Ancient Maya civilizations were far more advanced and cultured in their time then many others of the world. But, there is much that hasn’t been fully understood about their ways of life. One of the great mysteries of the Mayans is in the ending of the Long Count calendar—the apocalyptic December 21, 2012 forecast that has gripped many with fear.

Acan Itzamna was an average Mayan boy. At the age of nine he began working in the temples with the elders, helping with preparations and heavy labor. While it was his role to be there, he had some tendencies that hindered advancement opportunities.

He was clumsy. It didn’t take long for everyone to realize that Acan couldn’t be trusted with anything that could break. While he was strong, and well intentioned, delicate tasks were doomed if assigned to him.

Due to his certain incompetency, Acan had trouble fitting in. He was teased mercilessly and spent much of his time warding off rude comments and the like. After a couple of years this behavior became tolerable, and Acan was able to find a niche.

As he readied his tools the weight of responsibility sat heavily on his shoulders.

There was a group of men responsible for studying the earth, moon, and sky, and kept records of their meaning on stone. Acan became a recorder, chiseling the stone with the messages dictated to him. The opportunity gave him knowledge and the work hardly ever involved a situation in which he could ruin something.

Through his comfortable new position, his legacy dwindled. However, it wasn’t gone for good. During a study being conducted by the astronomers and intellects, a calendar system was decided upon that would be used by the Mayan people. The Long Count Calendar used increments of days and years, and was extremely accurate in relation to the seasons. Its use would transform the way the civilization functioned.

Acan was tasked with engraving the calendar for the people; this would involve several days and many stones to complete. While it was an exciting, and very important job, Acan wasn’t looking forward to the expectations and anxiety caused by them. Every Mayan would be looking to this calendar, and it was his responsibility to create it.

As he readied his tools the weight of responsibility sat heavily on his shoulders. One at a time, Acan diligently chipped away at the stones. Carving the detailed forms that would guide his neighbors’ way of life, day after day Acan slaved over every centimeter of every rock. His pile of completed stones was growing higher, and the end was in sight. It took approximately a month for Acan to finish the Long Count Calendar. His hands were sore and his body tired, but the weight was slowly lifting off of Acan’s shoulders.

Once he had completed the stones, and had let out a huge sigh of relief, Acan decided to bring them to the elders to show them his good work. Slowly, though with a spring in his step, Acan brought each stone out to the main room. And then, disaster struck.

As Acan carried one of the last stones his legacy came back to haunt him. He dropped it and instantly a huge crack broke through one of the dates. It was horrifying, Acan had worked all these years to prove himself to his people, and this is what happens? He had already told the elders the stones were ready, they would be there any second, but what could he do? Acan wracked his brain and at the last second, as the elders approached, it came to him. When they first noticed the broken rock, Acan immediately told them of his “encounter with the gods.” The story he told was that the gods’ wrath struck the stone, and a voice rang out telling of an end to all mankind, and that this date will fulfill that prophecy.

Naturally, the elders, and everyone around, laughed and mocked Acan. “How absurd,” they declared. Scorned and angry, Acan inscribed his story into the stone, hoping somehow his name could be restored. Unfortunately it was not, but his story did remain. The infamous date was December 21, 2012, and at some point in history someone found this stone and took it to heart. The apocalyptic prophecy originating from the Mayans was simply a lie told by a clumsy boy.