Abel Guevez de Argensola, a member of a wealthy Venezuelan family, joins a conspiracy to overthrow the government. When the plot is discovered, he is forced to flee into the wilderness of Guyana. After months of illness and misfortune, he settles in the village of an Indian chief named Runi. Near the village is a forest in which lives a supernatural creature who kills hunters.
Undaunted, Abel enters the forest and discovers abundant wildlife. A melodious, birdlike voice follows him as he explores. One day, he comes upon a young woman lying by a stream. Her small, delicate form and resplendent beauty captivate him. They meet when he hurls a stone at a snake and she comes to defend it. Her dark hair falls in a cloud on her shoulders and arms; her skin is pearly white, sometimes lustrous and iridescent. When he is bitten by the snake, he leaps off a precipice in a panic and falls unconscious. He wakes in the hut of an old man named Nuflo, who lives with the young woman. Abel learns that Rima, the luminescent creature with the mysterious voice, will not allow harm to come to any living creature in the forest.
Rima and Abel seal their mutual love by promising to do everything to please each other. She wants, most of all, to find her mother’s people. Nuflo is persuaded to take Rima to Riolama, where her mother died. On the journey, he tells Abel the story of Rima’s origin. Seventeen years earlier, Nuflo and other members of an outlaw band found...
(The entire section is 533 words.)