The Death of the Seven Macaw

As we saw in a previous post, the Seven Macaw was getting way too full of himself.

Here we have the beginning of the defeat and destruction of the day of Seven Macaw  by the two boys, the first named Hunahpu and the second named Xbalanque.

Being gods, the two of them saw evil in his attempt at self-magnification before the Heart of Sky. So the boys talked: “It’s no good without life, without people here on the face of the earth.”

“Well then, let’s try a shot. We could shoot him while he’s at his meal. We could make him ill, then put an end to his riches, his jade, his metal, his jewels, his gems, the source of his brilliance. Everyone might do as he does, but it should not come to be that fiery splendor is merely a matter of metal. So be it,” said the boys, each one with a blowgun on his shoulder, the two of them together.

And this Seven Macaw has two sons: the first of these is Zipacna, and the second is the Earthquake. And Chimalmat is the name of their mother, the wife of Seven Macaw.

And this is Zipacna, this is the one to build up the great mountains: Fire Mouth, Hunahpu, Cave by the Water, Xcanul, Macamob, Huliznab, as the names of the mountains that were there at the dawn are spoken. They were brought forth by Zipacna in a single night.

And now this is the Earthquake. The mountains are moved by him; the mountains, small and great, are softened by him. The sons of Seven Macaw did this just as a means of self-magnification.

“Here am I: I am the sun,” said Seven Macaw.

“Here am I: I am the maker of the earth,” said Zipacna.

“As for me, I bring down the sky, I make an avalanche of all the earth,” said Earthquake. The sons of Seven Macaw are alike, and like him: they got their greatness from their father.

And the two boys saw evil in this, since our first mother and father could not yet be made. Therefore deaths and disappearances were planned by the two boys.

And here is the shooting of the Seven Macaw by the two boys. We shall explain the defeat of each one of those who engaged in self-magnification.

This is the great tree of Seven Macaw, a nance, and this is the food of Seven Macaw. In order to eat the fruit of the nance he goes up the tree every day. Since Hunahpu and Xbalanque have seen where he feeds, they are now hiding beneath the tree of Seven Macaw, they are keeping quiet here, the two boys are in the leaves of the tree.

They are now hiding beneath the tree of Seven Macaw.  In this classic Maya vase painting from the lowlands, Seven Macaw is shown perched in the top of a fruit tree. The tree itself is portrayed as animate, with a face and ears at its base. Hidden behind the tree is Xbalanque, whose pawlike hand protrudes above the tree’s left ear. Crouching at the right is Hunahpu, in the act of shooting Seven Macaw with his blowgun. (The presence of a scorpion beneath the tree remains unexplained.)

And when Seven Macaw arrived, perching over his meal, the nance, it was then that he was shot by Hunahpu. The blowgun shot went right to his jaw, breaking his mouth. Then he went up over the tree and fell flat on the ground. Suddenly Hunahpu appeared, running. He set out to grab him, but actually it was the arm of Hunahpu that was seized by Seven Macaw. He yanked it straight back, he bent it back at the shoulder. Then Seven Macaw tore it right out of Hunahpu. Even so, the boys did well: the first round was not their defeat by Seven Macaw.

And when Seven Macaw had taken the arm of Hunahpu, he went home. Holding his jaw very carefully, he arrived: “What have you got there?” said Chimalmat, the wife of Seven Macaw.

“What is it but those two tricksters! They’ve shot me, they’ve dislocated my jaw. All my teeth are just loose, now they ache. But once what I’ve got is over the fire- hanging there, dangling over the fire- then they can just come and get it. They’re real tricksters!” said Seven Macaw, then he hung up the arm of Hunahpu.

Meanwhile Hunahpu and Xbalanque were thinking. And then they invoked a grandfather, a truly white-haired grandfather, and a grandmother, a truly humble grandmother- just bent-over, elderly people. Great White Peccary is the name of the grandfather, and Great White Tapir is the name of the grandmother. The boys said to the grandmother and grandfather:

“Please travel with us when we go to get our arm from Seven Macaw; we’ll just follow right behind you. You’ll tell him: ‘Do forgive us our grandchildren, who travel with us. Their mother and father are dead, and so they follow along there, behind us. Perhaps we should give them away, since all we do is pull worms out of teeth.’ So we’ll seem like children to Seven Macaw, even though we’re giving you the instructions,” the two boys told them.

“Very well,” they replied.

After that they approached the place where Seven Macaw was in front of his home. When the grandmother and grandfather passed by, the two boys were romping along behind them. When they passed below the lord’s house, Seven Macaw was yelling his mouth off because of his teeth. And when Seven Macaw saw the grandfather and grandmother traveling with them:

“Where are you headed, our grandfather?” said the lord.

“We’re just making our living, your lordship,” they replied.

“Why are you working for a living? Aren’t those your children traveling with you?”

“No, they’re not, your lordship. They’re our grandchildren, our descendants, but it is nevertheless we who take pity on them. The bit of food they get is the portion we give them, your lordship,” replied the grandmother and grandfather. Since the lord is getting done in by the pain in his teeth, it is only with great effort that he speaks again:

“I implore you, please take pity on me! What sweets can you make, what poisons can you cure?” said the lord.

“We just pull the worms out of teeth, and we just cure eyes. We just set bones, your lordship,” they replied.

“Very well, please cure my teeth. They really ache, every day. It’s insufferable! I get no sleep because of them- and my eyes. They just shot me, those two tricksters! Ever since it started I haven’t eaten because of it. Therefore take pity on me! Perhaps it’s because my teeth are loose now.”

“Very well, your lordship. It’s a worm, gnawing at the bone. It’s merely a matter of putting in a replacement and taking the teeth out, sir.”

“But perhaps it’s not good for my teeth to come out- since I am, after all, a lord. My finery is in my teeth- and my eyes.”

“But then we’ll put in a replacement. Ground bone will be put back in.” And this is the “ground bone”: it’s only white corn.

“Very well. Yank them out! Give me some help here!” he replied.

And when the teeth of Seven Macaw came out, it was only white corn that went in as a replacement for his teeth- just a coating shining white, that corn in his mouth. His face fell at once, he no longer looked like a lord. The last of his teeth came out, the jewels that had stood out blue from his mouth.

And then the eyes of Seven Macaw were cured. When his eyes were trimmed back the last of his metal came out. Still he felt no pain; he just looked on while the last of his greatness left him. It was just as Hunahpu and Xbalanque had intended.

And when Seven Macaw died, Hunahpu got back his arm. And Chimalmat, the wife of Seven Macaw, also died.

Such was the loss of the riches of Seven Macaw: only the doctors got the jewels and gems that had made him arrogant, here on the face of the earth. The genius of the grandmother, the genius of the grandfather did its work when they took back their arm: it was implanted and the break got well again. Just as they had wished the death of Seven Macaw, so they brought it about. They had seen evil in his self-magnification.

After this the two boys went on again. What they did was simply the word of the Heart of Sky.

From: Popol Vuh: the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Popular Posts
Worth Exploring
Subscribe
If you'd like to be notified when anything new is posted, you can subscribe via feedburner..

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Moon Phase Tracker
Bread Crumbs
Be Merry


I think it's time to go shopping... maybe even buy some really cool stuff at my online shops!!

Stats