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The Bird Who Cleans the World and Other…
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The Bird Who Cleans the World and Other Mayan Fables (edição: 1995)

de Victor Montejo (Autor)

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These Mayan fables and animal stories were collected and transcribed by the author from Jakaltek-Maya language, one of the 21 Mayan languages that are still spoken in Guatemala. The stories are firmly rooted in the world of nature, demonstrating and insisting on honesty, understanding and respect among people and their cultures.… (mais)
Membro:ARCNASL
Título:The Bird Who Cleans the World and Other Mayan Fables
Autores:Victor Montejo (Autor)
Informação:Curbstone Books (1995), Edition: Reprint, 120 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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The Bird Who Cleans the World: and Other Mayan Fables de Victor Montejo

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The Bird Who Cleans the World and other Mayan Fables– What a gift for all of us in our modern world. Author Victor Montejo has collected 32 Jakaltek Mayan folktales here, tales he first heard from his mother and the elders of his Guatemalan village, tales addressing such themes as creation and the natural world, mutual respect and virtuous action, all illustrated with Mayan images and Mayan artwork. These Mayan folktales give a profound and moving voice to an ancient culture and its rich history and tradition.

In Victor Montejo’s Preface to these Mayan tales we read: “It is my desire to leave a testimony to the values of respect, unity and understanding that existed between the people and their natural environment. For example, in ancient times, birds were considered the “living colors of the world” and people admired them profoundly. Among these birds, the buzzard, also called the “bird who cleans the world,” was appreciated because of its service in cleaning the surroundings of the village that lacked toilet or sewage facilities. But, sadly, when the army arrived in my town in 1982, the soldiers used buzzards for target practice.” I myself think soldiers using buzzards for target practice is not only sad but absolutely appalling. However, such mindless insensitively and coarse barbarities are, tragically, much the order of the day in modern society.

The author continues: “Respect for nature has diminished to the point that modern people destroy their environment systematically out of thoughtlessness or selfishness. People can destroy themselves by not recognizing the value of all living creatures on earth with whom they should coexist.”

Victor Montejo’s words have a special sting for me personally since I just did witness the leveling of a 20 acre woods near our apartment building. Yes, that’s right, hundreds of full grown trees with much animal and plant life – gone.

Rather than adding any comment or synopsizing, as a way of conveying the flavor of this wonderful book, I would like to share the three shortest tales from the collection:

WHO CUTS THE TREES CUTS HIS OWN LIFE
When I was a small boy my father used to tell me, “Son, don’t cut the little green trees whenever you please. When you do that you are cutting short your own life and you will die slowly.”

This warning always worried me, especially since at times I have carelessly cut some little tree by the side of the road with my machete.

My father’s warning was nothing new, but something the old ones have said since distant times. And my father who knew their teachings, repeated it to me and my brothers. Now when I hear about pollution, erosion, and deforestation, I realize the value of the old philosophy. These things are signs of the slow death that our elders have always foreseen when they said, “Who cuts the trees as he pleases, cuts short his own life.”

THE TALE OF THE DOG
Of the origins of the world only the dog could speak. He went around everywhere, revealing the secret of the creation of things and the origin of god.

When the great god realized the talkative dog could not hold his tongue and keep the secrets, the Creator decided: “Let this talker’s marvelous tongue be taken from his head and put it behind him, and let what is now behind him, be attached to his head.

So it is now that when the dog wants to speak and tell things, no expression appears on its face but there it is behind him, the tail that came from his head.

And so the dog has stayed with us, he who once betrayed his secrets. And even now, he only moves his tail when he wants to tell us something or when he is happy with his master.

THE WORK OF THE MOSQUITO
The mosquito goes about his work always at grave risk, never knowing if he will come home alive. Most often he dies as he is piercing his victim. Poor fellow, when luck runs out. He’s surprised in the act and a slap of the victim’s palm leaves him flattened where he worked. If he is agile and fortunate enough, then he satisfies his appetite and goes buzzing away.

So it was that a mosquito buzzed off happily after stabbing an old man who was sleeping. On the road he met another mosquito who was still looking for a meal, and he asked him:

“Where are you going, brother mosquito?”
“I’m going to drink some blood in the dell.”
“And when will you come back again?”
“Only the stroke of the hand will tell.”


