The legend of La llorona


The Short Version of La Llorona

The short legend of La Llorona is one of the best-known Mexican myths that has traveled the world. This narrates the story of a female whose origin dates back more or less to the time of the creation of Mexico, with the arrival of the Spaniards to these lands. According to legend, there was a native woman who had an affair with a Spanish gentleman; the relationship reached the point where the woman gave birth to three beautiful children, whose mother devotedly cared for them.

As this couple continued to hide from everyone to take advantage of their bond, their days of love ran between lies and shadows. After forming her family, the woman wanted to ensure that her children had a full-time father, which is why she asked the Spaniard to formalize the relationship. Due to his status as an upper-class member, he frequently dodged this request from his lover, possibly for fear of what they would say.

After the woman's constant insistence and the man's refusal, sometime later the latter left her to marry a lady from Spanish high society. Once the native woman found out, she was devastated and wounded by deceit and betrayal. She was so desperate that she took her three children to the riverbank, where she gave them one last hug as a symbol of her love for them, only to sink them to death. Subsequently, she ended her life, and her conscience and guilt constantly tormented her.

From that moment on, the painful cries of the woman are heard in the river where the event took place. Some people claim to have seen her wandering desperately, with a deep cry of pain and regret for her children. Her guilt does not let her rest, her complaint is heard near the main square; people looking out the window of their residences describe a woman dressed entirely in white, with a slim build and black hair. In Lake Texcoco, she is calling for her disappeared children.

What is the true story of La Llorona?

la malinche 

We may never know the true story of La Llorona but we would like to share what may have inspired the creation of this tale.

This story is reflected in one of the writings of Fray Diego Durán, one of the Spanish evangelists who realized that the Aztec emperor Moctezuma II was worried about the dreams that announced the end of his reign. His ears were filled with stories of nocturnal pedestrians who claimed to have seen a woman cry and lament, so he asked them to explain why she was in pain and what she wanted to say to him. The appearance of this female manifested itself in Lake Texcoco, which was located in the legendary capital of the Aztec empire, Tenochtitlán.

Other denominations that were given to this woman is that of "mala madre" (bad mother). According to the Mexican historian Efraín Franco Frías, at the time of the Colony (1521-1821) the story began to gain strength that "La Llorona" was an indigenous woman known as "Malinche", who became a lover of the conqueror Hernán Cortés. Cortés took the son away from his mother, and when he returned to Spain, she did nothing to prevent it.

"Malinche" whose meaning is traitor, was seen by the natives as the personification of betrayal as a result of losing her son without acting. Among the Aztec people, this represents motherhood, but one of gloomy motherhood, becoming a symbol of mistreatment and degrading parenting after giving her son to Cortés; never to see him again.

The exact origin of this well-known legend is still unknown and there are many interpretations and versions of this story. We are sharing this legend based on how our own families have shared this tale with us throughout the years. 

 What version of La Llorona do you know? Do you think it's true?


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