Spooky Mayan legends: here’s the story of the “La X’tabay”

The ancient Mayan story tells that in a small village lived two beautiful sisters, one known as Xkeban which meant sinful woman since she was constantly giving herself to the pleasures of the flesh, causing people to feel repugnant towards her. The other, known as Utzcolel, which meant good woman, was loved and respected by everyone in the village.

But what is curious about this tale is that in spite of the sisters’ fame, there was a huge difference between them, the sinful Xkeban had an enormous kindness towards her fellow men, she enjoyed helping those in need, taking also care of the sick and became a great defender of the animals; on the contrary, Utzcolel never helped or pitied any being because she considered them inferior and unworthy of her.

One day, Xkebán did not come out of her house, it was strange for the neighbors, and so several days passed until they noticed the smell of a beautiful perfume that led them to her house, When they arrived they noticed that she was dead and that the smell came from her dead body.

As she always took care of all animals, which she defended so much, now the animals guarded her body and escorted it all the way to the cemetery. Sick people she cured also attended the burial, that day, the pleasant perfume filled the streets where the funeral procession passed by.

The next day, from her grave a very rare but beautiful flower sprouted, known as Xtabentún, which generates nectar that sweetly intoxicates all who drink it, just as her unbridled love once also captivated men.

Her sister Utzcolel felt deep envy when she found out about that pleasant aroma, alleging that it would be the work of the devil and assuring that her pure and chaste body would smell even better when she died because if the sinner’s body was beautiful, her purity would unleash something better.

Soon after Utzcolel died, the whole town was saddened and went to the funeral with the certainty that like her sister, she would give off a pleasant aroma, which was the surprise to notice that the fetid body of this woman gave off a terrible smell. She was immediately buried and surrounded by beautiful flowers, strange to notice the next day that they were already withered and, in their place, had emerged another one called Tzacamwhich is actually a very thorny cactus and with the slightest touch causes deep pain, it is from this cactus where sprouts a flower that despite being so beautiful does not give off any smell.

The envy was such that even after the death of the “good woman” thought that the fate that her sister’s body had suffered was due to the bad conduct carried out in life, without thinking that in reality, it was the essence of her being, it was her nobility that had been rewarded in Xkeban when she died and not what people thought about her.

La X’tabay, courtesy from Sol Quintana Roo.

The envious sister managed to summon the evil spirits that granted her the gift of returning to the earthly world whenever she wanted, having apparently already adopted the attitudes of the sinful woman, the only attitudes learned were those of excessive passion but not nobility.

It is said that even in our times she allows herself to be seen by some men she considers interesting, whom she calls appearing under a Ceiba tree, while she combs her long hair with a piece of Tzacam, seducing them until she makes them hers and later murders them in the midst of lush overflowing passion.

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