7 - Phantoms
In this version of the weeping woman, a greedy man meets the cold and vengeful embrace of a mysterious lady. In the afterword, we explore the origins of this woman, and we finalize with one more story by the New Mexican storyteller Angel Vigil.
1. Mexican American Literature, published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
2. Cuentos y Leyendas de Guatemala por Francisco Barnoya Gálvez. Publicado por Piedra Santa Editorial.
Visit Angel's website: www.angelvigil.com
The Weeping Woman - La Llorona
Retold by Carolina Quiroga-Stultz
One afternoon, the horseman Don Silvio Carranza y Gongora was heading towards his finca, his ranch. When he stopped to contemplate the crystalline, and calming waters of the Rio María-linda. While absorbed in the weary reflections of his tormented soul; from the corner of his eye, he spotted something unusual. A woman sitting by the river shore, looking all fragile, and lonely. Que pesar. A melancholic halo seemed to surround her, giving to the scene a touch of agony. As she slowly combs her long, and wavy black hair, the lady weeps, and sobs. Que pesar.
At first, Don Silvio took her for a vision. It could be the shadows cast by the sunset. In truth, he was getting old. Day after day, the awareness of his own mortality had become a frightful reminder. An admonition that sooner than later he would be called. To confront the sinful turn he gave to his own existence. For the life of that drunkard that he greedily had taken, and replaced.
His horse's ears pricked forward. The beast was unsettled. Don Silvio took that as a projection of his own fearful reflections. Or perhaps the animal was tired, they had been riding for a while. Regarding the life he had replaced four decades ago, one thing was clear, no one had missed Silvio the drunkard. But they all had celebrated the miraculous return, and sudden change of the new, and sober Don Silvio. Si parece un hombre nuevo! A new man!
Taking on the new identity had been easy. The drunkard was in bad shape when they met. It did not take him long to get the poor bastard to confess his life. The chances to pursue the fraud improved by the discovery that many had not seen the prodigal Silvio in years. The father's drunkard couldn't tell the difference. He had cataracts, and hard hearing. The dying progenitor only wanted company. As for the brothers, one had died in the revolution, and the other, gone.
For an instant, the lady's sobs brought him back to the present. Ay de mi! A present this Silvio, the impostor had forged for himself. An opportunity not served on a silver platter. As it had been for the real Don Silvio, the stupid drunkard. That bloody bastard that could not stop crying for the death of his love. Not even when fully intoxicated with rum, his executioner choked him. The victim sighted. Ay de mi! Was it relief? A last-second Epiphany? Or Remorse? Who knows...But if this weeping lady was heartbroken too, oh! This Silvio, certainly, knew the remedy.
It is uncertain if it was pity or carnal curiosity what made his right foot spurred his reluctant horse. Yet the animal refused to move forward. Don Silvio dismounted the animal, and tied him up to the nearest tree, but the animal pulled, and neighed. Fine! Estupido animal, go back to the Rancho, I can walk after the deed is done. It could help clear my mind.
Despite the usurper's luck over the years. Recently, the man who had been living the life of a dead man had begun to fear the end of it. His pact with the master of deceits was in exchange for wealth. Not for eternal youth or immortality. More and more, the impostor had been expecting his judgment to be delivered. Lately, he had envisioned his tormentor to come stumbling down the path. Smelling like rum, shouting his real name to the four winds: Segundo! ?Por qué lo hiciste? Why?
That is why the pitiable cry of that woman never raised a suspicion. Ay de mi! The old man closed his eyes. The doctor had recommended to do it when his eyesight had gotten tired. He sighted before open them up again. His tired mind could be showing him giants instead of windmills. But no, the damsel was no angel of justice, no devil collector of past debts. It was just a woman. In need.
Then why did he hear a distant voice in the back of his head, hurrying him to go on his way? Were any angels or ancestors still looking out for him? The older you get the more you believe in that stuff. In the past, he would have called that voice an old dog's instincts. As he walked towards the woman, Don Silvio began to feel the excitement. Tingling up from toes to waist. From hands to brain. It was a sensation, almost forgotten. Not that he did not visit, with regularity, the brothel. But the models had grown old. A game with no excitement. But, this was new! Oh, what a refreshing feeling! All he can think of was: A woman should never be alone! Una mujer siempre necesita a un hombre!
Using his most gallant tone, so the prey would not be spooked he said: Bella Dama, ?Qué es lo que haceis aqui? All alone, may I be of your service? Puedo ser su pañuelo, What upsets those beautiful eyes?
