La Llorona is the legend of a woman who has lost her children, and who can be heard, and sometimes seen, weeping in the night. La Llorona (the name means “She who weeps” in Spanish) is in most stories said to be Mexican, although sometimes she is a woman who lived in the American Southwest.
The woman has lost her children, usually because she herself has killed them because she wants to marry a man who doesn’t want any children. She is so anguished over the depressing circumstances that she kills herself as well, and is thus doomed forever to roam her native land, weeping and wringing her hands. Sometimes she is said to be searching for her children, and sometimes she is said to appear only as a warning to those who see her.
In the Southwest, she drowned her children in the acequia (irrigation ditch,) and now she roams the ditches looking for her, or any, children. Usually the story is told with the intentions of keeping kiddies away from the ditches, so they won’t drown.
Around Mexico City in 1550 according to legend, an Indian princess called Xochitl fell in love with a Mexican nobleman. The nobleman promised to marry her, but betrayed her with another woman. The ultimate result of this treachery is that the princess murdered her children in a fit of rage, with a knife given to her by the nobleman. Afterwards, she wandered the streets crying for her children, and was eventually hanged for her sins. Since then her ghost has been searching for her children.