Now here is the memory of the death of Junajpu and Xbalamke. This is their memory, their death as we will tell it. All that was forced on them, they survived; all the suffering, the torments they were subjected to. They did not die in the trials of Xibalba, nor were they defeated by the voracious animals that live there.

The twins sought out two soothsayers, readers of the future. They were called Xulu and Pak’am, both wise men.

“The Lords of Xibalba will ask for you after our death. Even now they are debating on why we have not yet died and why we have not been defeated, after passing through their torments, and that not even their animals could best us. In our hearts now we have seen the sign: the stone-ringed fire is their instrument for our death. And have not all the Xibalbans come together? However, we will not truly die. These are, then, our instructions for you, when they come to ask your advice on what to do with our remains after we burn to death. ‘What do you say, Xulu and Pak’am?’ they will ask you: ‘Would it be good to throw their bones into the ravine?’ ‘That is not a good idea, because they might come back to life,’ you will answer. ‘And if we hang them from a tree, would it be good?’ they will ask. ‘That would not be good, either, for you will see them there for days,’ you will say. They will ask then, a third time: ‘Is it the best we can do, throw their bones into the river?’ If they say this, you will answer: ‘That is the best way to dispose of them! And better still, crush their bones with a grindstone, like corn meal! We must grind them one by one, then throw the dust into the river, where the spring spills over and falls into a pool, then flows on through small mountains and great mountains.’ This is what you will say when they come to you for advice, what we have said.” Thus spoke young Junajpu and Xbalamke. They gave the seers these instructions, because they knew what had to be done.

Meanwhile the Xibalbans were preparing a great fire in a ring of stones, as if to cook the sweetened corn drink, fueling the fire with great branches of trees. The messengers came to the twins then, to escort them, the messengers of Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame.

“‘Bid them come! We would go to the children ourselves, but it is best if they come and see what we have cooked for them,’ say the Lords, children,” the messengers said.

“Very well!” they answered. They went quickly and came to the edge of the fire. Once there, the Lords tried to make them play.

“Let us leap over the sweet drink! Four times it must be done, jumping over it, one after the other, children,” Jun Kame said to them.

“Don’t try to trick us with that. Don’t we know about our death, Lords? Watch this!” the twins said. Then they stood face to face, extended their arms and leaped head-first into the fire. Thus, they both died together.

All the Xibalbans were happy, raising their voices and whistling. “We have defeated them! It was actually easy to make them give up!” they exclaimed. Then Xulu and Pak’am were sent for, the seers the twins had prepared, and they were asked where the bones should go. After the council, the Xibalbans ground the bones and went to throw them into the river. But the bone dust did not go far, it settled directly below the surface and turned back into the two beautiful young people. They regained their likeness and showed themselves once more.

They reappeared on the fifth day and people saw them on the riverbank. The Xibalbans thought they seemed like fish people, and went to seek them on the riverbanks. On the following day they appeared as two beggars, dressed in rags, covered in rags, hidden in rags. Nothing about them was impressive when they were seen by the Xibalbans.

And what they did now was different, only dances: the pujuy dance, the weasel dance, only the armadillo dance, only the centipede’s, only the dance on stilts; that was all they performed now. They also did great acts of magic, they burned a house down as if it were really on fire, and immediately returning it to how it had been. Many Xibalbans saw this and were amazed. Then the beggar dancers sacrificed themselves, one of them would die and remain as if dead. They killed each other, then right away came back to life. The Xibalbans were impressed as never before by what the twins did. All this they did was the beginning of the defeat of the Xibalbans.

News of their dances came quickly to the ears of the Lords Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame. “Who are these two beggars? Is it true their dances cause such enjoyment?” they asked.

“Their dances are truly beautiful. Everything they do!” answered the one who had brought the news. The Lords were seduced by the information, and ordered their messengers, their errand runners, to go call the beggars.

“‘Let them come and perform here, so we can see them, so we can wonder at them, and admire them!’ say the Lords. This you will say to them,” the Lords told the messengers, who went to the dancers and repeated the Lords’ words.

