The Legend of Colapesce

The ancient legend of Colapesce, the man who supports Sicily

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♪ ♫ The people called Colapisci
pirchì was 'nto seas comu' npisci
dunni vinia non lu sapìa nissunu
perhaps it was figghiu di lu Diu Nittunu ♪ ♫

This ancient song tells a Sicilian story as old as the island: the legend of ColaPesce.

Cola (Nicola) lived near Cape Pelorus in Messina and spent all his entire days more at sea than on land.

The sea was his whole life, his passion, and exploring the silent and immense depths made him more free and alive.
But this passion of his was not well seen by his mother, because many times the boy had the habit of throwing his catch back to the sea, especially as one day the desperate cursed him by saying this phrase: "May you become like a fish!" No sooner said than done!

Over time, his skin became increasingly scaly, his hands and feet like fins. His fame spread throughout Sicily, reaching the court of King Roger (although many versions of the legend report theEmperor Frederick II of Swabia).

The king wanted to know him and thus arrived in Messina where he immediately put his marine skills to the test by throwing a golden cup into the sea.

♪ ♫ Colapisci curri and go.
Vaiu e tornu majesty. ♪ ♫

He answered Colapesce in the song, and immediately jumped into the sea recovering the precious object.

The king rewarded him, but immediately submitted him to two more tests. The king this time threw a crown at a particularly deep point of the sea and while Colapesce he looked for it, he saw that Sicily rested on three columns: two were intact while the third was consumed by a fire that existed between Catania and Messina.
ColapesceReturning to the surface, he told King Roger what he saw, but the sovereign did not believe him and forced him, threatening him, to bring that fire back from the sea.

 

Colapesce replied: 'Majesty, do you see this piece of wood? I will dive with it, and if you see it rising up burnt, it means that the fire is really there, as I say; but it will also mean that I will be dead, because the fire will burn me too " .

Courageously Colapesce he dived into the sea and everyone from the king, to the nobles to the people of the people waited for him to return to the surface. But only the burnt piece of wood surfaced.

Colapesce remained at sea in the middle of that fire to support (as it still does!) that badly combined column, so that his beloved land does not collapse and if every now and then the earth between Messina and Catania trembles a little, it is only because Colapesce change sides of his shoulder.

 

♪ ♫ On past so many jorna
Colapisci does not return
and wait for it in marina
lu rignanti and the queen.

Then you hear it
of lu mari 'nsurfaces
Majesty! ccà sugnu, ccà!
'nta lu funnu of lu mari 
ca not pozzu cchiù turnari
vui priati Our Lady
ca riggissi the culonna
cà sinnò will break
and Sicily will disappear.

Over the past many years
Colapisci is always ddà
Majesty! Majesty!
Colapisci is always ddà! ♪ ♫