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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 Hollywood 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(c)3 tax-exempt non profit
organization known as the Yax Te Foundation.
- 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
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
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
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
- In these Mayan folktales the Rabbit is often referred to as the
"mayor". No one knows why the Rabbit is called the "mayor".
- The Spanish word compadre refers to the godfather; comadre
refers to the godmother.
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