American Indian kids * List of Indians * American Indian arts

Native Languages of the Americas:
Maya Legends, Myths, and Stories

This is our collection of links to Maya myths and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our Native American myths section by tribe to make them easier to locate; however, variants on the same legend are often told by American Indians from different tribes, especially if those tribes are kinfolk or neighbors to each other. In particular, though these legends come from the Maya tribes, the traditional stories of other Mesoamerican tribes like the Aztec and Zapotec are often similar.

Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Maya legend for this page or think one of the ones on here should be removed, please let us know.

Sponsored Links

Maya Gods and Goddesses

Q'uq'umatz/Kukulkan (also spelled Ququmatz, Qucumatz, Gucumatz, Kucumatz, K'uk'ulkan, K'uk'ul-chon, and other ways): The feathered serpent god, closely related to Quetzalcoatl of the Aztecs. He was most important to the Quiche Maya people, who considered him the creator of humankind. Among other Mayan cultures, he was more often seen as a messenger between gods and men, and was sometimes known as the Vision Serpent. Q'uq'umatz is the deity's name in the K'iche Mayan language, while K'uk'ulkan is his name in the Yucatec Mayan language. (There are many different Mayan languages and most of them are no more closely related to each other than English and French, so names can vary widely from one Mayan group to the next.)

Chaac (also spelled Chac or Choc): The Maya god of rain, one of the most important deities in the Mayan pantheon. Chaac was often described as having four divine aspects or incarnations, connected to the four cardinal directions and colored green, red, white, and black respectively. In some Maya traditions there were also many demigods, also known as Chaacob, who served the great god Chaac and often appeared to humans as dwarves or giants.

Itzamna: Mayan creator god and culture hero, credited with creating the Maya people and teaching them the arts of writing and religion. He is associated with the sun.

Ixchel: Maya goddess of childbirth and medicine. She is associated with the moon and was said to be the wife of Itzamna in some Mayan myths.

Other Mythological Figures in Mayan Legends

Alux (plural Aluxo'ob of Aluxob): These are magical little people of Yucatec and northern Guatemalan Maya folklore. They are generally benevolent nature sprites but can be dangerous if they are not treated with the proper respect. Pronounced ah-loosh.

Rabbit (often referred to as Uncle Rabbit or Mayor Rabbit): Rabbit is the most important trickster animal in Maya folktales. He is very clever and frequently outwits other animals or people, but is also sometimes too clever for his own good and gets himself into all manner of trouble. Like modern cartoon animals, Rabbit often dies in Maya stories and spontaneously comes back to life.

Sisemite (also spelled Sisemité, Sisimiti, and other ways): A shaggy, Bigfoot-like creature of the wilderness. His name, pronounced see-see-mee-tay, is a Maya corruption of the Nahuatl word tzitzimitl, which means "diviner." Sisimite is usually described as a tall, powerful humanoid in Mayan stories. He may abduct women, but may also cure them or grant them magical powers. Sisimite never speaks in Maya legends, communicating only by loud howling screams.

Maya Indian Legends

*The Myths of Mexico and Peru:
    Online book of Inca, Aztec, and Mayan mythology.
*Maya Myths:
    Collection of Mayan legends and folklore.
*Maya Creation Myth * Creation Story of the Maya:
    Maya legends about the origin of the world.
*Mayan Folktales:
    Online collection of Kanjobal Maya stories.
*Mayan Rabbit Stories:
    Maya tales about the adventures of the trickster Rabbit.
*The Possum and the Jaguar * The Jaguar and the Little Skunk:
    Mayan legends about animals unsuccessfully trying to imitate their godfather Jaguar.
*The Jaguar and the Deer:
    Mayan legend about a jaguar and a deer trying to live together.
*Coyote and the Hen:
    Maya folktale about Coyote's attempts to trick a bird.
*Gift to the Hummingbird:
    Maya story about how the hummingbird got her beautiful colors.
*How The King Of Birds Was Chosen:
    Mayan story about the quetzal and the roadrunner.

Recommended Books on Mayan Mythology
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico:
    Excellent introduction to the pre-Columbian mythology and religious art of the Mayas and other Mexican tribes.
Popol Vuh:
    English translation of the Quiche Mayan mythological epic.
The Eagle and the Rainbow: Timeless Tales from Mexico:
    Children's book illustrating several Mayan and other Mexican Indian folktales.
The Deetkatoo:
    Great collection of traditional tales about little people from the Maya and other tribes.

Sponsored Links

Additional Resources

 Mayan mythology
 Maya myth
 Mayan words
 Maya civilization
 American Indian mythology
 Native American belief system
 Mexican Natives
 Mesoamerican Indian tribes
 Mayan language family
 Different Indian cultures

Back to the Mayan homepage
Back to the Animals tales
Buy some books about Native American history

Indian names * Indian jewelry * Cherokee Indian genealogy * Handmade Indian rugs * Indian tattoos

Would you like to help support our organization's work with the Maya Indian languages?

Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2020 * Contacts and FAQ page