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Rabinal Achi: Act Four--Inside the Fortress

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Rabinal Achi: Act Four--Inside the Fortress
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Rabinal Achi
or The Warrior's Death
(Last Act of the Only Surviving Maya Drama)

Act Four--Inside the Fortress:

The Quiche Man steps in front of the Chieftain Five Rains: "Salutations to you, Chieftain! Here I come from the entrance of the high walls, the mighty castle, in which you spread out your hands in the gesture of command and where your shadow lessens the glowing heat of the sun. The news of my arrival has reached your mouth, come before your face. I am a fearless warrior and I have come here because you, brave hero, you, first among the men of Rabinal, have flung a challenge, a cry of anger into my face. I have told my lord and master that you are here and ready. The answer of my lord and master was: Let him come, this brave man, let him step in front of me so that I can read in his face how brave and what sort of a man he is. Tell this brave man, that he is not allowed to make any noise or to make a nuisance of himself: on the contrary he must bow and bend his head as he comes to the exit of the high walls, the mighty castle. This is what my master has to say to you. Well, I am only a man used to bowing, to bending my face and my knees but now I will do it in order to fulfill your fate with these my children, the arrow and the buckler, to change the day of your birth into that of your death; I will stop your mouth with my foot and you will have to suffer this, Chieftain!" (He makes a threatening gesture with his cudgel towards the Chieftain Five Rains).

 

A Maid-Servant: "Stop, you brave warrior, man from the Cavek-Quiches, do not kill him, my lord and my master, the Chieftain Five Rains, here within the high walls, the mighty castle, where you are shut in."

 

The Quiche Man: "Let me at least prepare my seat then as it was in my mountains, in my valleys where my luck was with me, where I was born. There stands my seat. And here? Shall I expose to the ice and to the cold? This I ask you before the face of heaven and earth. May they, heaven and earth, be with you. Chieftain Five Rains!"

 

The Chieftain Five Rains: "You warrior and man of the Cavek-Quiches, thank heaven and earth who lead you here to the high walls, the mighty castle where I stretch my hands in command and throw a shadow, I, grand-father and father of my tribe, I, the Chieftain Five Rains. But now tell me, explain to me why you imitated the howling of the wolf, the barking of the fox, the cry of the weasel, here within the high walls, the mighty castle, to call my brilliant children, my beautiful sons and to entice them while they were gathering the green bitter-sweet honey of Iximche for me, their father and Chieftain Five Rains? It was you who robbed nine, ten of my brilliant children, my beautiful sons and they would have been carried off to the mountains of the Quiches if my courage had not prevented it; would you not have beheaded my brilliant children, mutilated their limbs? You wanted to carry me off, too, up there to the mountains when I was overcome by your arrow and your buckler. You had me locked away in the rock, in the limestone of the mountains and the valleys of the Quiches and there you would have killed me. This is why my brave man of men, the first Chieftain of Rabinal, came and freed me, cut me out with the help of his son’s arrows and bucklers. Had he not been on hand, my head and limbs would have been cut off. But thus I was luckily taken back to the high walls, the mighty castle. Not only that, you have destroyed two, three villages, fortified places there in Balanvac, which were surrounded and protected by gorges. When will you tame your heart and your insolence? How long is this to go on and had it not been buried once in Kotom and Tikirem? But whatever you have done, you will have to pay for it here under the sky and above the earth. Have you said farewell to your mountains and your valleys? For you will die here, you will be extinguished under the sky and above the earth. May they, this heaven and this earth, be with you, you man of the Cavek-Quiches!"

 

The Quiche Man: "Listen to me, Chief Five Rains, in the face of heaven and earth. Your words are true, what you said before heaven and earth is true; true it is that I have done wrong. Your words were: ‘Have you not called my brilliant children, my beautiful sons and enticed them away when they were gathering the green bitter-sweet honey for me, their grandfather and father, Chief Five Rains, in the high walls and the mighty castle?" Those were your words. I have certainly done wrong according to the desire of my heart as I have been unable to gain power over these beautiful mountains and valleys here under the sky and above the earth. You also said: ‘It was you, who came to carry me off, who overpowered me in the baths.’ Those were your words. I have also done wrong in this by giving in to the longing of my heart. You words ran further: ‘You have destroyed two, three villages, fortified places there in Balanvac, which were surrounded by gorges.’ Those were your words. I have certainly done wrong according to the desire of my heart as I could not get them, those beautiful mountains and valleys beneath the sky and above the earth. You also said: ‘Take leave from your mountains and your valleys, from your world, because you will die now, you will be extinguished, your head will be put at your feet.’ Thus your speech ran, did it not? Of course I detest your words, your commands, here in the face of heaven and earth, because that is the wish of my heart. But since it is my fate that I should die and perish here, I have to say this before your mouth and to your face: I take it that you are well provided with everything here within your high walls and in the large castle, that you have everything in abundance and I would therefore like to taste some of your food and drinks, your chieftain’s drinks which are called Ixtatzunin, those twelve drinks which made you drunk, which give sweet fresh pleasure and wake your desires and hunger, those elixirs, which you drink before going to bed, within these high walls and this mighty castle and which used to be the pleasures of my mother and mistress, too. I shall taste them for a moment as an irrevocable sign of my approaching death below heaven and on earth. These are my words. May heaven and earth be with you, Chief Five Rains!"

