La leggenda del Basilisco

Sulla montagna che sovrasta Mezzocorona si ergeva una grande caverna. All’interno di questa, in epoca medievale, fu costruito il castello denominato corona di san Gottardo. 
Un giorno i ruderi di questo castello accolsero un basilisco che vi trovò rifugio dalle intemperie. Questo animale era simile ad un enorme serpente, alato, con il corpo completamente ricoperto di scaglie ossee che lo rendevano invulnerabile.

THE LEGEND OF THE BASILISK

A large cave once stood on the mountain overlooking Mezzocorona and inside it, in the Middle Ages, a castle was built named “Corona di San Gottardo”.

One day, a basilisk found shelter from the bad weather in the ruins of this castle. The creature looked like a huge snake with wings and a body completely covered in bony scales that made it invincible.

It landed on the flat surface of the cave and its heavy weight squashed the wild roses, cyclamens and heather. The terrible smell it gave off made all the bats sleeping there flee from the cave. The creature fell fast asleep, and when it woke up the next day, it was so hungry that it could have eaten anything. It spread its wings and flew towards the countryside of the Rotaliana Plain. It saw a succulent peasant sitting on his cart drawn by two oxen: it pounced on him immediately, devouring him along with his cart and oxen. It kept on flying around and eating up everything it found and destroying everything it touched: houses, barns, fields. Finally, exhausted by the flight and the huge meal, it flew back to the cave and fell sound asleep. The inhabitants of Mezzocorona were terrified by the beast and the only way to save the village and themselves was to kill the dragon. But how? Some people, panic-stricken, believed the only solution was to abandon the village. But all of a sudden - as in any self-respecting legend - the hero arrived. Count Firmian drew his sword and roared: “Calm down! Only cowards give up before standing up to danger! Trust me… I will face the basilisk, and if I win, everyone will go back to their everyday lives. If I fail, I will die, but you will still have the chance to escape! Remain hidden in your cellars a little longer". The inhabitants looked at one another, still not quite convinced; but after all, they had nothing to lose, and decided to accept his offer. Count Firmian returned to his palace, donned his armour, took his sword and asked for a mirror and a bucket of milk. He then set off for the mountain with the basilisk and the villagers were puzzled by the odd objects he had with him. But what they did not know was that cunning can often beat strength and that courage can triumph over misfortune!

He went on without revealing his presence and finally reached the foot of the mount. He started to climb up to the San Gottardo cave and when he got there he found the dragon fast asleep and snoring. It was now dark, and he placed the bucket of milk at the entrance of the cave with the mirror not far away and waited. The next morning, the basilisk woke up hungrier than ever. When the count saw just how big it was, he was scared, but he took his courage in both hands and got ready to act. The dragon immediately noticed the bucket of milk and started to drink it with pleasure. Then it raised its head and saw… another dragon, identical to itself! It was no longer alone! It happily started to whistle, waggle and move around. The other made exactly the same moves. The count took advantage of the moment of distraction, jumped out of his hiding place, and with all his strength drove his sword into the belly of the beast, the only vulnerable part of its body. The monster fell down to the ground, dead. The count’s cunning and courage had triumphed over the brute force of the basilisk. Firmian enthusiastically started to shout from the mountain: “Come, everyone; the basilisk is dead!” The peasants could not believe their ears, but started to climb up the mount, full of hope. The count was very proud and wanted to cut off the dragon’s head with his sword to show it to the country folk. But a drop of venom leaked from the dragon and fell into the count’s armour, which started to burn. The first villagers to reach the summit found the dead basilisk and an empty suit of armour with a pile of ashes.

Bibliography

Freely adapted by G. Borzaga: Leggende dei castelli del Trentino, Manfrini editori, Calliano (Trento) 1993

 

Giovedì, 23 Aprile 2015 - Ultima modifica: Lunedì, 20 Marzo 2017