USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘La Llorna’
Childhood
Legends

La Llorona

Interviewer: What is being performed?

 

Informant: A story by Amy Melendrez

 

Interviewer: What is the background information about the performance? Why do you know or like this piece? Where or who did you learn it from?

 

Informant:  “La Llorona” a lady drowned herself and her children by driving her car into a lake. Now she walks crying out for her children trying to find them.

 

Interviewer: What country and what region of that country are you from?

 

Informant: Mexico, central.

 

Interviewer: Do you belong to a specific religious or social sub group that tells this story?

 

Informant: Family’s Catholic but story is not religious.

 

Interviewer: Where did you first hear the story?

 

Informant: Family

 

Interviewer: What do you think the origins of this story might be?

 

Informant:  Folkloric, word of mouth

 

Interviewer: What does it mean to you?

 

Informant: It’s a bit of a joke- “If you don’t go to sleep, La Llorona will get you.” It’s more for children.

 

Context of the performance- conversation with a classmate

 

Thoughts about the piece-  Although “The Weeping Woman” is a popular Hispanic ghost story, my informant seems to think it is contemporary (mentioning a car). For a more traditional telling of this old cautionary tale about an unfaithful husband and his vindictive wife, see here: http://www.literacynet.org/lp/hperspectives/llorona.html This story is thought to be from the 1500s but a 1986 San Antonio murder has eerie similarities: https://ghostcitytours.com/san-antonio/haunted-places/la-llorona/

Gestation, birth, and infancy
Legends
Narrative
Signs

Marina’s La Llorona

My Grand Aunt Marina, my grandfathers sister, swears the following legend of “La Llorona” is absolutely true. She knows there have been other stories about La LLorona but hers is the “god’s honest truth”, the real story. She told it on Good Friday at a dinner at my grandmother house

When they would go out to the country for a family camping weekend near the Magdalena River, my aunt said “that on nights with a full moon if you went to the river at dusk or dawn you were sure to see a Llorona/The Crying Woman. She tells me that a young woman drowned her own children in the river because her husband did not care for them and had abandoned them for younger woman (Marina rolls her eyes at this point of the story and murmurs “typical”).  Marina continues but more feeling her voice… “no matter how hard she tried to forget her husband, he had left them without any money and had taken all of their meager belongings. She tried to find work but with four young children to take care of, it proved to be impossible and in a moment of desperation after hearing her children cry all night from hunger, she drowned her children at dawn, letting the river take away their bodies downstream and when she saw her child were no longer with her she cried out in grief and after no longer able to bear the pain she kills herself. St. Peter finds her at the gates of heaven and deems her unworthy for purgatory or even hell because of the gravity of her sins and was sent back down to earth and to find her children. For this reason she roams around at dusk and dawn, crying as she looks for them.”  Marina assures me that she had heard La Llorona on many occasions down by the Magdalena River but only saw her once. This is where Marina gets super serious and lowers her voice to almost a whisper… “One early morning she woke up and saw it was only dawn, she tried really hard to hold back her need to go to the bathroom but was unable. She thought if she was quick enough nothing bad would happen but on the way back to the campsite through the misty dawn she saw a woman wearing rags down by the river crying. She says she felt her blood run cold and ran to the campsite arriving in a cold sweat!” Seeing La Llorona is considered a bad omen and Marina says she was inconsolable all day, finally the family headed home that day to find that grandmother Celestina had passed away. She never went camping to the river again. Marina finishes the story with tears in her eyes because she says that she felt some kind of responsibility for Celetistina death. My Abuelo thinks this is absurd mainly because Celestina was very old and lucky to have survived as long as she did. He cannot collaborate his sister’s story because he was already living in the U.S. but Marina swears it is the God’s honest truth “te juro ha dios” and she is very Catholic. My Abuelo said he did have a dream where his grandmother Celestina talked to him at length, telling him all that was to come in his life, the night before she past away.

Analysis: Although there are some aspects of the supernatural and personal loss, overall I found the story very melancholy and haunting. The way she spoke of La Llorona made me believe that she believed what she had experienced was true. She was so upset during the retelling, she had to get up and leave to the restroom, when she came out she was dabbing her eyes and refuse to tell me any more stories. I feel fortunate to have been allowed to have such a personal retelling.

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