La Llorona, The Weeping Woman
I first heard of the legend of La Llorona nearly thirty years ago while I was living in Socorro, New Mexico. I was walking one night and heard the unmistakable sound of a woman crying, although there wasn’t a soul around.
My queries regarding the unidentifiable sobbing always produced the same response: La Llorona.
In areas of Mexico, South America, and the American Southwest, La Llorona is known to walk the arroyos or irrigation ditches searching for her lost children.
The stupid woman supposedly sacrificed her children for the love of a man who was not partial to kids.
She drowned her babies in the arroyo, thinking she could then find happiness with her lover.
Of course, soon afterwards the man of her dreams only found another reason not to remain with her, and she was alone with the horrific memories of what she had done to her innocent offspring.
Unable to live with herself and her awful deed, the mother took her own life hoping to reunite with her children.
That was not to be the case. The woman had doomed herself to walk the ditches where she had committed her horrendous act. To never forget the choice she had made. She searches and searches, weeping and sobbing over her self-inflicted loss. Never to find peace.
La Llorona is often seen with long black hair, wearing white clothing, and wringing her hands.
The legend varies, depending on the location. In Chile, the feminine spirit is called “La Pucullen,” and she is searching for her son. She is often seen by animals, and people who are near death. Sometimes you can see her if you wipe dog tears on your eyes.
The story from El Salvador includes the notion that La Llorona is a young Indian maiden who had fallen in love with a nobleman.
In Guatemala, it is usually men who hear La Llorona’s wailing, and the sight of her can drive a man to insanity.
In Honduras, La Llorona often tries to seduce unsuspecting men, and then turns into an ugly old woman before their eyes.
The story in Panama is a little different. Called “La Tulivieja,” the beautiful wife of a businessman wanted to party rather than stay home and take care of the couple’s son. When the father was out-of-town on business, the mother wanted to go dancing. She left her son under a nearby tree while attending a nearby party.
A storm passed through the village, and the child was gone when the woman returned to the tree. God punished the woman for her irresponsibility by taking her beauty and health.
The Venezuelan version often has the father killing the child because he was upset with his wife, and wanted to punish her.
Although the details often vary from country to country, the central threat of La Llorona is the same, and caring mothers in these parts of our world know well the danger of La Llorona. Although the weeping woman will never find her own children as she walks the arroyos and waterways calling for them, in her desperation and anguish, she will be more than happy to take yours.
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