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Mayan Folktales

Folklore from Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
Edited by James D. Sexton

Details

Overview

This collection of folklore offers a rich and lively panorama of Mayan mythic heritage. Here are everyday tales of village life; legends of witches, shamans, spiritualists, tricksters, and devils; fables of naguales, or persons who can change into animal forms; ribald stories of love and life; cautionary tales of strange and menacing neighbors and of the danger lurking within the human heart. These legends narrate origin and creation stories, explain the natural world, and reinforce cultural beliefs and values such as honesty, industriousness, sharing, fairness, and cleverness. Whether tragic or comic, fantastic or earthy, whimsical or profound, these tales capture the mystery, fragility, and power of the Mayan world.

Contributor Bios
James D. Sexton is Regents’ Professor of anthropology at Northern Arizona University and is the author of many articles and books on cultural change in Guatemala's highland communities.