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Mari-Lope, the certainty of divine love

Published: 2017.10.23 - 11:08:16   /  /  Laura Barrera Jerez  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

Mari-Lope, the certainty of divine loveAt the time of the European conquest of our country, there were frequent exchanges between the Spaniards and the aborigines of the island. This was the case with an Iberian man whose last name was Lope, who by 1572 settled in the area that today occupies the province of Cienfuegos. There he found his love in a native, and of such passion a beautiful girl named Mari-Lope was born.

According to a review Adrián del Valle, in his book "Tradiciones y leyenda de Cienfuegos" (1919), Mari-Lope was a tender and beautiful mestizo of Spanish and Indian, who inherited from her father the Caucasian features and from her mother the golden red of the skin, the blackness of hair and eyes, naive look and a simple nature. "She was of lively and happy genius, industrious, in love with flowers and passionate about singing. With the same affection with which she cultivated her wild flowers, she took care of the domesticated pigeons and birds. No one like her sang with more anointing, religious songs, or with more ardor war songs, nor more sweetly the love stories of siboneyes and pirates. She smiled to everyone with naive purity, she despised nobody, but she showed a special predilection for no one, except for her parents."

Mari-Lope did not want to belong to any man. She had professed a sincere love for the divine throughout her life, she wanted to devote herself body and soul to the God in whom she believed. With the pious education of her father, the girl forged a tender and at the same time determined character: she defended her principles despite all the romantic proposals made by the most beautiful and strong siboneyes.

According to the legend, the tranquility in the life of the damsel lasted until the pirate ship that captained Jean the Reckless entered the bay of Jagua. This pirate had a reputation for his unpleasant and violent instincts. His disfigured face and the scar on his left cheek left no doubt of his arrogance and malice.

But soon Jean became passionate about Mari-Lope and wanted to possess her. Several times he offered her his love, his riches and his free life at sea. But the damsel did not yield in her effort to surrender to her divinities and that was how she had the strength to reject those proposals over and over again. Nevertheless, the experienced pirate, who was a protagonist of more cruel and bloody battles, saw Mari-Lope as a treasure that sooner or later he would conquer. He had no doubts.

On one of those sunny days they met on the beach and again Jean made the attempt. She turned him down again. It was then that the pirate lost his patience and lunged at the beautiful lady. She managed to get rid of his rough arms and ran. However, the men who worked for Jean pursued and retained her. When Jean managed to have her in his arms again, a prickly cactus rose from the earth between them. The scared pirate drew his gun and fired. One of the bullets struck Mari-Lope on the forehead and she fell to the ground, just as a white dove flew to the clouds, as if its spirit were moving away from so much cruelty. The men were stunned with a strong ray of light and upon awakening, they saw Jean's body burning next to the cactus.

According to the account of Adrian del Valle, in that place a rustic cross appeared, made of old trunk of cují, and as forming the base of the cross, beautiful flowers of sulfur appear. "The popular fantasy, always poetic and creative, depicts Mari wearing a long yellow robe, with a rough wooden cross to her breast, and a long headdress and floating sendal, crowned with cují flowers, carrying in her hand a basket full of flowers bearing her name: Mari-Lope."

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