On the shores of the bay of Naples lived a siren who forever basked on her favourite rock. Her scales glinted in the sunlight, speckling the sea surface with brilliant flashes and her songs danced on the air, echoing from cave to coves afar. The winds carried them into the distance and as far away as Africa.
Captains of passing fleets stuffed wool into their ears and tied their crews to ship’s masts so no sailor was tempted to steer off course into the bay, for many who had been lured by the siren faced a horrible end.
Perilous was this bay for Vesuvius raged. He over saw all, commanding with poisonous ash clouds and bubbling lava. The only creatures who thrived were cave dwelling monsters and one-eyed giants. Enormous lemons and ripe blood red tomatoes grew at the foot of the volcano but the creatures hungered only for flesh and bones.
When the Mediterranean Sea gave birth to a tempest, Vesuvius grew jealous. As they engaged in battle, the siren hid deep within a crevasse of her rock.
No matter how much lava and ash the volcano spewed, the tempest’s bolts of lightning collapsed caves and destroyed lairs. The monsters and giants who didn’t perish fled the land and the poisonous gasses were blown upwards and outwards, forever banished.
A lone fishing boat was carried high on enraged waves from Eastern waters. A fisherman clung to the helm of his boat, its ripped sails useless rags applauding the storm in pale flashes against the blackened sky.
When his boat hit the Siren’s rock smashing into hundreds of wooden shards, he was flung into the foamy sea. The Siren awoke and pulled him deep into the crevasse and out of harm’s way, lulling him to sleep with her sweet song. Illuminated softly by the blaze of fury outside, she took him under her wing until the tempest left the bay victorious.
Night gave way to an untroubled morning. The Siren woke and found the fisherman gone. She lay on her rock and lamented, slipping mournfully into the sea from where she never returned.
Alas, the fisherman had gone to the slopes of a defeated Vesuvius, gathering sweet figs and oranges. When he brought them to the rock, the siren was no more. In her place lay a golden egg. In the egg was held the fate of Naples itself.
He built a great castle to honour his siren and a fort to protect the precious egg.
Despite his great kingdom, he awaited her return for the rest of his days by listening to winds in case they should carry her sweet song. But they never did.
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