The Mistery of Giants of Stone
Gigantism is widespread among mythological creatures and is typical of the first inhabitants of the world. According to ancient people, big bones of mammoths, elephants, woolly rhinoceroses and cave bears proved the presence of giants. Pinnacles with an improbable equilibrium, peaks’ profiles, contrasts and colours were the starting point for traditions and legends that still today perpetuate the charm of the Dolomites. Every peak of the Dolomites is connected to a myth, whose protagonists are most of the times giants and their relationship with human beings and nature.
Sassolungo the evil
It is told that afamily of good giants lived between Fassa Valley and Val Gardena. Only one ofthem was evil: the giant Sassolungo, thief (it used to destroy the harvests) and liar (it used to say that the animals in the wood were destroying everything). Sassolungo was quick and astute, and the Other giants did not realise that it was evil and spiteful. One day, they discovered it and it was condemned to be buried until it confessed what it had done. The giant was so dishonest and stubborn that it did not confess until only one ofits hands was free. That hand and its five fingers are petrified in the Dolomites of Fassa Valley, and this is what we call today the Five Fingers of the Sassolungo.
Grimm the lover
The legend of the Giant Grimm is strictly connected to the morphology of the territory. Grimm used to live on the Passo Oclini, between the Weifhorn and the Schwarzhorn. According to the legend, the giant kidnapped the beautiful daughter of a noble from Eggental, it took her to its palace on the Wei$horn and it married her. The father of the young woman askedfor the help of the famous hero Theodoric the Great to have his daughter back. The hero won the battle against the giant, and it married her. The father of the young woman asked for the help of the famous hero Theodoric the Great to have his daughter back. The hero won the battle against the giant, and it died, together with its wife. The stones that the giant threw during the battle buried them. According to some researchers, through these legends, strange and big bones that came outfrom the soil or had been given to local people by travellersfrom distant countries became a meaning. Among these, the legend of the giant Haunold, whose rib is hung in Innichen.
Haunold the glutton
Haunold was the son of a Roman captain killed by the Huns. It became a giant after drinking fronz a miraculous spring. When the duke Baiuvaro Tassilo got to Puster Valley, some farmers asked him to stop the Huns, because nobody wanted to confront their boss. The giant Haunold helped the Duke and it won against the Huns, even though the Prince of the Huns broke one of its ribs. In exchange of its work, the giant wanted to have one calf,• three bushels of beans and one barrel of wine a day. The inhabitants of Innichen could not afford to give it everything he asked, and they decided to kill it. After killing it, they regretted what they did and they hung up its rib in the vestibule of the church.
MARCO AVANZINI – Museo delle Scienze di Trento
EVELYN KUSTATSCHER – Museo di Scienze Naturali dell’Alto Adige