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
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.
(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.
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.
Collection of Mayan legends and folklore.
Maya Creation Myth Creation Story of the Maya:
Maya legends about the origin of the world.
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.
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.
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.
Great collection of traditional tales about little people from the Maya and other tribes.
Books of Native American legends
Mesoamerican Indian tribes
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