Salvadoran Mythology: La Siguanaba

“La Siguanaba” by Fran J. Velasco (2020)

Because it’s October, my favorite month 🎃 I wanted to share a series of posts about scary folktales from El Salvador that you might not be familiar with. Today it’s La Siguanaba. (Slide to see several imagined portraits; images not mine.)

💀La Siguanaba stalks the countryside of El Salvador, appearing at night to travelers (usually unfaithful men) who happen to come near a body of water. Hers is the power of deceptive beauty: she appears in the nude to her victims as intensely, irresistibly radiant until she shows you her true appearance: chicken’s feet, a horse’s head (or some other hideous combination), and huge, deformed breasts which she beats against stones to terrify her victims.

📜The most common version of the story goes that La Siguanaba’s original name was Sihuehuet, meaning “beautiful woman.” Sihuehuet was a peasant woman whose beauty was so boundless that she was capable of seducing the gods themselves, including the lord of the storm, Tlaloc. Sihuehuet eventually became pregnant with Tlaloc’s child, who would be named Cipitio (subject of another post). Legend has it that Sihuehuet neglected her child so much that Tlaloc condemned her to roam the Earth for eternity and cursed her with the name Siguanaba, which means “hideous woman.”

👹👺Our cultures are filled with all kinds of mythical creatures, legendary beasts and stories to make your hair curl on end. In my case, it was my grandparents who would share stories of their encounters with the supernatural. So please, no matter where you’re from, remember to #KeepYourMonstersAlive so that we can pass our stories on to younger generations.

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