Date of Performance/Collection: 4/21/19
Primary Language: Spanish
Other Language(s): English
The following is a Hispanic/Latin legend. The informant is represented by L and I am represented by K.
K: Tell me about La Llorona.
L: Okay, so… I feel like it’s the first myth that EVERY little kid lear- every little Mexican hears about is La Llorona, and it’s usually, well, she’s active during the night, and near water, is what I’ve heard. And that what happened is that she drowned her children…. it like evolves over time because it’s from.. drowning her children to like a river and to her bathtub, but I’m… pretty sure originally, it’s that she drowns her children in a lake… no! she doesn’t drown her children, she… doesn’t watch over them and they drown by themselves, and so.. she started… so… she kills herself, and so she’s just wandering around and looking for children to take as her own. And so, she’s like dressed in white, really long black hair, that just covers her face… and, she’s just wailing, wailing during the night… and… she won’t.. come, near like large groups of children, is what I’ve learned. It’s like one or two.. and that’s when she’ll strike and snatch you up, but I guess what it means to me is just… I don’t like being alone at night, it scares me ’cause…. and, I think it’s something that parents tell their kids to keep them in check.
The informant was sitting at a dining room table. There was a group of 5 of us and we had all just celebrated Easter together. We were sitting at the dining room table sharing folklore and she had a lot of Mexican folklore that she wanted to share with us.
La Llorona seems to be a legend meant to scare kids into not wandering alone at night. This story is very popular in a lot of Latin American cultures, as my dad heard a version of it himself growing up in Nicaragua, and I have many Mexican friends who heard this story growing up. I think the story is meant to remind kids that they should listen to their children and be cautious with whether they decide to wander alone at night or not. I think it’s a super interesting story because there are a lot of different variations of La Llorona and slight details that change every time I hear it. There’s a clear progression of the way the folklore has been passed down from different years.
For another version of this legend, please see “La Llorona” in Colo Arvada’s 1997 La Llorona: 43 Lloronas de Abelardo (Barrio Publications).