The Mayan Ruins are an incredible archeological treasure, spanning Central America. We recently visited Uxmal, a city of ancient beauty. Here we enjoyed a private tour with a local Mayan guide who has been studying this area for over 60 years. We stayed in the Uxmal Lodge, right across the street from the ruins and were able to visit several times, having the site practically to ourselves. The following tale was told to us by our guide. I am reprinting here from Yucatan Today, a very good website for knowledge about this culturally wealthy land.
From Yucatan Today-An Excellent Tale of the origins of Uxmal.
In the city of Kabah, there lived an ancient witch who knew all the mysteries of the stars and the secrets of the herbs. Every day, the witch gazed sweetly at a very small egg which she had found by chance. One day, the egg opened and a child appeared who became the happiness of the witch’s old age. With the passing of time, he became an adult: his beard and his hair grew, but his body remained small. The long-lived witch spent most of her time at the fireside, for she jealously guarded a tunkul (musical instrument) which she had hidden there. The dwarf, shrewd and malicious, taking advantage of a careless moment of hers, found the tunkul among the ashes. And the sound he made from the tunkul was so strong, that it reached the palace of the king of Uxmal. This sound was the precise signal of a terrible prophecy which announced the end of his reign. For this reason, the king decided to investigate, with the same dwarf, if there existed any way to be freed from this terrible prophecy. The dwarf responded that he would have a road built from Uxmal to Kabah, and when the road was finished, he would return with the answer. As soon as the road was finished, the dwarf added a new condition: break a “cocoyol” (local hard fruit seed) on the head of both. The king accepted, as long as the dwarf would be the first to pass the test, and he passed with no problems. However, the king lost his life in the attempt. And so the dwarf was proclaimed king of Uxmal. That same day, the witch called him home to tell him: “Be fair and always face the truth, but don’t forget it is more important to be good than to be fair. Follow the voices of the gods, but listen to the voices of men. Never scorn the poor and always distrust the powerful.” The old witch died a short time later, and as long as he followed her sage advice, the city of Uxmal enjoyed long periods of peace and happiness, until the moment arrived when the dwarf began to committ excesses, finally becoming a proud tyrant. He ordered a clay statue to be made which he placed over a bonfire, so it would become a more powerful god than the other gods. The statue not only survived the fire, but caused the vibration of every bell. The people, thinking that the statue was speaking, submitted themselves to its adoration. The other gods, indignant for such a sacrilege, punished the city. Thousands of warriors entered Uxmal, sacked it, and burned it, erasing forever the memory of the people and of the dwarf who had once reigned over them.