Now, in the beginning… The Creation. 

There were only the Heavens and the Waters, at first.  So the Creators, the Shapers, who wrapped and cloaked their light in the green and blue feathers of the quetzal bird, and whose names were Tz’aqol, Bitol, Tepew Q’ukumatz, Alom and K’ajolom, gathered together and to them came Uk’u’x Kaj, the Heart of Heaven, who said: the hour approaches for the sowing of the seed and the dawn.  Let us, then, prepare the place for those who will name us and worship and care for us. 

They spoke the word: Earth… and Earth emerged from the waters; they named mountains and valleys and the courses of rivers, they named trees and vines and meadows, and all came into being.  The mountains rose up and they were covered at once by thick growth of trees.  Only by the power of their word, were these things done.

Tepew Q’ukumatz, the Feathered Serpent, was filled with joy and said to the Heart of Heaven: Our work has gone well, it is good you came, Uk’u’x Kaj, Jun Raqan, Ch’ipi Kaqulja, Raxa Kaqulja, speaking all the names.  And then, having caused the face of the earth to emerge from the waters, Heart of Heaven became also… Heart of Earth, one and the same: Uk’u’x Kaj, Uk’u’x Ulew.

Then Alom and K’ajolom thought of animals, guardians of the wild, children of the forest, four-legged creatures and birds and crawling things, all of which came into being, the deer and the birds.  And to the deer they said: these are your homes, the riverbank, the ravines, the grasslands, the forest… there you will grow and be many; to the birds, large and small, they said: high in the trees, above the vines, you will make your nests, live and multiply.  The animals obeyed, and took their places; so their homes and nests were given to them by the Begetter and the Conceiver, Creators and Shapers, Alom and K’ajolom.

So speak our names and invoke us, they told the deer and the birds and the puma and the jaguar and the serpent, give us thanks and worship us… Speak our names, praise us, we your mother creator, we your father creator!  Say now Jun Raqan, Ch’ipi Kaqulja, Raxa Kaqulja, say Uk’u’x Kaj, Uk’u’x Ulew, say Tz’aqol, Bitol, Alom, K’ajolom…

But the animals answered only in screeches and cackles and howling, they had no clear language and each cried out differently.  This was not to their liking, the Creators and Shapers; they have not spoken, and said our names, this is not good.  We will change their condition, because they have not named us, their creators and shapers.  You will live only in the farthest ravines, in the depths of the forest, they said to the animals, and your flesh will be eaten, so be it, this shall be your destiny… because you have not named us, you have not invoked us.

Let us try again, they said, for the time has come for the seeding and the dawn, and we must build those who will care for us and keep us.  For if not, how will we be named and remembered in the world?  Our first works, our first creations could not honor and worship us, so we must make others who will respect and obey and be our children, love us, care for us and speak our names. 

Thus began the first attempt at making people, and they shaped them from mud, from clay.  The mud people had no strength in them, they were runny, and crumbled and melted.  They could not hold themselves upright or turn their heads, their faces to one side and unmoving, their eyes fixed.  They spoke only a few words and melted in water: not yet, said the Creators and Shapers to themselves… let us take counsel, so be it; these will never walk or become many, so be it… we must think again.  And they unmade then their work, their creation. 

What shall we do, then, -they said- so that our invokers, our adorers come to be?  We best call on Xpiyakok and Ixmukane, deity of the dawn, deity of the dusk, who count the days with seeds of the coral tree, the seers: Grand-dam of the Sun, Grand-dam of the Light, so called by the Creator and the Shaper. 

So said Jun Raqan and the Majestic Feathered Serpent to the seers and counters of days: find and show us how we must make the created people, the people shaped and formed to keep and guard us, to call and remember us.  Bring us your word, midwife grand-dam, ancient guide grandsire, Xpiyakok and Ixmukane.  Bring forth the time of seeding, the hour of the dawn, when we are named and worshipped by the people made, the people shaped; the people of wood, the people created.  Let it be done! 

