THE BLACK ELEPHANT
I recently ordered a pizza from a newly opened shop. The owner has an Italian accent , so naturally I asked where in Italy does he
call home. He said Catania in Sicily. I told him about Gloria's mother and the fact that she was born there. I also told him of our
visit to the city.
We talked about the life-size statue of a black elephant in the square. When we first saw it , we wondered what
Sicily had to do with elephants and why it was black. One of the legends , which is the one I like, claims that Hannibal came from
Carthaginia with his task force of elephants on his way to capture Rome and as soon as he appeared in Catania, the local volcano,
Mount Etna erupted. The molten lava flowed onto the elephants , seared them black , and hastened Hannibal's retreat. Whether the eruption
was by chance or divine intervention became the topic of discussion for years .In any event , the story required a physical remembrance
, thus the statue.
There are other legends , so I asked my pizza man which one he liked. His reply was "the Hannibal story and it isn't
a legend , it's historical fact." I told him I agreed with him. ( Having seen the movie The Godfather, many times, who wants to argue
with a Sicilian?)
He also sells home-baked bread and pastries. I bought a loaf of bread and he rewarded my visit and discussion by
giving me two cannolis and a large slice of tiramasu. Another Divine Intervention?