondered who could be playing tricks on them.

It was actually the animals who were doing this, animals large and small: the puma, the jaguar, the deer, the hare, the fox, the coyote, the boar, the raccoon; the little birds and big birds did it all, during the night.

So the twins had to do it all over again, or rather their tools did, plow the field and chop down the trees.  They pondered, as they watched the ax and the hoe at work.  “We should keep a watch all night on our milpa.  Whoever is doing this, we’ll catch them in the act,” they decided.  

They went home and told their mother and grandmother what had happened.  “Someone is playing tricks on us, mothers.  When we got there this morning, our milpa had turned back into meadow and forest.  So we’re going back now, we’ll hide and keep watch all night, because this is totally unfair, what they’re doing to us,” they said.

They got ready and went back to the field they had cleared of brush and trees.  They hid themselves and waited, and after a while the animals started coming together, all the animals large and small.

The heart of night was rising when the animals came, all of them speaking in their own languages, saying: “Rise up, trees!  Rise up, vines!”  The twins leaped out to grab the animals, who hid under the eaves of the trees and in the tangles of vines.

At the front were the puma and the jaguar, the twins tried to catch them but couldn’t.  Then the deer and the hare sped by, and the twins managed to grab their tails but the animals did not stop, and rather left their tails in the children’s hands.  And this is why the deer and the hare have such short tails.

The fox, the coyote, the boar and the raccoon didn’t allow themselves to be captured, either.  All the animals paraded past Junajpu and Xbalamke, whose hearts burned with fury because they couldn’t catch anyone.

Finally the last animal passed, jumping along.  They caught the mouse instantly and throttled him by the neck.  They put the poor beast to torment, strangling him, and then burned his tail over the fire.  Since then, the mouse has no hair on his tail, and his eyes seem to pop out of their sockets like when the twins were choking the life out of him.

“I am not meant to die by your hand!” the mouse squealed. “And it is not your place to be planting corn.  Over there, lies hidden what is meant for you.”

“What is meant for us?  Tell us, now,” Junajpu and Xbalamke said to the mouse.

“Why don’t you let me go?” said the mouse.  “I have a message inside me, and I will tell you right away, as soon as you give me some food.”

“We’ll give you your food afterwards, speak first,” they said.

“Very well!” the little mouse said.  “It is not your given work to till the land as farmers, but to take up your fathers’ implements for Pok ah’ Tok’ and to learn and master the game. Your fathers, Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu, so they were called, who died in Xibalba, left their playing gear tied up among the rafters of the house: their wide belts, their arm protectors, and their ball.  But your grandmother has never shown them to you because they are the reason your fathers died.”

“Is this really true?” the twins questioned the mouse closely.

Their hearts were bursting with joy when they heard the news about the playing gear and the game.  After the mouse had spoken his piece, the twins said: “This is your food that will be assigned to you forever: corn, pumpkin seeds, chile, beans, brown cacao and white.  This is for you!  If there is anything stored or left to waste, it is yours also.  Eat it!”

The mouse then had to help them retrieve the gear Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu had left hidden high in the rafters of the house, before departing for Xibalba.  But this had to be done in secrecy, because they knew it would cause their grandmother great sorrow, and their mother, worry. 

“What if your granny sees me, young ones?” the mouse worried.

“She won’t,” said the twins.  “We’ll handle her and our mother.  Listen closely: when we get to the house, we’re going to put you up on the wall so you can get to where the gear is hanging.  We will see you from inside, through the hole in the loft, when we look down at the broth in our bowls sitting at the table.”  The twins and the mouse went over the plan all night, and arrived home at midday.

They hid the mouse well.  Junajpu went straight into the house, Xbalamke went around the side and quickly slipped the mouse up into the wall, then went in and took her place at the table.  They asked their grandmother, “Will you please fill our bowls with red broth, granny dear?”  Ixmukane and Ixkik’ quickly took tomatoes and peppers and ground them into the broth, then filled two bowls and set them before the children.

The twins pretended to eat, but suddenly felt a great thirst and asked for water.  Ixmukane went to the jug, but the children had made the water evaporate and she found the jug empty.

“Oh, we are so thirsty,” they moaned, “please get us some water from the stream, granny.”

“Very well,” she said, and went out to the river.

The twins ate slowly, and they actually weren’t even hungry: it was just part of the plot.  Then they suddenly saw the reflection of the mouse in their bowls, where he was hiding behind the ball tied up in the rafters.  Once they saw him in the broth, they sent a Xan, a strong mosquito, to the place at the river where Ixmukane was drawing water.

The Xan with its piercing proboscis drilled a small hole in Ixmukane’s jug, and the water began to dribble out.  She tried to stop up the hole, to no avail.

Back at the house, the twins moved on with their strategy: “I wonder what’s keeping our granny,” said Junajpu.

“We’re dying of thirst, mother dear,” Xbalamke pleaded to Ixkik’ and added, “please get us some water.”  Ixkik’ looked at her children, wondering, and went out to the river.

Right away, the mouse gnawed through the ties and the ball fell through the hole in the loft floor, followed by the belts, the arm protectors, and the short leather skirts.  The twins, in a flash, picked up the playing gear and went to hide it in a spot on the road to the playing field.  Then they went to join their mother and grandmother at the river.

The two women were still there, confounded by the strange hole in the jug, trying to block it up.  The twins arrived, blowpipes on their shoulders, and said, “What happened to you?  We got tired of waiting and came to see.”

“Look at the jug,” Ixmukane said, “it won’t be plugged up.”

“Let’s see,” said the twins, and in an instant the hole was gone.

The whole family walked back home, Junajpu and Xbalamke prancing and clowning and playing herald to their mothers.

The twins, most enchanted with their gear, rewarded the mouse richly, declaring the many different and tasty things he would have as his food, forever.