Ancient Mayans for Kids
The nobles in the Maya empire all claimed they were descendants of the Hero Twins. This gave them the right to rule. The ancient story of the hero twins tells the tale of two brothers, a bunch of ball games, the tricky gods, and a happy ending! The Exciting Adventures of The Hero Twins (cartoon powerpoint by Lin Donn and Phillip Martin)
This is the story written out for you to read and enjoy.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived two brothers. The brothers tried very hard to be good gardeners. But even the rabbit that rooted in their garden for food each day knew they were not very good at gardening. What they were good at, great at, absolutely excellent at, were ballgames. Onlookers cheered so loudly whenever the boys played ball that the noise attracted the attention of the Lords of Death.
The Lords of Death lived in the Underworld. They liked to trick people into dying. They especially liked tricking people who were bothering them, and the boys were bothering them. They were far too noisy! The Lords of Death sent a message to the brothers praising their wonderful talent. The message included an invitation to play a ballgame in the Underworld. The brothers were instructed to bring their ball and their protective gear as none could be provided. No one played ball in the Underworld normally, so this would be a great treat for everyone.
The brothers did not trust the Lords of Death. They hid their ball and protective gear under the rafters in their mother's house. Perhaps without gear they would not have to play and thus could avoid whatever trickery the Lords of Death had planned. The boys set out for the Underworld. They made it safely across the river of spikes. They made it safely across the river of blood. They made it safely across the river of pus. They arrived safely at the house of the Lords of Death.
There, a Lord waited for them to say hello. It was a trick. That Lord was only a wood statue. When the boys said hello to a wood statue, the real Lords rushed out from where they had been hiding. They shook their heads in pretended shock. "Do you think our heads are filled with wood?" they cried. The brothers had been royally tricked. They had failed a test.
"Now wait, " interrupted one of the real Lords. "They did get across all three rivers safely."
"Hum, " said one of the other Lords thoughtfully. "You're right, of course. Hardly anyone ever does that! That's quite an accomplishment and needs to be taken into consideration."
"Have a seat while we think about what to do with you, " a third Lord nodded to the brothers.
Feeling hopeful that perhaps they would not be killed after all, the brothers sat down on a bench. The bench was burning hot. The boys leaped up, but it was too late. They had failed another test. For failing two tests, the boys were immediately sacrificed. Their bodies were buried under a ballcourt back on earth.
That would have been the end of the story except for one thing. One Lord thought it would be a good warning if the head of one of the boys was placed in a tree where everyone would see it - a kind of "see what might happen to you if you are too noisy" warning. There the head stayed. No one saw it much because hardly anyone ever entered that part of the forest. The head had made such a racket calling for help that the people who lived in that part of the world were sure their forest was haunted. One day, a young woman came through the forest. She had lost her way while picking berries.
Before she even noticed the head stuck in the branches, the head said, "When my child is born, take him to my grandmother." After telling the the young woman how to find his grandmother's house, the head disappeared.
The young woman blinked in surprise. A short time later, she gave birth to the Hero Twins. She took the twins to the house of their grandmother, as instructed. Their grandmother loved the twins dearly. But they did set her to sighing. Like their father before them, the Hero Twins were not very good at gardening. What they were good at, great at, absolutely excellent at, was catching rats.
One day, they caught a rat that could talk. The rat said, "If you will let me go, I'll tell you why you're so good at catching rats. Your father and uncle could catch things, too. I will tell you all about a game of ball they played with the Lords of Death."
What is good info. About the aztec.
It was against the law to be drunk in public in the Aztec empire, unless you were over 70 years old! use the link for more info!