This story originated from Hispanic American folk lore. Various names refer to La Llorona, “The Wailing Woman,” or “the Cryer.” It is about a legend on a woman who killed her children and husband by drowning them. She was unable to move on and, therefore, remained mourning their deaths for eternity. It is believed she roams Latin America as a ghost. There are various stories doing rounds on this legend.

Since the 16th century, the weeping woman legend has been part of the Hispanic culture. Over the years, several names for the tale developed, such as a woman in white. It is still not clear the origin of the legend.

The story of the wailing woman

The story is based on a young woman called Maria. Maria was a beautiful woman who came from a humble background and was well known in the village. There was once a wealthy nobleman who was traveling and passed by their town. He happened to see her and stopped in his tracks as he had never met such a beautiful woman. He then promised himself he must marry her. He charmed his way to Maria’s heart. When he proposed, she said yes.

They then got married and were blessed with two kids. As time passed by, the nobleman continued with his travels and was home less and less. Whenever he was home, he mostly concentrated on his children and neglected his wife. She noticed that he was less interested in her as she was getting old.

After one of his travels, he returned with a young woman, bid his children goodbye, and did not speak to Maria. Enraged and hurt, she took the two children to the river and drowned them. She later came to her senses and regretted what she had done. She then looked for them, but they had already been washed away by the water.

After a while, the husband was back asking for the children. She wept as she informed him of what she had done. He was angry and demanded she finds the children if she wanted to be with him. In desperation and sorrow, Maria drowned herself and spent an eternity looking for her children while weeping. According to the tale, if you hear her cry run the other way or death and bad luck may follow suit.


The wailing woman’s story intent is to prevent married men from straying in their marriages and encourage them to take care of their wives. It was also told to children to scare them from being outside too late