La Llorona

The following version of La Llorona was collected from a close friend. She is 20 years old and was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. Her family was originally from Mexico and they still visit there constantly. The story of La Llorona is a quite common one in Mexico and around the South Western United States. Many versions have been circulated which differ, this version is the one she was always told as a child by her parents. From what I make of her story it is very similar to my own and many that I have heard told before. The major themes surrounding suicide, death and marriage are all found in her version. The interview took place in person and I will denote myself as “A” in the interview and my friend as “B”. The interview went as follows.

A: “Ok, please tell me about your own version of the story of La Llorona.”

B: “Ok, so this is the version I have come to know ever since I was a little girl. All my family tells it this way and everyone near my family’s home in Texas also tell it pretty similar to my own. It begins with a Mexican woman, she doesn’t really have a name but we call her Llorona because of the story. She was extremely poor and her family could not support her on her own so she had to go out and find a husband. She found a white man probably from the United States who was looking to marry a Mexican woman. They instantly got married and moved into a house in town and had a lot of children.”

A: “Do you know how many exactly?”

B: “No, not really it changes depending on who tells the story. Its definitely more than three though… at least in the stories I have been told. Anyways, so the man became very disinterested in her and cheated on her and would abuse her when they were in the house. She began to despise him with everything and for some reason she translated that anger over into her children. One day when her husband was away she decided to take her children to the river down by their house. While they were there she went “loca” (crazy) and in a fit of rage she drowned her children in the river. After realizing what she did she took her own life by drowning herself in the very same river. From now on it is said that La Llorona walks the river moaning out in sadness for her children. She hates seeing other children that are not her own so if a child finds themselves alone when they hear her she is said to drown them and kill them out of jealousy.”

A: “Wow great version! But what do you make of it yourself?”

B: “In all honesty I know its just a legend. It is not actually true that a crying woman kills children near rivers. It’s just a way Mexican parents scare their kids from doing bad things. I mean I know I had nightmares about her when I was younger.”