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The Fanes' Saga - Researches on the legend

Wolff's text in German and in its Italian translations: a comparison


The Fanes' Kingdom

In the comparation between Wolff's original German text and its Italian translation (see previous chapter), I had no other choice than beginning from the Fanes' Kingdom. I quickly realized that, while the Italian translation has remained quite unmodified over time, the German original has been slightly changed by Wolff himself (or partially also by his post-mortem editors?) with respect to its first appearance. As I haven't the latter at hand, I remain thence in the well-founded suspicion that all or most discrepancies I've found do not depend on variations (intended or not) introduced by the translator into Italian, but on the later evolution of the text in its original language. In any case, these differences are small and not specially significant - with the only exception, maybe, of the one which triggered my initial curiosity! - as far as the interpretation of the legend is concerned. Here below you'll find the point-by-point comparison. (Notice: I've omitted mentioning the frequent interpolation of strophes from Staudacher's Fanneslied in the German text, which are completely missing from the Italian one).


German text :
Italian text :


1. The Croda Rossa [Red Peak]

"...nothing will come to your mind more sensible than what marmots do."
"'ll only have available the marmots' sense to take yourself out of harm's way."
  The italian text is formally more correct, but the German one is closer to what Moltina will actually experience.
The indication that tsestelìs (= wild currant) is a term from Ampezzo is missing.
"Several thickets of wild currant, named in Ampezzo 'tsestelis', grew there". 
"...that you could hear an odlina (=pine-needle) fall..."
"...that you could hear a pine-needle fall.." [the Ladinian term is missing]
  The usage of the German writing of the term in the Italian translation makes me suppose that Wolff modified it later
" old tradition of our people's states however that we escaped onto these mountains from the "Splanedis" (the great Eastern plain),,, "
This important indication about the Fanes' mythical provenience is totally missing.
  Maybe Wolff was later influenced by what is told about the salvani in the legend of the Pale Mountains?
No mention that the Fanes' foes are coming from the west ("... a foreign population is planning to assail us...")
"...we know that a western population is planning to attack us..." 
  I can't fully understand the reasons for this change
At bottom, there's a note about a popular saying on the Croda Rossa, and then another about the Landrines: in the XVI century a Johannes Lendrinus from Innichen (San Candido) was registered at Vienna's university
Both notes are missing
  The presence in the XVI century at San Candido of a family whose name can be traced back to the Landrines is indicative but not decisive in order to ascertain the existence (and antiquity) of a population named this way.


2. The secret alliance

"The secret alliance was only known by the members of the royal family ."   "... nobody was aware of it but the king and his relativesi."   A variation as modest as difficult to understand



3. The twin sisters

The sisters' names are given by the king   Who gives the names is not indicated.   The reason of the difference is unclear.
Tsinke Tores   Cinche torres   Was the Ampezzo name of the mountain modified by the translator?
Note: it is clarified that the pass (now: Falzàrego) was once named Fautsàrego in Ampezzo   The note is missing.    


4. Spina-de-Mul

Lotja   Loccia   The place name is transcribed in its Italian form.
The future Ey-de-Net is wearing "just a skin".   "...wearing chamois skins"   A variation of little significance.
        There are a few small discrepancies in the description of the fight
Penes de Po' Tor   Penes de Potor   The change in the place name looks like having been introduced later
        The scene of the Raietta also shows some small differences
Note: "Ey-de-Net" is in the dialect of Fassa; in the Badia valley one says "Edl-d'Noet"   The note is missing.    

Final note :
"The Raietta story is told in several variants. Its most ancient form seems to be the following: an artist and a wizard seeked a princess in marriage, and both promised to bring her a present where they would express all their capabilities and qualities. The artist produced the Raietta (the shining stone). This gem was so beautiful, that one couldn't but look at it; at night, if the Raietta was nearby, one had wonderful dreams and heard the finest melodies sounding.
The wizard built a ring, with which the most common stones could be turned at will into gold, silver or diamonds. The princess judged the Raietta to be better but, as she had to inform both competitors, the wizard then killed the artist.

