SHADOWS STIRRED, ROCKED against walls with mystery in the glow of the kerosene lanterns. The old woman named Sofia Medina swayed back and forth in the rocking chair, while children through eyes of wonder gazed upon her listening to her tales of La Llorona. The rocking chair creaked, heightening their imaginations to new levels of bewilderment. She spoke both in Spanish and broken English when she felt the children did not understand the native tongue. She always interpreted her Spanish when it came to the children.
It was August in the summer of 1900 in Agua Serena, a peaceful community of twenty homes and families. The village was located in southwestern Colorado setting at the base of Mt. Serena where meadows and woods were plentiful. A creek flowed near the village in the woods. Sofia’s home was situated at the base of the mountain next to a chapel on the outskirts of the village with a few other houses. Other homes were on the other side of the chapel. A short distance from her the main road into the community was opposite end of the village to Sofia. The setting sun brought bizarre, vivid shadows out of the wood work.
In awe the children scanned the room, shifting positions moving closer to each other with no concern of concealing their fears. Through opened windows and doors an owl’s call carried through the evening air. Its eyes glowed mysteriously through tree branches as though it too gazed upon the old woman, seeming to be entrapped by her tales.
In the distance a coyote’s howl seemed to roam the night in all directions. Nature, too, had her say. Her wild calls echoed through the mountain side down into the valleys and meadows. The full moon peered through branches and shrubs causing shadows to stir in the woods around them. The old woman told her tale.
“When I was a very young girl we lived in Agua Serena (Serene Water). Papi, Mamá, me and my little brother Eduardo. It was on a summer night much like tonight when we first heard La Llorona. Papi was not home that night. He’d gone on a hunting trip with some of my uncles and other men from the village. Agua Serena was not so small back then like it is now. There were many families who had settled there. Everybody knew everyone. We were all neighbors and good friends. We all knew of La Llorona. Some in the village had heard her before. Others claimed to have seen her.”
“What did she look like?” one of the children asked.
The child’s name was Sarah. She called the old woman “Gramma.” All the children did. Her eyes were like saucers, filled with awe.
“Mi hija.” (My child) Sofia said. “No one who has seen La Llorona has ever lived to tell about it. That’s how I know those around here who claimed to have seen her are telling stories.”
“Did they say what she looked like?” a boy asked. His name was Patricio.
“Some say she is very beautiful. Others say she is the most horrible sight they’ve ever seen. Who knows? Let’s just hope none of you ever see her.”
“Where did she come from?” Sarah asked.
“Nobody knows for sure. Some say from a small village in Mexico. Now, let me get back to my story. Me and Eduardo had just gone out to the hen house closing up the chickens for the night in the coops. The sun was going down. Papi and Mamá would never let us out after the sun went down unless they were with us. Mamá was inside cooking dinner. We heard her calling us from the kitchen window, but we were playing with the baby chicks and didn’t want to go in yet. We could tell Mamá was getting angry when she stepped out into the porch calling for us. She told us we would get a spanking if we didn’t come into the house right away. We laughed and hid from her.