Don Antonio Zepeda: A Story of Four Generations

My mom's version of the La Llorona story

A long time ago in a little town called Tucson lived a BAD women and she lived next to the Santa Cruz river with her three children. She liked to go out at night to the bars and drink and dance and of course she flirted with men. One night she met a handsome man and fell in love with him. She continued to meet him every night, leaving her children alone.

One night the man tells her he has to leave Tucson and wants her to go with him. The only problem was her children. "I'll take you but not your children" he told her. "You must choose them or me. What will it be? I'm leaving at midnight and if you want to go with me meet me here. ALONE". She races home and enters her candle lit frontroom where the children lay sleeping. As the light crosses the childrens faces, she looks at them with love. But "is it enough?" she asks herself. "No, I deserve happiness and I can't lose the man I love."

She holds each child in her arms and kisses them good-bye. They move and ask what she is doing. "Come with me." she says. They are crying but she can't hear them because of the roaring in her ears. They go outside and in the shadow of the river rushing by, she throws her babies to a certain death. She has made her choice.

She runs back to the bar. She looks for her love. It is not quite midnight so where is he? The minutes pass and she drinks a beer and then another. Now he is late. "Hey Poncho, where is my love?" she asks the bartender. "Hey lady, he left with Maria right after you left." No, no her mind tells her and she runs from the bar. She looks in the stable and his horse is gone. She looks in his room and his clothes are gone too. He has gone and she realizes what she has done.

She runs home and starts screaming. The look in her eyes is crazy and she looks like a trapped animal. She takes a knife and plunges it into her heart as she runs to the river. There she dies on the shore and the river runs red with her blood. She awakens and looks at the person waking her. It is God. His eyes blazing he says "You have killed your children and cannot rest or have peace as long as their souls are roaming the Earth. You must return and find your lost babies. You must search for them in the still of the night with only moonlight to guide you." She covers herself from his burning eyes and finds her eyes gone. Just black holes are there now. Her body is draped in white shreads of cobwebs. Her hair is wild and long. She screams a long sorrowful shriek as she plunges downward toward earth. She lands in the mud of the Santa Cruz river and becomes part of the mud. But, as the days ends she rises and begins her search for the souls of her babies. She walks along the water crying "Mis hjos donde esta?" (My babies where are you?) She puts her long bony fingers in the mud lifting each handful and shifting through it, constantly searching. She hears children playing near by, could it be them? She rushes towards the voices, screaming but no it is not them. She opens her robe and puts the children next to her skeleton and they become a part of her.

This she will do for enternity. So my little ones, when the sun goes down you must be in your homes and you must not make loud noises because she might hear you and look in your windows to see if you are her babies. And with this I pass on an old legend that never dies.

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