CP: The story of La Llorona is the story of the crying woman. So in old Mexico, there was this girl who lived in a small village. She was the most beautiful girl in that entire territory, she got many suitors, everyone basically wanted to have this girl. Back then you would have a dowry.
Me: Wait what is that again?
CP: A dowry is when you have money that you give to someone who marries you. Your father would also have to consent, it was like a contract. Before that though, you would have to bring an offering to the falling. All these men would bring cows, pigs, sheep, money, clothes, fabrics, everything you could want back then that was thought as the finery in order to get acceptance of the proposal. So she was like “no no I like being single, I’m beautiful I shouldn’t settle for less” and so one day this soldier comes. He is so handsome, the most handsome guy she’s ever seen in her life and she’s like, “I want him.” And so she seduces him, dances with him, and they basically fall in love. He offers marriage and she says yes so they both accept. They get married and after they get married they have two kids. So, the soldier then has to leave when the kids are little to go to war again and he’s gone for a long time. The woman is so in love with him and is waiting on him, waiting on him because she wants him to come home, be with the family, raise the kids and have this wonderful life together. So when he comes back, he tells her “I’m leaving you.” and she says “what? You can’t leave me.” and he says “yeah I can.” He leaves, he takes his stuff and leaves. He comes back the next day with another woman to see his children. The woman is just as beautiful as La Llorona, he takes the kids out for visitation and La Llorona is so jealous, and filled with this rage that she can’t get over it. So when he brings the kids back she tells him “you will never see your kids again” and he’s like “you can’t make that happen, i’m going to take them from you” and he leaves with the other woman. La Llrona is so angry she drives herself crazy and delusional. She takes her children to a nearby river for a picnic. While she’s with her children she gives them kisses, feeds them great food, takes them and says “let’s go swimming, i’m going to teach you how to swim.” So, she takes them one at a time and while she’s in the river with her children she drowns them and kills them.
Me: Oh I did not expect that.
CP: After she’s done what she’s done, she’s so upset and sad that she just cries and cries and cries and so she drowns herself. The bottoms of her kids and La Llrona wash up on the river and the townspeople find them. When the ex husband comes back to take his kids the townspeople tell him they are all dead. So now La Llorona is told to children to tell them to behave and not to be out late at night. The story goes that she comes back as a ghost crying and if you can hear her crying late at night that you need to go home because she misses her kids so much she steals little children and drowns them.
- Background:The informant talked about how it’s a testament to her Mexican culture.It’s a ghost story that she was first told in the first grade by her teacher who would always tell them in October. The informant said it always stuck with her because they like scary stories and they also like how it’s somewhat of a lesson to men not to cheat and for children to behave and be good kids.
- Context The informant verbally performed the story to me at the The Ronald Tutor Center on the main USC campus. The performance is a hispanic story told verbally to the informant by her teacher as a child. The performance acts as a scary story and lesson to both children and men.
- My reflection:Coming from a Hispanic background specifically Ecuadorian I found this performance very intriguing as it is one I was not familiar with at all. This folk legend serves as not only entertainment through scary storytelling and characters but also teaches a lesson specifically children to not be out late at night and behave well. The teller is apart of the Mexican folk group and this specific story reflects that in the use of the Spanish language, the location of the story (Mexico) as well as its origins of being shared by their Mexican teachers, family and friends. Although the folktale is aimed at children aged folk groups (similar to many American ghost stories), other groups such as men may interpret the meaning of the scary story as a lesson to not cheat.
For further reading and another version of this folklore see “La Llorona – Weeping Woman of the Southwest.” Legends of America, https://www.legendsofamerica.com/gh-lallorona/.