THROUGHOUT all Seville, Stella Tabera is known for her virtue and for a wondrous beauty which has earned her the title of "Star of Seville." Her brother, Bustos, is scarcely less famed for his unyielding uprightness. Stella is looking forward to marriage with her brother's best friend, Don Sancho Ortiz, when the King of Castile makes a visit to the city. A chance glimpse of Stella inflames the royal desires and the King promptly seeks her identity.
Arias, his informant and confidant, advises the King to attain his desires by showering honors on the girl's brother. Bustos' sound common sense frustrates this scheme, and when Stella herself is approached with suggestions of a titled marriage in return for her favors, she coldly turns her back. As a final resort, Arias bribes the slave, Mathilde, to admit the King at night when Bustos is away.
Bustos' unexpected return and attack on the unknown intruder force the King to reveal his identity. When lights brought by the servants confirm the truth of his statement, he is, of course, allowed to depart unharmed but nursing a burning hatred for the man who has exposed his unkingly actions. Not daring to have Bustos killed openly on account of his high standing in Seville, His Majesty consults Arias as to whom he may find with sufficient bravery and discretion for the deed. Arias recommends Don Sancho Ortiz and so it comes about that Don Sancho on his wedding morning receives the royal command to kill his best friend, brother of the girl he loves.
Since Sancho has no choice but to accept the royal command and the royal assurance of his personal safety, he inveigles Bustos into a quarrel and kills him, after which he promptly surrenders to the authorities. His refusal to tell the reason for his actions puts the King in a dilemma. Either the royal word of honor must be broken or the King must reveal his own dastardly part in the affair. A solution seems to offer itself when Stella appears in the royal presence to beg that vengeance for her brother's death be put in her hands. She uses the royal permission, however, only to free Sancho, a freedom which he refuses as soon as he learns the identity of his savior.
Thus finally the King is forced to acknowledge his own responsibility and Sancho's honor is cleared. But the barrier of a brother's blood cannot be overcome nor forgotten and Stella and Sancho part forever.
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