There is an island south of Mexico City called Isla de las Munecas. This small island would not be unique if not for one strange circumstance: the island is the home of hundreds of creepy dolls hanging on the trees. Some dolls are missing limbs, and some are decapitated or have blank eyes. Why are these disturbing dolls hanging on the trees? Who brought them here? Why here in the middle of the Xochimilco canals, where Mariachi music marvels in the peerless beauty of Aztec civilization.
Julian was a young man. One morning he was working in his yard when he saw something floating on the river. He looked closely and screamed: The floating object was a little girl. She had drowned. He brought the girl’s body to the shore. The girl’s face was unrecognizable. Julian jumped in his boat and started asking people about missing children. He was looking for the dead girl’s family for two days without any success: Nobody knew anything about the dead girl. He buried the girl on the island, close to his house. The next day he found a doll floating in the water at the same place. He picked up the doll and placed it on a nearby tree. That night he dreamed about the drowned girl. She asked him where her doll was. Julian woke up and went to find the doll. It was in the same place where he had left it. He looked closely at the doll and found that the doll’s eyes were missing: instead of sights, there were two hollow spots filled with mud. His blood chilled. He went home and tried to sleep. All night, the doll’s image without eyes appeared and melted in his eyes; the puzzlement of the doll revealed his inability to live peacefully and left him with the lasting feeling that the spirit of the dead girl was there to stay. The next day he placed a handwritten note on the tree: ”I trade food for unwanted dolls.”
People started bringing dishes. He collected and hanged them on the trees everywhere on the island. It didn’t bring him peace. He kept dreaming about the dead girl looking for her doll; the dreadful shadow of inferno hung over him like the sword of Damocles: the only thing that was in his mind was collecting dolls and hanging them on the trees. It became his obsession. He felt his soul belonged to a dead world, and there was no escape. The existential idea of living ceased for him; dreaming and thinking about the dead girl gave him just enough strength to breathe, nothing else.
One day, after many years of collecting dolls, neighbors found Julian’s lifeless body in the same place where he had found the dead girl. He had drowned.