 

The Chieftain Five Rains: "You brave warrior, man from Cavek-Quiches! You have spoken thus in the face of heaven and earth: ‘Give me of your food, of your drinks. I want to receive them from you to taste them.’ Those were your words, were they not? And also, ‘That will be the irrevocable sign of my death, of my destruction.’ Well, I will give them to you, I will have them brought to you. Male and female servant: bring my food and my drinks! Give them to this brave warrior, the man from Cavek-Quiches, as an irrevocable sign of his approaching death, here, under the sky and above the earth!"

 

A Servant: "Yes, my master and my lord! I will take them to this brave warrior, to the man of the Cavek-Quiches. (The servant carries in a low table, laid with food and drinks). "Here, taste some of the food and the drinks of my master and my lord, the grandfather and Chieftain Five Rains, within the high walls and the mighty castle, where he lives, my master and my lord, you brave man!"

 

The Quiche Man: (eats and dances with an expression of distaste. Then he begins to dance in the middle of the court-yard. When he returns he says): "Listen, Chieftain Five Rains! Is this all your food, all your drink? Verily, they do not mean anything to me, they do not please my mouth. If only you could stay with me in my mountains and my valleys for a short time and taste all stimulating, pleasing, lovely, sweet and refreshing drinks, which I used to drink there. This I tell you in the face of heaven and earth: Is this your table, are those your cups? isn’t this the skull of my grandfather, the brain-pan of my father, that I see here! Could you not make the same from the bones of my head and carve the lines of my face and my mouth into it? And so my grandsons and my sons when they come to exchange my remains for five loads of cocoa, in beans and powder, each, will exclaim: "This is our grandfather’s and father’s skull!’ Thus they will cry, my grandsons and sons on the day of dawn. There will also be a rattle, the bone of my arm, set in precious metal and it will sound that these high walls and this mighty castle will ring with it. There will also be the bones of my chest, fashioned into drumsticks and drum, that make heaven and earth tremble with their sound. And I also tell you: I would like to dress myself in festive robes, shining and brilliant, so beautifully woven as if my mother and mistress had woven them; I want to adorn myself within the high walls and in all the four corners of this mighty castle as a supreme sign of my approaching death between heaven and earth."

 

Chieftain Five Rains: "Brave warrior, man of the Cavek-Quiches, what is it you want, what are you longing for? Whatever it may be, I will give it to you as a supreme sign of your death, your destruction, here under the sky and above the earth. Servants, bring a festive dress, brilliant and shinning and flawlessly woven by your hand and give it to this man as a sure sign of his death, his destruction here between heaven and earth!"

 

A Servant: "Yes, my master and my lord! I give at once to this brave man what he desires. Here, you warrior, is the cloth carefully woven that you asked for and desired. I give it to you but do not tear it, do not damage it." (The servant gives the warrior a shawl-like cloak, which he puts on at once).

 

The Quiche Man: "Your flutes, your drums! Do you really believe that you can play them as my drums, my flutes would have sounded? Well then, begin the great tune, the small tune! Play on my flute which is strange to you, beat my drum, to which you are not accustomed, strum well-beloved Quiche instruments! Play on them the dance of the captive, my prisoner in my mountains and my valleys, play in such a way that heaven and earth echo; that our foreheads and heads bow, when we jump in the dance and beat the rhythm with our feet on the ground, all of us with our maids and servants. This I have to tell you in the face of heaven and earth; may they be with you. Oh you flutes and drums!" (He performs a round in the center of the courtyard and stops at each corner to cry his war-cry). "Now, Chieftain Five Rains, listen to me before heaven and earth! Here is what you have granted and lent me. I am thus returning it; lock it away in its chest, within the high walls and the mighty castle. You have granted me my wish, you have stilled my desire in the face of heaven and earth, and I have testified to it in the four corners and sides of these high walls, of this mighty castle as an irrevocable sign of my death. But if it is really true that you have everything in abundance here within the high walls and the mighty castle, do call for my mother of the feather-dress, the mother of the green bird-cover, that precious jewel, the girl from the village of Tzam-Gam-Carchag, whose mouth and face have not been touched yet, so that I can dance with her and announce my approaching death, my extinction within these high walls, in all the corners and ends of the mighty castle. Heaven and earth, which I shall soon no longer set my eyes on, be with you, Chief Five Rains!"

