Wednesday, October 29, 2008

La Llorona/The Weeping Lady

When I was a kid my mother told me the story of La Llorona. This powerful oral tradition story often began with: "I knew a woman in my pueblo in Mexico who was La Llorona." I have come to find out that there are many variations to the myth, but there seems to be one resonant theme: a woman has lost or killed her children and she is wandering the earth in search of them. My mother's version went this way: An indian woman was married to a cruel and womanizing Spaniard. When a neighbor told her one day of his many affairs, she took her children 4 or 5 to the river and drowned them one by one in a desperate act of revenge. The river washed each away and she never saw them again. One day she died and went to heaven and as she stood in judgement before God, he asked: "Where are your children?" When she could not answer his question, He proclaimed: "I cannot let you into Paradise until you bring me the souls of her children". "But how can I ever find them", she moaned, "the current has taken them away!?" "You find them and bring them to me." The story goes that as night descends, wherever there is water, a river, a marsh or a lake, you can hear the piercing wail of La Llorona: "Aiiieee mis hijos! Aiiieee mis hijos! Aiiiee mis hijos!" At any rate, the story served to bring us all in early at night for fear that La Llorona would devour us! "Did you hear that??!!" Someone would shout, and we would all race home! Will she ever find them? Qien sabe?

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