Many centuries ago in the opulent capital of the Al-Gharb, the city of Xelbe (the future Silves), there reigned a young prince and valiant warrior, Ibn-Almindin, who was a lover of the arts and beauty. The city was prosperous and well protected, a safe port for the commerce that sailed up the River Arade, coming from North Africa. Ibn-Almindin would often leave the city with his soldiers to ward off would be invaders. On one of these sorties he commandeered a boat from Northern Europe, sailed by light-skinned men with fair hair. A blonde princess with eye the colour of the sky was with them. Almindin was seduced by such beauty and ordered magnificent quarters to be prepared for Gilda, the princess, who was also head over heels with the dark prince with the black and intense eyes.
They lived happily for some time, until one day Gilda was overcome by immense sadness. This melancholy seemed never-ending and the young husband knew not what to do. He asked for advice from an old man who told him that the princess was feeling nostalgic for snow and he could solve the problem if he ordered the planting of lots of almond trees. When they blossomed with their white flowers, they looked like snow. The next spring the Moorish prince took Gilda to the window of the palace, when she saw the stunning landscape, all white and florid, the princess felt her strength return.
It’s not hard to imagine that the beautiful Gilda protected her skin with almond oil lightly perfumed with orange blossom, maintaining the beauty that enchanted Ibn-Almindin!
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