Link to enlarge K6042 (Las Bocas - Ceramic Vessel) THE FOUNDATION RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

A Grammar of the Yucatecan Mayan Language
by David & Alejandra Bolles

Zuyua Than yetel Naat

"Zuyua Than yetel Naat" (The Language and Understanding of Zuyua) contains two lists of questions and their answers which town officials were expected to know to show that they rightfully held their positions. The first list comes from two sources: the Books of Chilam Balam of Chumayel and of Tusik. This list is broken down into three subsections. The second list comes from the Chumayel only. Since both these lists are quite long only representative samples from each list are given here. From first list the introductory comments, the first three riddles from subsection 1, and riddle 3:18 are given. From the second list riddles 24, 25, 40, 41, 42, and 43 are given.

In the introductory remarks of the first list which are given here is the statement that the interrogation of the town officials with the material from the first list occurred on September 4, 1628, which according to another place in the text is three years before the end of the 3rd Ahau Katun. This correlation between the Mayan and Christian calendars is in keeping with the calendar correlations generally presented throughout the Yucatecan Mayan colonial manuscripts.

Later in this anthology in the selections of modern material there is a collection of modern riddles. While none of these modern riddle are exactly the same as the riddle given in "Zuyua Than yetel Naat", there is a similarity in style and flavor. While the main purpose of modern riddles is mainly just to pass the time, their use becomes especially noticeable at group gathering occasions such as funerals, weddings, lunches for fiesta guild members, and other such formal to semi-formal occasions.

The language and understanding of Zuyua Zuyua Than yetel Naat
for our lord the military governor. utial c' yum gobernador mariscal.
Here on the fourth day of the month of September Helelae tu canppel kin yuil Septiembre,
in the year 1628, tu haabil 1628,
the unusual Mayan language was composed lic yutzcintah u yanal maya than
so that it appeared written in the heaven lay chicbezahaanil caanal
known to the men whoever will see it yoheltoob uinicoob himac yan u uilal
in the written book of the Language and Understanding of Zuyua. ti u huunil dzibaanil u Zuyua Than yetel Naat.
It will be understood by the chiefs of the towns Bin u naatabal tumen u batabil cahoob
and the head chiefs, yetel halach uinicoob
passed on to the mayors and aldermen. manahantacoob ti alcaldesil yetel regidoresil.
Thus it happened that he came to live in Tzuc Uaxim Lay uchic u cahtal ti Tzuc Uaxim lae
which is to the east of Mérida. tu lakin Ichcaanziho.
There is the land where his orchard and private land was built, Ti yan u luum uchic u yantal u pakali yetel u solar,
where he came to live. uchic u cahtal lae.
The day will come he shall finish also. Bin ix kuchuc tu kin u holol u bel xan.
The word of the head chief comes, his word is vigorous. Talel u than u halach uinicil, chac u than.
Then will arrive his great cape also. Ca bin uluc chac ix u buc xan.
Here is the Language of Zuyua. Helelac tu Zuyua Than.
Thus will be the word, Lay bin u than,
thus will be the interrogation of the head chiefs of the towns. lay bin u kat u halach uinicil cah lae.
Then will arrive the day of the end of the word Ca bin u kuchuc tu kin u dzocol u than
of Three Ahau Katun. ah Ox Ahau Katun lae.
Then will be seated the other katun, One Ahau Katun. Ca bin culac u yanal katun, Hun Ahau Katun.
Thus therefore will happen in the other katun. Lay tun bin yanac ichil u yanal katun lae.
Thus it is said. Bay alanil lae.
He is the katun today, Three Ahau Katun. He ix katun helelae, Ox Ahau Katun.
There are three years to go Oxppel haab u binel
so that its reign will be taken away. ca lukuc tu tepal.
The time has arrived for the end of its rule and its reign. Dzoc ix u kuchul u kinil u dzocol yahaulil yetel u tepal.
Anyway; it happens that the other katun, One Ahau Katun, Halilibe; manahan ix u yanal katun, Hun ahau Katun lae,
is seated in the house of Three Ahau Katun. culaan ichil yotoch ah Ox Ahau Katun lae.
Hallelujah, it is being given a feast by Three Ahau Katun. Yulate, tan u dzabal u chaan tumenel ah Ox Ahau Katun lae.
Shame they say will be hidden in the town. Zubultzil bin bin baloob tu cahaloob.
The examination which comes in the katun ends today. Kat naat cu talel ichil u katunil licil u dzocol helelae.
The time has arrived for the chiefs of the towns Ti kuchul tu kinil u katabal u naatoob u batabil cahoob
to be asked about their knowledge, ua yoheloob
if they know how the ruling men came, uchic u taleloob u uiniciloob yahauliloob,
whether or not it is true that all come from linages, lacaloob camac u than tulacal u cħibaloob talicoob
whether it is said that they come from chiefs, from head chiefs ua tzolaan u talel u batabiloob, u halach uiniciloob
whether they are from linages of kings or linages of captains; ua cħibaloob ahau ua cħibaloob batab;
to this they speak the truth. ti u hah canticoob.


