TK: Is there any legends or myths in El Salvador?
MC: Haha there’s so many but they’re scary. (Very quickly) I don’t know but my grandma used to say when you walk alone after midnight this woman comes after you with the long hair and she chases you and you couldn’t talk and you got to your house all freaking out and you get to the house and everyone is looking at you and you couldn’t talk for 24 hours because this woman touched you.
TK: So did you ever see this woman?
MC: NO! because I never was walking in the middle of the night. But they say this happens to all the guys because after the guys drop the girls off on the date they would be walking alone and see this woman and you know she was really pretty and sometimes she would look like the girl.
TK: Could she change the way she looked?
MC: Ya she looked like the girlfriend of the guys so they get confused and you know they start talking to her and then she changed to a really scary looking…
TK: A really scaring looking what?
MC: Like, you know, like an evil witch and they got scared but by that time they were already scared and touched by her and they couldn’t talk. And my grandma says they happened to a few people that she knows and the next day they start telling the story what happened to them when they could talk and not to go on that path and this woman was called La Sigwanata? (laughing) TK: What? How is it spelled?
MC: Let me spell it for you (goes and gets a pen and paper) this story has been going on for years… (spells it on paper “La Siguanaba”).
TK: Has this been going…
MC: (cuts me off) This story has been going on for generations and generations and I told this story to Nicolas (her son) and he was like ‘tell me more tell me more!’ And the story is still going on there like if you go by these trees you get touched by this woman.
TK: And that’s it?
MC: That’s it.
TK: And people know about this?
MC: Everybody (eyes widen).
TK: So this is a story?
MC: I think it’s a legend because at school it was in our books and we had to write about it.
THE INFORMANT: Maria grew up in El Salvador and therefore has different legends than the ones I grew up with in America. Her immediate recollection of this story shows what an effect it had on her growing up, as she can still recount the details and remember people it supposedly happened to that she knows.
ANALYSIS: La Siguanaba is a well-known El Salvadorian legend. Siguanaba means “horrible woman” and it is said she bore the child of a god but was an unfit mother, so the god cursed her to her fate of wandering alone at night and mostly appearing to solitary men walking alone. From behind, she looks like a beautiful long-haired woman but is actually horrifically ugly, like a witch. Some people say they can see her washing clothes in a river and looking for her son.