This is the story of a maiden, daughter to one of the Lords of Xibalba, the one called Kuchuma Kik’; of what happened when news came to this maiden’s ears, the daughter of Kuchuma Kik’, who was called Ixkik’, Young Blood Moon. When she heard what was said about the fruit of that tree, when her own father told her of it, she was filled with wonder at what she heard.

“What if I go to see the tree they are talking about? If it is truly fragrant, as they say, as I hear,” she said then. She went straight away, alone, and arrived at the foot of the tree growing there, in the place called Pusbal Chaaj. “Oh! It is beautiful! What kind of fruit can this be? Is it sweet, I wonder, the fruit of this tree? Will I die, will I disappear if I pick one of its fruits?” asked the maiden.

Suddenly there was a skull among the branches of the tree, and it spoke:

“What do you desire from they who are but bones, rounded objects in the branches of trees?” said the head of Jun Junajpu, speaking to the maiden. “Do you desire one?” he added.

“I do desire one!” answered the maiden.

“Very well! Hold out your right hand, that I may see it,” said the skull.

“Yes!” answered the maiden once again, and held out her right hand to the skull.

At that instant the skull shot a glob of saliva that came to land squarely on the open palm of the maiden’s hand. She looked at her palm right away, and saw nothing: the skull’s saliva had disappeared.

“I have left you but a sign with my saliva, my spittle; my head does not work properly anymore, it’s only bone, it has no flesh now. Like the heads of all great Lords, only the muscles give them any appearance. But when they die, they frighten the people because of their bones. Thus are, then, their children, like their saliva, like their spittle; that is the nature of the children of the Lords, whether they be children of wise men, of speakers. Their state is not lost when they go, when they tally their days. The faces of Lords, of men, of the wise ones, of the speakers, are not extinguished, not gone from the earth; they remain in their daughters, in their sons. So be it!

“This is, then, what I have done with you. Go up to the outer world, for you will not die, because you have entered into the Word, the essential process of divine creation. So be it!” said the head of Jun Junajpu.

But this idea was not born just in the mind of Jun Junajpu, or even in the combined minds of himself and his brother Wuqub Junajpu, who were between them the fathers of the children to be. This mandate came from Jun Raqan, Ch’ipi Kaqulja, Raxa Kaqulja, the Heart of Heaven, Uk’u’x Kaj.

They spoke long, then, the maiden and the skull; it gave her much advice and instruction. And thus were conceived the children in her womb by the sole virtue of the skull’s saliva, and thus were engendered Junajpu and Xbalamke, the heroes of this world.

The young woman went home then, and after the sixth month was done her growing rounded belly was noticed by her father, the Lord Kuchuma Kik’. He only took note of her then, when he realized she was with child.

All the Lords met quickly in council, Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame, with Kuchuma Kik’. “My daughter carries a child in her womb, Lords, outcome of her fornication!” exclaimed Kuchuma Kik’ when he came to the Lords.

“Very well! Question her! If she does not speak the truth, let her be put to death, let her be taken far from here and sacrificed.”

“Very well, Honorable Lords!” he answered, and went straight away to question his daughter: “Whose is the child you carry in your womb, my daughter?” he asked.

“I have no child, o father mine, I have not known any man, there has not been a man who has known me,” she answered.

“Very well! You are truly a slut.” He ordered the owls then: “Sacrifice her, you guardians of the council! Bring us back her heart in this gourd, so the Lords may take it in their hands right away!”

The four owls took the gourd and carried the maiden between them. They also took the sacrificial flint knife.

When they came to the place of death, the maiden spoke to the owls: “I must not disappear yet, do not kill me, messengers, because I have not fornicated. What grows in my womb came to be of itself, I only went to admire the head of Jun Junajpu that is in Pusbal Chaaj. So stop! There must be no sacrifice, messengers!”

“But what will we put in the gourd in place of your heart? Was it not told to us by your father: ‘Bring back her heart, let the Lords turn it and turn it in their hands; they will not drop it until it seems like they have made it themselves… Bring it quickly in this gourd, place the heart in the bottom of the gourd’?” said the messenger owls. “Was this not ordered to us? What will we place in the gourd?  We would be so glad if you were not to die.”

“Very well,” said Ixkik’, “they will not have this heart. So be it! And you four owls must go away and no longer be the guardians of this place of death. You must not force people towards their death, or you will be judged as the true fornicators later. And for Jun Kame and Wuqub Kame, they will have no blood, only coagulated sap. So be it! Let this be what burns in their presence: let not a heart be burned before them. So be it! Use what the tree gives us.”

It was a red juice that flowed from the tree and settled into the gourd. It then thickened and became round, substituting her heart. When more sap was drawn from the tree, it was like blood, the juice of the tree that flowed in the stead of her blood. When the sap was gathered there, inside, the juice from the red tree formed a skin somewhat like blood: brilliant red was that which was gathered in the bottom of the gourd when the tree was pierced by the maiden. Tree of red blood, it is called. It is named as blood for its red-colored sap, so it is said.

“And you will be well-loved in the world above, on the face of the Earth you will find all that must be yours,” said the maiden to the owls.

“Very well, lady! Let us walk, then, we will guide you upwards, you must simply keep walking. Meanwhile, we will take the surrogate of your heart before the Lords,” said the messengers.

When they came into the presence of the Lords, all were very anxious. 

“Is it ready? Is it done?” asked Jun Kame.

“It is done, Lords, here is her heart in the bottom of the gourd.”

“Very well! We will see,” said Jun Kame. And taking it up with his fingers, dripping all over with coagulated blood, brilliant red from the blood, “Stir up the fire,” said Jun Kame, “put it on the fire.”

They put it on the fire quickly. The Xibalba Lords perceived the smell, they all got up from their seats and leaned over the fire. Truly sweet to them was the smoke from the blood. And while they hovered, the owls slipped away, the maiden’s guides.

They took her up to the edge of a crevice on the face of the Earth, then the guides went back down. And so were the Lords of the Underworld defeated by a maiden, who tricked them and escaped their wrath and cruelty.