A Grammar of the Yucatecan Mayan Language
by David & Alejandra Bolles
Prognostication for 13 KAN
The word "Cuceb" means "that which revolves" from "cuc" (turn, revolve) and"-eb", an instrumental affix. Both the word "cuc" and the word "cuceb" are also applied to the animal "squirrel".
In the colonial texts the word "Cuceb" is also applied to a series of year prognostications. This series as it comes to us is probably incomplete since there are only 21 year prognostications in the two copies available to us instead of 52 years. There is 22nd year in this series, 8 muluc, but this 22nd year is not a prognostication, but rather is a statement by Ah Kauil Cħel that he, along with Ah Na Puc Tun and Ah Xupan Nauat, is responsible for "taking this out of the hieroglyphs". (For further comment on these three men see the introduction to the next selection.) Fifty-two years would make a complete cycle of "U Bubukil Haaboob" (the 52 year cycle of the Mayan calendar which is the result of the combination of the 13 numbered days with the 4 year bearer days) and would be more in keeping with the name "Cuceb" and the nature of most of the other prognosticatory material presented by the colonial sources.
The prognostication for the year 13 Kan, the first prognostication of the "Cuceb", is a typical example of this prognosticatory material. The language in it is not only very similar to the language of the rest of the prognostications of the "Cuceb", but also to the language of the other important cycle of prognostications, that of the "U Uudz Katunoob" (the 24 year Katun cycle), as well as other prophetic material in the colonial sources. It is tempting to think that some one person such as Ah Kauil Cħel is responsible for this prophetic material. On the other hand it might well be that this uniformity of style is the result of a scholastic system which seems to have been based on rote learning. In any case, the prognostication for the year 13 Kan contains several stock phrases which are to be found throughout the prophetic colonial material and is, as mentioned, a good example of this literature.
For the reader interested in the "Cuceb", Ralph Roys in his article "The prophecies for the Maya tuns or years in the Books of Chilam Balam of Tizimin and Mani" has done an excellent job of bringing this material together and in translating it. The reader will notice that there are some differences between his translation and the one offered here. That is mainly because there have been some advances in our understanding of certain particulars in the last decades.
|13 Kan on the first of Pop the idol of the katun
||Oxlahun Kan tu Hunte Pop cħab u lac katun
|to 5 Ahau is taken in the year 1593.
||ti Ho Ahau haab 1593 cuchi.
|In the 15th of Zec it is titled.
||Tu Holahun Zec yal kaba.
|Here is the burden which is said to come.
||Heklay u cuch licil u talel ualic lae.
|Thus will be the days which will be bred by the katun.
||He uil tu kinil hi u cħabal katun lae.
|Mayapan is the aspect of the change of the katun.
||Mayapan u uich u kex katun.
|At this time the sustenance of the quetzal bird,
||Tu kinil u yemel yaal kuk,
|the sustenance of the green bird will descend.
|At this time the children of women,
||Tu kinil uil chibil al,
|the children of men will be bitten.
|At this time there is three piles of skulls.
||Tu kinil yan ox multun tzek.
|Vigil at dawn, vision at dawn.
||Pail akab ppix ich, pail akab cħamil.
|The wall will be thrice thrown down.
||Ox hublah cot.
|The trunk of the ceiba tree will be thrice stamped.
||Ox dzalab u nak yaxche.
|At this time the water will dry up.
||Tu kinil uil yan zappal hail.
|At this time there will be rabbit sky rain god
||Tu kinil yan thul caan chacil
|standing in the water hole,
||uaan ti dzadz,
|standing in the last of the water in the middle.
||uaan tu xul ix tan beil ha.
|Sorrow will be written in the heart of the plumeria flower
||Okom yol ix dzibaan tan yol nicte
|at the time, during that katun it seems.
||tu kinil uil tu katunil uale.
|Thus will come another prophecy over the beholder,
||Ti tali u yanal than yokol Ah Chaante,
|Kinich Chaante, when it will be born it seems in heaven.
||Kinich Chaante, ca zihi ual tu caanile.
|Thus it will happen in 13 Kan,
||Lay bin utzac Oxlahun Kan lae,
|which falls in the years 1593 and 1594.
||tu haabil 1593 yetel 1594 u lubul lae.
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