La Llorona is a story that has been a shared for millennia and is a common story in the Southwestern United States and Mexico.
What’s the Story?
There are many versions of this story, but the one common thread is that La Llorona is a mother who spends eternity searching for the remains of her dead children in rivers and lakes, weeping through the night. She has been referred to as “Maria” in the versions I have heard.
Maria is believed to have been a beautiful peasant woman who catches the eyes of all the men in town. She would spend her days in her peasant surroundings. At night, she would put on her best white gown and thrill the men of the town. She relished the attention, but had two small sons who made it difficult for her to enjoy evenings out. The story goes that she left her sons to enjoy a night out and they drowned. The question remains if they died due to neglect or by her own hand.
Maria was a lively woman who fell in love with a wealthy man. They lived happily and she bore him two sons. However, after their sons were born the man began to change. He began womanizing and drinking, often leaving for months at a time. It seemed that he no longer cared for Maria, and so she began to resent her sons. One day, her and her sons were walking along a road when the man rolled up in a carriage with another woman. He stopped to talk to the children but ignored Maria. This threw her into a rage and she threw her sons into the river and they drowned. Realizing what she had done, she ran to the river bank to save them only to realize it was too late. As a result, she fell into a terrible grief, weeping and wailing over the loss of her sons.
History of La Llorona
No matter what story you’ve heard, it ends up the same way; a tall skinny woman with black hair in a white gown wonders lakes and rivers weeping and searching for the remains of her children. Where does this story come from? Is there truth to the legend?
Suggestions have come to light that the legend of La Llorona may have ties to 16th Century Mexico and the conquistodores. A young Aztec girl, Malinche, fell in love with Hernan Cortez and bore him two sons. Wanting to send their sons to Spain for education, Cortez planned to separate the boys from their mother. Angry and refusing for this to happen, she drug her sons to the river where she drowned them. She spent the next decade desperately looking for the children she sacrificed to her own rage.
In reality, Malinche was one of several slaves given to Cortez and the other Spaniards in 1519. She acted as an interpreter for Cortez in his communication with the Aztec and the Mayan. Malinche did give birth to one of Cortez’s sons – Martin, who is believed to be one of the first Mestizos (mixed European and indigenous people) – however, it is unlikely she ever drowned her child.
Sightings of La Llorona
There have been many stories and sightings of La Llorona over the years. From Mexico to as far North as Montana along the banks of the Yellowstone River. These stories stir up questions on the truth behind the legend. Most importantly, whether or not there is a woman endlessly hunting for her lost children? Be careful when you are out in the dark, there is no telling where she will be sighted next!
Information on the history of this legend came from here.
Through October we are going to spend some time looking at Tales of Terror focusing on Texas. Here is a sneak peek at what’s in store:
Ghosts of the Menger Hotel (10/10)
Ghost Tracks (10/17)
USS Lexington (10/24)