La Llorona

The informant’s mother is from northern Mexico, specifically Sonora. She came to America during the Mexican revolution when she was very young (~1910).  She lived in the territory of Arisona before it became a state. The informant was raised in Arizona, but brought up bilingual. Her mother would speak spanish to her and her siblings because she did not want to kids to lose it.

I asked the informant if she remembers any myths or legends from when she was younger, and her first response was La Llorona (The Weeping Woman). When I asked her to tell me about it, she said she doesn’t remember it clearly and that there are a lot of different versions to the story.  The version of the legend she best remembers is as follows:

Informant: There is a woman who lost her child somehow and now goes around crying because she is looking for the lost child. If you are quiet at night, and it’s windy, you can hear her wailing.  And if you’re a little kid, it’s best to go to bed when your parents tell you to because La Llorona is always around, looking for a child to replace hers.

Interpretation: This legend a classic example of a story told to children as a way to get them to listen to their parents.  Whenever there is wind, which is always easier to hear late at night, it can be identified as the weeping of La Llorona.  This makes it easy for parents to tell it to their kids because it can be applicable on most nights of the year.  While this story is particularly popular in Spanish speaking countries, there are legends in other countries that follow a similar plot line. This makes it difficult to pin point exactly where is originated, but it is a great example of how certain motifs, such as listening to parents, can be cross cultural.

A most comprehensive version of this story can be found here:

Hayes, Joe, and Vicki Trego. Hill. La Llorona: The Weeping Woman: An Hispanic Legend Told in Spanish and English. El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos, 1987. Print.