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Maya Legends: Zamna and the Henequen

26 august 2020
2 min. de lectura
Ake henequenMany years ago, in the place where the city of Izamal stands today, a group of pilgrims arrived known as the Itzáes. They had navigated and walked a great distance to get to that place, but they had peace in their heart, for they were led by a wise and good-natured priest called Zamná, who the Queen of the continent Atlante had trusted.

“Zamná,” she said, “you are the wisest and most good-natured priest in my reign, that is why I have chosen you. You should know that my astonomers have read in the sky that our land will disappear at the next moon. I want you to choose a group of families from my kingdom, and three of the wisest Chilames, to carry the writings which tell the story of our people, and write what will happen in the future. You will reach a place that I will indicate to you and you will found a city. Under its main temple you will guard the writings and the future writings, to conserve the history of the country of Atlante.”


Finished with her prophecy, she said, “You will travel to the west in nine canoes with the chosen people. After nine days, you will find a land with neither rivers nor mountains and you will enter this land. When you find water, you will found the city I have told you about.”


Zamná arrived at the land with no rivers nor mountains; it was the land indicated by the Queen, but they did not find the water that they now needed. Soon the sky was dark with heavy clouds and an endless rain began to fall, which was celebrated by the pilgrims, who danced with joy for the water which fell.


Zamná went out to find a place to store the rainwater, and when he got close to a plant, a spine went into his thigh, causing a deep puncture. His leg began to bleed. To punish the plant, the Itzáes cut off its leaves, and beat them against the smooth, flat rocks that were abundant in the region.


Immediately, Zamná realized that the beaten leaves were producing very resistant fibers, which would be of great use to his people. The rain did not cease, and the water was flowing rapidly, as if attracted to a specific place.


Zamná followed the course of the water, until he arrived at a recessed area, and he rushed toward it. This was the site indicated by the Queen. There, Zamná, the wise and good-hearted, uniting the power of the rain, the sky, the henequén, and his people, founded the great Izamal on a date which is now lost in time. 

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