The mysterious damsel silently stood up. Revealing her tall seductive figure through that almost translucent white dress. A Greek goddess. Pale and ethereal. Slowly she raised up her right index touching her mouth, Shh! Tilted her head to one side. One last tear rolled down her cold cheek. A tiny grin suggested a sensual invitation. Making those voluptuous lips appeal even more generous.
Don Silvio felt he was all she had been waiting for. But then, she turned, and walked away down the river. From time to time looking back, curiously scanning her devotee. Vamos.
The owls called the night. A silent mob of witnesses. The afternoon winds blew loudly denouncing that all mortal debts are always paid. The lady turned around, and began to walk backwards. You could almost hear the grass weeping under her vengeful steps. El viento sopla. The wind's hallow breath plays with her hair locks. They are like tentacles, inviting hands that longed to be held by him.
Don Silvio ran to embrace her. A giggle came out of that old carcass. Linda! He felt young again. But as he approaches, she seems farther away. This goddess seems unaware or careless of the dangers behind. The game of seduction is like an old grieve. Painfully rooted to her medulla, to pleasing to let go.
The shadows of a concealing sunset handed to the night the baton of deceit. As the river turns, the woman does too. Was she following the river? Or was she commanding a river of souls to flow by her? The sloshing, and gurgling waters began to murmur a different tone. Las aguas devuelven lo perdido. The river is gushing. Like an accomplice, that can't hold a merciless laugh.
Was it that? Or was it a waterfall surging, and plunging down the mountain. It had to be, it was getting cold. Oh! He had to warn her. This silly game could had a fatal end. He screamed over the noisy waters. Cuidado! The lady of his dream tilted her head, and smiled. Of course, she could not hear him. The woman took another small step back towards the abyss. His desire increased. He had to save her and later possess her.
He ran towards her, to pull her out of danger. To be her champion. As his strong heroic arms quickly grabbed her, her cold body welcomed him. Oh! What a comforting reward. He smelled her neck, feeling drunk with lust. His blood feels intoxicated with passion. He longs to be consumed. She agrees. Her long wavy black hair embraces him like a cage. He wants to be her prisoner. He is short of breath, this is such an exotic new excitement. She laughs. They are one. Oh! Until he opens his eyes, and realizes he's only holding on to thin air. Ay de mi!
The sudden disappearance, and later discovery of Don Silvio's bloated body, floating down the river can only be explained by the awful, and frightening grimace on his face. A man looking like that surely met La Llorona, The Weeping Woman. What else could it be?
Very well let’s talk about La llorona. In the book Mexican American Literature, published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, those who have researched about the legend of this woman disagree on a specific origin. But they do agree that it seems to be a combination of a European, and a Mexican Indian legend.
La llorona has been traced to the Greek Medea myth. Others have found similarities with a legendary European story called “women in white”; who apparently used to disguise themselves, and white to be able to go out during the night freely, without being bothered.
The most common version revolves around an Indian or a native woman who is betrayed by her husband; which in many stories the husband is rich, wealthy, or comes from a different part of the world, and in some cases he’s Spaniard or Spanish; and in many versions (the husband) had another lady waiting for him, who of course was wealthy, same classes as him, but then when he comes to the new continent, he meets La llorona, the weeping woman.
When she finds out about his original intention, which was to always marry the first lady, the woman who had already had children with him goes crazy, she can’t stand that, she stop him from moving on with his life, and here is when she decides to drown her children, and soon after she dies in remorse.
Thus, her restless spirit appears to mostly men, and she’s usually seen around lakes or rivers where the drowning took place. She is often dressed in a flowing white dress, and she is weeping or wailing, grieving the loss of her children.
In some stories due to her crime she meets the devil, who enlists her in his rank, and sends her back to punish men with evil intentions or men that had had some business with the devil before, and now is time to collect that debt. So, she comes and traps them or trick them to follow her into their own deaths.
However, whatever the reason is she comes to this world to grieve or to pass some sort of judgment, this story is a cautionary tale to keep wondering man, and children at home.
A story by Angel Vigil
Very well dear listeners, Tres Cuentos warns you to make sure that your children are home before the sunsets. In our next episode of legendary Latin American phantoms, we will meet a young man that tried to play a prank on his drunk father but the tables were turned on him, in a rather tragic, and sinister way.
Until the next Cuento, adios, adios.
Day of Reckon
A turn for worse - Kevin McLeod
Air Prelude – Kevin McLeod
Forest of fear -Aakash Gandhi
Waltz to Death – Sir Cubworth
Intermission_Tenebrous_Brothers_Carnival – Kevin McLeod
The Angels Weep - Audionautix