Several other different stories are told on the Raietta. The wizard - so he is named - took the Raietta into a cave under Donna Dindia's castle. But it didn't stay there. The precious gemstone entered into the King of Fanes' possession, who crowned his daughter with it. After this princess's death, Spina-de-Mul succeeded in having it stolen by a crow. Now it was thrown onto a mountain lake bottom, where a dragon guarded it. But the gem-searcher dwarfs, who dug the mountains everywhere, were greedily looking for the Raietta and sometimes drilled upwards so close to the lake bottom that they could reach and steal it. A furious struggle ensued between them and the dragon, the galleries collapsed and the lake turned dry. But the dragon deemed the gemstone not to be at safe any longer, because too many dwarfs were digging nearby, therefore he took the Raietta and flew in the air with it to another lake. The splendour of the gem he was carrying in his claws made the flying dragon look as red as fire.
On the "Schlern" (year 1930, pg. 372) Paul Wallnoefer remarks that the legend of the "fuirigen Alber" who flies in the night is also known in the Vintschgau [Venosta valley]. There it is conceived as a ghostly bird who is carrying the "karfunkel", a magic object, in its beak or in its claws. This note makes known that the Raietta legend was diffused all over the Dolomitic Ladinians area.
See the legend "Donna Dindia".

  Totally missing  

The note looks as having been added by Wolff only after the Italian translation was completed.

The presence of the Raietta in several different legends can be probably traced back to modeling over an archetype.
Notice the gem guarded by a dragon, a rare event in Dolomitic legends, which probably is a middle-age contamination of German origin; but the dragon's den is no cave, as in the best German tradition, but a lake bottom, as usually happens in Ladinia!



5. The Aurona

Somawida's name is written the German way, while Odolghes, with its group "gh" for a guttural "g", looks typically "Italian-style"   Sommavida and Odolghes   The variant "Sommavida" may have been introduced by the translator

6. The Eagle prince

        No difference to remark.

7. The silvery lake

It is clarified (by a reference to a different page) that Dolasilla's silvery lake is the same as Elba's one.   The reference to Elba's legend is missing. By the way, Elba's legend is not included into the same book ("L'Anima delle Dolomiti"), but into the "Monti pallidi".   It is still to be clarified, whether the old Ladinian tradition identified the two lakes as a single one, or not!
Maennchen [little men] (later also Zwerge [dwarfs] and Maennlein [small men])   "Dwarfs"   In this case we are dealing with "miner dwarfs" and not with salvans.

8. The weapons and the trumpets

Pregayanis   Pregajanis   It is funny that the consonant sound "i" is rendered in German by a "y" and in Italian by a "j", while the reverse should have sounded much more natural! This remark holds for many other Ladinian words in the text.

9. The warrior girl

Title: Die Kriegerin (Tjedùya)   The Ladinian word is missing.   "Tjeduya" (read chéh-dooh-yah) is a Ladinian word (from Fassa) derived from ceder = to dare, meaning therefore "daring". It is the epithet of a heroine, maybe connected with Dolasilla herself, a trace of whom appears in a few Fassan legends of which only fragments are known.
It is explicitly stated that the Raietta is the same gemstone which Ey-de-Net had given away to the baby Dolasilla, and that the king orders it mounted on her diadem "the day after her first battle".   Both hints are missing, but the first is implicit, the second is unrelevant.   Again, later modifications of the German text?


10. The battle of Fiammes

Title: The day of Fiammes   The battle of Fiammes    
A mount named Amariana exists also in the Carnia, east of Tolmezzo. On this subject, Wolff remarks: “At pg. 24 of the above mentioned Scarsini collection we also find a “legend of mount Marianna” with the following content: - A poor girl named Marianna, who lived on the shore of the Tagliamento river, used to climb every morning on a mountain nearby to collect leaves with which she fed her cattle. Once, during a terrible thunderstorm, she ran into a wicked spirit who wanted to drag her away, An angel then appeared, who saved her. With a frightening noise, the demon disappeared into a crevice which suddenly opened in the rock, and then got filled with water. Apparve allora un angelo che la salvò. This is the origin of the lake that can be seen on the mountain top. As soon as Marianna came back to the valley, high flames and reddish fumes could be seen on the mountain top. - The legend makes us understand that on the top there was a pagan sacred place, which Christians later kept as nefarious. The girl Marianna is obviously an invention: the mountain takes its name from the village of Amaro which lies at its feet. On the ridge of the lofty mountain, which reaches an altitude of 1906 meters, three summits can be distinguished: Amariana, Amaria and Amarianute”.   The note is completely missing.
  1) the village of Amaro (in Friulian: Damár) should, in effect, either be named by a Latin person name Amarus, or by the mountain itself (therefore, not vice-versa). Friulans mockingly name the mountain La Marianna. It was once believed to be the highest peak of all Carnia and to be a volcano. A friend of mine, Gianni Cella, once told me that, when he was a boy, he found on top of the Amariana some stones vetrified by fire. Was it really the site of an ancient Brandopferplatz? All to be verified.

