Maja and The Giant
Many legends link the Majella, mountain range of the Central Appennines in the Abruzzo region, to the goddess Maja. Here is the story of the Giant (Majella and Gran Sasso mountain ranges), a touching tale written by the poet Mario Lolli.
The fairy tale tells about Maja, the most beautiful among the Pleiades, the seven mythological nymphs, daughters of Atlas and Pleione. Her son Hermes, called “The Giant” due to his size, was severely wounded in the battle of Flegra. In order to save her son, an oracle predicted: “Your son will be saved only by a miraculous herb, which grows on a very high mountain, at the foot of a Big Rock”.
She crossed the sea with a raft and landed near the harbour of the ancient town of Ortona – “Orton” – after a tragic shipwreck. Carrying the wounded giant in her arms she climbed the Gran Sasso mountain, where a cave offered a refuge to the two fugitives. The mountain was covered with so much snow, that any attempt to find the miraculous herb was in vain. Therefore the young man died. Maja buried the body of her son on the top of the mountain and began to wander for days in the snowy mountains. During a storm, she found refuge in a small cave. The day after, when the sun was back, she left the cave and saw the body of Hermes on top of the Gran Sasso mountain. His shoulders were covered with a white blanket. He seemed only asleep and his face stared at the blue sky. From that moment Maja never left the cave.
When Maja died, the shepherds buried her on the mountain in front of the Gran Sasso, called Majella in her memory. The people of Abruzzo elected the Majella as a symbol of their land and renamend it as the mountain ‘Mother’.
Even today, anyone who observes the Gran Sasso, from the east to the west, can recognize the face of the giant, known since ancient times as ” The sleeping giant. ”
The giant, observed from a slightly different angle, turns into a graceful and prosperous girl lying on her back, called today “Sleeping Beauty.” That ‘s where the nymph Maja and her son “melt” into an extraordinary union.
- From the blog of the Hotel Regent, Pescara