Raġel bil-Għaqal

Raġel bil-Għaqal (English: A Man of Good Intentions) is a novel by the Maltese author Guze Galea. The plot takes place in the Medieval times, when Malta was ruled by Diego Aragona, who came to live in Malta from Spain.


Marku Falzun, son of one of the richest men in Malta, studied at the University of Palermo, however, he did not get involved in the politics of the island, as his father wanted him to do, instead he used to stay indoors for long hours reading and studying, and at night, he gazed at the stars. He had the ability to forecast the weather by studying the formation of the clouds, this led many to believe that he was a sorcerer.

Once, while he was walking in the countryside, he saw Malta's Governor, Diego Alagona, having a meeting with some Turks. As he was too far away to see what was happening, he had to use a telescope, (an instrument not yet invented at the time). When Marku Falzun accused Diego Alagona of conspiring with the enemy, and said that he could see him through the lenses of his telescope, he was misunderstood by his friends and accused of teleporting people using his lenses (as he stated that he could bring people nearer to him using the lenses). Therefore he was arrested for witchcraft.

Diego Alagona sent soldiers after him, but he managed to escape, and found refuge with some farmers, who offered him protection as he had often helped them by forecasting the weather for them. After a few days, he decided that he couldn't stay there much longer and fled to the island of Kemmuna, an island which many Maltese feared since it was a haven for pirates where they smuggled their stolen goods.

Diego Alagona didn't give up the hunt and sent more soldiers after him in Kemmuna. When the soldiers arrived, they found an abandoned ship laden with dead bodies. Believing that Marku Falzun had put a curse on the ship, they hurried back to the mainland.

When the soldiers had departed, Marku Falzun came across the ship himself, and discovered that one of the crew, the captain, was still alive. He rescues him and after healing him, they start their journey toward Sicily, to inform the king that Diegu Alagona was conspiring with the Turks. However, on their way to Sicily, a storm steers them towards another island, where they meet the Turkish ship that attacked the one Marku Falzun found. The Turks on board the ship believe that the ghosts of the crew they had killed had come to haunt them, and flee. Taking advantage of this situation, Falzun, together with the captain and Rigu, his servant, free all the slaves on the ship. Amongst the slaves they find Luqa Briffa, Rigu's father, and the king's chancellor.

Luqa Briffa tells them about the plot that the Turks are planning to steal the taxes gathered by the Maltese citizens, and that Diegu Alagona, Malta's Governor, had given them information as to where they had to hide to ambush the boxes containing the taxes, these were to be delivered from one city to another.

Luqa and Rigu Briffa, together with Marku Falzun decide to go to Malta and warn the Maltese citizens about this ambush, while the king's chancellor and the captain of the ship, head to Sicily to inform the king of what was about to happen. However, upon arriving at Malta, Marku Falzun is arrested, but Luqa, and Rigu Briffa escape.

In the meantime, the Turks arrive in Malta, descend onto a desolate bay, and hide in a field amongst haystacks, waiting for the booty to be delivered from a nearby road. Luqa Briffa and his son, who were hiding a stone's throw away, see the Turks hiding, but couldn't inform the soldiers in charge of taxes in time. As a result they decide to set the dry hay on fire, burning also the Turks in hiding. When the soldiers saw the Turks on fire, running out of the field, they attacked them and killed all of them.

Luqa Briffa and Rigu, his son, are arrested upon false accusations. In the meantime the members of the council of Malta, with Diegu Alagona as their head, gather to decide what to do with Marku Falzun. Just before he is sentenced to death Marku Falzun, Luqa Briffa, and Rigu, together with the Chancellor and some of the king's soldiers sent form Sicily, confront Alagona. Diegu Alagona is accused of betraying his own country, and of persecuting Marku Falzun, he is sentenced to death. Upon hearing his verdict he dies of fear, and Marku Falzun is liberated.

Marku Falzun is proclaimed as the new Governor of Malta, and given the title of Chevalier of the Angelic Order of Saint George. Luqa Briffa, who was previously a Maltese soldier, is made Captain of the Maltese army, while his son, Rigu Briffa, is sent to the University of Palermo to study with the most intelligent men of his time.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Guze Galea — Guzè Galea (1901–1978) is a Maltese author. Some of his books include:* Zmien L Ispanjoli * San Gwann * Ragel bil Ghaqal …   Wikipedia

  • Marku Falzun — is a character in Guze Galea s novel, Ragel bil Ghaqal …   Wikipedia

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