Before the final moment of truth for the bull, there are several increasingly bloody stages by which the bull is reduced from a rampaging, unstoppable killing machine to a panting, disoriented, tortured creature - still too proud and uncomprehending of its destruction.
In this picture you see a magical moment when the prey and the killer are as one.
This bull had been particularly brave - charging tirelessly, shaking off the banderillas (harpoon pointed shafts), feinting, attacking, taking the fight to its tormentors.
The matador finally managed to pierce its heart with his sword, and waited tensely for it to fall. But the bull just refused to die. It kept standing there, spurting blood from its mouth and from the multiple wounds, panting and staring at the man.
And then something happened. Something beyond the contest passed between the bull and its killer. The matador, perhaps, had his own moment of truth.
He slowly inched his way to the side of the bull, placed his cape on its back and started caressing its back, with his head hung as if in silent prayer for the bull's soul.
Only then did the great animal finally decide to give up and die.
The thunderous applause that followed was as much for the magnificent beast as for the matador.
But let us begin at the beginning to understand why this was such an unequal, unfair contest.
(to be continued)