According to the author himself, Gabriel Garcia Marquez was just 16 years old when he witnessed an encounter between an 11-year-old prostitute and her grandmother. Many decades later that prostitute would age by a few years and become the 14-year-old titular protagonist of his novella The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Eréndira and Her Heartless Grandmother.
The story was published in 1972, but Erendira and her grandmother made their first appearance in Marquez’s highly esteemed 1967 novel 100 Years of Solitude. The heartless grandmother forces young Erendira into prostitution as a way of paying back the debt the young girl incurred as a result of accidentally setting fire to their home. Upon the conflagration, the young girl and grandmother set off upon the road as vagrants and the tale becomes one of many men taking advantage of the young girl until one of the man buying her services professes his love. Returning the affection, they plot to kill the old woman and settle off into the happily-after-after.
Just as the two main characters appear in the earlier work by Marquez, so do a few other characters from other works show up here. The spider woman from Marquez’s most famous short tale, "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" makes an appearance as well as the title character from "Blacamán the Good: Vendor of Miracles".