The story opens with 14-year-old Eréndira bathing her obese grandmother. After she is done with attending to the old woman, Eréndira has to take care of countless choirs around the house. Finally, when she is finished with all the work, she lights a candle to find her way back to her bedroom where she faints from exhaustion.As she forgets to blow out the candle, the house catches on fire and the mansion belonging to her grandmother burns to ashes. The grandmother tells Eréndira that she has to repay the debt and that she is going to start repaying it immediately.
As she forgets to blow out the candle, the house catches on fire and the mansion belonging to her grandmother burns to ashes. The grandmother tells Eréndira that she has to repay the debt and that she is going to start repaying it immediately. Afterwards she takes the child to the house of old shopkeeper, who is known for paying well for sex with virgins.
When the shopkeeper is finished with Eréndira, her grandmother prostitutes her to the rest of the men in town and then they travel to the next village where the same scenario occurs. They keep traveling in this manner for several years.One day, Eréndira makes love to
One day, Eréndira makes love to young boy called Ulises, who falls in love with her. He is determined to come back for her and eventually he does. They formulate a plan for Eréndira to escape when her grandmother is asleep. This, however, does not work out as Eréndira’s grandmother contacts the civil authorities, who manage to track the young couple down and to return Erendira back to her grandmother.
Afterwards, Eréndira continues traveling with the grandmother from town to town, making money from prostitution to pay back her debt, until they reach the sea. Ulises makes an appearance again and together they hatch another plan to win Eréndira’s freedom. Eréndira asks Ulises to kill her grandmother and he agrees. Firstly, he attempts to kill her by arsenic, but when that does not work out, he tries to explode her tent while she is inside, but that does kill her either.
Eventually, Ulises has to stab her to death. While the boy is recovering from his first cold-hearted murder, Eréndira grabs her grandmother’s gold and makes a run for it never to be heard of again.