La Llorona

Origin: Mexican 

Theme: The pain of tragedy and betrayal and how acting in violence can perpetuate the pain.

Once in a poor village there lived a young woman. Hers was the greatest beauty of all the maidens in the village, and all the young men of the village for her hand in marriage. But she was a very proud young woman, and no man in the village was to her liking. She told them no, and she remained firm in her resolve to wait for the right man to marry.

One day a Spanish soldier, an officer, came to the village. He was the commander of a group of soldiers sent from Mexico City to assist the settlers in that region. As he rode into the village, sitting high upon his shiny, black horse, he appeared like a god to the people. He was a man of the world and easily commanded the respect of all the people in the village. To the young women in the village, he was the handsomest and most noble man they had ever seen.

The Spanish officer was immediately drawn to the young woman. Her beauty and proud manners intrigued him. He made it clear to all the maidens in the villaged that she was the one for him. He courted her, and over time, the maiden and the Spanish soldier fell in love. They were soon blessed with two children. The children were the most precious thing in the world to the woman.

The soldier often was away for long periods. When he was away the children would long for his return. Their mother would reassure them, saying their father was away doing important work for the people of their village and he would soon return to them. He would always return with stories of his great adventures.

One day, after an especially long journey, he returned to the village in a carriage. In the carriage beside him was a Spanish señorita, a young Spanish woman. His wife ran up to the carriage and asked who was the woman by his side. The Spanish soldier said she was the woman he was soon to marry.

The woman asked how he could marry another when he was already married to her. The Spanish soldier said that a marriage between a woman and a Spanish soldier was not a true marriage. When the woman asked how he could do this to his children, he told her that they were illegitimate and that no child of a woman could ever be the heir of a Spanish gentleman.

The woman was overcome with anger and grief. She thought of the cruelest way that she could get back at the Spanish soldier.

In a moment of rage and madness, she took the two children of the Spanish soldier and blindly hurled them into the river. As soon as she had thrown them into the river, she realized her terrible mistake. She jumped into the river and tried to save them, but it was too late. Both children had drowned in the river.

Overwhelmed with sadness she began to cry and wail for her two lost children. For days and nights she walked along the banks of the river, crying for her children to return to her. Her mournful and anguished wailing could be heard throughout the village. The people of the village took their own children into their houses when they heard the cries of La Llorona, the crying woman, because the feared that she would take their children to replace her two tragically drowned children.

For all eternity she is doomed to walk by the banks of the river, searching for her children. On many a cold and dark night you can hear her crying and calling for her children. Her long, loud, mourning cry of grief often comes disguised as the sound of the wind by the river.

So all of you children who hear this story, take care. Mind your parents and be good boys and girls. Because if you are not careful, La Llorona, the weeping woman, will take you to replace her two beloved lost children.


The reasons stories work so well in prevention is that the adversity of life is communicated in a safe way, since it doesn’t seem real, but merely a story. This story, even though grim, taps into to issues of abandonment, the conquest and conquering of the people in Mexico, death of children, and the pain that people live with through their lives when they have done the unthinkable.

We recommend having students do some sort of drawing after the story, and then you can open it up to questions and comments.

This is also a great way to teach thinking skills, of what they might have done in this situation or what they think of the actions, or what is happening around them that might be similar. How do they create their lives so they are not in the situation of La Llorona? The discussion also can look at the character traits of the officer and La Llorona. What got them both into trouble? (Vanity, disrespect of other people, etc.)

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