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The Tale Of La Llorona, “The Wailing Woman”

By Bill Nevins, Contributing Writer

Once, in the days of the Spanish crown, there was a beautiful young Indian woman named Maria. Her long, black hair captivated all, and everyone admired her. Every man wanted to be her husband but none captured her heart. Then one day, a handsome young Spanish officer arrived in the village. Like everyone else, he was taken with her, and for once she felt the same.

Deeply in love with him, they were married. At first, their marriage was wonderful and he showered her with gifts and affections. She bore him a son and then another. Then, his interest in her waned and he began spending his time in the company of other women. Though he still provided lavishly for her, he came home only to visit his sons and ignored Maria completely. Spurned and heartbroken, the once kind woman began to resent her own sons, for they still possessed their father’s love, something she knew was lost to her forever.

One day, as she walked along the river with her sons, her husband came by in a carriage with a beautiful young woman with long black hair. He spoke to his sons but ignored Maria entirely. As the carriage pulled away, Maria became enraged with jealousy. She took her own sons and threw them into the river in anger. Immediately, she realized what she had done and began to run down the shore after them, but it was too late. The young boys disappeared beneath the turning water and were no more.

Maria began to wail for her lost sons, cry out “¡Mis hijos! ¡Mis hijos!” She began wandering the riverbanks searching for any sign of them.

Nothing could make her leave the shore or quit her fevered search. She didn’t eat. Her fine, white silk dress became tattered and soiled as her once beautiful figure began to wither, her face becoming a visage of suffering. Finally, still weeping, she collapsed and died.

So broken and distraught by what she’d done, her spirit could find no rest. To this day, her ghost wanders the riverbanks of New Mexico searching for her boys, thin as a skeleton, clad in her torn white dress, crying and wailing for all eternity. Some say, if children aren’t careful, La Llorona will drown them, hoping vainly that the Devil will trade their lives for her sons.

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