The Honey Jar

$17.00 each

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12 ancient Mayan stories Rigoberta Menchú's grandparents told her when she was a little girl, and we can imagine her listening to them by the fire at night. These Mayan tales include natural phenomena narratives and animal stories.

Available in hardcover only.  Rigoberta Menchú Tum (Maya) and Dante Liano, The Honey Jar translated from the Spanish by David Unger, color illustrations by Domi (Mazateca)

The Honey Jar retells the ancient stories Rigoberta Menchú's grandparents told her when she was a little girl, and we can imagine her listening to them by the fire at night. These Mayan tales include natural phenomena narratives and animal stories. The underworld, the sky, the sun and moon, plants, people, animals, gods, and demigods are all players in these vibrant stories. The anthology includes creation myths, animal tales, twin tales (because twins are believed to have special powers), as well as stories that explain natural phenomena such as rainbows. Where It's Revealed That Each Thing Has a Spirit explains the book's title; the spirit, Rajaw Juyub', the one who judges the way people treat nature, is honored by being given candles, flowers, and a lot of honey.

Enchanting images by Domi draw on the Mayan landscape and the rich visual vocabulary that can be found in the weavings and crafts for which the Maya are renowned.

Despite the hardships and poverty her people have endured—and rebelled against—ever since the Spanish conquest, Menchú’s wonderful recounting of her childhood stories in these titles,The Girl from Chimel, 2003; The Honey Jar, 2006; The Secret Legacy, 2008, in close collaboration with Guatemalan author Liano, shows what it is to live with beauty and integrity, with land, culture and community. Domi’s oil paintings, on a jeweled palette of all the colors of the Maya forests, jungles and mountains, are a luminous symphony of colors and images. It is in the hearts of the people of Chimel, then and now, that the old stories reside. Traditionally, told stories such as the ones in Menchú’s trilogy teach children how the world works. For young Rigoberta and other Maya children, this is how they are taught about the history of the land and right behavior; about compassion, courage, and generosity; about asking permission from the nahuales, the spirits who reside in everything; about planting seeds and harvesting fruits; and ultimately, about fighting injustice and struggling for a better world. These three beautiful storybooks are about a happy little girl, secure in her world, with a “heart full of sunlight,” who, as an adult, wants for the world all that she had: “a mountain to protect me, a river to refresh me, birds to sing to me.” Both Rigoberta Menchú and her stories are an international treasure.