Folklore & Urban Legends: La Llorona
Illustrated by JeffersonMuncy
Why would a mother drown her own children?
Throughout history water has always been seen as a symbol of life. Villages establish themselves along riverbanks so they’ll have access to fresh water. The river with its constant motion represents the flow of time, constantly moving forward for eternity. But just as trout can swim upstream, there are some things that move against time.
There was no one in the village with more pride than Maria. After all, she was the most beautiful woman the locals had ever seen. On many occasions men asked for her hand in marriage, but she turned all of them down. Maria would only marry the most handsome man in the world; no one else was good enough for her.
One summer afternoon a stranger rode into town.
Some debate whether love at first sight is real, but for Maria it was obvious, this is the man she would marry. He was handsome, wealthy, fluent in guitar, and sang beautifully. They instantly fell in love, and got married just two weeks later. At first their marriage was perfect, they had two children and lived a happy life.
After months of family life, Marias husband became restless. So he began traveling again, gone for weeks at a time. Maria struggled to care for the children in his absence. When he did return, all his attention was given to his children, but he paid no mind to Maria.
One evening Maria and the children went for a walk near the river. As they walked she saw a carriage approaching and recognized her husband sitting in the back. A smile came to her face, until she noticed the younger woman clinging to his arm.
The carriage came to a slow stop. The cracking of twigs under its wheels echoed the breaking of Marias heart. Her husband spoke briefly with the children, and Maria stared at the younger woman, furious. Her unfaithful husband returned to the carriage and continued down the road, completely ignoring Maria.
Maria became blinded by jealousy and rage. Another woman had replaced her, and her children claimed any remaining affection her husband had.
Everything went black. She imagined drowning the younger woman in the river, smiling at how the body would twitch and bubbles ceased to surface.
But when she came too, her shaking hands were wrapped around her children’s heads. The bodies lay still with their faces under the water.
After realizing what she had done, Maria screamed in Agony. Guilt rushed over her like a surge of water from the mountain rain.
She drowned herself.
Those living in the village say they heard Marias screams, even in the years after her death. Locals have seen a woman dressed in white, walking along the banks of the river.
Those who have heard the cries began calling the spirit La Llorona. Hearing her crying is a bad omen; misfortune follows whoever hears her wails at night.
We all fear growing old. Being forgotten. Marias pride caused a madness that resulted in the death of her children. The guilt of what she’d done has made her spirit cling to the river, where she continues looking for her drowned children.
Rivers and streams represent the constant movement of time. However time can be strange, it enters a whirlpool, reliving moments of pain and sadness. Spirits tend to relive a specific moment of their lives, unaware of their death. Trapped in our world, and trapped in time.
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