Like other civilizations, the Maya created tales, legends and fables in which they would interpret, in a unique way, the creation of the Universe and the laws of life. Today, these stories get us closer to the thoughts of what was one of the greatest peoples of Mesoamerica. The following is a legend which corresponds to the state of Yucatan, Mexico and is called La Paloma Torcaz.

    Once upon a time there was a brave and strong warrior. He loved to go hunting and often chased through the woods after animals. On one of his hunting trips he reached a lake and to his great surprise saw a beautiful woman before him, rowing a boat. The warrior fell so much in love that he returned to the same spot on many occasions in the hope of seeing her again. It was all in vain, however, as all he saw were the gleaming waters of the lake. Thus, he sought advice from a witch, who told him:

—You will never see her again unless you turn yourself into a dove.

—I only want to see her again!

—If you become a dove you will never regain your human form.

—I only want to see her again!

—If that is what you want you shall have your desire.

    And the witch thrust a thorn into his neck and with that the young man became a dove. He flew up and went to the lake and settled on a branch. After a little while he saw the woman and, unable to contain himself, he lay down by her feet and caressed her a thousand times. The woman took him in her hands and, petting him, took out the thorn from his neck. She should never have done it! The dove dropped his head and collapsed dead. Seeing this, the woman, in desperation thrust the same thorn into her neck and at once became a dove. From that day on she has mourned the death of her dove.

Taken from Tales and Legends of Ancient Yucatan by Ermilo Abreu Gómez, published by the Fondo de Cultura Económica, Mexico.