Poetry Information

The Merchant of Copan [In English and Spanish]

English Version

The Merchant of Copan [480 AD]

Advance: The ballgame at the Honduras courtyard in Copan, the year was 480 AD, Copan's 3rd ruler, Mat Head, whom succeeded Quetzal Macaw, whom was the founder of the city is now the new ruler. Mat Head, was a female, the spouse of Quetzal Macaw, and here is where the story begins.

There was a main ballgame ready to start, the competition was extremely high, as usual you might say; that being, if the game was not played the world would end, so they believed, and so rain or shine it was to take place.

The opposing team had eleven players, all ornately dressed and painted for the competition. They had leather padding around their waists, over their shoulders, about their arms and legs; able to withstand the blows of the solid rubber ball. The weight of the ball was one kilo. The ball was now thrown into the play, and each player knew they could not let it touch the ground or their hands.

Mat Head was watching the game with intensity, knowing her sister was part of a bet of which, if the opposing team won, she'd be [she being: her sister] the property of a local merchant, a very wealthy merchant, the most wealthy merchant in all of the Copan Valley; she would be his property, to do with as he pleased; but if the merchant lost, he would lose all his properties to the brother-in-law, riches, and be vanished from the city of 27,000-inhabidents, Copan; perhaps to the Yucatan. It was not uncommon for such wagers; it was deadlier than the exhibitions at the Roman Coliseum, in Italy. That being, the losers of this game would forfeit their heads.

But the Merchant of Copan, as I have said, was very rich so much so, he provided flint, lime, and pottery to the elite of the city, the whole city and thereabouts. And the Brother-in-Law of Mat Head was married to her sister, the most beautiful young woman in Copan.

The Merchant of Copan, had watched her at a number of previous games, and could never take his eyes off her beauty, her shape, and lusted after her with eyes like a hawk's. To him, it was worth the chance to bet on the game, all or nothing; he didn't know how much Mat Head's brother-in-law cared or didn't care for his wife, but he knew he was insatiable, and made the bet nonetheless and he accepted it; thus, his instincts were correct; for he could not longer withstand the burning pain he had inside of him watching her walk among the temples of Copan, and wishing she belonged to him, at any price, and a hungry soul will do most anything to impede that hunger.

-The ballgame had started, as I had already said, and the ball was in the air; some of the players were kicking their feet, and thrusting their hips, as they knocked the ball back and forth, in the I-shaped field, 25-meters long, 10-meters wide; all the players not wanting the ball to touch the ground, which would end the game, and eleven-heads would be severed.

All of a sudden the game stopped?a silence took hold of everyone, eyes were being shut by eleven players; oh it was a great thing to die, to be sacrificed for the game, but on the other hand, it would have been better to have to do it at a later date, I'm sure most of the players felt that way.

The spectators took in a deep breath to see who won and lost. History would not favor the brother-in-law today, unfortunate for his wife to be sure. Yes, yes, fortune smiled on the Merchant of Copan; I'm sure my readers are now downtrodden on this matter but it is as it is what I can say.

Thus, the lucky fella grabbed her like a wild monkey grabbing a banana out of the feeder's hands, and rushed her to his domicile. He threw her on the bed like an animal pelt, his eyes sparked with lust and passion, and he melted into her body like heat on ice; if anything, she was hurt beyond all understandings.

'How could he do this?' she moaned as this fat, ugly and rigid man pouncing on her. Yet she told herself, at least he wanted her. He was willing to give all his money for her; whereas, her husband sold her for a game ticket, and a bet. It was beyond her youthful comprehension.

Several years passed, and the fat old merchant got fatter and older, but other than being over lustful over her, he was a good provider, and gave her all she wished for. She became well known as a business woman, and at his 67-birthday, he died on the bed, as I suppose he wished it to be. Consequently, she was now the inheritor of the estates he once own, for there were no children involved.

She then made a deal with her ex-husband, knowing he liked to gamble, and wanted money. She made the same bet, well almost, a similar kind of bet anyway with him, as the Merchant of Copan had done before; she bet all her properties on the next game, that her team would win, and should he lose, her ex-husband, he'd have to give up his head, like the losing team had to. Well, he felt he could win her back should he lose the bet or win, and thus, took his chances and made the bet. But again, life did not favor him, he was not meant to be a gambler for sure, and after losing he begged her for his life, to take him back, saying in essence, they both could enjoy the riches she acquired, and their old position in the kingdom.

