La Llorona

Photo by Raúl Arturo Fernández Vega.

La Llorona, (pronounced “la yoh doh nah”), the Crying Woman, the Weeping Woman, is a supernatural entity who hunts the waters, the rivers, the ditches, the canals, and sometimes even the dry washes of the foothills.

What does she hunt?

The better question is who does she hunt?

La Lorona hunts her children, and if you happen to encounter her as she hunts, your destruction is assured.

First you hear her unearthly keen.

Is she calling for her children?

Then comes terror.

Then you see her, a horrid hag in a white wedding dress whose anger ends in death, your death.

This miserable wandering spirit’s punishment for her unprecedented crime is that she may not leave the earth plane until she finds the children she drowned.

Yes. She drowned her own children.

Legend says La Llorona, said to have been named Maria, was a beautiful woman whose one wish in life was to marry a rich and handsome man with whom she could live in comfort and start a family.

There are as many versions of the story as there are groups who tell it, with the tale spanning the Southwestern United States to Mexico, and some say as far as Venenzuela.

I first heard the story in New Mexico.


Central, N. M., now called Santa Clara, is a tiny village near Silver City where I lived while in the fourth grade.

More than one adolescent told me basically the traditional La Llorona story but with a twist.

Near my home was a ramshackle deserted house that was known to be La Llorona’s lair.

It was a small house, a shack really, maybe one room.

The battered and rotted walls emanated a sinister vibe, especially at dusk, when the house appeared blacker than black, if that is possible.

The neighborhood kids told me that if I watched at night, I might catch a glimpse of La Llorona.

They dared me to enter the house.

I would not survive the visit, they assured me, and my death would be horrible.

Nobody in my family believed in La Llorona, yet, that house haunted me.

I wouldn’t walk down that street at night.

It doesn’t matter whose version you believe, the core of the La Llorona story is the same.

It’s the details that change.


For example, my hometown, Carlsbad, N.M., in Southeastern New Mexico, has several variants of the horror story.

Through Carlsbad flows the deep green Pecos River making its way to the ocean.

The area is prime hunting grounds for a vengeful spirit who haunts waterways, and the terrain provides fodder for tales of La Llorona sightings and encounters.

Among about 10 teenage boys who camped a night near the river were La Llorona believers so nervous the scream of a wounded rabbit sent them scrambling for the safety of the vehicles.

Their fear extended to the farm fields ringed in irrigation ditches and to the foothills where dry riverbeds could become raging flash floods with no warning.

As years pass, fewer people believe the story of La Llorona, or have heard it, especially the city folks who have lost touch with the supernatural.

Aztec Beginnings

Yet the story has survived since the 1570s, dating back to the Aztecs, Mexico’s pyramid culture of fierce poet warriors, unmatched artisans, mathematicians, astronomers and human sacrifice.

The Aztec La Llorona story features Cihuacoatl , who walked the streets weeping and calling out for her children.

The excellent photo above by Raúl Arturo Fernández Vega is how I picture the Aztec La Llorona, who one story claims stole a small boy from his cradle and ate him.

While her appearance has changed over the ages, from Aztec finery to the white wedding dress, how does such a story survive?


Perhaps it is magic that trapped La Llorona in the spirit world, and at least once a generation, her haunting cycle begins again.

Maybe La Llorona lives forever.

Someday, ages from now, a shaman of some distant culture will relate to frightened children a story of a menacing crying woman heard in the night.

The La Llorona story has been successfully used for many years to frighten children against straying too far and into behaving.

Do your chores or La Llorona will get you, parents throughout the years have told their children.

Maybe the power of that threat is the magic that explains the story’s longevity.

Coming soon: The La Llorona story as told to me.

David Madrid

Contact: David Madrid

Photo above: Each year in the Xochimilco borough of Mexico City, people celebrate La Llorona with performances. Photo by Raúl Arturo Fernández Vega. Shared to Wikimedia Commons with a Creative Commons License.

Also a special thank you to  Stephen Winick, whose article “La Llorona: Roots, Branches, and the Missing Link from Spain” provided detailed research of the Aztec La Llorona.

Happy New Year 2022

It’s a new year, and we all hope it will be a happy New Year.

We can do our part to make it so.

It really is quite simple.

We just need to love one another.

Here in the U.S. we have a right to the pursuit of happiness.

I believe that right extends to the whole world.

It is our birthright to be happy, all of us.

But happiness takes work.

We cannot be happy when we have malice in our hearts toward our neighbor our brothers and sisters.

Why, when we attend sporting events, are we all one tribe with those who share our colors?

We love one another as if family.

When we play sports, the teams reflect the great melting pot that is the promise of America.

The players’ families and fans enjoy the game together, joined by the brotherhood of athletics.

So what happens when we leave these sports’ venues that changes our hearts?

