MFtS – The Curandera

“From her small balcony, the witch watched her world go by.”

That is what the children of the neighborhood called her and yes, even some of their parents. Was she a witch? No, she was curandera. (kur'-an-der'a) A curandera is a healer, NOT a witch.

Every week Maria goes to the hills outside of town and chooses her medicinal plants carefully. Her grandmother had taught her about plants. She knew very well which plant helps which ailments. Some of her medicinal plants she grew herself, but others she had to go to the hills and find.

Mrs. Caringer came to her breaking point of frustration. She wanted to get pregnant and it just wasn't happening for her. Finally, out of frustration, she came to see Maria. Maria made her a delicious tea and gave her some of the herbs to take home with her, telling her to continue drinking this tea until “the seed was planted.” Two months later, Mrs. Caringer was pregnant. Now, she and Maria are the best of friends and her neighborhood accepts her lovingly as a “cuindera” and not a witch.

(174)

Thank you to Barbara Beacham for providing us with the prompt photo, the first sentence of our stories, and approximately 150 words with which we are to build our stories with. She is the kind host of Mondays Finish the Story challenge. I wish her complete healing from her cancer as she embarks upon her treatment journey. (Many hugs and well wishes Barb!) And thank you for hosting this challenge.

My story is based on “curanderas” of the southwest, in particular, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. There is a wonderful book about curanderas titled, “Bless Me Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya (a New Mexico native). I highly recommend reading this wonderful book.

Mondays Finish the Story Challenge is open to all who would like to participate. To learn more about this challenge and/or to join in, click here.

To read all the fantastic stories submitted for this challenge, click on the blue froggy button below:

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109 thoughts on “MFtS – The Curandera

  1. When I saw the word “curandera”, I immediately thought of Bless Me Ultima which I read twice in high school (the perks of moving to three different places in high school) πŸ™‚ So I had a hunch there’ll be a reference in there somewhere and there is. Nice story, I really enjoyed it.

  2. A lot of the women who were burnt as witches in the Middle Ages were healers, too. Honestly, I don’t know how making people better means you’re in league with the devil… I’m glad there’s a happy ending for your healer πŸ™‚

    • That is what I understand, that a lot of the ladies during the Salem witch hunt were healers. That is so sad, that whole thing is sad. So many innocent lives taken. As far as I’m concerned it was all nothing but a bunch of vicious gossip.

  3. One is quick to judge what one does not understand, but is more than wiling to accept if own interests can be benefited. A very good and interesting story.

  4. I’ve never heard of the curandera but women healers have been denounced as witches many times in European history. It’s sad when any such prejudice exists. I’m glad Maria managed to find friendship and acceptance. πŸ™‚

  5. That’s such a nice story! And informative too as I didn’t know about Curendara. There are people who connect to nature, or are sensitive to para-normal and other worldly things. But they are judged harshly for being different.

  6. Ah great switch here …sounds like she was a shaman and herbalist:) interesting if she were a man she may have been called a healer or someone with a gift. Thankfully we are more open to this. I really enjoyed this story. I am finding such great writing for this prompt…so many inspirational stories.

    • Thank you so much Oliana! I agree. If it were a man many years ago, he would have been called a healer or possibly even a doctor whereas women were considered witches. Thank you for your wonderful comment!

  7. I love the way you tell that “witches” are not always those nasty creatures who want to cut out your hear or use your blood for magic. These healers are in many ways important to us because they use natural substances to help fix the ailment. Glad they became friends and that the rest of the town accepted her as a good woman.

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