lions, tigers, etc. Thus, they said, ru puz, ru naual, pedro la cot, balam, 'Peter's power, his naual, is a lion, a tiger.' They also applied the words puz and naual to certain trees, rocks and other inanimate objects, whence the Devil used to speak to them, and likewise to the idols which they worshiped, as gazlic che, gazlic abah, huyu, k'o ru naual, 'The life of the tree, the life of the stone, of the hill, is its naual,' etc.; because they believed there was life in these objects. They used to have armies and soldiery to guard their lands, and the captains, as well as many who were not captains, had their nauales. They called the captain ru g' alache; rohobachi, ti ru gaah, ru pocob, ru gh' amay a ghay ti be chi naualil [he works magic with his shield, his lance, and his arrows].

"To practice such magical arts: tin naualih ('I practice magic'), an active verb. They use it, for instance, when a man asks his wife for something to eat or drink, and she has nothing, owing to his negligence, she will say: 'Where do you suppose I can get what you want? Do you expect me to perform miracles—xa pe ri tin naualih—that they shall come to my hands?' So when one is asked to lend or give something which he has not, he will exclaim: Tin naualih pe ri puvak, etc. ('Can I perform miracles,' etc.)

"It also signifies to pretend something, concealing the truth, as xa ru naualim ara neh chu g' ux ri tzih tan tu bijh pedro, 'Peter is feigning this which he is saying.' They are also accustomed to apply this word to the power which the priests exert (in the sacraments, etc.)."

A long and foolish account of the witchcraft supposed to be practiced among the Pokonchis of Guatemala, also a tribe of Mayan stock, is given by the Englishman, Thomas Gage, who was cura of a parish among them about 1630, and afterwards returned to England and Protestantism. He described, at wearisome length, the supposed metamorphosis of two chiefs of neighboring tribes, the one into a lion, the other into a tiger, and the mortal combat in which they engaged, resulting in the death of one to whom Gage administered absolution. No doubt he had been worsted in a personal encounter with his old enemy, and, being a man of eighty years, had not the vigor to recover. The account is of interest only as proving that the same superstitions at that time prevailed among the Pokonchis as in other portions of Guatemala.[45]

15. A really mighty nagualist was not confined to a single transformation. He could take on many and varied figures. One such is described in the sacred books of the Quiches of Guatemala, that document known by the name of the Popol Vuh, or National Book. The passage is in reference to one of their great kings and powerful magicians, Gucumatz by name. It says:

"Truly he was a wonderful king. Every seven days he ascended to the sky, and every seven days he followed the path to the abode of the dead; every seven days he put on the nature of a serpent, and then he became truly a serpent; every seven days he assumed the nature of an eagle, and then he became truly an eagle; then of a tiger and he became truly a tiger; then of coagulated blood, and he was nothing else than coagulated blood."[46]

It may be said that such passages refer metaphorically to the versatility of his character, but even if this is so, the metaphors are drawn from the universal belief in Nagualism which then prevailed, and they do not express it too strongly.

16. Among the Maya tribes of Yucatan and Guatemala we have testimony to the continuance to this day of these beliefs. Father Bartolomé de Baeza, cura of Yaxcaba in the first half of this century, reports that an old man, in his dying confession, declared that by diabolical art he had transformed himself into an animal, doubtless his nagual; and a young girl of some twelve years confessed that she had been transformed into a bird by the witches, and in one of her nocturnal flights had rested on the roof of the very house in which the good priest resided, which was some two leagues from her home. He wisely suggests that, perhaps, listening to some tale of sorcery, she had had a vivid dream, in which she seemed to take this flight. It is obvious, however, from his account, as well as from other sources, that the belief of the transformation into lower animals

[45] Gage, A New Survey of the West Indies, p. 388, seq. (4th Ed.).

[46] Le Popol Vuh, on Livre Sacré des Quichés, p. 315 (Ed. Brasseur, Paris, 1861). In the Quiche myths, Gueumatz is the analogue of Quetzalcoatl in Aztec legend. Both names mean the same, "Feathered Serpent."

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