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.
Thing changed forever the 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."
The Hero Twins let the rat go. In exchange, the rat
told them about the Lords of Death. He even told them what their father
had hidden high in the rafters of their grandmother's home.
The Hero Twins dug out that old gear and soon became
the most wonderful ballplayers in the world! There were so many
cheers each time they played that, once again, the racket attracted the
Lords of Death.
"I thought we got rid of those noisy boys,"
snapped a Lord. "Something has to be done to stop that racket
And so, a messenger was sent with an invitation to
play a game of ball in the Underworld. Their grandmother was sad when she
heard about it. She knew she was going to lose her grandsons, just as she
had lost her sons before them. Nobody ever beat the Lords of Death.
The boys packed carefully for their trip. When the
boys arrived at the house of the Lords, one of the Lords was waiting to
greet them. Thanks to the rat, they knew that this was not a real Lord.
"We are not about to say good morning to a
wooden dummy," they announced loudly.
The real Lords came out from where they had been
hiding. "You passed the test," smiled one of the Lords.
"Take a seat," he said warmly, pointing at a cozy looking bench.
"No hot seat for us," said the twins
politely. "We'll stand, thanks."
"You passed the second test," beamed one of
the Lords. He sounded delighted about it.
The twins were not fooled. They were challenged to
They were sent to the Dark House. They did not light
the cigars the Lords had given them to "light their way."
Instead, they attached fireflies to the end of their cigars and got out
They were sent to the Razor House. Sharp blades were
supposed to cut them to ribbons. They escaped as a rat would, by crawling
under the blades.
They were sent to the Jaguar House. They escaped by
feeding the Jaguars the bones they had brought along, just in case.
The twins knew there would be test after test, until
finally they died. When a Lord said, "Let us see if you can jump over
these ovens", the boys jumped into the oven instead and died.
The Lords scattered their ashes in the river. The
life giving water cooled the fire. Magically, first the Hero Twins came
back to life as catfish. Finally, they turned back into their normal
Not only were they still alive, the Hero Twins
discovered quite by accident that they had picked up some magical powers.
They could cut themselves up and come back to life again, over and over.
They could burn a house down and then restore it to its original shape.
The Hero Twins traveled from town to town, performing tricks for a living.
The Lords of Death heard of their amazing act. They
sent the twins an invitation to the Underworld, not knowing that they were
inviting the very twins they had killed so recently. When the twins
performed their act, the Lords were delighted.
"Do me next," one Lord cried. "Chop me
up and put me back together again!"
The twins were delighted to chop up the Lord. Only,
they did not put the Lord back together again. The other Lords knew they
had been defeated. Rather than risk losing any more Lords, they sent the
twins back to earth.
And all the sons
The gods of the heavens, who had lent a hand in all
this, and who had provided a great deal of the magic although no one knew
that except the gods of the heavens, honored the courage and cleverness of
the Hero Twins by bringing them up to the sky. One twin became the sun;
the other became the moon.
The gods of the sky honored the children of the Hero
Twins by making them the rulers of the earth.
The rulers of the earth honored their parents and the
other gods of the sky by giving them the best present they could think of.
They built ball courts in every town in the world. And every game played,
for the rest of time, was played in honor of their fathers and their
fathers before them.