 

The Chieftain Five Rains: "Brave warrior, man of the Cavek-Quiches, what else do you wish for, what else do you ask from me? Well, I will grant you your wish. For you must know that she really is here, the mother of the feather-dress, and the green bird-cover, the precious jewel, the girl from Tzam-Gam-Carchag, whose mouth and face have not been touched yet. I grant this to you, too, you brave, as an undeniable sign of your approaching death, of your extinction between heaven and earth. Maids and servants, lead her here, the mother of the feather-dress and the green bird-cover, bring this man what he asks for and desires as the supreme sign of his death, his passing here below the sky and on the earth."

 

 

A Maid: "Yes, my master and my lord, I will immediately bring her to this warrior, to this man." (The mother of the feather-dress is brought in and led to the Quiche man). "Here she is, warrior of the Quiches! I give you what you ask for, but do not offend her, do not hurt her, the mother of the feather-dress and the bird-cover. Meet her only in the dance between the high walls of the mighty castle." (The Quiche man greets the girl, who dances away from him, but with her face turned towards him. He follows her in the same way moving smoothly and rapidly in front of her like a cloth in the wind. At the sound of the trumpets they perform a circle around the whole courtyard and finally stop in front of the Chieftain Five Rains).

 

The Quiche Man: "Listen to me, Chief Five Rains, before heaven and earth! Here she is again, the one you have lent to me, you have entrusted to me as my partner in the dance! I have turned towards her, have danced with her in all the four corners of these high walls and this mighty castle; now guard her again, lock her up once more in here. My words to you now are: Grant me twelve of your yellow Eagles, twelve of your yellow Jaguars, those warriors whom I met by day and by night, armed and with spears in their hands. Put them at my disposal that I may fight them with my arrows and my buckler, my sons; this, too, as the supreme sign of my impending death here beneath the sky and above the earth; may they be with you, Chief Five Rains!"

 

The Chieftain Five Rains: Brave warrior and man of the Cavek-Quiches, these then are your words between heaven and earth: that I put twelve yellow Eagles and twelve yellow Jaguars at your disposal. Well, then, I agree; borrow them, twelve Eagles and Jaguars. Come here then, my Eagles and Jaguars, do it so that this brave man and warrior may measure his arrows and his buckler against yours in these four corners and sides of my castle."

 

The Quiche Man (descends with the Eagles and Jaguars and dances a war-dance round the courtyard. Then they all return to the ramp where Five Rains is now standing with his family): "Chief Five Rains, listen to me before heaven and earth! You have granted me the so-called yellow Eagles and Jaguars and I have measured my arrows and my buckler against them. But are these really your Eagles and Jaguars? I cannot call them by these names because some do not see, others do not hear and they have neither teeth nor sharp claws. If you could only for a moment see the warriors from my mountains; they look full of strength, they fence and fight with teeth and sharp claws."

 

Chief Five Rains: "Brave warrior and man of the Cavek-Quiches, we have seen them and felt them, the teeth of the Eagles and Jaguars there in your mountains and valleys. But what is there so very special about the glance, the eyes of your Eagles and Jaguars in your mountains and valleys?"

 

The Quiche Man: "Listen to me, Chief Five Rains, before heaven and earth. These are my words before your mouth, before your face: Grant me now 260 days and nights, one year in our calendar, that I may say farewell to my mountains and valleys, from where I came forth into the four directions of the horizon in search of my food, my victuals."

(Nobody answers. He then performs a lonely dance and becomes invisible for a short while. He then, and without returning to the ramp, approaches the Eagles and Jaguars, who have assembled in the center of the court round a kind of altar).

"Oh, you Eagles and Jaguars! ‘We have come a long way,’ you said some time ago. But I have not gone a long way, have not been absent and it was only to take farewell from my mountains and my valleys, where I used to look for my keep and search for my food. Alas, you heaven and earth! All my courage, all my bravery have not been any good to me. I have learnt to find herbs and roots. They have been of no use to me, my courage and my bravery. Alas, heaven and earth! Must I really die now, perish without further ado and unceremoniously? Alas, my silver and my gold, my children, my arrow and my buckler, my cudgel, made and captured in foreign parts, my axe, my clothes and shoes-may you, at least, return to our mountains and our valleys! Tale the news of my death before our master and our lord, who says: ‘It has been a long time that my courageous, my brave one, has been gathering food for us!’ Then tell my master that I shall never do it again unless I need not die now, not perish now between heaven and earth. Alas, if only I could change quickly into that squirrel or into that bird! They must die there where they sought their food in freedom yet they sit high up on branch and twig of the tree. Alas, you Eagles and Jaguars, come then to fulfill your duty; do it so that your teeth and your claws kill me rapidly because I am a warrior torn from my mountains and my valleys! May heaven and earth be with you, oh, you Eagles and Jaguars!" (Eagles and Jaguars surround the Quiche man, and kill him).

Visit: the Immortal and Powerful Mexican-Jaguars!

 
I turn to Simplicity, I turn again to Purity!
 
 
 

Welcome to the Mexican-Jaguars' Stronghold!

Lucio Cabañas

¡De nican para tech quixtizque xtopa tech mictizque!
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