PP is an 18 year old college student. She is a freshman communications major who’s parents are from Mexico. PP has visited her hometown Tlzazalca in Mexico many times and heard about this legend from her parents.
Context: The informant and I are roommates and I know she has strong ties to her Mexican culture and I asked if she had any folk legends to share as we drank tea on the couch.
PP: In my town, where we live, it’s mostly surrounded by water and rivers. There’s a natural spring where we go for water. But on the other side of town, there’s a huge lake. Supposedly, there was this woman, named Maria I think. She had a few children, maybe 2 or 3, with her husband. He was abusive and treated her horribly. But she stayed with him until this new man came into town. He was attractive, super sweet, a Godly man, and everything you could dream of in a man. She saw him and thought, “Oh my gosh, I like him” and he liked her too. But the thing is he found out that she was in the process of getting a divorce and had already had children. He didn’t like the idea of her having children already because he did not want to raise children that were not his. And so, he told her, “If you want to be with me, you can’t have your children”. She was obsessed with him and would do anything for him because he was perfect, like he was carved from a movie. She still didn’t know where he came from and no one knew who he was. She was surprised by his reaction so she went to church and prayed about it but she somehow fell out with the church and she felt like there was nothing else she could do. One night she was by the river across town and she set up to do satanic rituals to find a way to get rid of her children. As she was doing these rituals, she was speaking to the devil. A few days later she takes her children to the river and drowns them. Then the man finds her there and he says, “You did that all for me?” and he takes her to hell because he was the devil the entire time.
Collector: Wow. Have you been to that lake?
PP: Yeah it’s really scary. It’s horrible and the last time I went to Mexico, we were at a party and it was around 11pm. Right where we live is near a spring of water and we heard something like moaning and decided to ignore it. But who knows what it could have been.
Thoughts/Analysis: There are many variations of stories and legends where a mother sacrifices her children. This one is quite scary though because the devil slowly influenced her. This story and those alike in which they are related to the devil tell folklorists that these folk groups are strongly connected in their faith because the main fear-factor in this legend is not necessarily that Maria drowned her children; it is that the perfect man was actually the devil.
For a variation of this legend, see:
Ryanprod, and Ryanprod. “My Father’s Version of La Llorona.” USC Digital Folklore Archives, November 4, 2021. http://folklore.usc.edu/my-fathers-version-of-la-llorona/.