An ancient Greek legend tells that Neptune, god of the sea, when running one day on the sea, riding on the back of a dolphin, saw a beautiful island, an immense gulf of beauty, enclosed by two rivers, one of which was just a stream, all with a background that was very impressive: a volcano, beautiful, snowy, and its slopes full of jagged lava, forests and caves. It was Sicily, and the god was so pleased that he made all of his children come out of the sea and sent them to live on this island.
Polyphemus spies Acis and Galatea.
They were gigantic creatures with one eye placed in the middle of the forehead, and they were called Cyclops. TheCyclopes lived in Sicily, grazing flocks of sheep and goats. They were good shepherds, and taught men to make butter and cheese.
But Neptune in his wanderings soon forgot about them.
These Cyclops, though they were the sons of gods, with the passing of time, having been abandoned on this wonderful island, became increasingly rude and bad.
.. each commanded their children and wives, regardless of each other .. there were no meetings orcounsels, no law ..
Two of these especially tried to overwhelm the others, and their names were Polyphemus and Bronte. Each of these two had been able to obtain the largest and most beautiful cave, and the largest flocks of goats and sheep.
At dawn of every new day they sat upon the slopes of Mount Etna in search of good pastures for their herds, and when they found it they exalted with joy, grumbling and slamming their fists on the ground or against the rocks, shaking the whole mountain .
Acis, son of Faunus and a the nymph Simeto, fell madly in love with the nymph Galatea.
Galatea was poor and desperate because she was a nymph loved by the Cyclop Polyphemus, whowas ugly and crude, and aroused enormous fear with his unique and terrible fiery eye. This eye radiated the hatred and fear in his heart from his forehead.Polyphemuses favorite waste of time was to bring fear and terror to the people he met on his stroll with the sheep, and when he was lounging with his friendBronte, on the hillside of Mount Ziretto aroundCastelmola, when they spotted fishing boats or ships they would aim and throw huge rocks. They would both rejoice, grumbling of their evil deeds. (In particular, Polyphemus and Bronte were mad atTeocle and Ulysses was angry at one Teocle and one called Ulysses â€“ Polyphemus in the future would have known Ulysses by the name of Nobody)
But for the love of Galatea Polyphemus stopped seeing Bronte and would no more throw rocks at ships sailing along the coast.
One day the Cyclop, filled with excitement to see his beloved Galatea, began looking for her in the forests around Mount Etna, which he knew very well.
Huge was his anger when he saw from afar his beloved Galatea in the arms of Acis. Out of his throat came a horrible roar.
Galatea got frightened and dove under water in the nearby sea, but the Cyclop Polyphemus, blinded with jealousy, picked up a huge rock and threw it on Acis, crushing and killing him.
The body of the poor shepherd boy was there, under the rock without a flicker of life.
As soon as the news reached Galatea she realized that it was the body of Acis. At the sight of here beloved one, she cried all the tears that she had in her body. Galatea awakened the compassion of the gods, and they wanted to relieve her sorrow, so they transformed Acis into a beautiful river that runs from Etna down to the beach where the two lovers used to meet.
The gods had transformed the blood coming out of the body of the dying Acis into water, that would turn into a river. Thus the two lovers reunite, and when the waves meet from the slopes of Etna to the sea, it seems to hear the sweet melody of the innocent.
Not far from the primary road, near the current fishing village of Cape Mills, renowned for its restaurants with fish and shellfish, a few kilometers from Acireale, there is a small spring that locals call the Spring of the blood of AcisÂ because of its red color.