THE JAGUAR AND THE DEER Maya Tales
Told by don Pedro Miguel Say, Q'anjob'al Maya. Translated and edited by Fernando Peñalosa and Janet Sawyer
A deer went to look for a place to build a house. There was also a jaguar that was out looking for a place to set up a house. He came to the same place the deer had chosen, and thought he would build there also.
The next day the deer came and thoroughly cleared the ground with his antlers. The jaguar came later and said: "It seems somebody is helping me." Then he stuck some big poles in the ground and set up the framework.
The next day the deer came back and when he saw this, he said: "It seems somebody is helping me."
Then he covered the house with branches and made two rooms, one for him and the other one for whomever was helping him.
The next day the jaguar saw that the house was finished. He went in one room and fell asleep. The deer came later and went to sleep in the other room.
One day the two came home at the same time. When they saw each other, the jaguar asked the deer: "Was it you who were helping me?"
The deer answered: "Yes, it was me."
Then the jaguar said: "Let's live together."
"Yes, let's live together in the same house," said the deer. They went to sleep and the following morning the jaguar said: "I'm going hunting, so sweep the floor, and prepare wood and water, because I'll be hungry when I come back."
The jaguar went to the woods to hunt and got a very large deer. He brought it home and said to his companion: "Let's eat what I have caught."
But the deer didn't want to eat; he was very much afraid. He couldn't sleep all night long on account of fear. Early the next morning he went to the woods and met a very large jaguar. Later he met a large bull and said to him: "I met a jaguar who was bad-mouthing you."
The bull went looking for the jaguar and found him resting. The bull came up to him slowly, leaped on top of him and gored him. Then the deer went off dragging the dead jaguar. When he got home, he said to his companion:
"Let's eat what I have caught."
The jaguar approached him, but he didn't want to eat; he was very frightened. That night he couldn't sleep thinking about the deer killing jaguars; and the deer couldn't sleep thinking about the jaguar killing deer. Both were very frightened.
Atmidnight as the deer moved his head, his antlers struck the wooden walls of the house. The jaguar and the deer were frightened by the noise, and both of them ran out of the house without stopping. And so the deer and the jaguar each went his separate way.