Isabel and Maria, the two Christian wives of her father and their mongrel children had survived the conquest of their village by Christians of north. They were free again. The friar who accompanied the conquistadors had baptized their children and had given them Christian names. Zulema had also been baptized and renamed, but still treated like a slave.
Her parents had been brutally murdered before her eyes of child and from that day's smile had faded out of her face. No talking. He did not play. Always walked with her watery eyes downcast and sad, black as jet. Understand the strange language of her captors. She had learned by listening to the two Christian slaves from her father, who spoke Castilian among them when they were alone with the children, but did see that did not understand the orders because their dignity as free girl stopped him. I will never be a slave, never be repeated again and again. She felt painfully alone, surrounded by strangers who looked with scorn, insulted and spat on him for being delinquent. Her brothers did not want her and made as if they did not knew her, they were afraid of being rejected by their father's Muslim blood running through their veins.
There, mired in a strange ecstasy, on a flight to the memory indelibly etched in her memory, managed to be happy again, she forgot her misery, her sadness, her loneliness. She was loved, respected, felt the breath mint from her father which whispered to nice words and two large tears of joy welled in her eyes, down her cheeks and fell on the dead leaves, watering the roots of old fir tree, which shaking with emotion, as if it has in its trunk the soul of her father.
Zulema stood soon comforted and walked around patting each and every one of the plants that grew there. She called it by moorish names and they seemed to understand her words. There was a small herb, very furry fur, which wanted Zulema especially kind, a very small and fragile ferns whose fronds are broken just touched. She knew its weakness and she was identified with that insignificant seedling and yet so beautiful.
Her evil Christian missis insulted her and continually abused, especially when she escaped into the forest. Then sent their daughters to look and forced to return home, where she received a big beating. To break her indomitable character, her missis punished can not leave the house for weeks and humiliated with the most painful and hard work.
Zulema wanted to die, did not think of anything else. Would never be happy. The days were endless, endless torture. The nights, however, was her moment of escapism. In dreams she walk again in the arms of her father, she smelled the smell of man, his breath mint, she felt the strength of his embrace, the warmth of his body, heard the beautiful words that Musharraf would whisper in her ear and was happy again , in dreams, but happy.
It took several years. Her character is tamed by pure resignation and her missis aged, becoming less severe with her. The daughters of the house were married and went to live with their mothers in law and Zulema remained single, because no boy of the village loved her, being moorish.
While they did not want her as wife, deep secretly desired because she was the most beautiful of the village with her long black hair covered by a white cotton veil, her eyes of jet, her lips like a rose half open, her brunette skin, her figure slender Moorish princess, soft hips, her elegant walk, her voice sweet as honey of olive flower. Yes, they desired Zulema, but they were cowards.
In the Great Zulema, her village, others were enslaved Moors, baptized yes, but basically treated as slaves, as the same Zulema. One of these Moors was called Taufik, a strong and handsome young man, who had been baptized as Christians Fernando. Was the same age that Zulema and, like her, still single, because no one Christian girl wanted him as husband. For years he was secretly in love with her and secretly followed her escapades in the spruce forest. He had seen many times what she made in her ritual in memory of her father. He had heard as Zulema sing the birds and grasses in their native language, which was also his. Other times he had seen mourn bitterly and he also wept without her noticed their proximity. He knew her love for the little velvet fern. Desperately wanted to hold her, caress her, kiss her, tell her he loved her, but dared not, because nothing could offer. He had nothing. He was homeless. He was a slave.
Yes, Taufik was very sad, crying when no one saw him devastated. As Zulema also wanted to die. One August afternoon, a sultry heat, was a shelter from the sun under the dense canopy of old spruce Zulema. He sat where she sat and began to mourn bitterly. He ended up falling asleep and being asleep, in dreams he felt the trunk of the fir hugged him and got scared. Wanted to get up and escape, but could not. Fear paralyzed him and it was then he heard a whisper that he spoke with a man's voice seemed familiar. "Taufik, my son, I know how much you want my daughter Zulema. Do not cry anymore. Years ago I promised to Zulema one day be the queen of these forests. Arise, dig with your hands where you were sitting and you'll find a silver box filled gold coins. They're for you. With them buying this forest and built a palace for Zulema. Then marry her and make her happy. "
Stunned, as delirious, Taufik said the tree: "How do I tell her I love her? I've never spoken to her and I have no father or brothers who can ask for her hand for me. " And the tree replied: "Fear not, I'll tell you what you have to do to win her heart. Do you see the hairy sorts of herbs growing on this rock oozing? Start a leaflet carefully because it is very fragile and give it to Zulema where you see her. There's no need to talk, just give it. "
Taufik knew that Zulema will be surprised to see these men built a palace in her beloved woods and he waited to attend. He saw from afar come to light passing gazelle and loved as he had never loved. Would be his.