One version of the story tells of a young woman who wants to attract the man of her dreams but can’t because she has children. After she drowns her children the man rejects her anyway. Horrified by what she has done, La Llorona kills herself. She spends the rest of eternity searching the river for her children.
People tell many variations of the story. In one, the man is the children’s father who leaves La Llorona for a rich woman. In the version told in Honduras, the children drown when the woman is doing laundry and not paying attention to her kids. This horrible fear, shared by many parents, is terrifying if perhaps a little less romantic.