We leave the contest and we go back to judging and harboring preconceived notions about how those different than us live and their motivations in life.

It is easy to deceive ourselves that they are different, whoever they may be.

We are not different where it matters.

We all want to pursue happiness.

That means each of us must work to rid our hearts of bile and fill them with love for one another.

I know it is hard work, but the reward is happiness.

Inside, your soul yearns for camaraderie and love.

Your soul is the soul of a fan.

David Madrid

Contact: David Madrid

© 2022

Rastas Boodrow’s christmas Plan

The story must be told

Of the mischief of Rastas Boodrow.

A mathematical-minded boy,

 Rastas wanted one Christmas toy.

Not just any plain old thing;

Santa knew what to bring.

But would St. Nick come through?

It was then Rastas knew.

Santa must be convinced

To overlook Rastas’ sins.

So here is the tale

Of a plan bound to fail.

Read all about it here: Rastas Boodrow: A Christmas Story

David Madrid

Contact: David Madrid

© 2021

Christmas: memory and unsung heroes

The Christmas season, also known as the Holidays, is upon us.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Some of my favorite memories are anticipating Christmas morning to see what Santa brought.

One Christmas Eve, when I was about 5, I tried to stay awake.

I wanted to see Santa, so I listened for the sound of reindeer on the roof, but the next thing I knew I woke up.

It was early Christmas morning, about 4 a.m.

My room glowed.

I looked out my window, and everything was white.

Big silent snowflakes fell.

The light was like a full moon’s, but different.

The ground was the light.

It was my only white Christmas and the first time I remember seeing snow.

I ran to the Christmas tree.

There, waiting for me, was a red bicycle.

It was the most beautiful thing I had seen, and riding it in the snow was a pleasure I will never forget.

Throughout my childhood years, I received gifts from the jolly old elf, but no Christmas topped the snowy night of the red bike.

Unsung Heroes

We assume Santa will always come, but we don’t consider the effort of those who toil in the North Pole to make children everywhere happy.

Santa Claus, of course, gets most the credit, but there are reindeer, elves, and at times, other creatures of the North Pole, who pitch in to make Christmas successful.

And who looks after everybody?

Why Mrs. Claus, that’s who.

She is an unsung hero, but she doesn’t mind, because Mrs. Claus is a humble and loving spirit who shuns attention from the outside world.

Her first name is in dispute; it is either Jessica, Gertrude, Margaret or Carol, depending on who you believe.

Mrs. Claus herself will tell you her name is Mary Christmas.

What a sense of humor.

While her dear husband St. Nick pulls off magic one December night, year after year, Mrs Claus plans all year, and then coordinates Santa’s long Christmas ride.

There are other unsung heroes that you never hear about.

Which brings me to my story: Rufus the Snot-Nosed Reindeer.

I wrote this Christmas story in 2009.

I wrote it for you.

In 2010, I wrote a follow-up story: Rufus the Snot-Nosed Reindeer: The Reckoning.

These stories show how Christmas can be a challenge for those who work behind the scenes to deliver an annual miracle.

Enjoy the stories.

Contact: David Madrid

© 2021

Happy Thanksgiving 2021

Today is a day of thankfulness and family.

Thanksgiving is designed for gratitude.

It was a time to be with your family.

Unless you work for a retail company that forces you to work on Thanksgiving.

That has ruined the holiday for so many workers.

Thanksgiving was not designed for shopping.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, was created for people to compete to see who can blow the most money.

I call it chaos shopping.

Anyway, I digress.

I thank everyone who reads my stories.

I am a storyteller who uses this website to feed my creative appetite, to stretch my imagination, and to share my stories.

It is as if infinite stories within me are vying to come out.

About the drawings with no names attached to them.

You may say they are juvenile-level art, and you would be correct.

You see, when I was 11 years old, I stood outside my house and watched the full moon.

It was cold, but not that bitter cold that hurts.

It was a clean cold that clears your lungs with each breath.

That beautiful moonlit night, I said to myself: “Always remember this night when you were 11. Mark it well.”

So to mark the night, I stood there in my driveway and basked in the moonlight for about an hour.

What does that have to do with the drawings?

The drawings are created by the 11-year-old boy who lives within me.

That night, when I was 11, was magic.

I felt truly thankful for my life, the Earth, the Moon and even the cold.

When I need a drawing, I go back to that night, and become the 11-year-old me.

The more the 11-year-old draws, the better he gets.

I am thankful for the magic in my life.

There is magic in the night under the moon.

Find your inner child, and you will find your own magic.

The End

© 2021

Contact: David Madrid

To read a Thanksgiving story, go to: Gilbert the Dancing Hummingbird 

Street Fighter

For my first story of 2021, I present Nano: The Pure Warrior.

It is a story about a street fighter.

This story is part of my local history in the 1960s and ’70s.

I did not write this story to glorify violence; I often post stories and blog about the days of my youth.

