Cabesang Tales cultivates a piece of land with his father and his family. Because of having to endure hard work and manual labor under the sun, Tales's wife and eldest daughter die. At the time of harvest, some men representing a certain religious order lay claim to the land and demand from Tales an annual payment of rent. Having no other choice, Tales accepts the agreement. However, year after year the rent keeps going up in incredible increments and Tales decides he has had enough. He brings the issue up in court, demanding that the religious order provide proof of their ownership of the land. Tales loses the case. Time passes and he is kidnapped by bandits demanding ransom for his neck. In the attempt to gather up enough money to pay for the release of her father, Juli (Tales's daughter) borrows money from Hermana Penchang and works for the woman as a servant in order to pay the debt.
Points of Note:
The scapular that Juli wears is the scapular that Maria Clara gave to an old leper in the first book, Noli Me Tangere. The leper gives the scapular to Basilio after having been healed by the young doctor, and Basilio then offers it as a gift to Juli.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: Why is it difficult to be the cabeza de barangay during those days?
Answer: The cabeza de barangay does nothing but endure the tedious and rather perilous task of collecting taxes.
Question: What does Cabesang Tales mean when he says "To the earth we shall return, and truly we were naked upon birth"?
Answer: He means to say that we must not fear death for we all shall die, and we must not fear poverty either for we all were born poor -- without clothes.
Question: Why does Cabesang Tales say that if he loses the case then he will have no need for children?
Answer: Losing the case would mean losing the land -- the only inheritance he can leave his children.