The story is about two siblings who become lost in the forest after looking for firewood. They encounter an old woman who, at first, appears to be a kind and gentle lady. She offers them food and a place to stay. The siblings gladly accept, believing that it is safer to be with her than to be lost and alone. When the siblings turn to go to sleep, the old woman tells the young boy to sleep in a corner. She then tells the other sibling, a strong and healthy girl, to share the bed with her.
The next day, the boy doesn’t see his sister anywhere. He asks the old woman where she is and she tells him that his sister went to get water at the well. The old woman then tells the boy to fetch some water with an old pumpkin. As the boy gets water, a frog speaks to him and tells him that the pumpkin he is using to get water is not a pumpkin at all, but the skull of his sister. The frog warns the boy to run away. And so, the boy listens and runs away to avoid an ugly death.
Creepy? I think so.
In the story, the brother encounters one of the most strange and frightening experiences a young person can imagine: the loss of another sibling. This story is good at delving into moral and emotional issues. The moral lesson told is one of caution. In an American culture, perhaps having an old cannibal woman eat your sister can be a harsh lesson to teach children not to trust strangers; however, truly understanding this story calls for readers to not judge other cultures based on their personal morals. In other words, try not to place your moral opinion into a text or story; rather, enjoy or appreciate the story as it is written, within a different culture. Stepping away from that digression, “La Vieja Diabla” is an interesting tale of horror that can easily be appreciated by fans of that genre. I definitely recommend purchasing this book of legends simply because one can learn much about different cultures from across the Americas.
¡PSST! ©2016 The Black Lion Journal