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La Llorona

Lore Trial #12

Perhaps you've already heard about La Llorona, so far-reaching is her story. The Llorona that I heard tale of as a little girl was a woman who drowned her illegitimate baby to appease a boyfriend. After the boyfriend forsook her, she killed herself as well. The wailing that we used to hear at nights near the river by my parents' friends' home in Texas was La Llorona mourning her misdeeds.

As progressive as my mother was in some respects - she didn't think much of Quinceañeras, for example, and we didn't have them - she was the very source of "Old Wives' Tales" in other respects. More mystical than old fashioned, my mother had bizarre explanations for every tragedy that touched her life personally. During one of our visits to Texas, mama pulled all of us children aside and spoke to us in a very serious tone. While she couldn't be certain about la llorona's actual name, she was certain that it was cursed and responsible for the death of some of the local children. None of us were to name our daughters Clara, Hermione, Adela, Pilar, Paz, Elena, Luz, or Lidia. We were not to name our sons Hector, Ignacio, Luiz, or Lorenzo as these were the names that might have been given to the dead baby before his mama took his life. We didn't. Not so much because we agreed with our mother's superstition as because it didn't hurt to honor her request. I was never put to the test, but I did feel a certain uneasiness whenever someone was pregnant and there were conversations about what to name the child. I suppose that each of us shared mama's fears a little bit.

One of my former students has been fascinated by the legend for much of her life, looking for lessons in the legend and also trying to understand its role in American Latino culture. Perhaps most instructive is the tale's pervasiveness. La Llorona has been sighted in at least half of the bodies of water in Texas alone: from the Medina River, the Angelina River, and the Sabine River to the Oak Creek Lake, Nueces River, International Falcon Lake, and the Colorado River, La Llorona has been observed or heard sobbing tirelessly. Townsfolk in Conroe, El Paso, Missouri City, Eden, Texarkana, Alpine, Rowena, and Yoakum have felt La Llorona's icy presence in their nurseries. I imagine that the girl is just looking and means no harm.


1st family: 8 points
2nd family: 6 points
3rd family: 4 points
4th family: 3 points




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