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The Jaguar and the Deer: a Legend of the Maya People of Central America

Deer went to look for a place to build himself a house.  Jaguar was also out looking for a place to set up a house.  He came to the same place Deer had chosen, and thought he would build there also.

The next day Deer came and thoroughly cleared the ground with his antlers.  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 Deer came back and when he saw the framework, 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 Jaguar saw that the house was finished.  He went in one room and fell asleep.  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, Jaguar asked Deer, "Was it you who was helping me?"  Deer answered, "Yes, it was me."  Then Jaguar said, "Let's live together."  "Yes, let's live together in the same house," said Deer. They went to sleep.

The following morning Jaguar said, "I'm going hunting, so sweep the floor, and prepare wood and water, because I'll be hungry when I come back."

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 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 Deer went to the woods and met another, 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 this jaguar and found him resting.  The bull came up to him slowly, leaped on top of him and gored him.  Then Deer went off dragging the dead jaguar.  When he got home, he said to his companion, "Let's eat what I have caught."

Jaguar approached Deer, but he didn't want to eat; he was very frightened.  That night he couldn't sleep thinking about Deer killing jaguars; and Deer couldn't sleep thinking about Jaguar killing deer.  Both were very frightened.

At midnight, as Deer moved his head, his antlers struck the wooden walls of the house.  Jaguar and Deer were both 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.