Oh gosh, she was such a caretaker, and told him she'd go home and think about it and make up her mind tomorrow. Well, he thought that was fine, at least it seemed better than losing his head today, and just the fact she was thinking about it was enough to enlighten him, feeling he would have the final victory, and that was the one that counted, he'd have her back and the treasures, what more could he ask for.

But as I had told you before, fate was not always in his pocket, that night the ruler, Mat Head, asked for the head of her Brother-in-law, being he had lost the bet. He begged for her to wait for her sister tomorrow and she'd strengthen it all out, but she said:

"A bet is a bet?and it must be paid."

Can't remember what else she said but his head was off within a heartbeat.

Upon Mat Head's sister's return the following morning, she asked for her ex-husband, and found out by her sister, the Mat Head, she had beheaded him. She cried a tear, a very big tear, and then smiled at Mat Head.

Dedicated to Jorge, 7/3/05

Spanish Version

Versión en Español

El Mercader de Copan [480 Después de Cristo]

Avance: Juego de pelota en el patio de Copan en Honduras, el año era 480 después de Cristo, el 3er gobernador de Copan era Mat Head, quien sucedió a Quetzal Macaw, quien fue el fundador de la ciudad ahora el nuevo gobernador. Mat Head, era una mujer, la esposa de Quetzal Macaw, y aquí es donde la historia comienza. Había un juego de pelota principal listo a comenzar, esta competencia era extremadamente interesante, como siempre podrías decir; esto es, si el juego no era llevado a cabo, el mundo se terminaría, o eso era lo que ellos pensaban, y entonces lloviera o soleara éste debía jugarse. El equipo contrario tenía once jugadores, todos adornadamente vestidos y pintados listos para la competencia. Ellos usaban algo acolchado hecho de cuero alrededor de sus cinturas, sus hombros, sus brazos y piernas; que les permitiría soportar los golpes de la pelota de caucho sólido. La pelota pesaba un kilo. La pelota ahora fue lanzada en el juego, y cada jugador sabía que no podían dejar que ésta tocara tierra o sus manos.

Mat Head miraba el juego con intensidad, sabiendo que su hermana era parte de una apuesta en el cual si el equipo contrario ganaba, ella (su hermana) pasaría a ser propiedad de un comerciante local, un comerciante muy rico, el comerciante más rico en todo el Valle de Copan; ella pertenecería a él para hacer lo que a él le antojara. Pero si el equipo contrario perdía el comerciante perdería todas sus propiedades, que pasarían a manos de su cuñado, sus riquezas, y sería expulsado de la ciudad de 27,000 habitantes, Copan; quizás a Yucatán. Esto no era raro en esta clase de apuestas; esto era más mortal que las exposiciones en el Coliseo romano, en Italia. Esto era, los perdedores de este juego perderían sus cabezas. Pero el Comerciante de Copan, como ya lo había dicho, era muy rico tanto que él proporcionó sílex, cal, y cerámica a la elite de la ciudad, a la ciudad entera y sus alrededores. Y el cuñado de Mat Head estaba casado con su hermana, la joven más hermosa en Copan. El Comerciante de Copan, la había mirado en un número de juegos anteriores, y nunca podía sacar sus ojos de su belleza, su forma, y lujuriaba detrás de ella con ojos como de halcones. Para él, era valiosa la posibilidad de apostar en el juego, todo o nada; él no sabía cuánto el Cuñado de Mat Head se preocupaba o no se preocupaba por su esposa, pero él sabía que él era insaciable, e hizo la apuesta sin embargo y él la aceptó; así, sus instintos eran correctos; por que él no podía soportar más el dolor ardiente que sentía dentro de si mismo al mirarla caminar entre los templos de Copan, y deseando que ella le perteneciera, a cualquier precio, y un alma hambrienta hará algo más para impedir aquella hambre. -- El juego de pelota había comenzado, como ya lo dije, y la pelota estaba en el aire; algunos jugadores estaban pateando, y empujando sus caderas, mientras ellos golpeaban la pelota hacia adelante y hacia atrás, en el campo de forma de "I", de 25 metros de largo, 10 metros de ancho; todos los jugadores queriendo que la pelota no tocara el suelo, el cual terminaría éste, y once cabezas serían cortadas. De repente el juego se detuvo?un silencio se apoderó de cada uno, los once jugadores cerraban sus ojos; ah! era una gran cosa morir, ser sacrificado por el juego, pero por otra parte, habría sido mejor tener que morir más adelante, la mayoría de los jugadores sintieron de esta forma, estoy seguro.