I write to entertain, but also to document how things were when I was growing up.

It is important to know history, and I want young people to understand how we, the Baby Boomers, were shaped.

My generation spent a lot of time outside, and while outside, you met a lot of people, and you were in the grapevine; you heard the gossip.

So you knew some kids purely by reputation.

By far the most compelling reputations were those of the street fighters.

Kids were interested in who fought who, and who beat who.

The toughest fighters reached local-legend status.

These guys liked to fight, and they were good at it, and when the toughest guys met in combat, the grapevine buzzed.

This story is about one of those legends: Nano: The Pure Warrior.

Some fighters were mean and liked to inflict pain; those were the bullies you avoided.

Some were cocky and walked around with chips on their shoulders.

They wanted to fight, unless someone tougher came along, then the chips were tucked away.

The dangerous fighters were the regular guys.

Nice guys who got along just fine not fighting, until the fight came to them, and then suddenly they were honey badgers on the attack.

Nano was one of those legends who welcomed a competitive rumble.

There were plenty opponents; a fighter’s reputation was enough to elicit challenges from testosterone-soaked toughs.

Nano was my friend.

Read Nano: The Pure Warrior, a poem dedicated to my friend.

The End

By David Madrid

Contact: David Madrid

© 2021

Merry Christmas 2020

Merry Christmas.

Now some of you may look at the date of this post and say, “Hey. You missed Christmas. It was a day ago.”

In my defense, I was celebrating Christmas, so I wasn’t able to be here yesterday.

But never mind that. I’m here today. Christmas doesn’t end on Christmas Day.

No, beginning now, as we enter 2021, we must live our lives with Christmas in our hearts.

I am not excluding my friends of different faiths or of no faith.

I include you, because Christmas, the true Christmas spirit, is one of love, peace and goodwill to all mankind.

We must carry that, the true hope of Christmas, into our new year regardless of what we believe.

My wish for you and your loved ones: love, peace and goodwill.

As always, also offers you Christmas stories.

The End

By David Madrid

Contact: David Madrid

© 2020

Happy Thanksgiving 2020 wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving.

This year I am thankful for many things, and by many things I mean stories.

I am thankful that I can share my stories through

I am thankful for stories in all their many forms: those passed down verbally through generations, newspaper articles, new stories, old stories, short stories, books, movies, television, true stories, fiction, fables.

Songs. The great storyteller songwriters. Willie Nelson. Johnny Cash. Dolly Parton. Sade. Bruce Springsteen. So many more.

I am thankful for the imagination of a child telling the first story. The recollections of an older couple at the Thanksgiving table.

Even gossip, that nasty habit, is the telling of stories.

I am thankful for the great works: The Bible. The timeless classics. The Outsiders. The Trilogy of the Rings.

The great story tellers: Charles Dickens. Stephen King. George Orwell. J.K. Rowling. There are too many to list here.

It is the story that sustains us.

The stories, regardless of genre, that reflect our world, our lives.

They are stories made of stardust.

So with great thankfulness and humility, offers you a Thanksgiving story: Gilbert the Dancing Hummingbird.


By David Madrid

Contact: David Madrid

© 2020

A Horse’s Tale

A Wild Ride Up 14th Street” is a true story that has been embellished for your entertainment. What is true and what is exaggerated is up to you to decide.

The setting is a simpler time, a time of no cell phones, when mothers sent kids out to play and didn’t worry about them once they were out the door.

It was a time of no pandemics, a time when freedom was a way of life, and kids were afforded the opportunity to learn freedom’s lessons.

This story isn’t so much about lessons learned — though lessons were learned — as it is about adventure and heroics on 14th Street.

Enjoy “A Wild Ride Up 14th Street“, a piece of untold history.

By David Madrid

Contact: David Madrid

© 2020

The Jaguar King

The jaguar

King of the jungle

A cat fierce and strong

Rules the trees and land

At the apex of the food chain

With crushing bite he feeds

All is his domain


The anaconda

A giant more fish than reptile

Some say

Rules the Amazon shallows

The swamps, the rivers, underbrush

His creed is ambush

Squeeze, drown and swallow


The tapir

Grazes unworried

Thoughts are miles away

Yet danger is all around

The rotund herbivore

(So think the jaguar and the snake)

Is prey and nothing more


The jungle

The all-knowing great equalizer

Rules both flora and fauna

It is the domain

When the rain forest decrees

Prey becomes hunter

Hunter becomes meat


The anaconda

Declares himself king

The jungle sighs

And all is lost for the beast

The serpent meets its fate

Snake becomes chum

Piranhas feast

By David Madrid

Contact: David Madrid

© 2020

The “Jaguar King” is a poem about a fable titledKing of the Junglewritten in 2016. The fable’s teaches a moral that should be heeded today. Read King of the Jungle.