THIS year marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of Dashiell Hammett's famous novel The Maltese Falcon, the title referring to a 16th century legend (See right). And the story behind the legend may be relived in Majorca this summer, following a meeting between Council of Majorca president Maria Antonia Munar and Gaetan Naudi, Ambassador to the George Cross island of Malta.
They discussed a project to revive the traditional Maltese art of falconry.
The Ambassador was accompanied by Antonio de Castro y Garcia, the chief falconer of the Kingdom of Spain, and the purpose of the meeting was to seek the Council's aid in reviving the tradition of the Maltese Falcon.
Antonio de Castro explained that in 1530, Carlos I ceded the island of Malta to the Order of the Knights of St John, with one condition: on All Saints' Day each year he was to receive a falcon trained to hunt.
The Knights of the Order of Malta fulfilled the obligation, and during the 16th century delivered the falcon to the Viceroy of Sicily, and in later centuries to the King of Spain. However, the custom was lost when Malta became a sovereign state.
During the journey from Malta to Spain, the falcon usually stopped in Majorca for a few days to rest, and so Malta now wants to resume this cultural tradition by delivering a trained falcon to King Juan Carlos when he is holidaying here in August.
Castro underlined the historical importance of falconry in Malta, where the best falcons in the world are bred and trained, an art which was acknowledged centuries ago as well as in the present day.
The tradition would be accompanied by a series of cultural and sporting events, which is already being drawn up in Malta.
Details of these events were explained to Munar at the meeting.
After the meeting, the chief falconer said that Maria Antonia Munar had expressed her interest in the project, offering her support.
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