The Mulatto Woman of Córdoba

Mulata

There’s plenty of known stories of witches and sorceresses, but none like the legend of the Mulata (Mulatto Woman) of Córdoba: a woman born in the city of Veracruz when the Holy Inquisition undertook the mission of terminating any and all who comitted acts of sorcery.

Legend says her name was Soledad, but everyone knew her better by her ‘healing powers’. She earned her fame in Veracruz for brewing potions that healed even the most mysterious ailments. It’s also been said that she could make a bad husband to return home, gave jobs to the poor, found what had been lost and healed those left for dead.

Her popular and ‘magical’ services were known from the main streets of the State capital all the way down to the last boardwalk of the pier, and that’s how the Holy Inquisition found out about her. However, finding her was not easy, and neither was holding her captive.

When the Mulata was finally arrested, she was tried and condemned to burn in a pyre in the public plaza for witchcraft and sorcery. Between the trial and her execution she was imprisoned in the deepest, darkest and coldest cell in San Juan de Ulúa, a prison built on an island close to the port of Veracruz.

The story says that one night the Mulata approached a guard with a charming smile and asked him for a lump of coal to draw with. No one was ever capable of denying anything to a face as beautiful as hers, or those eyes as black as the darkest abyss so deep and so mysterious one could get vertigo by just looking straight into them. The guard gave her the coal immediately, under the condition that he be allowed to watch her while she drew.

When she was finally done, Soledad called the guard over to show him what she had created. The guard was astonished at such a magnificent work of art. It was a drawing of a boat, a huge Spanish galleo with big, wide, white sails that navigated on troubled waters, its bow pointing towards a distant horizon.

“It’s magnificent” he told her. “It just needs to sail away”. The Mulata smiled, showing off her pearly-white teeth.

“That can be solved” she said with laughter in her voice and she jumped directly into the drawing. Astonished and incapable of believing his own eyes, the guard watched her walk on the deck, take the wheel and point the ship at the horizon. The galleon faded into the distance and got lost in the crack of some wall.

No one ever saw the Mulata again. Nobody knew anything about her after that.

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