‘Olalla’ by Robert Louis Stevenson


An unknown, handsome gentleman who is also the narrator of the short story is on his course recovering from his illness. He follows what his doctor says. He leaves for a residencia in a small village in Spain to make his recovery goes quicker. But he goes there under one warning; that the owner of the residencia is a little bit strange and that the people of the village won’t be warmed by his good-looking. The doctor refers to Felipe and Olalla by the way.

He sets for the place somehow. He doesn’t get what the doctor says on Felipe’s weirdness on their first encounter. For the visitor, Felipe looks like every one else, tender and kind. The narrator decides doing something that’s risky; he wants to prove if what the doctor says is correct. So, they both get drunk. During the tipsy moments, the protagonist touches Felipe’s family that later causes him to get a little bit out of his temper.

Thankfully, that lasts short. The narrator goes to his bed. His eyes stare at a panting hanging on the walls of his room. It shows a middle-aged woman, a high class one along with her attire. What makes it looks very astonishing is her overall apperance, especially her eyes that make it as if she were alive.

Felipe’s attitude starts looking strange. Once the narrator catches him playing wickedly with a maggot. It seems like Felipe enjoys torturing the animal. The narrator scolds at him even cursing the owner, leaving him begging like a child. After the incident, Felipe acts like a normal man.

After a few days, the narrator meets Felipe’s mother. According to him,  the senora looks beautiful despite her old age. She inherits what it means as ‘royal women’, well-mannered, educated and elegant.

The narrator makes a good friend with her and has some opportunities to talk with her. All goes well until one evening he hears cries outside the residencia. He can’t help finding out what is going on but as he is about to open the door it is locked. Intentionally from the outside. The narrator can’t find ways to unlock it.

Things get more mysterious after he happens to meet a woman, namely Olalla. He knows the name for sure because the doctor mentions her before he goes to the residencia. The narrator is amazed by her beauty. They don’t speak for each other despite the fact they meet several times. The narrator falls in love with her although no words ever spoken yet.

Every day, he yearns for her. Sometimes they meet but sometimes they don’t until the narrator feels he can’t take it anymore. His feeling quickly drains his energy until one evening he smashes his own hand on windows. It bleeds so bad. He runs looking for help then he meets the senora.

But instead of helping his bleeding hand, the senora bites the narrator’s hand to the bones! His hand gets much worse. Fortunately, Felipe comes to rescue him, bringing the narrator to his room. There, Olalla nurses him for a few days until the narrator gets better.

During the time, Olalla tells him about her family and that she loves him, too. But it’s better for the narrator to leave the residencia for good for the sake of his life. Though hard it feels, the narrator agrees. Felipe takes him out of the residencia.

The narrator doesn’t go far though. He opts staying in a village not very far from the residencia. From his brief stay, people give more information about the family, that they are sort of corrupted royal family. The one who reigned the region but later on they were falling down.

But the narrator wishes he could save Olalla because of his huge love for her. So one day he approaches the residencia again and there he meets her. Olalla makes up her mind though. She doesn’t want to be rescued. She wishes to stay where she is. Then the narrator leaves her at the foot of the cross on a hill where they meet for the last time.

Thank you for providing the picture.

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