Legends From Yucatan

EL Huay Chivo

The legend tells that The “Huay Chivo” is a magician shaped as a big black goat, whose eyes glows red. He eats the chicken and the people who has faced him, they sucumbed to high fever and illness.

Practicionist of the black magic, he likes to do his devil acts in lonely, dark places.

According on what is believed, he is half human, half goat. He has the head of the goat and human body but he can assume some other forms, like a dog (Huay Perro).

So wayfarer, look after yourself of walking after the midnight where the Huay chivo roams for this evil being who hates light and loves darkness, can bestow on you all his evilness.

Cenotes

There are many legends about the cenotes. Here there are some of them:

A couple without children found in a cenote a little girl which was named Nicte-Ha (water Flower). The girl grew in beauty and age and so a mayan warrior wanted her. One day he ran after her in order to get her and she fell into a cenote and the water claimed what was its own. Her body appeared later, floating on the cenote. White flowers appeared in the mouth of the girl and two white pigeons were scattering the flowers all over the ceonte. When the moon is full, Nicte-ha sings in the cenote while his cursed stalker wanders in the woods.

The great priest of Chichen Itzá, Ah Kinxoc, had a beautiful daughter called Oyamal. Two princes brothers, Ac and Cay, fell in love with her. Cay was the chosen one but in his ire, Ac enclosed Oyamal in Chichen Itza’s cloister, and to Cay in Kauá’s waters. Cay crossed the underground labyrinth up to coming to the cloister, but Ac surprised the couple, who managed to hide in the grotto where they yet remains and in the nights of Xac (January), a voice is heard that says Yacumá! (I love you).

A Mayan priest committed the sacrilege of falling in love with a princess and both hid in Xtacumbil-Xunan’s grottos. But the spirits, infuriated, transformed the princess into a statue of stone (some figures of the cave) and to the priest in one of seven lakes of the cave called Putsu. When the human voice is heard there, this lake moves back and returns when all is silence. The water is the soul in sorrow of a priest who scares and run away when he hears voices.

Many fantastic beings, as the aluxes, live or are related to the cenotes. Landa (Spanish priest) supposed that the cenotes were formed when a lightning sruck the surface. The Mayan had similar believes as it follows the creation of the cenote Xlacah from Dzibilchaltun. An old and tired man came to the house of his son to ask for a piece of bread. The ungrateful son, in spite of enjoying many comforts, denied the food to his father. God took the appearance of the old man and went to ask for help the son, who returned to refuse. Then, God, to punish the ingrate, made fall a beam of lightning on his house. Sinking in the soil, the cenote Xlacah was formed.

The name of Yucatan

The name of the peninsula was given during the Spanish Conquest. Though there are several statements that coincide with that this origin would have been given by a verbal misunderstanding (among) the Maya and the conquerors, they all are uncertain enough.

One of them tells that a Spanish approached a mayan and asked about the name of the land, which the mayan responded: Yuk ak katan (I don’t understand your language). In other one, the answer was Yucatan (I’m not from here). Other tells the mayan people answered uh yu uthaan (hear how they speak) and the Spanish people heard Yucatan. In other answer, they said Ci u than (I don’t get it).

Probably the first narrator of the story of “I don’t get it” was Toribio de Benavente, Motolinia, who writes at the end of the chapter 8 from the “Tratado III”: “Because speaking with those Indians of that coast, what the Spanish were asking to the Indians: “Tectetan, Tectetan”, that means: “I do not understand you, I do not understand you”: the Christians corrupted the word, and not understanding what the Indians were saying, they said: “Yucatan is called this land”; and the same thing was in a Cape, whom also they were called Cape Cotoch; and Cotoch in that language means house.”

James Parkinson