Page:Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx.djvu/63

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INTRODUCTION.

rect; considering, moreover, the geological formation of its soil, its porousness; remembering, besides, that the meaning of the word Mayab is a "sieve," a "tammy," I wrote: [1] "It is very difficult, without the help of the books of the learned priests of Mayab, to know positively why they gave that name to their country. I can only surmise that they called it so from the great absorbent quality of its stony soil, which in an incredibly short time absorbs the water at the surface. This water, percolating through the pores of the stone, is afterward found filtered, clear and cool, in the senotes and caves, where it forms vast deposits."

When I published the foregoing lines, in 1881, I had not studied the contents of the Troano MS. I was therefore entirely ignorant of its historical value. The discovery of a fragment of mural painting, in the month of February, 1882,[2] on the walls of an apartment in one of the edifices at Kabah, caused me to devote many months to the study of the Maya text of that interesting old document. It was with consider- able surprise that I then discovered that several pages at the beginning of the second part are dedicated to the recital of the awful phenomena that took place during the cataclysm that caused the submersion of ten countries, among which the "Land of Mu," that large island probably called "Atlantis" by Plato; and the formation of the strangely crooked line Page63-Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx 1 crooked line.jpg of islands known to us as "West Indies," but as the "Land of the Scorpion" to the Mayas.[3] I was no less astonished than gratified to find an account of the events in the life of the per- sonages whose portraits, busts, and statues I had discovered among the ruins of the edifices raised by them at Chicħen

  1. Aug. Le Plongeon, Vestiges of the Mayas, p. 26.
  2. North American Review, April, 1882. "Explorations of the Ancient Cities of Central America," Désiré Charnay.
  3. Troano MS., part ii., plates vi., vii.