These stories were told to Fernando Peñalosa by don Pedro Miguel
Say, a famous Q'anjob'al storyteller from San Miguel Acátan, Huehuetenango,
Guatemala, who now lives in Los Angeles, California, in the Koreatown area. Each
month new folktales will be reprinted on the FolkArt & Craft Exchange.
Permission to reproduce these stories not for profit is hereby granted, provided
all copies contain the following notice: "From Tales and Legends of the
Q'anjob'al Maya, published by Yax Te' Press, copyright 1995." In February
of 1997 Yax Te' Press was reorganized as a 501 © 3 tax-exempt non profit
organization known as the Yax Te’ Foundation.
Below you will find selected Mayan
Folktales as translated by Fernando
Scroll down & enjoy !
- The Disobedient
Son There was once a boy who was rude and wouldn't obey his mother. He
would go out for a walk, without having eaten. He wouldn't come back until
late, about ten or eleven o'clock at night. At ten o'clock his mother was
still waiting up and worrying about him.
- A Mayan Life
The first novel ever by a Mayan writer, and thus the first in which the Maya
themselves tell their own story. Through the eyes of Lwin, living in the
hamlet of Jolomk'u, in the municipio of San Pedro Soloma, high up in the
isolated Cuchumatán Mountains of Guatemala (about six hours by dirt road from
the nearest town), we live the drama of an oppressed people struggling to
survive and maintain their dignity five centuries after the Spanish invasion.
Rich in personal and ethnological detail, the reader comes away knowing better
just what it means to be a contemporary Maya
- The Rabbit and the
Coyote. This is a story of Uncle Rabbit and the coyote. The rabbit came to
a big rock, and there he deceived the coyote. He was leaning on the rock when
the coyote came by...
- The Rabbit Throws
Out His Sandal. The rabbit was in the cave that was the abode of all the
animals: the snake, the turkey vulture, the buzzard, the deer, the lion, the
skunk and the coyote. They began to get together there to discuss how they
could kill the rabbit mayor (the rabbit is often called the "mayor"). But the
rabbit mayor was very clever...
- The Jaguar and the
Little Skunk. Once there was a gentleman jaguar and a lady skunk. Mrs.
Skunk had a son, who was baptized by Mr. Jaguar, so Mrs. Skunk became his
comadre (godmother). And as Mr. Jaguar had baptized the little skunk,
he was Mrs. Skunk's compadre (godfather)...
- In these Mayan folktales the Rabbit is often referred to
as the "mayor". No one knows why the Rabbit is called the
- The Spanish word compadre refers to the godfather;
comadre refers to the godmother.
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