La Llorona, or the Weeping Woman, is the frightening figure of a heartbroken woman who drowned her children and haunts the night, especially by riversides. Her story is repeated to children throughout Latin America, with numerous versions circulating throughout Mexico and the American Southwest. She has been identified as the Aztec goddess Coatlicue, who, according to one legend, was heard weeping for her Aztec children on the eve of the Spanish conquest. Some identify her as the damned ghost of a poor woman from Ciudad Juárez, who stabbed her children and disposed of them in the Rio Grande in order to win the affection of a wealthy man. According to another legend, La Llorona is actually La Malinche, the crucial interpreter and lover of Hernán Cortés. After the fall of the Aztec capital, and having borne Cortés's first son, La Malinche was replaced by Cortés's first wife (who had been awaiting him in Cuba) and was hastily married off to one of his Spanish companions. La Malinche and La Llorona, whether considered as overlapping or totally separate figures, reappear frequently in Mexican popular culture, north and south of the border.
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