La Llorona

Main Piece:


The following was recorded from the Participant. They are marked as AF. I am marked as DG.


AF: Um, well La Llorona is just this folktale, um, about this woman who…was jilted basically…uh and then, uh, well actually no she wasn’t jilted, her husband died… or something like that, uh, so she…hmm. Well ok, she was murdered. Ok, there are different versions of the story basically. So, um, in some of them she was jilted and killed herself and in some of them she was murdered and stuff like that, and basically she came back and was this, like, spirit who wandered amongst the streets at night… And if you’re, like, a lost kid at night, she’ll steal you away and maybe eat you…I don’t know…but definitely steal you away. Oh, and like an important thing is La Llorona cries, she’s this crying spirit, and you’ll hear her. Um, and yeah. I think maybe she, like, killed her kids.


DG: Who told you this?


AF: Oh, uh, my grandma actually, because I was asking her about folk stuff a couple years ago. She told me this story, um, yeah.





The conversation was recorded while sitting in the lobby of a dorm at the University of Southern California. The story itself was told to the interviewee by his grandmother, as they sat in their living room. He was asking her about folklore in order to feel more in touch with his roots.




The student is from Huntsville Alabama, but took a gap year in New York City, NY, before attending the University of Southern California as a School of Cinematic Arts major. They are a sophomore, and come from an Italian Hispanic background.




I had heard about this folklore story in one of my classes, so it was interesting to hear it from someone. This was true especially so since although I did learn one version, it was already easily jumbled up for me too, and I had learned it fairly recently. This shows how easy it can be for folklore to become changed, as the teller may forget, have pieces jumbled, or slightly change them. This also alludes to how the audience will keep the teller in check, if the teller goes too far from the version they know. This is what helps folklore remain folklore. In my case, I was a passive listener, so the folklore remained jumbled in the retelling for this archive post.