As I was saying, I've been studying the "Mayan Bible," The Popol Vuh, with a new friend of mine here in Grenada, Spain. He's a wise man, a cave-dweller, artist and street musician. I've already written about him here and here. I've summarized the introduction to the Popol Vuh here. This current posting summarizes what the book calls "The First Narration" of the Mayan classic. I hope it communicates the book's Spirit. Useless Humans Made of Mud, Straw, and Greed In a hushed ancient Reality Without Time, Space, or Movement But only sea and sky, The Great Creators and Shapers, The Trinity of Tupeu, Gucumatz, and Huracan, Wonderfully Manifested their Unbounded energy Sourced from divine meditation (45). The Gods gave birth To oceans, rivers, and streams And to the earth itself Sowing it With food from heaven To nourish Every creature to come. All of it Made the deities exceedingly happy (And their council of Elders too, 47). For theirs was an act Of holy evolution Enabling their creatures “To perfect themselves.” Yes! All mortals, they said, Are called to perfection (48). And so, Lions, Tigers, and deer Serpents, snakes, and vipers Filled the earth (48). Birds swarmed in the skies Chanting wordless hymns Of praise and thanks To the Creators and Shapers (49). But sadly, None of the new creatures Found voice For conscious Expressions of thanks. This saddened the Gods Who therefore Condemned the animals To feed one another With their own Mute corpses (49). So, the Great Ones changed course Deciding to make A more perceptive And vocal creature Capable of offering them Conscious gratitude and praise. First they made An Earth Creature of mud. But it turned out to be Weak, blind, immobile, And impotent (50). Worse still: It could not Praise or thank Grandmother Moon (Xmucane) Or Grandfather Sun (Xpiyacoc 52). Next, they created men of straw. Yes, they could reproduce. But their children Were no more than dolls. They lacked heart, soul, Understanding and consciousness. Empty and useless, They wandered the earth In disgrace (53). So, in fury Gods Destroyed the earth In a Great Flood Of water and sticky resin. The strawmen were Slaughtered, crushed, Eaten, decapitated And thrown about Like sacks of wheat By all manner of animals. Even dogs And household pots and pans Got into the act (53-54). But the evil Vacub Caqix Somehow survived it all. Extraordinarily proud And exceedingly rich, His eyes could see nothing but silver. He claimed to be sun and moon Even before either was seen (55). Vacub Caqix’s pride Displeased the Gods Who sent the heroes Hun Ahpu and Ixbalanque To teach the hard lesson That Greatness is not measured By wealth and possessions (57). The two demigods Inflicted Vacub with sickness And a great toothache (60). They knocked him From the tree Whose fruit gave him life. But not before He disarmed (literally!) Hun Ahpu And ordered Mrs. Vacub To prepare the severed limb For a cannibal supper (59-60). Indeed, Vacub Caquix Was resilient. He begot Two powerful sons Zipacna and Cabracan Both movers and shakers Who claimed They had made And could destroy The earth itself. As a result, The Gods and their Elder Counselors Decreed that Vacub’s Evil Trinity Father and sons Must die (60). Disguising themselves As dentist-healers Hun Ahpu and Ixbalanque Persuaded a reluctant Vacub To let them pull His aching tooth (Even though Vacub’s Teeth and silver-blinded eyes Originated his power 62). The demigods replaced The pulled teeth With dentures Made of white corn. Defanged, And unable to eat, Vacub the Proud Was vanquished! His eldest son, Zipacna Was another story. His great stupid strength Caused everyone To fear him. Though he naively Trusted others And tried to help (63), Everyone (including the Gods) Wanted him dead. Once 400 young bucks Tricked him Into digging his own grave. But after three days In the tomb, He rose in fury To kill them all. But Hun Ahpu and Ixbalanque Killed the famished monster By making him pursue A dinner of giant fake crab Up a rocky peak Until the mountain Collapsed upon him For good. And then there was Cabracan Vacub’s younger son, The proud mountain destroyer (68). Pretending to be wandering hunters, Hun Ahpu and Ixbalanque Sought the monster’s help In reaching a mountaintop Whose peak (they said) Touched the sun. As they traveled up the slopes, The demigods shot birds With their blowguns (69). At nightfall, They seduced a hungry Cabracan To eat a poisoned pigeon. That’s how he died. These are only samples Of the great works Of Hun Ahpu and Ixbalanque (70). Their lesson: Greatness is not a matter of wealth, Or of physical strength, Or destructive power. It is a matter of living Before the Gods In praise and thanksgiving.