In the city of Kabah, there lived an ancient witch who knew all the mysteries of the stars and the secrets of the herbs. Every day, the witch gazed sweetly at a very small egg that she had found by chance.
One fine day, the egg cracked open, revealing a child of small stature and great intelligence. The child became the source of joy the witch had longed for in her old age. With the passing of time, the child became an adult; his beard and hair grew, but his body remained small. Nevertheless, the wise woman never lost hope that her beloved son would become a mighty king.
The long-lived witch spent most of her time at the fireside, for she jealously guarded a Tunkul (musical instrument) that she had hidden there. Seizing an opportune moment when she was distracted, the clever dwarf discovered the Tunkul among the ashes. When he played it, the sound that emanated was so powerful that it reached the palace of the king of Uxmal.
This sound was the precise signal of a terrible prophecy that announced the end of his reign. For this reason, the king decided to investigate, with the same dwarf, if there existed any way to be freed from this terrible prophecy. The dwarf responded that he would have a road built from Uxmal to Kabah, and when the road was finished, he would return with the answer.
As soon as the road was finished, the dwarf set a new condition: breaking a Cocoyol (local hard fruit seed) on both their heads. Although the king accepted the challenge, he insisted that the dwarf go first. Determined to overcome this obstacle, the dwarf turned to the elderly witch for assistance. To his surprise, she simply placed a tortilla on his head. When the time came to undergo the test, the dwarf passed it effortlessly, while the king tragically lost his life in the attempt. And thus, the dwarf was proclaimed the king of Uxmal.
That same day, the witch called him home to tell him: “Be fair and always face the truth but don’t forget it is more important to be good than to be fair. Follow the voices of the gods, but listen to the voices of men. Never scorn the poor and always distrust the powerful.”
Shortly after, the old witch passed away, and while the dwarf continued to heed her wise advice, the city of Uxmal experienced long periods of peace and happiness. However, a dark turn occurred when the dwarf began to indulge in excesses, transforming into a proud tyrant.
He ordered a clay statue to be made which he placed over a bonfire, so it would become a more powerful god than the other gods. The figure not only survived the fire but caused the vibration of every bell. The people, thinking that the statue was speaking, submitted themselves to its adoration.
The gods, outraged by such sacrilege, punished the city. Thousands of warriors entered Uxmal, plundered, and set it ablaze, forever erasing the memory of the people and the dwarf who once reigned over them.
By Yurina Fernández Noa
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