During a sojourn of several years in Yucatan, traveling here and there, stopping where we found interesting vestiges of the Mayas, the highly-civilized ancient inhabitants of that country, we had every opportunity of mingling with the natives. Thus we became acquainted with their mode of life, religion, sacred rites, superstitions, fables and traditions; as well as learning something of their philosophy, and observing how communism is practiced among them. In a ranch called X-Uaiul, near the ruined city of Zay, the inhabitants still preserve the customs of their ancestors. Not only do they work their fields in common, and share equally the product of their labor, but even the food is cooked for all in one building, every family sending thither for its allowance, which is regulated according to the number of persons in each home. They even intermarry—no one dreaming of seeking a husband or a wife outside of their community.
At different times I have published, in papers and magazines, various articles on these subjects, some being reproduced in English periodicals. It is in compliance with the request of friends that a few of those articles have been brought together in this little volume, which is now cast adrift to sink or swim, as its fate may be.