Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Bird Is Caught in the Snare.

[This section explains something rather puzzling in the Popol Vuh story: when Seven Macaw is shot in the jaw by the Hero Twins, instead of getting the wound treated immediately by someone he trusts, he just lies around for several days letting it fester, until he is so weakened that he easily falls prey to the Twins' ruse in the final episode. What is the reason for his self-destructive behavior? A simplistic explanation would be that the character is just stupid. But I really don't think Seven is stupid.

Here, I've put together a plausible dramatic scenario. I'm rather proud of having come up with this plot device -- no, not THAT proud. Don't shoot me! =)]

What shall we do about Seven Macaw?
So far we have only broken his jaw.

Seven Macaw's pride will destroy him.
He won't seek help until it's too late.
Then we will offer him help, indeed --
When he is sick, we'll take his riches.
We'll beguile him with friendship,
We will kill him with kindness.

The two brothers laughed at their sport;
And it happened as Hunahpu said.

For thus said Seven Macaw:
Hunahpu claims I am not divine;
He knows not the glory that is mine.
Because of the metal in my eyes
I am immortal; I cannot die.
I need no aid to mend my bone;
I'll heal this ill by will alone.
They all the world will know and see
Seven Macaw's divinity.

But the wound made by Hunahpu
Rankled and festered.

And worms came to Seven Macaw's jaw,
And the worms crawled in his teeth,
They climbed into his nose and eyes;
And in Seven Macaw's unyielding pride
The worms grew thick and multiplied.

And the Lords of Xibalba sent their demons,
With powers to sicken and weaken,
With powers to torment and stricken:

Flying Scab and Gathered Blood,
Master of Pus,  Master of Jaundice,
Bone Scepter and Skull Scepter,
Sweepings Demon, Stabbings Demon,
Wing and Packstrap --

The demons danced around Seven Macaw,
To poison his blood, to swell up his jaw,
To fill his bones and veins with putrescence.

And so the magnificent Seven Macaw,
Stubbornest of the stubborn People of Wood,
Was caught in the hunters' snare.

But while Seven Macaw sickened with pride,
His wife Chimalmat stayed by his side.

At sunset, Seven Macaw sank down in relief
And sighed, too weary even to speak,
Worn and drained, torn with pain,
Seven Macaw lay weary but awake,
Deprived of sleep by his jaw's unending ache.

And Chimalmat spoke to him softly:
Now you must rest from making light,
Let me hold you through the night.

She embraced him in her arms,
She folded him in her wings,
And Seven Macaw closed his shining eyes
Enclosed in her soft green wings.

And he who would be Moon & Sun
Surrendered to her, who surrendered to none.

Then Chimalmat sang to him in the night,
To soothe his pain, to bring respite.

And here is one song she sang:

"Remember, my dearest, how we flew through the trees
In the green forest shadows, aloft on the breeze.
Remember, my dear one, those days long ago,
When we met in the darkness, your eyes all aglow.

And I tell thee true, my dearest one,
You have always been my Moon and Sun.

In days long ago, before you were the Sun,
We sang in the treetops, our souls became one.
Even before you had lit up the Moon,
We danced in the branches, we both to one tune.

BuI I tell thee true, my dearest one,
You have always been my Moon and Sun."

And Seven Macaw said to Chimalmat,
Fortunate I am before all others,
Happy I am beyond others,
Not because I am the Sun,
Not because I am the Moon,
But because thou art my love.

And Chimalmat wept.

When the time of dawn came to the skies,
Seven Macaw opened up his eyes;
With terrible effort, he brought forth the light;
Screaming in anguish, like one giving birth
He brought the sunrise back to the Earth.

Meanwhile, the Hero Twins stood watching
For signs of Seven Macaw's downfall
See how the sunlight flashes and fades,
How it flutters and flares
Like a flickering flame;
Seven Macaw is crying in pain,
Now he is sobbing, now he is weeping.
Now he is weakened,
Now we will kill him.

I see it, Brother. He's ripe for the killing.
He'll fall into our hands like the fruit of his nance tree,
He'll fall to the ground like that fruit he's so fond of.

No comments:

Post a Comment