In Maya lands there is a tree called La Ceiba, or the cotton-silk tree. It is a strange and majestic tree possessing very special powers, a sacred tree to the Maya.
In the ceiba tree live the xtabai (sh-tah-bai’), beautiful female spirits. Much like the sirens of Greek mythology, the xtabai possess enchanting voices that match their beauty, and, again like the sirens, they use these voices to lure men. Do you think the xtabai and sirens may be the same? Maybe and maybe not! Unlike the sirens, who are said to have lured men on ships to their demise in treacherous waters, the xtabai lure men into the forest, never to be seen again. What becomes of these men is not known. Perhaps they are victims of a terrible fate, killed or eaten by the xtabai. Or perhaps they enter the world of the xtabai to live eternally in unimaginable luxury and satisfaction. One thing is known for sure, though: the wives and girlfriends of those enticed away by the xtabai generally do not care for the xtabai at all*. No matter how attractive or loving a mortal girl or woman may be, she is no match for the xtabai. And it takes a male of extraordinary will to resist the call of the xtabai. In fact, there are no documented cases of successful resistance to the song of the xtabai in recent times.
*It is rumored that some women have actually encouraged their men toward the ceiba tree in hopes that the xtabai might lure them away. It is further rumored that the women who engage in this sort of behavior may have fallen under the spell of another sort of temptation native to the (coastal) areas of the Maya lands: the beachboy. Unlike the dynamic of the xtabai, the beachboy infatuation is almost always temporary, and women "victims" usually reappear in boutiques, bars, or divorce court.