The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Torralba d'en Salort



Es Fus de sa Geganta (the giantess's spindle), Torralba d'en Salort, district of Alayor: a conspicuous standing stone in the midst of the talayotic settlement of Torralba d'en Salort.
The tradition is that at midnight the Ginatess from the talayotic well of Na Patarra nearby carries on her head a trough of water for sacrifice at the Taula (table shaped stone monument) among this group of monuments. After making the sacrifice she returns to the depths of the well. The giantess is the guardian of the monuments here, and after the sacrifice she makes rope with her spindle.

The well, dating almost certainly from the talayotic period, is among the most spectacular ancient structures in Menorca. The mouth is 7.50m by 5.00m; the depth 45.80m; and there are 199 rock-hewn steps in eight flights, with banisters 0.5m broad. It is not surprising that it has attracted folklore. Its construction was attributed to giants as early as the late 16th century.

The traditions connected with it are the subject of the poem 'Na Patarra: Tradicio Menorquina,' by Angel Ruiz y Pablo ([extract of] translation by Dr. Antoni Turull):

It is said there was an immense cave
Hewn from the living rock
By the hand of the heathen
Inhabitants of these islands ...

Hallowed by time the cave
As was the falling water;
Hands of priests hewed
The cavern in the living rock;
And the tradition tells
That a giantess
At midnight would carry out
The basin on her head
And in the light of the white moon
The friend of our ancestors
Would wash the living blood
From the sacrificial altar.

The sacred dolmen watched over
The virgin priestess
And at daybreak
She would return the basin to the cave
And in the sacred solitude
Of that heathen cavern,
The purified water
Issued forth night and day.
The Popular Names and Folklore of Prehistoric Sites in Menorca
L. V. Grinsell
Folklore, Vol. 95, No. 1 (1984), pp. 90-99.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
10th February 2009ce
Edited 10th February 2009ce

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