One part of our culture is the leyendas or legends that are passed down throughout the time. As legends are passed through the grape vine each person, family, or even city has different versions of legends. Legends were once used to pass time or even scare children into behaving. Legends are an important part of our culture and are fun to talk about at anytime.
“The crying woman” which is the literal translation of the phrase, is one of the most infamous leyenda. Though there are many versions of the story they all tell of a woman drowning her children either in sorrow, insanity, or selfishness. The tale most commonly goes that a young beautiful Mexican woman fell in love with a Spaniard, they had two children together. She waited and waited for him to make her his wife but that day never came. One day she decided she could hold her silence no more and traveled to his house to talk to him of their future. Upon her arrival she saw a fiesta (party) going on; it was her Spaniard’s wedding celebration to another woman. She was incredibly heartbroken and in a fit of insanity she drowned her children in the nearby river. She later realized what she had done and was cursed to wander the earth forever searching for her children. Some versions say that she drowned her children because she was waiting for her husband who never returned or that she wanted to rid herself of the burden the children caused. Each version warns children to not be out late at night because La Llorna searches each night for her lost children.
La Calle de la Quemada:
This legend despite its title (“the street of the burnt woman”) is not haunting like most legends, but instead tells the love story between Doña Beatriz and Martin Scipoli. Doña Beatriz was the most beautiful girls in her town; she easily charmed all men and had many suitors. Her father constantly pestered her to marry one of the men that loved her but she did not love any of them. One day she met a young Italian by the name of Don Martin Scipoli and they instantly fall in love. Soon the couple reaches turmoil as Don Martin is incredibly jealous and fights with everyman who looks at Beatriz. Doña Beatriz grows fearful that he only loves her for her beauty and decides to create a test. She places a wet handkerchief on her eyes and buries her face in coals becoming incredibly disfigured. Upon seeing her Don Martin does not act disgusted but instead ask her to marry him. They loved each other and neither one ever lived in fear again.
There once was a clothing store in Chihuahua and the owner of the store (Pascuala Esparza) was said to have one of the most beautiful daughters in all of Mexico. Her daughter was soon to be married and on her wedding day tragedy struck, she was bitten by a black widow. Pascuala sunk into a depression and the store was closed for weeks. When the store re-opened everyone was in raptures over a new mannequin placed at the largest window in the store. The mannequin was incredibly beautiful and looked very life like. Soon people began to wonder about the mannequin because its eyes seemed to follow you and sometimes people swore it would come to life by smiling or winking at you. It was said that Pascuala found it difficult to part with her daughter that she preserved her body in the form of a mannequin.
By Ytzel McDaniel