Archive for August, 2014


Fastitocalon” is a poem by J. R. R. Tolkien about a beast of the same name. The setting is Middle-earth. It is included in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and told a similar story to that of The Whale. As such, Tolkien imported the traditional tale of the aspidochelone into the lore of his Middle-earth. Fastitocalon, the central character, is the last of the mighty turtle-fish. This poem is well-known to the Hobbits. It tells of how Fastitocalon’s huge size enticed sailors to land on its back. After the sailors lit a fire upon Fastitocalon, it dove underwater, causing the sailors to drown. The Fastitocalon was the size of a small island and vegetation would often grow on its back when not submerged, adding to the illusion that it was an actual island. It is never explained whether the turtle-fish were an actual race in Middle-earth or fictional characters created solely for the poem. It is distinctly possible that the story is in fact an allegory of the fall of Númenor. Like the Fastitocalon, Númenor too sank below the waves, and drowned most of its inhabitants.





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Emanuele Luzzati



con la magica bacchetta
sopra il monte di rimpetto
proprio in cima, sulla vetta,
fa spuntare un castelletto,
un palazzo maledetto:
vi son dentro cento bestie
affacciate alle finestre.

Lunga la foglia, larga la via
ecco che Gano fa un’altra magia:
le cento bestie si son tramutate
in cento donne a forma di fate,
tutte affacciate alla finestra,
con tre corone sopra la testa.

A quella vista non c’è chi resista:
le cento fate danno una festa
e i paladini han già perso la testa,
perdon la testa, perdon l’onore
e nel castel resta sol Biancofiore.
Excerpt of

Storia seconda, storia tremenda,
che sembra quasi una leggenda:
nel maniero arrivano i mori
e ne combinan di tutti i colori,
di rosso, di verde, di giallo, di blu…



Emanuele Luzzati (1921-2007) a sei anni sognava
di fare il cuoco o il pittore. Gli piaceva disegnare e
passava anche tutto il giorno a colorare i suoi schizzi.
Dei libri guardava più che altro le illustrazioni.
Ma prima di poterne realizzare lui stesso dovette
diventare famoso con le scenografie per il teatro.
Per Gallucci ha illustrato Alla Fiera dell’Est,
Pasqualino Marajà, L’armata Brancaleone e Ho visto
un Re. Di alcune storie scriveva anche i testi, come
per I paladini e per le sue versioni de L’uccello di fuoco, I tre fratelli,
La ragazza cigno e Cantastorie (Gallucci). Più di tutto, però, lo
appassionava disegnare – raccontava – perché poteva farlo pensando
solo a cosa sarebbe piaciuto a lui da bambino.


Mr Emanuele Luzzati was an Italian illustrator and cartoonist of renown. By clicking above you can download a sample of one of his first animations – movie / cartoon – in book format, titled ‘I Paladini di Francia’.

Of all his works this is probably my personal favourite as it embodies European tradition and legend in an artistic and comical format. However do note that although ‘I Paladini di Francia’ is an animation for kids of the 1970s – ever present are the under tones of sin – love – witchcraft – apostasy – faith – pertaining to the experience of people living in this region of the world (Middle-East, North Africa and Europe). Alas, I cannot come across such depth in fables created elsewhere having a complete cycle of Judeo / Christian elements and not stopping or focusing too much on lets say one portion of this cycle, such as witchcraft. Historically the Mediterranean has seen Luzzati’s episodes, case in point ‘Italiana in Algeri’. Emanuele Luzzati himself was Jewish, one of his last animations being ‘Gerusalemme’ Jerusalem.

Examining further ‘I Paladini di Francia’ – an influencing story which must have impressed Luzzati and his colleagues would have been the famous Medieval epic ‘Chanson de Roland’ and ‘History of Charles the Great’. ‘Paladini di Francia’ is also seasoned with the traditional stories known throughout Europe of St George and the Dragon and other tales where dames (maybe blond maybe not) were saved from dragons having appetites for sacrifice and a basic primordial devouring hunger. Essays could be written on the anthropological significance of blood sacrifices pertaining to ancient ignorant heathen pagan cultures (still around in the occult / secret society / witch format today) but we need not enter such debates. JRR Tolkien must have also been inspired by Roland who after having blown his horn to bits was killed, abandoned and betrayed to be found by his uncle Charles. In JRR Tolkien’s tale we have Boromir who betrays himself and suffers death after blowing his Gondorian horn, found later by Aragorn.

However, the points which impress me most about ‘I Paladini di Francia’ is the detail of the cycle. Hero needs to save dame, Gano betrays them all and with magik conjures a castle filled with 100 beasts. Beasts turn into beautiful women (babes) who allure the knights away from Biancafiore. The witchcraft occurs yes, but also in the form of lust. Knights murdered by lust – princess stolen by Gano – hero follows Gano – now the Islamists arrive (I doubt that Luzzati is referring to moderate muslims here, no not so) he is speaking of vile Islamists who love beheading knights fallen beneath the sinful weight of witchcraft and lust as also anyone else who happens to be around! The hero has to fight a dragon, dragon devours the enemy etc etc Biancafiore is saved. A beautiful tale, traditional, true and to the point…

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