LV is my grandmother, who was born in Moca, Puerto Rico. Her father was from Aguadila, Puerto Rico. Her mother was from Moca, Puerto Rico. Moca is a small town that’s 50 miles away from the major cities. It’s known for its landscapes and agriculture. LV lived there until she was 17 years old and now resides in Chicago, Illinois. She only speaks Spanish, but the following is translated into English in literal form.
DO: When you were a little girl, do you remember any stories specific to your town that you loved.
LV: Yes. La Yegua de Moca (The Mare of Moca). It was my favorite. Mother told me it when I was a small girl.
DO: What do you remember about it?
LV: It was about a girl. The girl was named Ramona and she was in love with a man who worked a finca (slang that translates into property or farm). She was rich and had beautiful things but he was poor. You know how these things go. She wanted to run away, and far. But her dad caught her and she was locked away. To escape and be with her love, to the devil she sold her soul. He turned her into the most beautiful white horse, but of course the devil is a trickster. She had to live forever like that. A white horse. You know how my town is all mountains and green, she had to wander as a horse in those mountains forever.
DO: Wow. It’s a sad story, why do you like it so much?
LV: I don’t know, to tell you the truth. I like the idea of her being free at least in the way that she was free from her father.
This is a famous myth in Moca sometimes literally just being called “La Moca.” It’s part of the town’s cultural identity and connects with something important to them: agriculture and land. Both characters were tied to a farm in some way, Ramona was the daughter of a wealthy farm owner and her lover was a farm worker. This story shows the cultural beliefs about wealth and social status. Ramona’s father would rather have her locked away than be with someone in a lower class, showing how important status can be to this town. It also demonstrates how important religion is to Puerto Rico’s culture. Ramona sells her soul to the devil and thus is punished for the rest of her life. In Puerto Rican culture, God is everything. Having the character speak to the devil and then be punished for all eternity illustrates what they believe happens when you stray from God.