About a life devoted to the love for Folklore, Mythology, Legends and.....Art

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tell me a story; La Llorona

A couple of weeks ago I have invited the hosts of Hometown Tales, Gene and Bryan, to submit a story for the Tell me a story-project. For those of you who are not familiar with Hometown tales please check out their website and blog. They have the most wonderful podcast in which they share strange news, history, urban-myths, legends, ghost tales and folklore with their listeners. I am hooked on this podcast for quite some time now and I have always listened to their show with much pleasure. Thus I was thrilled when they told me they wanted to participate in my project!

Here is Bryan's tale. I hope all of you will enjoy it and if you haven't already, check out their podcast. You will love it!

NOTE: would you also like to see your story get illustrated? please check out my previous blog post here and read the guidelines.

(Please, click picture for bigger and better view)

Story Title: The Legend of La Llorona
Submitted by: Bryan (Hometown Tales)
Country: Santa Fe, New Mexico

I was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Founded in 1598 it is the oldest continually-inhabited town in the United States. That's a lot of history. That also means a lot of people have been dying here - leaving behind ghosts and ghost stories - for over 400 years.

Growing up in a town where every night feels haunted - where a child believe that looking out of a bedroom window at night means you might see something else staring back at you - makes you afraid of the dark. And no other tale has had a more chilling effect on my friends and I than the Legend of La Llorona.

There seems to be several versions of the tale, even in modern day New Mexico, where the "wailing woman" is said to still haunt the hills around Santa Fe.

There are too many versions to list here, but they all share a common thread: a cautionary tale of consequences to making a bad decision.

One version says that La Lorna was a widow woman of the 18th century, living near the village of Santa Fe. La Lorna was so intent on finding a new husband, that she neglected her children and her family duties, spending most of her time in the saloons and gambling halls of Santa Fe, intent on finding a man to care for her. She didn't seem to care that, lately, Apaches from the nearby the hills, who often raided homesteads, had been seen. It was during one of her night on the prowl for a man that her children were brutally murdered in an Apache raid, drowned and dumped in a nearby irrigation ditch.

Another version of the story has it that La Llorna was a young beautiful girl who fell in love with a bad man. After giving this man two beautiful children, he turns and find another young girl to run off with. Knowing how much her husband loves his children, La Llorona herself drowns her children to spite him.

Either way it happens, the children die and La Llorona drowns herself in despair. The tormented soul of La Lorna now forever walks the river beds - arroyos - of Santa Fe to, wailing in anguish over the loss of her children.

"Mis Ninos! Donde estan mis ninos?" ("My children! Where are my children?")

Alone at night, of course, before you see her, you’ll always hear that terrifying wailing. Is she looking for her children? What we were told was that she would be happy to find simply any child alone in the arroyos. So we almost never walked to dry river beds, especially at night.

Ironically, it was this centuries old tale of death that kept so many children alive. The legend could have began as a very practical method of keeping us kids out of the arroyos. In the rainy month of August, arroyos could fill up in seconds with a flash flood, leaving anyone in them doomed. It's a classic Boogeyman tale: be good or the boogeyman will get you. Instead, we were told stay out of the dry riverbeds during flashflood season of you'll be swept away by the Wailing Woman.

No comments:

Post a Comment