Bugghio, the Manta

The Fisherman who loves to tell stories

by Camomilla


My name is Bugghio because my father was called that, this is my “inciuria” (nickname).

My father was a good giant, two meters and five centimeters tall, and my mother was small, compared to him, she was one meter and forty. On the day of their wedding, the people of the village, instead of a marriage, thought there was a confirmation. I was born in Favignana on 1 January 1931. When I was a child I saw people dying for typhus, scabies and hunger, here on my island. I attended elementary school for three or four days, then nothing more... but slowly I learned to read and write by myself. For a while I left the island going to work around the world: Japan, Russia, Australia, Canada, Israel, Palestine; but I felt the greatest fear in Canada. I was guarding to the ship carrying grain and suddenly a cloud passed with so many colors. I started screaming "Chief, Chief! Apocalypse! Here there is polluted air!" Muremo "(we will die) everyone!". The flat-faced Eskimo - this is the nickname I gave him, because they are really ugly - who worked with me, laughed, and my boss said, "Macchi, non si scanti (don’t be afraid)! It's the Northern Lights".

Then it was the military service period, twenty-eight months in the state service. Today the youth is no longer as when I was young, now young boys have not longer to do military service. The meaning of the word “apatriotic” has been lost and man is less masculine. When I returned to the island in 1953, I went to work at the tonnara. After one hundred and ten days of work for the Florio plant, I went into the quarries and with the cleaver split stones by hand, creating the "cantuna", precise blocks measuring twenty-five centimeters for twenty-five. It was hard work that today is no longer done: the men hands are smaller and more tidy.

Proverbs are not wrong, so at the age of thirty I marry an islander. Before the age of thirty, the man should not get married because only then he becomes a man and he thinks well, instead for the woman the right age is twenty-one.

We have had four children and now that the females are far from the island. When I visit them I wonder in terror how do you go to 130 km per hour on the highway. My chest hurts and my heart becomes small, and in comparison the sea force nine is flat. A few days are enough for me then the sea calls me, my blue eyes reflected in the mirror lose their brilliance and the water calls me to itself. Because my name is Bugghio and I am a manta.

Now I'm retired but during the summer I do not abandon the sea and I take tourists to visit the island caves telling stories. The unions have ruined the workers. When I'm at the port, on my boat, I admire the Florio palace, the clarity of my sea ... and the tourists' ass.



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