Riddles from the First List
1:1; Here is the first word which will be asked of them. 1:1; He ix u yax chun than bin katabac tiobe.
They will be asked for his food. Bin u katabac tiob u hanal.
Earnestly will the head chief say to them; Ci bin u than halach uinic tiob;
thus will be spoken to the captains: bay bin alabac ti batabobe:
"Child, bring me the sun in my plate, carry it in your hand. "Mehene, ca a talez ten kin tin plato, ca a lathab ta kab.
A lance with a lofty cross is planted Ti cħicaan lanza caanil cruz
in the middle of its heart. tan chumuc u puczikal.
There is a green jaguar seated on top, Ti ix culaan yax balam yokol,
it is bleeding its blood." u kikic u kikele."
Zuyua Language is being understood. Zuyua Than u naatabal.
Here is what being asked of them, He ix kin bin katabac tiob lae,
that is a regal (large) fried egg. lay yahau tzabil hee.
Here is the lance and the lofty cross He ix lanza yetel caanil cruz
which is stuck in its heart, cħicaan tu puczikale,
that of which he speaks, it is the benediction. lay lic yalice lay cici thane.
Here is the green jaguar seated on top, bleeding its blood, He ix yax balam culaan yokol, u kikic u kikele,
it is green chile, it is very hot. lay yax ic, balam yanie.
Zuyua language. Zuyua than.
1:2; This is the second difficult word which will be asked, 1:2; He ix u ca chich than bin katabac,
which will be told to them: bin alabac tiobe:
that they go to take the heaven's brains ca xicoob u cħaob u dzomel caan
so that the head chief can see how much there is of it. utial yilah halach uinic bahun u caah.
"I desire to see it, "Yan in uol in uile,
it has been a long time since I have seen it." uchi in uilae."
it is graciously told to them. ci yalabal tiobe.
Here is the heaven's brains, it is copal resin. He ix u dzomel caane, lay pome.
Zuyua language. Zuyua Than.
1:3; This is the third difficult word which will be asked, 1:3; He ix u yox chich than bin katabac tiobe,
which will be told to them: bin alabac tiobe:
that they tie (build) a big house; ca u kaxoob nohoch na;
six poles its length, one stick its post. uac thil u uaan, hun dzitil yocmal.
Here is the big house, it is a royal (large) hat. He ix nohoch na lae, lay yahau ppoc lae.
Zuyua Language. Zuyua Than.
3:18; Child, that you bring me a girl who is very white round calf muscles. 3:18; Mehene, ca a talez ten a huntul cħuplal hach zac uolol uol u ppul yoc.
Here I take off the slip from her calf muscles. Uay in zilic u pic tu ppul yoce.
Most certainly lord. Cay bayac be yume.
Here is the girl which he asks them about, it is jicama. He ix u cħuplal lic u katice, lay chicame.
Here is taking off the slip, it is the peeling of the skin. He ix u zilic u pice, lay u dzilic u pache.
Zuyua Language. Zuyua Than.
Riddles from the Second List
24; Child, bring me here that the girls who guard the garden, 24; Mehene, talez ten uaye ix ah canaan col cħuplalobe,
white girls. zac cħuplalobe.
I am going to take off their slips, so that I can eat them. Ten ix bin lukzic u picoob yokole, ca tun in hante.
Father, it is the jicama. Yume, lay chicame.
25; Child, bring me big dancers so that I can watch them. 25; Mehene, talez ten noh tzublal in chaante.
Perhaps they will not dance badly when I will be seen by them. Ma uil lob yokotoob ca bin in uilabe.
Lord, it is a tom-turkey. Yume, lay ah tzoe.
40; Child, go now therefore 40; Mehene, ca tun xicech
and bring the stone of the field here. a cħab u tunichil chakan uaye.
Lord, it is the quail. Yume, lay becħe.
41; Child, go now therefore 41; Mehene, ca tun xicech
and bring the first of the shamans here; a cħab yax ah menobe uaye,
there are four of them. cantulobe.
Lord, here are the gopher and the spotted agouti Yume, heklay ba yetel tzub
and the mexican agouti and the peccary. yetel haleb yetel citame.
42; Child, go now therefore 42; Mehene, ca tun xicech
and bring the thigh bone of Earth here. a cħab u chac bacel luum uaye.
Lord, it is the cassava root. Yume, lay dzine.
43; Child, go now therefore and bring the first dancer 43; Mehene, ca tun xicech a cħab yax tzublal
and the first chanter here. yetel yax kayumoob uaye.
Lord, they are the hen turkey and the tom turkey. Yume, lay cutz yetel ah tzoe.

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