In this expansive volume, John Bierhorst brings to light the gods and heroes of pre-Columbian times--and demonstrates that they are very much alive today. The book provides translations of twenty "basic myths," showing how these have influenced the artistic, literary, and political life of modern Mexico and Central America. Originally published in 1990, the text has been updated to reflect recent advances in Mesoamerican studies. In addition, a new Afterword describes how these native mythologies--since the late 1980s--have begun incorporating issues of international significance, including cultural pluralism, religious freedom, and environmentalism. Detailed maps show tribal locations and the distribution of key stories. Indian artworks illustrate the texts and samples of differing narrative styles add enrichment, as some of the world's purest and most powerful myths are made more accessible--and more meaningful--than ever before.