Don Juan has been journeying on foot for three years now, but has still been unable to find the kingdom of Delos Cristal. He can't figure out where in the world is Delos Cristal. (Sounds like a computer game, right?)
Anyway, he meets an old man and asks him about Delos Cristal, but the old man is equally clueless. The old man, however, advised Juan to go to the seventh mountain where he will find a 500-year old hermit. The old man gives Juan a piece of cloth.
Juan goes to the old hermit, and shows him the piece of cloth. The hermit is amazed by the cloth and exclaims: "Jesus Christ, my Lord, it is only now that I've seen your clothes!"
(What I can't get is, if the old man Juan met along the way was Jesus Christ, why didn't He know where Delos Cristal is? Then again, perhaps He wanted Juan to see the 500-year old hermit. Also, if that was the first time the hermit saw the clothes of Christ, how did he recognize the cloth in the first place? Oh well.)
Juan asks the hermit about Delos Cristal, but the hermit does not know where that kingdom is. He even asked the animals in the forest, but neither did they know about Delos Cristal.
You can already see what's coming, right?
As you've correctly guessed, the 500-year old hermit asks Juan to travel to the seventh mountain (from where they were), so that Juan can consult the 800-year old hermit there.
The even older hermit consults with the birds and one eagle. Fortunately for Juan and his weary feet, the eagle knows where the kingdom of Delos Cristal is. At last, Don Juan will meet the beautiful Doña Maria Blanca whom the Ibong Adarna crowed so much about.
Juan rides on the back of the eagle, and they fly towards the East for one month before they reach the kingdom of Delos Cristal.
(Whew! You've only traveled nine paragraphs and you're probably weary. Imagine how tired Juan is.)
The eagle gives Juan some advice before flying away: "At 4:00 in the morning, three princesses wearing dove's clothes will arrive, and will bathe. Hide and do not show yourself."
As expected, the three princess arrive on time. Don Juan has no trouble guessing who Maria Blanca is, because she is the prettiest. Don Juan hides Maria Blanca's clothes which used to be hanging on a pear tree.
After a few minutes of bath time, Maria Blanca gets angry and homicidal because she cannot find her clothes. (I can't blame her. Imagine, it's a little past four in the morning and it can be quite cold.)
After one hour, Don Juan appears like a meek lamb before Maria Blanca, gets down on his knees, and tells her that he loves her. He also explains how his love for her made him steal her clothes, and that he is ready to accept whatever punishment he deserves because of the deed. Maria Blanca, overcome with compassion, is longer angry. She asks him to stand and gently speaks with him.
She asks Juan to look at the stones surrounding the palace. Those used to be princes, horsemen and counts who tried to court Maria Blanca, but were turned to stone by her father after they failed his tests.
She continues: "My father will wake up at 5am and he will see you. If he asks why you are here, tell him you've come to ask for the hand of one of the princesses in marriage. When he invites you into the palace, decline the invitation for you will surely die. If you wish to continue, accept whatever tasks he asks you to perform. I'll take care of everything!"
The princesses leave and King Salermo awakes. As expected, he sees Juan and invites him to the palace. Juan declines, states his marital intentions, and says that he is ready to serve the king.
King Salermo asks a servant to bring some wheat for the first task.
"Flatten that mountain, scatter the wheat, harvest it tonight, and turn it into bread. I want that bread served on my breakfast table tomorrow morning.
Juan takes the wheat and waits in the concierge's house. After everyone had gone to sleep, Maria Blanca goes to Juan who then explains to her what the task is all about.
King Salermo knows the dark arts or black magic, but Maria Blanca is well-versed in white magic. She is more powerful than her father, so Juan is able to accomplish the task easily.
The following morning, the king is amazed that Juan was able to perform the task. He then gives instructions for Task Number 2. He shows Juan a wine bottle that contains 12 negritos. The king then frees the 12 into the sea and instructs Juan to catch the 12 and return them into the wine bottle.
As in the previous evening, Maria Blanca meets Juan, gets instructions, and performs the task for him.
The following day, King Salermo gives Juan the third task: "Juan, put that mountain in the middle of the sea. Build a castle there. I want to see it by tomorrow morning. Build a road from my palace to that castle."
As expected, the task is performed. King Salermo inspects the castle while wondering where Juan is getting his powers. During the ocular inspection, King Salermo's ring falls into the sea. This gives the king an idea on how to ask for an even more difficult task.
He asks Juan to remove the castle from the sea. Juan, with the help of Maria Blanca, performs the task.
The king then asks Juan to find his missing ring. The king also requires that he wants to find the ring under his pillow.
Juan relays the message to Maria Blanca, who for the first time says that the task is quite difficult.
They ride a raft to middle of the sea. Maria Blanca asks Juan to chop her up and drop the pieces into the sea. She cautions him not to lose any of pieces, and that he should be alert and stay awake so that he will be able to get the ring once Maria Blanca's hand emerges from the water.
He does as instructed and the pieces of Maria Blanca turn into many fish.
Unfortunately, Juan falls asleep and fails to get the ring from the surfacing hand of Maria Blanca. They then go through the whole thing again. Juan rushes and end up losing the finger of Maria Blanca. Fortunately, he no longer fell asleep so he was able to get the ring when Maria's hand resurfaced.
Maria shows Juan her fingers and tells him to remember that she is missing one of her fingers. She asks him to remember that, so that he will be able to recognize her when the time comes.
The following day, King Salermo finds the ring under his pillow. He calls Juan for the final task. He asks Juan to attach his horse in the royal stable to the royal carriage.
Maria Blanca tells Juan to be extra careful because he might die. She explains that the horse is actually the king, the coach are her two sisters, and she will be the brakes.
She tells Juan not to be afraid of how the horse looks. If the horse rears, Juan should rain blows on the horse's body. Once the horse weakens, bring the horse back to the stable.
Juan overcomes the king. King Salermo accepts defeat and accepts that Juan is more powerful.
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