Partridge India Writing Tips| Latin American Folklore Pt 2
Partridge India Writing Tips return with part 2 of Latin American Folklore.
Few figures combine sorrow and dread in Mexican folklore like La Llorona, her story known and feared throughout Hispanic culture, reaching all the way back to Spain. While there a numerous variations to the tale, the core remains a consistent. A woman, often named Maria, is in love with a man. Together they have three children, but the husband leaves her for a younger woman. Out of revenge Maria drowns her three children before committing suicide. When she approaches the Gates of Heaven, Maria is asked for the whereabouts of her children. Unable to answer, Maria is sentenced to forever wander the earth in search of the children she had drowned herself. As her search is in vain, she walks the earth weeping earning her title ‘La Llorona,’ the Weeping Woman. But her story does not end there.
In some stories, Since she cannot find her own children, La Llorona looks for other children, children wandering alone at night, children who resemble her own so that she may ask forgiveness. These children La Llorona then drowns to replace her own. But as her children never forgive her, she continues to repeat the horrid act and will do so for eternity.
Another scary folk story from Mexico is that of the Priest and The Bells. According to the folktale, there once lived an evil priest, one without fear for God or man, one consumed with evil and greed. He would ring the church bell to call his parishioners to Mass, and every time he played off their good will by stealing from their offerings. When the priest finally had a chest of ill-gotten gold, he killed a man and bound the man’s ghost to protect the chest. Anyone who attempted to dig for the gold would find themselves torn apart and devoured by the murdered man’s skeleton.
But before the priest could return to Spain with his chest of gold, he was struck with a deadly fever. As he lay dying the evil priest confessed of his crimes to a fellow priest, repenting of his evil ways. But he was unable to reveal where he had buried the treasure, so that it may be returned to God, only able to say, “Follow the bells. They will lead you to the treasure.”
A sweeper overheard the priest’s confession and, desperate to better take care of his family, decided to seek out the treasure. Heeding the priest’s words, the sweeper sought out the sound of bells, following them up into the hills. The sweeper finds the buried treasure, is even able to get his hands on some of the gold, only for the skeleton of a murdered man to awaken. It rose from the earth, eye sockets aflame with unnatural blue fire, chanting, “Mine! Mine!”
Horrified the sweeper ran home, only to realize upon arrival that he had left behind his prized shovel. The next day, the sweeper braved the hills to retrieve his shovel, only to find it high up in a tree, too high to climb. Clearly the skeleton had thrown in up there in spite.
It is interesting to see how the interactions of various cultures, from indigenous and European origins, have culminated in a rich variety of folktales and folk culture.
Partridge India trusts this helps
By Ian Smith