CUMANDÃ: The Novel of the Ecuadorian Jungle
by JUAN LEON MERA English Version by NOE O. VACA
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Indian revolts in the province of Chimborazo Ecuador destroyed the family and goods of the rancher Juan Domingo Orosco, as revenge for the maltreatment and abuse of the savages.
After this unfortunate event, Orosco converted and became a missionary priest who worked among the oriental tribes. He was always accompanied by his son Carlos, who became very fond of a young Indian beauty named Cumandá. She saved the young white man’s life in several situations. Finally she agreed to become the wife of the chief of the Jibaros Yahuarmaqui, so the Jivaros would spare her beloved Carlos’s life.
At the end of this masterpiece, we find out that Cumandá is the daughter of Juan Domingo Orosco and that she didn’t die when his ranch was destroyed, thanks to the protection of Pona, wife of the chief of the Paloras. As it turns out, Cumandá was raised in the jungle by one of the Indian tribes.
Cumandá dies, sacrificed according to the customs of the tribe; Father Orosco reconciles with his enemy, Tongana, and helps him to die as a Christian, and the loss of his daughter ends the life of purity Father Orosco had vowed to uphold.