Myths for Monday -- Madre del Río

Today's myth is common in the Department of Antioquia. It is the Madre del Río (Mother of the River). It is associated with the rivers in Antioquia.

The Madre del Río is a beautiful young woman. Her gaze is hypnotic and her beauty nymph-like. Her only unusual quality is that her feet face backward so that anyone who might try to follow her will go in the wrong direction.

As the legend goes, she was once the beautiful, young daughter of a wealthy, Spanish family. She had golden hair and big, blue eyes. She fell in love with a local Indian. Together, they had a son. When the girl's father became aware of the relationship and the child, he became enraged. He killed the man and threw the baby into the river. In desperation, the girl jumped into the river and drown. However, this act changed her into a River God -- the Madre del Río.

Once changed into the Madre del Río, she became embittered and vengeful. She began to pursue children, calling them with a sweet voice. Children who heard her, would become crazy and would begin to dream about the beautiful, blonde haired woman. In their dreams, the woman calls to them and speaks sweetly to them. Then, when the children come close to the river, they hear the voice of the woman and jump into the river.

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