Secret Base Hall of Fame: Hunahpú & Xbalanqué

Hunahpú and Xbalanqué are the Maya Hero Twins. Born to Xquic after a tree bearing the pinnacle of their lifeless father, Hun-Hunahpú, drooled on her hand, the Twins lived their youth underneath the watchful eyes of their grandmother and their elder half-brothers, who have been largely all for making them go away. Circumventing varied plots on their lives, the Twins survived, thrived, and turned their elder brothers into monkeys. You realize, regular, heroic stuff.

Then, with the assistance of a rat, they discovered their father’s ball gear.

Hun-Hunahpú and his brother, Vucub-Hunahpú, have been avid gamers of the Mesoamerican ballgame, which is why they have been killed, and the way Hun-Hunahpú wound up along with his decapitated head in a tree, impregnating wandering maidens along with his spittle. You see, the brothers have been so loud whereas taking part in that they managed to rile up the gods of the underworld (Xibalba) with all their noise. Stated gods summoned them to the underworld and … you already know this went badly for these two, what with the tree and all, which is all you really want to.

After the Twins discovered their father’s gear, they grew to become ballgame fanatics as nicely, taking part in lengthy and loud and oh no, look who they’ve pissed off:


And the Lords of Xibalba, listening to them, mentioned: “Who’re they who play once more over our heads and disturb us with the noise they make? Perchance Hun-Hunahpú and Vucub-Hunahpú didn’t die, those that wished to exalt themselves earlier than us? Go without delay and [summon them to the underworld to play against us.]”

Their grandmother, who’d warmed to the boys after they’d turned her different grandsons into monkeys (the monkeys have been hilarious, so it’s okay), tried to avert their destiny by entrusting the summons to a close-by louse, who managed to get the message to the Twins anyway, through toad, snake and hawk. And so Hunahpú and Xbalanqué set off to face the trials that had taken the lives of their father and uncle.

Their predecessors had by some means failed just about each exams the Lords of Xibalba set for them, from burning their asses on a sizzling stone bench to getting completely owned by the Home of Gloom, which can be my new band title. Xibalbu’s trial homes are price an apart so right here’s an incomplete listing:

  • The Home of Gloom, Quequem-ha, which could be very darkish.
  • The Home of Chilly, Xuxulim-ha, which is icy-cold and windy.
  • The Home of Fireplace, which incorporates solely fireplace, and seems within the textual content with out its full title.
  • The Home of Jaguars, Balimi-ha, which is full of jaguars, presumably as aΩ non-trivial drawback in three-dimensional geometric packing.
  • The Home of Knives, Chayim-há, which incorporates lots of animated knives, grinding and slashing and and many
  • The Home of Mirth, Há-há, no, simply kidding, however shoutout to Edith Wharton’s finest novel.
  • The Home of Bats, Zotzi-há, through which there are some bats.

Guests to the underworld must spend their nights in a single of these homes. Enjoyable!

It’s vital to keep in mind that the dangerous of us of Xibalba, who take pleasure in murdering random athletes for the crime of having fun with themselves someplace up on Earth, don’t play truthful. Having navigated the preliminary trials set for them (i.e. not burning their asses on a sizzling stone like their CHUMP DAD), and spending an evening untroubled within the Home of Gloom, Hunahpú and Xbalanqué have been starting play within the first match after they observed that their opponents have been on the point of sacrifice them* mid-game. This was thought-about impolite.

*In different variations of the textual content, the Lords of Xibalbu as an alternative attempt to catch the Twins out through the use of a ball with a hidden blade. I feel the sacrifice is funnier.

Having prevented the sneaky try to chop them down on the spot, the Twins gained their first sport. Afterwards, they have been despatched to the Home of Knives for the evening, the place they prevented getting reduce up by asking the knives very properly to please contemplate doing one thing else with their time. The Home of Jaguars was tamed with some spare bones, the Home of Chilly with a fireplace, and the Home of Fireplace through unknown strategies.

Maybe operating out of torture homes, the Lords of Xibalba resorted to Zotzi-há, the Home of Bats. The primary time I learn the Twins’ story, I had by no means been troubled by a bat in a home, however since, I’ve had a number of night-time encounters with the rattling issues. It won’t sound scary, however coping with a terrified bat flying round your bed room whereas making an attempt to not get up a sleeping new child was actually one of essentially the most aggravating experiences of my life. Chuckle on the Home of Bats at your individual peril.

Anyway, within the Zotzi-há, the brothers took the precaution of sleeping inside their very own blowguns for canopy. However Hunahpú made the error of rising to examine whether or not it was morning but, and had his head reduce off by an offended (and surprisingly violent) bat.

For regular athletes, the loss of one’s head would possibly show terminal. Not so the Twins. Considering quick, Xbalanqué grabbed and helpful turtle, drew some eyes on it, and caught it onto his brother’s physique, making some extra tweaks to enhance the disguise. Once they reached the courtroom, they discovered Hunahpú’s actual head suspended over the courtroom.

Xbalanqué’s plan was to play solo till he had an opportunity to switch the faux head with the true one, and he acquired his alternative when a the ball went out of bounds into an oak grove. A rabbit, stationed within the grove for this goal, hopped away with the ball, giving Xbalanqué time to seize the faux head, do a fast switcharoo, and restore his brother to full well being.

From then on successful was simple, because the Twins have been higher ballgame gamers than the Lords of Xibalba.


For the reason that forces of the underworld refused to correctly acknowledge defeat through ballgame, they have been tricked and killed as an alternative. With their father and uncle avenged, the Twins climbed again to the floor of the Earth, however relatively than stopping, they ascended into the sky to turn into actually the solar and the moon, which is a fairly cool ending to the story.

The above is all loosely paraphrased from the Popol Vuh, a guide which preserves the pre-Colombian myths of the Kʼicheʼ individuals, who fashioned half of the Mayan civilization. The Twins part takes up most of Half II and is, as far as I’ve seen, the lengthiest sequence dedicated to sports activities — or no less than to sports-adjacency — in any main assortment of mythology. Enjoyable, huh?

Hunahpu & Xbalanque’s Hall of Fame plaque

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