“The Gypsy in Spanish Red”,  is a new slant on the Carmen/ Esmeralda gypsy story.
My professional life has been lived as a classically trained painter and my most admired artist is the universally recognized genius, the Spanish court painter Diego de Silva y Velázquez. Hence, the setting of the story centers in 17th century Sevilla, Spain. Based on a true tale told through the gypsy swatura oral tradition I have brought the two together— Velázquez and the gypsy.   Melissa Leith Ash, author.


The Gypsy in Spanish Red

Based on a true gypsy legend, we follow the ancient mysteries of a people who today still
exist in the shadows filled with sorrows.

Intriguing, mystical, haunted by secrets and power, the beautiful wild spirit, the Andalusian gypsy, Vadoma, with her gift of “second sight”, flees from the blood thirsty terrors of the Spanish Inquisition.  Filled with a passion for her dance she also possesses the “third eye” an ancient ruby whose power gives her the ability to see “beyond the veil”. With her stallion, Sashe, and her dwarf, Tawno Panchito, the adventuresome threesome constantly are one step away from the tortures of the “Witch’s Hammer”.  During moments of false security they are engaged in a horse race across the Guadalquivir River basin which becomes a deciding point in their lives when Vadoma and her horse outride the most accomplish riders. And a spirit evolving from the ethos, wishing to unite the ruby to its proper place reveals itself in a semi tangible form.

From the outset two Dominican monks, embroiled in the rites of alchemy, know of Vadoma’s gifts and conspire to kidnap her. Vadoma’s fragile existence has little meaning until she falls in love with a Spanish nobleman Carlos, the dashing red haired nephew of Queen Marie. The lovers are overshadowed by his barren wife who plots the death of the young gypsy girl who now carries Carlos’s child. Realizing the dangers of heresy being associated with a gypsy, Carlos deserts her. No longer a virgin, Vadoma is “mahrime” or spoiled goods in the eyes of her gypsy clan.

We are kept spell bound by the constant stream of unrelenting moments of pursuit.  Fleeing from the soldiers of the Inquisition in Sevilla, despite their accomplished survival skills, Vadoma and Panchito are captured.  A public auto de fe edict states they are to be burned at the stake without strangulation and they are imprisoned in Magroon’s Castle dungeon. Panchito preparing for his death realizes for the first time his gypsy ward has powers beyond his wildest imagination. Vadoma reveals her ruby’s mystical supremacy calling forth the spirit who frees them from the dungeon and leads them into the secret ancient city deep beneath the Castle.

A psychic duel ensues between Vadoma and the two evil monks searching for the one missing ingredient needed to make metal into gold. The monks have a crystal ball but in truth they don’t know how to make it release its secrets. The gypsy girl knows from her grandmother’s teaching that it belonged to the gypsies a thousand years before. Her occult knowledge destroys their alchemy attempts and their evil extortions, bringing down the destruction of the ancient city.

Velázquez befriends them after they narrowly escape and hides them in his private apartments. We learn about Diego and his ingenious approach to his painting and his position of importance within the court.  In the later part of his age he has wistfully fallen in love with the beautiful gypsy and beset by her gratitude for his kindness, allows him to paint the famous, but now lost portrait, ‘The Gypsy in Spanish Red’.  The time with Velázquez is short lived and Vadoma and Panchito leave the protection of the court painter as the birth of her child becomes imminent.

Believing that although considered “mahrime” by her family they still love her and will be waiting in the caves of Serramonte to help with the birthing, she and Panchito set off without realizing they will be immediately recognized and pursued. It is a disastrous and short journey for the dwarf who is felled by a well aimed bullet and dies in a Wicca site.

Alone, without her horse and her murdered dwarf, she wanders far off her route and becomes lost during a harrowing winter blizzard in the mountains.  Miraculously she is rescued by a Moor galley slave who gives her shelter while she bears her child, a red haired son… a Spanish Prince!
Unaware that the witch hunt is still on, she desires most to return to Sevilla, to Sashe and her family, but her love and need for dancing beckons to the depths of her gypsy soul and sadly becomes her downfall with her malevolent tragic ending concluded by the well at Montilla.




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