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The Rabbit Throws Out His Sandal

Mayan Folktale translated from Q'anjob'al Maya language of Guatemala by Fernando Peņalosa.

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 and was looking for a way to escape. They began to keep watch on him in that house because they intended to kill him, but they were not able to kill him as they had planned. They had wanted to smash him to pieces.

"Make him come out so that he will die right now. Don't let him escape; that good-for-nothing mayor has deceived us too many times. Well, now he's surely going to be finished, we're going to finish him off. Be on your guard and don't let him get away. When he comes out of the cave we're going to smash him to pieces, for there's a lot of us. Pity him. Compared to all of us, he's nothing. We are many against one. I hope now he's going to pay for all the crimes he has committed against us. That's why he must to die now. You, turkey vulture, go and watch for him to come out, and you deer, go right after him. Since you can run as fast as the mayor, you'll be able to catch up with him. Be on guard, all of you."

"All right," they said.

"Snake, you look to see when he comes out, and we'll all pile on top of him. You snake, call him."

"Come on out, hurry," said the townspeople.

"Wait," said the rabbit, "I'm taking off my sandal."

"But hurry," said the snake.

"Wait, I'm coming out. Wait for me there, I'm coming out."

"Well, hurry," said the townspeople.

"Come on out," the snake said to the rabbit.

"I'm coming out. Wait," said the rabbit.

"Well, hurry," said the townspeople.

"All right," said the rabbit. "I'm coming out now. Please catch my sandal, I beg you."

The townspeople answered: "Catch his sandal, throw it over there. It's not as if it were your father's sandal, that you're obliged to carry it."

"All right, mayor. Throw out your sandal." And the turkey vulture caught the sandal. He gave it to the deer and the deer threw it away, as they thought that it was the rabbit's sandal. They were all shouting in the cave. They didn't know it was the mayor they had thrown away.

Rabbit outwits animalsRabbit outwits animals
"Come on out," shouted the snake into the cave, "come out right away." When they realized that he wasn't answering them they were sad. They sent the snake into the cave and the snake shouted: "He's not here, he's not here."

"Throw it far away."

"He's not here, he's not here. He came out," said the snake. "

He's not here. Maybe it was him we threw."

"Did you notice if it was his sandal that you threw away?" the lion asked the deer.

"Come on out, snake."

"All right." The snake came out.

Afterwards they began to kill each other on account of the mayor rabbit. He managed to go free, and when he was far away he laughed at them: "Some day you'll pay for the crimes you committed against me, the mayor. You wanted to kill me, but you weren't able to. Just wait and see what's going to happen to you later on."


This folktale reprinted from Tales and Legends of the Q'anjob'al Maya, published by Yax Te' Press, copyright 1995. This 178 page book is illustrated and may be ordered from Yax Te' Foundation, 3520 Coolheights Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, U. S. A. for $10.95 postpaid if you mention the FolkArt.com. (Foreign postage add $2.00).

Yax Te' Foundation
c/o Fernando Peņalosa
3520 Coolheights Drive
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275-6231
U. S. A.

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