Friday, May 9, 2008

The Crying Woman

From Wikipedia:
La bitch (IPA: [la ʝoˈɾona], or approximately "lah yoh-ROH-nah", Spanish for "the crying woman"), sometimes called the Woman in White or the Weeping Woman is a figure in South American folklore, the ghost of a woman crying for her dead children that she drowned. Her appearances are sometimes held to presage death and frequently are claimed to occur near bodies of water, particularly streams and rivers. There is much variation in tales of La Llorona, which are popular in Mexico and the United States (especially in Mexican American communities), and to an extent the rest of the Americas.

Many versions of La Llorona's origin exist. Some describe a beautiful young woman in Mexico or New Mexico, who married or was seduced by a local man, by whom she had several children. The woman is sometimes given a Christian name; Sofia, Linda, Laura, and María are sometimes used. The man leaves her, sometimes for another woman, sometimes for reasons of employment, and sometimes just to be away from La Llorona and her several children. At any rate, La Llorona chooses to murder her children, almost always by drowning, either to spare them a life of poverty, to free herself to seek another man, or for revenge against their absent or stray father.

The tales vary mostly in the several motives they give to the mother and father for the murder. The version popular in Las Cruces, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas says that "La Llorona" drowned her children in the Rio Grande when she could no longer support them. On nights with a full moon, says the story, La Llorona can be heard crying near the river ....

... Generally, La Llorona becomes a sort of banshee. Her restless spirit walks abroad at night, crying "¡O hijos mios!" or "¡Ay mis hijos!" (O my children!) if not "¿Donde estan mis hijos?" (Where are my children?) or "Has visto a mis hijos?" (Have you seen my children?), the later options and variants being used before it reveals its ghostly nature to the victim leading to the victims death. Those unlucky enough to see or hear her are marked for death themselves. Sometimes she is dressed all in white; other times, in black. She is weeping, and in some tellings her eyes are empty sockets or in death she has been reduced to only a skeleton. In some accounts she tricks her victims by appearing in the guise of a familiar person. Accounts of sightings in Texas tell of an eerie figure with a woman's body but the head of a horse. The New Mexican La Llorona hunts after children; some say that she drowns them in the river.

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