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The story is a dramatic episode of the revolt of the blacks of St. Domingo in 1791. Bug-Jargal, the hero, is a negro, a slave in the household of a planter. He is secretly in love with his master's daughter, a poetic child, betrothed to her cousin, Leopold d'Auverney. The latter saves the life of Bug-Jargal, who is condemned to death for an act of rebellion. When the great revolt breaks out, and the whole island is in flames, Bug-Jargal protects the young girl, and saves the life of her lover. He even conducts D'Auverney to her he loves, and then, in the fullness of sublime abnegation, he surrenders himself to the whites, who shoot him dead.