|HISTORIAS ALREDEDOR DE LA MESA
EN MIS ABUELAS COCINA
AGUA NEGRA, NEVO MEXICO
Who ever happen to share the story of La Llorona they could relate to it personally because
La Llorona or a member of La Llorona’s family was known to the story teller. La Llorona
was a distant cousin, a sister in law, the daughter of a close friend, a member of the
community or someone in the next village.
The story always started in a conversation of the personal association by those sitting around
the kitchen table. They would talk about the how they came about to being in the community
or even the family.
Oh, someone would say, her mother married my second or third cousin or perhaps the sister
of an aunt through marriage. She was adopted by my Tia so and so after her parents were
killed in some terrible tragedy, and poversita they had to take her in, she was such a homely
Those who were bolder then the larger part of the gathering would declare this was the
illegimate child of some dignitary or perhaps some religious leader in a village mile away
from her present home. There were a hundred stories that lead to the story of La Llorona.
With some sadness I share this story in English knowing you will not appreciate it as I did
when I heard it over and over again in Spanish, La Llorona.
This is a story that the old ones have been telling to children for hundreds of years. It is a sad
tale, but it lives strong in the memories of the people, and there are many who swear that it is
Long years ago in a humble little village there lived a fine looking girl named Maria Some
say she was the most beautiful girl in the world! And because she was so beautiful, Maria
thought she was better than everyone else.
As Maria grew older, her beauty increased and her pride in her beauty grew too When she
was a young woman, she would not even look at the young men from her village. They
weren't good enough for her! "When I marry," Maria would say, "I will marry the most
handsome man in the world."
And then one day, into Maria's village rode a man who seemed to be just the one she had
been talking about. He was a dashing young ranchero, the son of a wealthy rancher from the
southern plains. He could ride like a Comanche! In fact, if he owned a horse, and it grew
tame, he would give it away and go rope a wild horse from the plains. He thought it wasn't
manly to ride a horse if it wasn't half wild.
He was handsome! And he could play the guitar and sing beautifully. Maria made up her
mind-that was, the man for her! She knew just the tricks to win his attention.
If the ranchero spoke when they met on the pathway, she would turn her head away. When
he came to her house in the evening to play his guitar and serenade her, she wouldn't even
come to the window. She refused all his costly gifts. The young man fell for her tricks. "That
haughty girl, Maria, Maria!” he said to himself. "I know I can win her heart. I swear I'll
marry that girl."
And so everything turned out as Maria planned. Before long, she and the ranchero became
engaged and soon they were married. At first, things were fine. They had two children and
they seemed to be a happy family together. But after a few years, the ranchero went back to
the wild life of the prairies. He would leave town and be gone for months at a time. And
when he returned home, it was only to visit his children. He seemed to care nothing for the
beautiful Maria. He even talked of setting Maria aside and marrying a woman of his own
As proud as Maria was, of course she became very angry with the ranchero. She also began
to feel anger toward her children, because he paid attention to them, but just ignored her.
One evening, as Maria was strolling with her two children on the shady pathway near the
river, the ranchero came by in a carriage. An elegant lady sat on the seat beside him. He
stopped and spoke to his children, but he didn't even look at Maria. He whipped the horses on
up the street.
When she saw that, a terrible rage filled Maria, and it all turned against her children. And
although it is sad to tell, the story says that in her anger Maria seized her two children and
threw them into the river! But as they disappeared down the stream, she realized what she
had done! She ran down the bank of the river, reaching out her arms to them. But they were
The next morning, a traveler brought word to the villagers that a beautiful woman laid dead
on the bank of the river. That is where they found Maria, and they laid her to rest where she
But the first night Maria was in the grave, the villagers heard the sound of crying down by
the river. It was not the wind, it was La Llorona crying. "Where are my children?" And they
saw a woman walking up and down the bank of the river, dressed in a long white robe, the
way they had dressed Maria for burial. On many a dark night they saw her walks the river
bank and cry for her children. And so they no longer spoke of her as Maria. They called her
La Llorona, the weeping woman. And by that name she is known to this day. Children are
warned not to go out in the dark, for; La Llorona might snatch them and never return them.
No one can do justice to the story of La Llorona unless the story be told in Spanish and
embellished with the personal connections of the story teller’s en la cocina de mi abulita.
You could not help to be gripped in total fear after listening to the elders share the account of