2) In the tale "The stream's genius", located near Cortina, there's a hint to dwarfs who peopled mount Amariana with all their tribe. There are no other indications to pinpoint the mountain, but it must be a massif of some size, not far away from the Cortina basin. The Croda da Lago might fit.
...twice the gallant Duranni drove back the enemies...   ...twice the battle came was interrupted...   A little understandable variation.
The colour of Dolasilla's hair is dunkelbraun (lit. “dark brown”)   "brown hair "   Almost all Dolasilla's images show her blonde. This is not what Wolff had in his mind. The opinion of the original Ladinian tradition is unknown to me.
Several verses from Eberhard König's "Aurona" are inserted; they probably were originally referring to Dolasilla herself. Wolff states having introduced only minimal modifications to the original text.   Missing.   E. König was a poet and libretto writer from Berlin, more or less contemporary to Wolff. In 1935 he went to Bolzano, got in touch with Wolff and wrote a "dramatic legend", the Aurona, the manuscript of which he gave Wolff to read (1941). I don't know if it was ever published later on.
    The whole description of the battle has been translated into Italian not literally and somewhat more concisely, but the text is substantially adhering to the original.    


11. On the dark Migogn

Wögl dale Wèlme (the Old Man of the Green Alder-Trees).   Vögl delle Velme. The translation is missing   In Livinallongo green alder-trees (Alnus viridis) are really named “velme”. See Laboratory.
It is specified that the dwarfs of the Latemar were the smith dwarfs of Gepleng (a placename of the Latemar).   No hint is made to Gepleng   Another later modification?
Migoyn   Migogn   Different writings for the same sound.
    There are several small translation liberties, but no substantial difference.    


12. The shield

Title: Ey-de-Net and Dolasilla   Title: The shield   See note to next chapter
It is repeated that the Latemar dwarfs live in the Gepleng, "under the tall rocky cliffs".   The "huge rocky cliffs" are here, but the placename is not.   See previous chapter.


13. Ey-de-Net e Dolasilla

Title: "The blunder"   Title"Ey-de-Net e Dolasilla"   The titles are funnily swapped: in Italian the chapter has been titled as the previous one in the German text.
The king drives Ey-de-Net away “sneering at him”   Not explicit, but can be read among the lines.    

14. In highest danger

        The Fanes' repeated supplications to Dolasilla so that she takes arms again, mostly expressed in "traditional" verse, have been translated in an almost exactly literal fashion.

The text is followed by a strophe by Eberhard König:

Now the great news spread around,
the Kingdom's star is back
shining in front of our flags,
to banish
any faltering!"

   Missing.   The lines are certainly taken from the Aurona, and almost certainly are again referring to Dolasilla herself.

A long paragraph is following, titled "Insert (Ladinian text)" where it is stated that a few passages are reported from the "popular Ladinian festival Fanes da tsakan”. They include the supplications to Dolasilla so that she enters the field again, and her lamentations. The text is in Ladinian, followed by a German translation.

   Missing.   Notice: this is NOT Morlang's Fanes da zakan, who is rather more concise on the subject; therefore these really ought to be authentically traditional passages, of an undetermined age however.

15. The sylphs' response

Title: Der Elfenspruch, (lit. The elves' response)   Title: The sylph's answer   Parallelism and differences between northern and mediterranean mythologies!
Crèp dles Naynòres   Najnores   Peak o' Nine Hours
The chapter ends with the Myanines' prophecy: "We foretell you Dolasilla's imminent death!". The whole passage that follows in Italian, is missing from the German text.  

"When he heard those terrible words, Ey de Nèt believed that life would suddenly abandon him. Dolasilla must die! When he recovered from that first bewilderment, Ey de Nèt would immediately rush away, to be at his beloved's side at the time of danger. But a long march through the mountains, in the darkest of the night, exhausted as he was after a tiresome and tormented day, was out of question. He was forced to spend the night on the lakeshore, and at dawn he hastily marched away.
But the Fanes' doom was marked. The need to evade the guards, both at the border and inside the kingdom, who all had received the order not to let the banished shield-bearer return into the Fanis, delayed Ey de Nèt's march. So that when, at late evening, he finally arrived at the Cunturines, he was too late."

  It is credible that Wolff may have later scrapped this long and somewhat unnecessary explanation; less credible, that the translator might have inserted it from nothing!


