Tales of La Llorona (the Weeping Woman) are common in Central America. According to the tradition, La Llorona is the ghost of a woman who lost her children and now cries while looking for them in the river, often causing misfortune to those who are near or hear her.
Standard 6 students worked in small groups to write their own variant on the classic story.
By Clari, Estrellalisa, Eli, Osvaldo and Rodel
Maria was the most beautiful woman in town. Maria was from a poor family, nevertheless she had grown up being the center of attention. This was because of her beauty.
One day a wealthy man came into town and as soon as he saw Maria he began to give her gifts and attention far beyond anything she’d ever experienced before. He was a sweet talker and Maria soon fell head over heels in love with him.
They started to live together and she bore him two children, twin boys. Despite all his sweet talk the rich man eventually lost interest in Maria. His father was pressuring him to marry a woman of his own status, and he didn’t like to stay in one place very long. He didn’t say goodbye to Maria; she just woke up one morning to find a coldly written letter on the table. He was gone and it was over between them.
Maria was out of her mind because she really loved him dearly. There was nothing she could do. She did her best to put her life back together and take care of her two sons, but people were always whispering behind her back.
Some years later Maria was walking with her two sons on the road into town, which was next to the river. She was thinking about all the food shopping she needed to do when a fine carriage rode up and stopped right in front of her.
She looked up and her heart jumped to see that it was none other than the rich man. She saw that next to him sat a woman of high status wearing silk gloves and expensive clothing and her heart sank lower than ever.
Nothing could prepare Maria for the things that happened next. The man smiled a warm smile and cheerfully talked to the two boys, asking them how their life was going and explaining how he was now moving back to town. Each boy was holding onto one of her hands but the whole time the man talked he made a point of ignoring her. The rich man moved along and promised the boys they could talk again later.
Something snapped in Maria right then. She was so broken-hearted, humiliated, angry and about a thousand other feelings all at once. Before she knew it she had walked to the edge of the road and hurled her two innocent boys down into the raging river. She stood there at the edge, still in a daze but feeling strange with her hands so free. When she realized that the boys were no longer next to her she looked around frantically screaming “Mis ninos! Donte estan mis ninos!” [my children, where are my children]. It wasn’t until she saw the two small figures floating far down the river that she realized what she had done.
People learned to fear the river, for after nightfall scary things had started to happen there. An adult might be able to escape with their life, but if it was a child, La Llorona would throw them into the river or simply took them away, never to be heard of again.
As time went on different towns along the river started to have La Llorona sightings. Everybody knows now that the river isn’t safe a t night; people go to the river at daytime, but as night falls everyone disappears completely.
By Vanessa, Karla, Givelie, Mirna and Reina
Once a poor man was married to a beautiful woman who lived in his village. The couple was very much in love, but the man insisted that they were too poor to have any children.
When he found out his wife was pregnant, the man was very angry. He told the woman they could not keep the child. After the birth of his son, the man drowned the child in the river. His wife, too weak from giving birth to get up from the bed, pleaded in vain with her husband to spare the life of her child.
Several more sons were born to the couple, and the poor man drowned every one. The day the poor man took his fifth child to the river, his wife followed even though she was still weak and bleeding from giving birth. Shen he threw the child in the river, the woman went after her son, determined to save the boy even though she did not know how to swim. The woman and child were swept away by the current and they both drowned.
That very night the woman’s spirit returned to the river beside her home, wailing and searching for the sons she had lost. At first the poor man was terrified by the spirit of his wife. He begged her to return to the spirit realm. She did not hear him. Night after night, the woman’s spirit returned to the river, wailing and wringing her hands in her grief. The poor man became angry. He could not stop the ghost of his wife from searching for her sons.
Finally the sound of the wailing woman drove the man furious. He grabbed a knife and jumped into the river after the spirit to kill her. The poor man did not know how to swim and the current swept him away and he drowned.
Third Retelling – Romel Encounters La Llorona
By Luis, Rosy, Gizel, Marixza and Zaida
On all spooky nights the even spirits go out hunting in a village that is near the river. In that village lived a man named Romel and his beautiful girlfriend named Gabriela. Gabriela used to go swimming in the river every night.
One day, Gabriela invited Romel to swim in the river. Romel was supposed to meet Gabriela at 6pm at the river. Romel decided to go early. When he reached the river he saw a woman crying. He through it was Gabriela so he started to cross the river.
Suddenly he realized that the girl wasn’t Gabriela. He watched the girl’s feet; her feet were like the roots of a tree. He grabbed her should and turned her around. She started screaming and started to scratch his face, swimming him around and flinging him into the water. Romel got knocked out.
When he woke up he was in Gabriela’s arms. “What happened to me?” he asked.
Gabriela replied, “I found you knocked out on the ground beside a tall tree.” Gabriela took him home and give a glass of water. She asked him what happened.
“The only thing I remember was that I saw the Llorona” he replied. He started to tremble when he explained what happened to him.