Told by Ignacio Bizarro Ujpan, an influential Tzutuhil elder, translated and edited by anthropologist James D Sexton, this collection of thirty-three ancient and contemporary folktales shows how Maya beliefs and practices mix elements of traditional and Hispanic cultures. Ancestors and gods of nature as well as Catholic saints are consulted in sacred caves. The Christian God has not eclipsed the power of the pre-Columbian deities - heaven (grandfather) and heart of earth (grandmother) - who according to legend created the black, white, and Mayan peoples. The stories also detail the region's diverse plant and animal life, illustrate proverbs, and emphasize the power of luck and fate.
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