16. Thirteen arrows

A strophe by Henriette Schrott-Pelzel precedes the text:
"Don't talk about my sorrow,
Don't talk about my pain,
It's as delicate as worn-out silk,
It's as red as blood-stained snow
"...quick..."   " quick as squirrels..."    



17. The armour changes its colour

Title: "Die Verfarbung” (The change of colour)   "The armour changes its colour"     
"as white as the snows [Firnen] of the Marmolèda”   "as snow-white as the tops of the Marmoleda"    
The last sentence of the Italian text is missing in German   "Thanks to the still deep darkness, the Fanes had remained unaware of the colour change which had occurred before their eyes, and they believed unsuspiciously their princess's words."   Again a passage which has presumably been removed from the German editions following the first one.


18. The battle on the Pralongià

A strophe of a popular Westphalian song precedes the text, where the king's daughter is alone crying, while all other people are happy.   Missing    
Note: a passage from the "popular Ladinian festival" is quoted: "Dolasila ferida è nyüda ü ten yàde furtüna se müda." (Dolasilla has been wounded, and at once fortune has changed).   The note is missing    

19. The Fanes' Queen

    There are several small literal discrepancies, but always within the limits of a good translation.    
The sentence pronounced by the knight "The princess must certainly have died" is missing from the German text.   The sentence "Then a knight jumped from the draw-bridge into the inner courtyard" is missing from the Italian text. It is required to provide the following sentence with a subject: "and stopped panting in the court, shouting:"   More than to a translation mistake, we may attribute the syntax error in the Italian text to a line skipped in printing.

20. The false King

    Translation with no discrepancies.    

21. Lujanta

    Translation with no discrepancies.    

22. In the hollow mountains

...the western tower… had fallen into enemy hands, and they fought on the roofs...   The situation of the sieged became more and more difficult.   The German text gives clearer details about the siege of a castle as it would happen in the Middle Ages.

23. The resurgence

    The texts are conceptually identical.    

24. In the island of the one-armed men

    The texts are substantially identical.    

25. The last resolution

...the valley of the Sewerina...   ...Severina valley...   Severina valley or valley of the Severina stream, the place name remains unknown to me and cannot be located.

26. Evening on the battlefield

    The texts are identical.    

27. The sacred flame

Title: "In front of the blue flame of the Fanis"        
Two strophes by Arthur von Wallpach precede the text.   Missing.    
Note: the strophes about the lighting of the flame, according to Staudacher.   Missing.    


28. The tournament of Contrin

Note: Sonkyes= sun ki kléves = on those slopes; today pronounced Sonkiës   The note is missing; the place name is indicated as Sonchíves    


29. The light of the dead

Note: Vivèna = fairy of the woods   Note after the end of the text: The Vivène are women of the woods, who know the future.    
The tournament, that was held when the corps of the Arimanni was dissolved, consisted of a foot-race, a contest of javelin throwing and one of arrow shooting, and all of them were gained by Lidsanel.   There is no indication about the contests that composed the tournament.    


30. The last of the latrones

The Arimanni's war-cry ("Saloy - saldi noi!") is named “Skray de skira   The cry "Salloi, saldi noi!" is never named by its Ladinian term.    

In a note, a strophe from a popular poem in honour of the Marmolada is reported:
"You are beautyful, you are great,
fine in peace and strong at war,
you are between earth and sky
Our country's first honour!"



31. The end of the kingdom and the promise of redemption

The lake tour is said to occur every year, in a summertime night when the moon is waxing.   The detail about summertime is missing.    
Last sentence: "... until when the 'promised time' will come, the time of peace and justice. Then all those who have suffered in the mountains will be resurrected and redeemed".   “...because at that time there will be no more wars, nor slaughters, nor hatred and, as it was in a remote past, all men will fraternize in a bond of love."   The difference is significant, and rather funny. I'm unable to guess the reason for this.
A strophe by di A. von Wallpach follows the text, then there is a note about the "Eagle of the Flame".   The strophe is missing, the note corresponds to note 3) after the end of the Italian text    
Note: according to Heyl (“Volkssagen aus Tirol”) the self-generating flame is located in a different place, on the mountains of the Rautal (the valley of San Vigilio). Heyl also hints at the bird that bursts flames by its beak, and remarks that all over the Badia valley the“lüm stramba”, [strange light], high on the mountains, is well known, and it is also known that an ancient tale narrated about it, but all has been forgotten.   Missing    
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