“We would not like that! Frankly, we are ashamed. Would it not be disgraceful for us to enter the house of the Lords? Look at us! Our appearance is very bad. Aren’t our eyes huge from hunger? Don’t you realize we are merely dancers? And our partners in poverty, what will we say to them when they are frustrated in their desire to see our dances and have joy in us? That we will not have from the Lords, so we don’t want to do it, messengers,” said Junajpu and Xbalamke.

But they were taken anyway, by force: with punishments, with suffering; in the worst way, they went. It was not easy to make them walk, they were beaten several times by the messengers sent to bring them, moving back and forth. And thus they came to the house of the Lords.

They came, then, before the Lords, and presented themselves with humility, bowing their heads upon entering; they humbled themselves, they bowed down, they prostrated themselves, so miserable in their rags; they truly seemed to be beggars. The Lords asked about their home and the people they came from, and about their mother and father.

“Where do you come from?” they asked.

“We have never known, Lord, we did not know our mother or our father. We were very small when they died,” was all they answered, revealing nothing.

“Very well! Show us what you do, so we can see. What do you want as payment?” the Lords asked.

“We want nothing! Truly, we are afraid,” they said to the Lords.

“Do not be afraid! Do not feel ashamed! Dance! First the dance where you sacrifice yourselves; then burn my house, do all that you know how to do. We want to see you, this was our desire when we sent for you, and since you are poor we will pay you,” the Lords said.

So the twins began their songs and their dances. Right away all the Xibalbans came, the crowd gathered. They danced all their dances: they danced the weasel dance, the pujuy dance, the armadillo dance. Then the Lord Jun Kame said:

“Sacrifice my dog, then revive him!” he said to them.

“Very well!” they said. They quickly sacrificed the dog, and then it came back to life. The dog was truly happy when it came back to life, and wagged its tail. Then the Lord said:

“Now burn down my house!” he said. When they burned down the house, all the Lords were inside but were not burned. In a moment they made it again as it was; barely for an instant was the house of Jun Kame consumed. This was much admired by all the Lords, as was all that the beggars danced. The Lords were truly enjoying themselves. Then the Lord Jun Kame said:

“Kill a person now! Sacrifice someone, but do not let them die!” he commanded.

“Very well!” the beggars answered. They grabbed a bystander suddenly and sacrificed him in an instant, raising up high the heart taken from this person, and exhibiting it before the Lords. This was a marvel to the liking of Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame.

Then they brought the person back to life. His heart overflowed with joy when he came back to life. The Lords were amazed.

“Now sacrifice yourselves! Let us see that. Truly, our hearts desire to see that dance!” said the Lords.

“Very well, Lord!” they answered. Young Junajpu was sacrificed, cut into pieces by Xbalamke. One by one his legs and arms were scattered; his head was separated and taken a certain distance away. His heart was extracted and placed dripping on leaves of corn.

This drove all the Lords of Xibalba into a frenzy. Only one of the beggars was still dancing: Xbalamke.

“Get up!” she said then. In an instant Junajpu was alive again, and both were overjoyed. The Lords were likewise joyful, as if they themselves were doing this. The hearts of Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame were enthralled, they felt as if they themselves were dancing.

Suddenly their hearts were filled with desire, anxious for the dances of young Junajpu and Xbalamke. And these words came from Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame:

“Now do the same with us! Sacrifice us!” they said. “Sacrifice us one by one, sacrifice us both!” said Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame to young Junajpu and Xbalamke.

“Very well! You will come back to life! Can there be a death for you? We only come here to entertain you, you are the lords of your vassals, of your children,” they said to the Lords.

The first one sacrificed was the head of the Lords, Jun Kame, called the Lord of Xibalba. Jun Kame was already dead when they took Wuqub Kame. But they were not brought back to life.

The Xibalbans fled when they saw the Lords dead. They were both sacrificed and their hearts were extracted, and thus they were punished.

When the first Lord was dead and they didn’t revive him, the other Lord humbled himself and wept before the dancers; he could not accept it, he did not understand it. “Have pity on me!” he said, when he realized what was happening.

All their vassals, their children, fled into a great crevice. They hid huddled in that great abyss, heaped up, then discovered countless ants swarming around them as if they were herding them out of there. They returned, and came to surrender. They humbled themselves, they came weeping.

