Il-Ġebla tal-Ħalfa is a tiny ass rock south-east of Gozo inhabited by endemic Maltese plants such as the Maltese Sea-Lavender and the Maltese Pyramidal Orchid. This tiny island is off the coast of Qala and although it seems to have been perpetually uninhibited, that doesn’t mean that it did not witness any heavily dramatic scenes on its limestone. If anything, it seems to have featured a pretty intense episode at one point in the 16th century.
As most Maltese people know, ħalfa literally means oath, and local legends say that the Dragut from the Great Siege was raiding Gozo with his brother a couple of years ago, in 1544.
His brother got killed in action, and Dragut (being the kind and gentle soul he was), asked the Gozitans to hand over his homeboy’s body in order to give him a proper burial.
The Gozitans, being Gozitans who had just suffered a mini siege, didn’t really care about Dragut’s hurt feelings, so they told him to go fuck himself in the most Gozitan way ever.
They dragged his brother’s body out right in front of Dragut, dousing it with zero fucks (and presumably some hay) only to set it on fire until it was burnt to a crisp.
The devastated Dragut presumably weeped his heart out, and when the Ottomans boarded their ships to leave Gozo, he felt the urge to be as dramatic as Jason Statham in The Transporter Refueled.
He jumped onto this weird rock and vowed to come back and wreck vengeance on the people of Gozo, because cremation was a bit of a taboo back then.
Y’all know what came next.
Being a firm believer of ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’, Dragut came back to Malta to attack Mdina in 1551, and he totally just sailed to Gozo mid-siege to get his revenge. He was so angry about his brother’s crisping ceremony that he took almost all the Gozitans into slavery.
Now we know why that happened. #Drama
Oh, and Dragut only just went and returned to Malta a decade later in 1565 as an instrumental figure in one of the greatest sieges this island – and the continent – has ever seen. Eesh, talk about holding a grudge.