La Segua

My nanny/housekeeper of many years is originally from Costa Rica. Because the culture there is so different from ours, I thought it would be interesting to explore some aspects of their culture especially through the stories that they tell and the legends that they have. So, I sat down with her basically to wonder what kinds of stories were exchanged between the people of her country.

Collector: “Are there any other legends that are important in your culture?”

Informant: “Another famous story in my home was called ‘La Segua’. In this story there is a beautiful women who falls in love with a man. This man eventually cheats on her while he is drunk, and when she finds out she goes crazy and turns in to a monster. Then she would walk on the streets alone and when drunk men would be on their way home she would lure them to her with her beauty and then kill them. Her head would turn into a horse head with red eyes.”

This was a very interesting story because it reminded me of the Sirens from Homers Odyssey. As I did more research on the legend, I found out that it was supposed to be a message to drunk and unfaithful men as well as improper and loose female behavior. Segua is derived from the word “Sihua” which means woman in Nahuatl. This is a group of of languages stemming from Aztec or Naguan origin meaning that the story could have stemmed from there. In the actual story the woman was a mix of Spanish and Indian blood, so when she fell in love with the Spaniard she was betraying her people by falling in love with the oppressor. This shows that the predicament that she found her self in was just as much her fault as it was the Spaniard’s, so it is a lesson to both men and women.