And so were the Lords of Xibalba defeated, by prodigious feats, by the transformations the twins performed.

And only then did they reveal their true names and their nature before all the Xibalbans:

“Hear our names: we will say them! We will say also the names of our fathers. This is who we are: Junajpu and Xbalamke, by name. And our fathers, whom you murdered, were called Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu. We, then, have made you pay for the torment and suffering of our fathers! We also suffered all the torments you gave us. For that reason we will finish you all. We will kill you all! There is no one who can save you,” they said. 

Instantly all the Xibalbans humbled themselves and wept:

“Have mercy on us, Junajpu and Xbalamke! It is true that we did wrong against your fathers, as you say; they who are buried in the sacrificial place in the Pok ah’ Tok’ field,” they admitted.

“Very well, then! This is our word. Listen to what we say, all you of Xibalba: for your days will no longer be great, nor those of your descendants; neither will the offerings you receive be great. Nothing more than a bit of clotted blood, there will be no clean blood for any of you. Only old and useless pots and griddles, only unworthy junk; only, then, from the creatures of the wild, the creatures of the empty places will you eat. No daughter born into the light, nor son born into the light, will be yours. Only those who hate themselves will be yours, those who are guilty, that fight, that are sad, that berate themselves. Where there is fault, there you will enter! You will never again prey upon people at your pleasure. You will be summoned only over clotted blood!” This they said to all the Xibalbans. They began to disappear, then, they were no longer invoked or called upon.

However, not even their days in ancient times had been great. These people of before always sought conflict, their names were not truly divine, only their horrible faces were frightening. They caused enmities, they were traitors, they encouraged evil and discord. They were skillful at hiding their intentions, they were hypocrites, evil, tricksters, oppressors, thus they were called. The faces they showed were false, painted. And so was the loss of their greatness and power. Never again was their dominion vast. This, by the prowess of young Junajpu and Xbalamke.

Meanwhile, their grandmother and their mother wept and called upon them, before the cornstalks they left planted. The plants bloomed again, and then dried up again. This happened when they were burned in the fire. When the plants bloomed again, their grandmother performed a ceremony: she burned copal before the cornstalks, this in memory of her grandchildren. Joy came to the women’s hearts when the stalks bloomed a second time. Ixmukane blessed them and named them: Center of our House, she called one, Center of the Harvest, another; because they were planted, the stalks, in the middle of the house. Bed of Earth, she called them also, because they were planted in the flattened earth. And Living Stalks, she called them by name, because they bloomed and lived again.

These names Ixmukane gave the stalks Junajpu and Xbalamke had planted before leaving, so they would be remembered by their grandmother and their mother.

As for their fathers, who had died in times past, Jun Junajpu and Wuqub Junajpu, the twins were able to see their faces there in Xibalba. Their fathers spoke to them after they defeated the power of Xibalba.

This is what they did to repair their fathers: they went to collect their remains from the sacrificial place in the Pok ah’ Tok’ field, and reconstructed Wuqub Junajpu, but only his face came to life, and only barely. They asked him to name all his parts, but he could only mention his mouth, his nose, and his eyes. He was able to say very little. But even if he could no longer name his other parts, at least his voice was heard once more. Finally the twins had to accept leaving their fathers’ hearts there in the sacrificial place in the Pok ah’ Tok’ field.

“You will be invoked here. Thus it will be!” their children told them, comforting their hearts. “The first of everything will be for you, the first to be honored by the daughters born into the light, by the sons born into the light, will be you. Your names will not be forgotten. So be it!” they said to their fathers. “We have justly exacted payment for your death, your disappearance; the pain, the torment they gave you!”

This was, then, their message of parting, after defeating all the Xibalbans. They returned here to the surface, surrounded by light, and ascended to heaven: Junajpu was the Sun, and Xbalambke was the Moon. They settled themselves in the heavens, in the vault of heaven, and the entire face of the earth was at once illuminated.

Then came the true Dawn, with the true Light of Heaven.

And the four hundred boys killed by Sipakna arose, ascended and became their companions; stars of heaven, they became.