Los espectadores respiraron profundamente para ver quién ganó y quién perdió. La historia no favorecería al cuñado hoy, lamentablemente para su esposa por seguro. Sí, sí, la fortuna sonrió al Comerciante de Copan; estoy seguro que mis lectores están ahora oprimidos sobre esta materia pero esto es como es, que puedo decir. Así, el muchacho afortunado la agarró como un mono salvaje agarrando un plátano de las manos del alimentador, y apresuradamente la llevó a su domicilio. Él la lanzó sobre la cama como una piel de animal, sus ojos brillaban con lujuria y pasión, y él se derritió en su cuerpo como el calor sobre el hielo; si algo, ella fuera herida más allá de todo entendimiento. '¿Cómo podría él hacer esto?' Ella gimió, mientras este hombre gordo, feo y rígido se le echaba encima. Sin embargo ella se dijo que al menos él la quería. Él estaba dispuesto a dar todo su dinero por ella; mientras que su marido la vendió por un boleto de juego, y una apuesta. Esto estaba fuera de su joven entendimiento.

Varios años pasaron, y el viejo comerciante se volvió más gordo y más viejo, pero aparte de ser lascivo sobre ella, él era un buen proveedor, y le dio todo lo que ella deseaba. Ella se hizo conocida como una mujer de negocio, y en su 67 cumpleaños, él murió sobre la cama, como supongo él deseó que esto fuera así. Consiguientemente, ella era ahora la heredera de las propiedades que él una vez tenía, porque no habían hijos implicados.

Entonces ella hizo un trato con su ex-marido, sabiendo que a él le gustaba jugar, y que quería el dinero. Ella hizo la misma apuesta, bien casi la misma, una clase similar de apuesta con él de todos modos, como el Comerciante de Copan había hecho antes; ella apostó todas sus propiedades sobre el siguiente juego, que su equipo ganaría, y si él perdía, su ex-marido, él tendría que ser decapitado, así como el equipo vencido. Bien, él sintió que él podría reconquistarla así perdiera o ganara la apuesta, y así él acepto la apuesta. Pero otra vez, la vida no lo favorecería, él no fue hecho para ser un jugador, por seguro, y después de perder él la rogaba perdonara su vida, que lo aceptara de nuevo, diciendo en esencia, que ambos podrían disfrutar de la riqueza que ella había adquirido, y su vieja posición en el reino.

Ah ¡mi Dios!, ella era tan cuidadosa, que le dijo que iría a su casa y que pensaría en esto y lo decidiría al día siguiente. Bien, él pensó que esto estaba bien, al menos eso le pareció mejor que perder su cabeza hoy, y solamente el hecho de que ella lo pensaría era bastante para iluminarlo, sintiendo que él tendría la victoria final, y que era él quien contaba, él la tendría de vuelta y los tesoros, que más podría él pedir. Pero como ya lo había dicho antes, el destino no siempre estaba en su bolsillo, esa noche el gobernador, Mat Head, pidió la cabeza de su cuñado, como que él había perdido la apuesta. Él pidió que ella esperara por su hermana hasta el día siguiente y que ella lo arreglaría todo, pero ella dijo: "Una apuesta es una apuesta?y ésta deber ser pagada". No puedo recordar que más dijo ella, pero su cabeza fue cortada en un segundo. Cuando la hermana de Mat Head volvió a la mañana siguiente, preguntó por su ex-marido, y descubrió por su hermana, Mat Head, que ella lo había decapitado. Ella gritó un rasgón, una lágrima muy grande, y luego sonrió a Mat Head.

Dennis Siluk, you can see his most recent book "Spell of the Andes," at most of your internet sites, like http://www.abe.com; it will be featured in the Huancayo, Peru Correo, newspaper, July 9, a review of the book, and on the internet for those interested; http://www.Correo.com - It will presented at the Ricardo Palma House, in Lima in October, by Luis Guillermo Guedes, Director. Dennis lives both in Lima, and Minnesota part of each year and is working on another book called, "Curse of the Abyss Worm."

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