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The Hero Twins

Hero Twins & Maya Mythology

The story of the Hero Twins is part of the Maya creation story, as told in the Popol Vuh - the sacred book of the K'iche' Maya.


The Hero Twins were two brothers named Xbalanke (shh ball on kay) and Hunahpu (hoo naw poo). Their story begins when the world was new - even before the sun and the moon have been created.


Clever and cocky, the two brothers have a series of adventures which result in making the world a little more hospitable for humankind. They bring down the proud Macaw (who will fly off in shame to become the Big Dipper in the night sky), and they trick and tame the earthquake monster.


The twins are keen ballplayers. And just like their father and uncle before them, they are summoned by the Lords of Death to the underworld. Every day, the boys must play ball against the Lords of Death; every night, they must cleverly overcome a series of seemingly impossible tests.


In the end, the brothers defeat the Lords of Death, resurrect their dead father as the Maize God, and rise into the sky as the sun and moon.


The story of the Hero Twins was the inspiration for the adventures of Max and Lola in the Jaguar Stones series, as they too face the fury of the Lords of Death - who once again hope to gain control over humankind.


Hero Twins / Myths

Lesson Plan download

Lesson plans & activities to download:

"Create your own

Maya Myth" worksheet  download

Hero Twins animation

Maya pottery comic strip

worksheet download