Author Archive
Legends
Narrative

El Cipitio

Main Piece:

“El Cipitio is the son of La Siguanaba, he was cursed to stay little forever. He likes to stalk young girls who are virgins. He approached these young girls while they lay sleeping. He would whisper things into their ears and would touch them. After visiting these girls, the girls would go crazy. They stayed crazy forever.”

 

Context:

The informant is a middle-aged woman, born in El Salvador. She learned this story from her mother. She believes her mother told her this story in order to cause her fear of not wandering at night or sleeping in the nude.

For another version, see Cordova, Carlos (2005). The Salvadoran American. Westport: Greenwood Press.

Legends
Narrative

La Carreta Chillona/ The Weeping Wagon

Main Piece:

“It is a wagon that goes through the many towns during midnight. The spirits on the wagon would take all those it crossed. It is said that they would take them to hell. At midnight, you could hear the sound of the wooden wheel very loudly marking the wagon’s passage through the town. The wagon was conducted by spirits from hell in order to take humans to hell. My sister and I heard the wagon passing some nights. Maybe it was our imagination or fear, but we really thought we heard it passing. Some even say they saw it.”

Context: The informant is a middle-aged woman, born in El Salvador. Her mother told her this story, and she believes now that like many of the other stories her family told her, they were in order to prevent them from wandering the streets at night.

Thoughts:

I agree with the informant that the function of these stories is to prevent the young from wandering at night in order to avoid the many dangers that could occur at that hour.

Folk Beliefs
Legends
Narrative

La Siguanaba

Main Piece:

“La Siguanaba was the mother of El Cipitio. She wandered around the river banks at night and would lure men to her. At first, she would appear to be the most beautiful woman on earth to make sure men would follow her into the woods. She would flirt with them too. After playing with the men, the Siguanaba would turn into a hideous woman and would torture the men until they went completely crazy. She would do this over and over.”

Context:

The informant is a middle-aged woman, born in El Salvador. She learned this story from her grandmother. The informant believes that the story is told to stop people from wandering around at night, especially young men and women. This was a form to instill fear into them.

 

Narrative

The Cow Head Man

Main Piece:

“When I was a child my mother told me that one late night, she stayed up waiting for my father to return home. It was really late…we lived up in the mountains. So it was always very dark. My mother said that she looked out the sliding back doors and she saw, what looked like a man. She ducked behind the couch quickly as the man walked closer to the sliding doors. When it got up to the doors my mother noticed that the man’s head was that of a cow. It had big black eyes and it just stood there…only moving its eyes from one side to the other. My mother was so scared, she did not know what to do. I think I remember her saying that the cow head man was there for about 10 minutes, looking around. Finally, my father arrived, and his headlights beamed toward the back. That is when my mother looked out again and the cow head man had disappeared.

“This figure, man, or whatever it is has always followed my family and I around.” (when she said this, I asked her what she meant by that, and she continued to tell the story.)

“You see, no matter where we moved to, my mother or me or one of my sisters or brothers said they saw the same man. The last time I saw him it was here (Her current home). I was in the back bedroom, asleep. I was waiting for my husband to arrive. I woke up exactly at 12 midnight. It was weird because my body just woke up on its own, anyway, when I looked over to the window there he was, with his cow head and those huge black eyes. He was just staring at me. I was so afraid. I could not move. There was a point when he looked away from me and that is when I ran right out of there and told my sister. My sister yelled at it and that was not good. You aren’t supposed to test them like that. It’s crazy because it just doesn’t leave us alone.”

 

Context:

The informant is an elderly Caucasian woman born and raised in Tennessee. She first heard about this entity from her mother when she was a child. According to her she has also witnessed the entity with her own eyes. She is not sure why it follows her family around.

 

Analysis: It seems that this story is one shared by many members of this woman’s family. They have all claimed to have encountered this entity in some way or another.

general
Legends
Narrative

El Curro

Main Piece:

“He was a man…not sure if it was meant to scare us as children, but legend tells that at dusk everyone had to rush into their homes and close their doors and windows. Because once it was dark, you could hear the galloping of a horse all around the town. And it was said that it was a charro dressed in black…who all and any person he came across, he would take them and they would disappear forever. That is why once darkness fell, not a single person would step outside or look out their windows. Any people disappeared because of El Curro”

Context:

The informant is my 54-year-old man from Guadalajara, Mexico. He heard this story from his mother. He believes that the town used the legend of El Curro to explain any and all disappearance.

Analysis:

This story seems to help explain why people from the town were never seen again and also helped the town keep their children from playing outside at night.

Legends
Narrative

The Pig at the Baptism

Main Piece:
“The story goes that a family… they were getting ready for their first child’s baptism and first birthday. So, the family invited many people to the party and had decided to serve a whole roasted pig. A week prior to the baptism/party, the family had gotten a really fat and big pig. That whole week they fed the pig lots of food in order to get it bigger and more fat. The day before the party and before the pig was to be killed, the family starved the pig. I am not sure why, maybe to cleanse it or something. Well the pig was used to eating lots of food, so it was really hungry that whole day and night. The next morning which was the day of the baptism/party, the father went outside to kill the pig, but the pig was gone. He called his wife out and she then noticed dirty prints on their house floor. The father and mother followed the prints into their child’s crib, they screamed and were horrified to see the pig eating their child. The pig stared at the parents and its eyes were blood red.”

