La Manzana del Enamorado, or The Lover's Apple, is a folktale that originated from Galicia, a province of Spain. It is a variation on the classic theme: boy falls for girl, girl falls for someone else, boy tries to get girl to fall in love with him. Despite this, it is a good story with some interesting, if slightly strange, parts.
In it, the main character, Rosa, an inhumanly beautiful maiden is courted by hundreds of likely suitors. However, she doesn't fall in love with any of them. Her parents on the other hand, want her to marry a young, rich student named Joaquín. However, true to form, Rosa doesn't fall in love with him and refuses to marry. Unfortunately, this doesn't stop his attempts. In an attempt to win her love, he takes her to the various festivals held by her town.
Unfortunately for Joaquín, his courting is his undoing. When he takes Rosa to the local patron saint's festival, she lays eyes on Pedro, a local carpenter. To Joaquín's distress, the two immediately fall in love and are engaged within a short time.
This folktale would have been very short, and rather boring, if the story had ended here. But, unfortunately for Rosa, Joaquín refuses to give up. He goes to a local witch and demands that she brew him a love potion that will force Rosa to love him. Compliant, the witch gives her magical potion to him with important instructions: sprinkle a moderate amount of potion on an apple and give it to Rosa during the full moon. Joaquín, to his detriment, was too eager to be bothered with minor details. Too impatient to wait for the full moon, he dumps the entire vial of potion on the apple and immediately gives it to Rosa.
Unfortunately for him, the apple, due to the impatience of Joaquín, does not produce the intended result. Rosa, instead of falling for Joaquín, becomes very strange. She attacks her family and fiancé and screams incomprehensible curses at them. Pedro, rightly concerned for Rosa's health, summons a doctor. The doctor, however, can do nothing for her; he tells Pedro that she has a disease of the spirit, not the body.
In a last ditch attempt to cure Rosa, her family resorts to beseeching a higher power, God. They take her to the famous Church of San Campio to ask the saint's intercession on this matter. After an exhausting fight to get Rosa through the door of the church, Pedro and her family drag her before the alter with its large, gold cross in the center. They force Rosa in circles around the cross, a common panacea used by the people. Parishioners, realizing what they were doing, begin screaming at them to get Rosa out of the church; they are afraid Rosa's disease will infect them. However, the family pays no attention to them. Finally, after several times around the cross, Rosa has a huge seizure and coughs up a hairball. When she regains consciousness, she has no memory of what has happened ever since she ate the apple. However, she does remember who caused this: Joaquín.
When Joaquín hears what has happened, he feels very guilty. After all, he had wanted to make Rosa fall in love with him, not go mad. This, combined with an angry mob determined to exact justice on him, forces Joaquín into hiding. Rosa, however, fares better. She leads a very happy and pious
life with Pedro, always thanking St. Campio
for his intercession on her behalf. The moral of this story: always follow directions.
For more examples of Galician folklore see Las Brujas y el Cura and Lo qu le Pasó a un Hermano Mio. For an example of Mexican folklore, see El Virrey y el Azteca.