Marquez describes how in 1949, as a young reporter, he witnessed the opening of several tombs as an old convent made way for a new hotel. One of the tombs contained a skeleton of a young girl with reddish hair that measured 22 metres, 11 centimetres long. The novel is his recreation of her legend as a popular saint. Sierva Maria De Todos Los Angeles, only child of the Marquis of Casalduero is bitten by a rabid dog at the beginning of this story. When she does not die, but evinces problems of a psychological nature, her father turns her over to a convent to be examined by church officials. But the priest who examines her, Cayetano Delaura falls in love with her. Their chaste affair, sexual without consummation, leads to their mutual destruction. Their plans to run away together are thwarted; the priest is banished and Sierva Maria dies after an awful exorcist ritual. When her body is found the narrator notes that 'the roots of her hair sprouted like bubbles on her shaved cranium; it was possible to see them grow.' Even in death, love triumphs over reason and logic.