Three are specified as particularly valuable to students of American antiquity: that called the “Codex Chimalpopoca,” an old Toltec book, written in the Toltec language; one now entitled the “Codex Cakchiquel;” and the “Popol-Vuh.” The latter, written in the Quiché dialect, was translated into Spanish two hundred years ago by Ximenes, but his translation remained in Guatemala unprinted and quite unknown until it was discovered in our time.
The “Popol-Vuh” was written in 1558 as an abridged reproduction of a very ancient Quiché book which contained an account of the history, traditions, religion, and cosmogony of the Quichés.
The account of the creation, with every thing else in this cosmogony and mythology, is original, like the civilization to which they belong. According to the “Popol-Vuh,” the world had a beginning. There was a time when it did not exist. Only “Heaven” existed, below which all space was an empty, silent, unchanging solitude. Nothing existed there, neither man, nor animal, nor earth, nor tree.
One of the volumes has a copy of the “Popol-Vuh” in the native tongue, and another has a Spanish translation of the work. As already stated, none of the great books of annals have been discovered, but some of the old American manuscripts now preserved in several of the libraries and private collections of Europe are important.