"It was around this time of year - the beginning of February." Sadie sat on a tall stool in her tack room drinking her brother’s good scotch. Her friend Cat was folding clean horse blankets and towels. She’d heard the story before.
"I thought it was Halloween."
"No, it was mid-winter - Candlemas is what the Church calls it. THIS time of year. Mid-way between winter and spring. This whole week the veil between worlds is thin."
"So Groundhog Day and the Superbowl are pagan holidays?" Cat snapped a clean towel and Sadie ignored her.
"That’s when IT happened. That’s when SHE usually makes an appearance."
"Are you so superstitious that you won’t say her name?"
Sadie swiveled on the stool to face Cat. "If the whole thing is fiction like you say, what does it matter? No one says her name because no one remembers her real name. They call her the other thing. I don’t call her that."
"La Llorona. La Llorona. La Llorona. La Llorona. It rolls off the tongue when you say it fast, doesn’t it?" This came from a dark corner along with a large exhalation of smoke.
Sadie went on. "She was driven to madness, probably because of a man, and killed her children. Drowned them in an irrigation ditch or the river. Then she killed herself. Her ghost walks around crying and moaning and snatching-up children to drown them."
"They died of hypothermia. She didn’t kill them." Chocky coughed softly and continued.
"They fell in the water. It was 1949 and that big drain along the river had just been redone. Two of her three children rolled down the steep bank into the water. She fell going after them - hit her head on a stump. The water was shallow but cold." He paused to light his pipe.
"The third child ran for help and lived to tell the true story. But they were gone when the villagers found the place they’d fallen. The bodies were so far downstream no one knew who they were or where they were from. They were buried in a potters’ field outside the churchyard. That’s why she’s nameless."
"The tale is much older than 1949. It’s in a history book I have from the thirties," Sadie snorted.
"That’s a book of folklore, Sadie, not history." Cat had studied nearly everything written about the ranch. "It was by your Aunt who used it later to promote the dance school and restaurant."
"That doesn't mean it isn't true!"