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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/682

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

torment, for it is their belief that when death claims them they will be conducted to the gloomy abode to suffer for all the wrong they have done, after which they will be in heaven for a time as a recompense for their good deeds; that then—some ages having elapsed—they must be reborn on this earth, without any recollection of the past or knowledge of the future.

When one is dangerously ill, his relations make offerings to the yumcimil, or "god of death." This offering consists of food

PSM V44 D682 A tunkul.jpg
A Tunkul

and drink, which they hang outside of the house. They call it kex, or "exchange," because they offer it as a ransom for the life of the patient.

From remote times they have been accustomed to make offerings to the souls of the departed, particularly a certain pie that they call "food for the soul." The crust must be of yellow corn; the interior, tender chicken and small pieces of pork. These pies are wrapped in leaves of the banana tree and baked underground between hot stones. When done, they are placed on the graves or hung from trees close by. Sometimes, after leaving them there for an hour or two, the living take home the pies and enjoy them,