When building his mansion, the consul preserved the oldest native trees and introduced new species brought from all over the world. The planting of the trees was carried out exclusively by women, as it was believed that their hands transmitted the fertility necessary for the plants to flourish. On one of his morning walks through the estate, the consul marvelled at the energy and stamina of the men and especially the women, some of whom were breastfeeding, who worked tenaciously to meet the needs of their families. The young consul then noticed a young brunette with pearl-green eyes, dressed in white, but with the typical black apron of her country. In her hands, she carried the most intense perfume. The consul, confused by this experience, asked the young lady, “where does the perfume on your hands come from?” She answered trembling, “it comes from the plant I carry in my hands.” It was truly a unique perfume, never before experienced by the people of the land, not even by the young consul. The foreman interrupted the encounter with a thunderous voice, “This is the eucalyptus tree you ordered from Oceania! That’s what the man on the boat said.” The consul, ecstatic, watched the planting of the tree as if it were the birth of his son. The young woman was sweating, not only because of the hard work, but also because of the presence of the consul, who was not only a person of high rank, but also young and handsome. When the young woman had finished, the consul bade her farewell with a final glance that needed no explanation. One of the older women present said, “if that tree grows like what was born here today, it will have no equal!” And with that, a deep silence fell over the hustle and bustle of the plantations, broken only by a light breeze that cooled the young woman’s rosy face.
From that day on, the consul continued his morning walks, but with the addition that they included the area where the young woman worked. One day the consul, depressed by the news from England that the wine he had exported there had not arrived, went to rest under the eucalyptus tree. Fortunately, the young woman was there watering the mighty tree. She did not dare speak, but the consul approached her, asked to hold her hands, looked into her eyes and requested that she meet him by the tree at the end of each day. The two fell in love and married in secret, as the consul needed the permission of her father, who was on a trip to the Indies. The truth is that the consul knew that his family would disown him if they found out that he had married a young commoner. For this reason, when he had to travel to Britain, the consul had to leave his beloved behind on the island and set off alone. He told his wife that he would not see her again for a year, and although the young woman understood, she was naturally saddened. It is said that during that year the young woman visited the huge eucalyptus tree at the end of every day. A year passed, two, three, a decade, and the consul never returned. For thirteen long years, the young woman waited in despair, and the story goes that the eucalyptus tree was watered by her tears, and it stopped growing.
One rainy day, the old woman who had once said that the tree would “grow like no other” told the young woman, “the tree has grown again, it is more than a metre higher!” A week later it was still raining, and in the distance flocks of birds could be seen flying energetically across the valley. The villagers, accustomed to peace and quiet, were frightened and gathered around the consul’s house. The rain stopped and then, at the entrance to the estate, next to the charismatic tree, the majestic figure of the consul appeared on horseback. The old woman exclaimed, “the tree of unity will only stop when it hits the sky!”
Of all the eucalyptus trees planted that season, this one is still the tallest, and so it is said that whoever comes to Quinta da Serra and embraces the tree will find eternal love.