I got to thinking about a video I made and posted on youtube yesterday. And I feel like a knucklehead for not sharing it here. Today I have remedied that.
This is my telling of the legend of La Llorona the Mexican Legend of the wailing woman. I want to share it with you guys here!
I tell the story of La Llorona Man Vs. Art Style while I paint a picture of her.
The wailing woman is an ancient legend of my people. It is a cautionary tale handed down thru the ages mostly by spoken word and meant to scare kids to behave and discourage young ladies from promiscuity. It is a story of love, devotion, betrayal and murder. You ‘ll be hard pressed to find a more sordid tale of tragedy and woe than that of this woman known as La Malinche, and later as La Llorona.
I first heard it from my great grandmother Mariquita Aguayo the summer of my seventh year and yet it still chills me to this very day.
La Malinche was the noble first-born child of the lord of Paynalaher on the Mexican Gulf Coast Coatzacoalcos, then a “frontier” region between the Aztec Empire to the north and to the south the Maya states of the Yucatán Peninsula. She spoke both Mayan and Aztec very well and knew the customs and and superstitions of them too. Tragically as do most kingdoms that lie between two great nations her people had suffered greatly under the obsidian blade of both super powers for as long as she could remember. In her twenties her father died and her mother remarried and bore a son. Now an inconvenient stepchild, the girl was sold to Maya slave-traders.
In 1519 she was given to the Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés who immediately took a liking to this highly intelligent and victimized young girl. A girl who later played an active, powerful, and decisive role in the Spanish conquest of Mexico. She was instrumental to the destruction of The Aztecs and Mayans. La Malinche acted as interpreter, adviser, and intermediary for Hernán Cortés. She was also a mistress to Cortés and gave birth to his first son, who is considered one of the first Mestizos (people of mixed European and indigenous American ancestry).
Following the native traditions of the nobility she became totally devoted to her man Cortés and basically sold out the Indians to the Spaniards.
She explained Aztec and Mayan superstitions and beliefs to Cortés who used the information to gain the upper hand on the natives. Without her help Cortés and his gold greedy mercenaries would have been crushed. Instead Cortés the Conquistador was revered as a god!
She bore him more children only to be abandoned so that Cortes could marry a Spanish lady. Here we can see in the legend La Llorona’s loss is a metaphor for the Spanish rape of Mexico and the demise of indigenous culture.
Now this where it gets weird. Apparently she went mad and somehow thought she could win the affections of Cortés if the children were out of the way. So she did the unthinkable. She drowned the children and then in a total freak out of remorse she killed herself.
Tut tut! We all know she was not going to get off that easy, was she now? For having betrayed her children as well as the Mexican people, the Gods punished and damned the hysterical woman to wander, searching for her children along rivers and lakes at night for all eternity. In some cases, according to the tale, she will kidnap wandering children.
In Mexico today, La Malinche remains iconically potent. She is understood in various and often conflicting aspects, as the embodiment of treachery, the quintessential victim, or simply as symbolic mother of La Raza or aka the new Mexican people. She is often known by the pejorative term “La Chingada” (“the violated one”).