Victor Montejo is a Guatemalan Jakaltek Maya who earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1993 from the University of Connecticut, USA. Much of his interest and focus is on Latin American human rights and the literature of indigenous peoples. ( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |


The Bird Who Cleans the World and other Mayan Fables – What a gift for all of us in our modern world. Author Victor Montejo has collected 32 Jakaltek Mayan folktales here, tales he first heard from his mother and the elders of his Guatemalan village, tales addressing such themes as creation and the natural world, mutual respect and virtuous action, all illustrated with Mayan images and Mayan artwork. These Mayan folktales give a profound and moving voice to an ancient culture and its rich history and tradition.

In Victor Montejo’s Preface to these Mayan tales we read: “It is my desire to leave a testimony to the values of respect, unity and understanding that existed between the people and their natural environment. For example, in ancient times, birds were considered the “living colors of the world” and people admired them profoundly. Among these birds, the buzzard, also called the “bird who cleans the world,” was appreciated because of its service in cleaning the surroundings of the village that lacked toilet or sewage facilities. But, sadly, when the army arrived in my town in 1982, the soldiers used buzzards for target practice.” I myself think soldiers using buzzards for target practice is not only sad but absolutely appalling. However, such mindless insensitively and coarse barbarities are, tragically, much the order of the day in modern society.

The author continues: “Respect for nature has diminished to the point that modern people destroy their environment systematically out of thoughtlessness or selfishness. People can destroy themselves by not recognizing the value of all living creatures on earth with whom they should coexist.” Victor Montejo’s words have a special sting for me personally since I just did witness the leveling of a 20 acre woods near our apartment building. Yes, that’s right, hundreds of full grown trees with much animal and plant life – gone. Rather than adding any comment or synopsizing, as a way of conveying the flavor of this wonderful book, I would like to share the three shortest tales from the collection:

WHO CUTS THE TREES CUTS HIS OWN LIFE
When I was a small boy my father used to tell me, “Son, don’t cut the little green trees whenever you please. When you do that you are cutting short your own life and you will die slowly.”

This warning always worried me, especially since at times I have carelessly cut some little tree by the side of the road with my machete.

My father’s warning was nothing new, but something the old ones have said since distant times. And my father who knew their teachings, repeated it to me and my brothers. Now when I hear about pollution, erosion, and deforestation, I realize the value of the old philosophy. These things are signs of the slow death that our elders have always foreseen when they said, “Who cuts the trees as he pleases, cuts short his own life.”

THE TALE OF THE DOG
Of the origins of the world only the dog could speak. He went around everywhere, revealing the secret of the creation of things and the origin of god.

When the great god realized the talkative dog could not hold his tongue and keep the secrets, the Creator decided: “Let this talker’s marvelous tongue be taken from his head and put it behind him, and let what is now behind him, be attached to his head.

So it is now that when the dog wants to speak and tell things, no expression appears on its face but there it is behind him, the tail that came from his head.

And so the dog has stayed with us, he who once betrayed his secrets. And even now, he only moves his tail when he wants to tell us something or when he is happy with his master.

THE WORK OF THE MOSQUITO
The mosquito goes about his work always at grave risk, never knowing if he will come home alive. Most often he dies as he is piercing his victim. Poor fellow, when luck runs out. He’s surprised in the act and a slap of the victim’s palm leaves him flattened where he worked. If he is agile and fortunate enough, then he satisfies his appetite and goes buzzing away.

So it was that a mosquito buzzed off happily after stabbing an old man who was sleeping. On the road he met another mosquito who was still looking for a meal, and he asked him:

“Where are you going, brother mosquito?”
“I’m going to drink some blood in the dell.”
“And when will you come back again?”
“Only the stroke of the hand will tell.”


Victor Montejo is a Guatemalan Jakaltek Maya who earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1993 from the University of Connecticut, USA. Much of his interest and focus is on Latin American human rights and the literature of indigenous peoples. ( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
Book Description: (Willimantic) Curbstone Press (1992)., 1992. The first paperback edition. New
  Czrbr | Jun 7, 2010 |
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These Mayan fables and animal stories were collected and transcribed by the author from Jakaltek-Maya language, one of the 21 Mayan languages that are still spoken in Guatemala. The stories are firmly rooted in the world of nature, demonstrating and insisting on honesty, understanding and respect among people and their cultures.

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