About the name
It happened during the night on the 1st of June in the far away year of 1555, when the right honourable and noble sir Paolo Contarini was the mayor of Piran. The fishermen of Piran namely encountered a huge fish in the Sečovlje bay near Fontanige swamp and this of such proportions and shape never to be seen previously. It triggered fear and curiosity within their chests. The tidings soon spread like a fire. In order to catch it that very night twenty boats left the Piran harbour loaded with fishermen armed with assorted tools and arms: spears, sabres, javelins, swords, pruning knives and even razors. When they approached the giant fish they encircled it and charged in order to pull it ashore. The fish was not yet fifteen minutes on the shoal, as it was already out. But it brandished its mighty tail and scared the fishermen as several boat bows were submerged, warded off and almost capsized. The frightened fish also retreated. The terror and anxiety rose to a breaking point. One fisherman summoned up all his courage, sailed to it and wounded it in the middle by thrusting his sabre in to the hilt. This was a mortal wound for the poor fish.
The next morning on the 2nd of June all twenty boats towed the fish to Piran to the shore near slaughterhouse. Here was among many an inquisitive person also sir Cristoforo Canal, the caretaker who allowed the ropes to be taken from his galley with which and the aid of a winch the fish was dragged ashore. This was the only way. To pull out the fish took a considerable amount of time. Meanwhile all the inhabitants of Piran gathered to see this unbelievably big and strange fish. Among them was also the municipal notary public who described it all. As nobody had seen such a fish until that time, it was simply called a “sea wonder”.
Quando il pesce fu tirato all’asciutto, i pescatori lo misurarono davanti agli occhi di tutti i curiosi. Era lungo 13 passi e largo 7. Un passo era lungo quasi 1 metro. La coda era simile a quella di un delfino e allargata misurava 2 passi e 1 scarpa, dunque un po piu’ di 2 metri. Sulla testa aveva due grandi occhi e un’apertura larga come un secchio dalla quale spruzzava acqua, fino a 3 passi d’altezza. La parte inferior della bocca era simile al becco di una galea, con 42 denti grandi un pugno. Sulla mandibola superior non c’erano denti ma solo buchi, nei quali entravano i denti dalla mandibola inferior. Il pesce aveva una pinna lunga circa 70cm da ogni parte, sulla coda invece una gobba simile a quella dei delfini. L’organo riproduttivo misurava 70cm, i testicoli erano grandi come due palle di cannone.
When the fish was safely ashore the fishermen first measured it under vigilant scrutiny of many eyes. It was 13 yards long and 7 yards wide. A yard is almost 1 metre. The tail resembled the dolphin’s and measured spread out 2 yards and one foot i.e. just over 2 metres. On the head the fish had two big eyes and a wide hole big as a bucket from which the water squirted 2 to 3 yards high. The lower part of the mouth resembled a hitting ram of a minor galley with 42 teeth long about a span. On the upper jaw there were no teeth, only openings in which the upper teeth snugly fitted. The fish had one fin on each side long about one ell (approx. 70 cm), above the tail there was a dolphin like hump. The penis measured one ell, and the testicles were like cannon balls.
Many people cut the fat of this fish that resembled the pork’s. Out of it 100 jugs of clear oil were gained which was translucent like water and much better looking than olive oil. It burnt with a magnificent flame twice as long as the olive oil. If people knew what kind of fish it was, 500 jugs could have been gained from it. Many gained 3 to 4 jugs of oil, depending on effort and time invested. In the bottles it looked like water or clear white wine. It was sold at 4 ducats per jug.
As with time the fish started to smell terribly, it was towed to Savudrija karst. There they cleaned the remaining meat from the bone. As a souvenir they pulled out all teeth. The jaw was taken to the St. George church attic beams, and the upper portion of the head to the St. Francis minor monks monastery in Piran. The ribs measured a yard, and a 200 star deadweight ship could be filled with the intestines (1 star = 83 l).
In the ensuing month of July a plague disease spread, which caused death of many people.