And so it was ordered by the Shaper and Creator: Honor your name, deity of the dawn, deity of the dusk, twice Conceiver, twice Begetter, ancient mother, ancient father, with your precious stones, with your jewels, you the carvers, you the sculptors, you of the green face of the earth, you of the blue vault of heaven, masters of incense, master artisans, grand-dam of the Sun, grand-dam of the clear light… Pass your palms over the grains of corn, over the seeds of the coral tree, tell us should we carve those faces, those mouths, in wood, and in what wood, speak now, bring forth the seeding and the dawn!

And the seers answered then directly: yes, the wooden figures will be good, people of wood who will speak and converse over the face of the Earth.  So be it, they said then, the Shapers and Creators and at once the figures were made, the people of wood came to be.  And they seemed human in their speech, human in their conversation, they were the people who filled the earth with their sons and their daughters, the people of wood.  But they had no spirit, and they had no thought, they remembered not their Creators, their Shapers, they only walked and crawled and gave no thought to the Heart of Heaven, Uk’u’x Kaj.

So they were judged: only a trial, only an attempt at people; who spoke at first, but their faces were drawn, their limbs unsolid, they were bloodless, pale, had no flesh moist or soft; hollowed cheeks like masks, stiff legs and hands, noisy, their bodies: unfit to stand before the Creator, the Shaper, Who gave life, Who gave the heart.  But they were many and plenty, the people of wood on the face of the Earth. 

They were annihilated then, all the people of wood; they were destroyed and disappeared.  Uk’ux Kaj, the Heart of Heaven, sent forth from his thought a great flood which fell upon the bodies of the people of wood, the men made from the coral tree by the Creators and Shapers, the women made from rattan by the will of the Creators and Shapers.

But they were incompetent, and they spoke not before their Creators, their Shapers, who had made them and given them life.  So they were annihilated, washed away.  Burning resin fell from the sky; the Burrower came and dug out their eyes; the Bat of Death that cuts off heads came and took theirs; the Tigers came and tore their flesh, they ground and crushed the bones of the people of wood. 

Their bones were broken, their bones were shattered, they were punished for their worthlessness before their mother creator, their father creator, Uk’ux K’aj, the Heart of Heaven called Jun Raqan.  And darkness came over the face of the earth, black rain fell all day and fell all night.  Animals came, large ones and small.  Sticks and stones cut their faces.  Then spoke the clay jugs and pots and pans and dishes, then spoke the grinding stones, all their tools and objects came forward. 

You hurt us much, you devoured us, now you will be the ones devoured, said their dogs and turkeys. The grinding stones said: on our faces every day you would grind, day after day, at dusk and at daybreak, always shic shic huch huch on our faces; that was our work for you, when you were still people, now you will feel our strength, we will crush you and make dust of your bodies, said the grinding stones.

Their dogs spoke then, and this they said: why did you not feed us? you threw us out, you sent us away, you kept a rod by your side when you ate, to drive us off; we always feared you, we did not speak; we would have starved because of you… but how were you to know, being as you are, worthless; we would have perished with you.  Now you will know the fangs in our mouths, we will devour you! the dogs said, tearing into their faces.  Then the clay pots and pans said: much pain you caused us, our mouths are blackened, our faces are blackened, always you set us on the fire, you would burn us, because we felt no pain.  Feel it now!  We will burn you! said the pots, and tore at their faces.  The stones from the hearth flung themselves at their heads, and hurt them. 

Desperate, the people of wood ran about, trying to climb to safety on the roofs of their houses, but their houses collapsed; they tried to climb into the trees, but the trees threw them from their branches; they wanted to hide in caves, but the caves shut themselves before them.  So was the destruction of the people formed, the people to discard, the people to change… they were wiped away, their mouths and faces broken. Some say now that monkeys are descended from the few who remained, their bodies made only from wood.  The monkeys of the forest, who took the likeness of the people made, the people formed, who were only poppets, only people of wood.