La Cegua

Many times this past year, I’ve spent the nights studying or working in the new Annenberg building. Whenever I’m up past 4 in the morning, one of the cleaning ladies M would come by and we’d make small talk. But as the all-nighters became more consistent, our friendship flourished too.

She soon began telling me about the legends she heard as a child in Nicaragua, one of which is La Cegua. According to M, legend has it that La Cegua is an evil woman, dressed in horse hair, and wears a ton of makeup. She appears in the dark hours of the night to seduce drunk men and once they get onto the man’s horse to go back to his place for the night, their real face–a horse’s skull with empty, dark eyes that stare into the men’s souls–is revealed, make them go insane.

This is punishment for their actions as one version of La Cegua’s origin stems from a betrayal of love. A man she was enamored with promised to marry her if they had sex. She was so madly in love that she agreed, this was a major taboo in Catholic communities as sex was saved for marriage back then, and he deserted her. The woman went insane and became cursed as La Cegua.

When I asked whether this story affected her growing up, she said yes that it scared her making her very careful not to do anything before marriage. But now she doesn’t believe in its validity anymore. Personally, this story reminds me of La Llorona and the Medea in that the actions of the man drive the woman to insanity, also representing that back then women were really possessions with no inherent value besides for marriage and having children.