Context:
The informant is a 77-year-old Spanish speaking woman, born in Mexico. She first this story as a child and would then tell it to her children and grandchildren. She believes the pig was possessed by the devil, that the pig was evil from the beginning.

Analysis:
This story is a twist on the cruelty we inflict on pigs when we kill them for food. I believe that this story helps people come to terms with why we should kill pigs and eat them. If pigs could they would inflict the same pain to humans. In some ways this idea of the pig eating us makes us feel better about why we eat them.

Folk Beliefs
Magic
Signs

Mal de Ojo

Main Piece:

“This happens when a person has a very strong stare. If they stare at a newborn with their glare the child will get a really high fever, convulse, and die. The only cure is to have the person with the evil eye carry the baby. That is the only way to reverse the evil done. I know babies who have died from this curse.”

Context:

The informant is a 77-year-old Spanish speaking woman, born in Mexico. She believes this to be true. She does not think those with the evil eye necessarily know that they have that power.

Analysis:

It seems that this belief is a way to explain sudden deaths of infants. It is a way to explain the unexplainable.

general
Legends
Narrative

The Jealous Husband of Chihuahua

Main Piece:

“In Chihuahua, in the neighborhood of Londres, there was a couple. The wife worked as a nurse at a hospital and the husband was a factory worker. They had three beautiful children. The husband did not want his wife to continue to work. He was jealous at all times because she was beautiful and always dressed nice to work. The wife did not want to leave her work because they needed the money, and she loved being a nurse. He kept insisting that she stop, but she continued to ignore his demands. One morning, the husband began to sharpen a huge butcher knife. The wife on her way to work saw him doing this and asked what he was going to do with that. He responded, that he needed it to kill one of their pigs. The wife shrugged and said goodbye and that she would return late afternoon. Two hours later, the neighbors heard various cries from the children in the home. Some neighbors approached the house and they saw one of the three children run out of the house and fall to the ground. The child’s throat had been slit. The neighbors rushed in and saw the husband about to take his own life, next to him were the other two kids, dead. The police arrived and they then went to the hospital to tell the wife the atrocities that her husband committed. The wife cried out, and then fainted. When she woke up, she went crazy and spent the rest of her life at a mental hospital.”

 

Context:

The informant is my 54-year-old man from Guadalajara, Mexico. I asked him to tell me this story, having heard it thousands of times growing up. He says he heard this story from a childhood friend. He believes that this shows the extremes people go to when they cannot control another person. Also, the dangers of being a jealous person.

Legends
Narrative

La Llorona de Guanajuato

Main Piece:

“In Guanajuato there was a beautiful woman who had a husband that was a Count. When her husband left to work, he would always return very late. One day the wife found out that he was cheating on her. She was furious and wanted to punish him. She thought of many ways and one night she thought that when her husband returned one night, he would find his children with slit throats. She carried this idea out and the night came where her husband arrived with the children dead. The husband went crazy at the sight of his children. His screams brought the neighbors to their home, where they took his wife to the police. The wife was sentenced to be burned at the stake in a white dress. Before she was burned, a priest convinced the wife to repent for the sin she had committed. Her regret for her sins was immediate and she howled these words “Mis hijos! Ay mis hijos!” They burned her and she continued to yell this until her death. From that point on, the people of Guanajuato talk about a woman who walks around downtown Guanajuato yelling “Ay mis hijos.” Some have even seen her roam in the white dress she died in.

 

Context:

The informant is a 77-year-old Spanish speaking woman, born in Mexico. Her grandmother told her this story and the informant has passed the tale along to her children and grandchildren. She believes that the tale is a warning in decisions that are made in moments of absolute rage.

 

Analysis

I agree with the informant, this crime committed by La Llorona was that of a crime of passion which could have been avoided. The saddest part of the tale is that because of the woman being blinded by rage, the young lives of her children were ended.

Legends
Narrative

The Weeping Lady of the Woods

Main Piece:

“There was this story we were told as kids up in the mountains of Tennessee. I never heard her but apparently at night there was a spirit of a woman who would cry in front of a specific tree. She cried there because when running away from a predator, a cougar or something big, she and her two children tried to climb up that tree to get away, but her two kids fell off the tree and were killed by the cougar. The woman was devastated and committed suicide shortly thereafter. So, at night you can hear her weeping next to the tree where her children were killed. I never heard her but everyone knew about her.”

 

Context:

The informant is an elderly Caucasian woman born and raised in Tennessee. I asked the informant what she thought the story meant or was told, she responded that she feels the story is a way to warn people, specifically kids, of the dangers that exist within the woods.

 

Analysis:

This legend has similarities to another folklore legend found in Mexico known as  LA LLORONA. They both have weeping women who weep for their lost children. I agree with the informant on the meaning or relevance of the legend. It is a way to warn children of the dangers found in the woods, especially at night.

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