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The Witch, the Dwarf and the King

By October 10, 2012April 8th, 2018Photography, Travel Journal

“. . . before the ground was occupied by the unique oval-based pyramid and symbol of Uxmal, it was home to a Maya witch. Distraught over being childless, she fabricated an egg from which bore a dwarf she claimed as her son. Perhaps due to his unusual conception, insecurities surrounding his stature or the stigma of being the offspring of a witch, he never quite “fit-in” with the rest of the social conventions of the contemporary Maya of Uxmal. However, his mother knew differently and foresaw that her son would someday be a great king. Eager to see the prophecy fulfilled, she convinced the dwarf to go to the Governor’s Palace and challenge the reigning king to a series feats of strength. Confident in his odds, the king obliged. To his dismay and despite his best efforts, he couldn’t best the small man in any of the challenges. Irate and embarrassed, the king then ordered the dwarf to construct a house higher than any other in the city by dawn or be executed. When the sun rose on Uxmal the next morning, there stood the Pyramid of the Magician, one of the most beautiful structures ever constructed by the Maya, in all its glory.

With many iterations, the legend of Pyramid of the Magician is obviously fanciful and enigmatic if not down right bizarre. Dating at least as far back as the Spanish conquest, the story’s origins are as mysterious as its meaning. There appears to be no evidence to support any of its claims. In fact, archaeological excavations show the Pyramid was built over a long period of time in five separate phases. The tale is neither a parable nor an allegory. It simply is.”

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