The Bird Who Cleans the World and Other Mayan Fables

Trade Paper – $13.95

ISBN 978-1-880684-03-0
Publication Date
July 1995
Page Count
120 pages
Trim Size
5.9 x 9

The Bird Who Cleans the World and Other Mayan Fables

Victor Montejo

The Bird Who Cleans the World and other Mayan Fables is collection of Jakaltek Mayan folktales, first told to the author by his mother and the elders of his Guatemalan village. They deal with the themes of creation, nature, mutual respect, and ethnic relations and conflicts. Told here for the first time in English and illustrated with Mayan images, these stories and fables speak eloquently of an ancient culture, at once preserving its history and recreating its tradition. 

About the Author

Victor Montejo is a poet, folklorist, and anthropologist. A Jakaltek Maya born in rural Guatemala, he was forced into exile in 1981 after appearing on a death squad list. He is the current Chair of Native American Studies at UC Davis. 

Wallace Kaufman is a writer and translator who currently resides in Oregon.

"The book's illustrations . . . help connect ancient Mayan myths with the oral tradition that persists today. Mr. Montejo's introduction to this tradition is a gift that outsiders should treasure." —The New York Times Book Review

"Montejo writes in clear, simple prose that transforms the short tales with the same mystical power of prose/poetry. . . . The Bird Who Cleans the World is one of the few books to capture the oral Mayan tradition, making it also a crucial study of pre-Columbian beliefs." —The Bloomsbury Review

"Interesting graphics from Mayan sources help underscore the essential originality of this volume." —Library Journal