Page 201. " not with the snakes that infest these hills "

Vipera Berus
GNU Free Documentation LicenseVipera Berus - Credit: Zdeněk Fric
The only poisonous snake to be found in Italy is the common viper- better known in the UK as the adder. Adder bites are very rarely fatal, but they're extremely painful. For example, if you're bitten on the foot, it's likely that your whole leg will swell up for several days, and sometimes people experience pain for an entire year after being bitten- nasty! Of course, modern medicine can do a lot for people bitten by adders, so if it ever happens to you make sure you seek medical attention as soon as you can.

If the idea of gruesome poisonous snakes is a bit too much for you, you can experience fun, cartoon snakes by playing this game, a version of the mobile phone classic!

Page 202. " Ever since I told Basta for a joke that a White Lady haunts the stone coffins down there "

White Lady
Public DomainWhite Lady - Credit: Zjawa Barbary Radziwiłłówny
The term "White Lady" or "White Woman" refers to lots of different things in different mythologies, but is usually a name given to female ghosts, often because they appear to be wearing wedding dresses or something similar. A detailed list of haunted places can be found at the Shadowlands, although it's not for the faint hearted!

In German mythology, a Weisse Fraue (literally White Lady) is a name given to female spirits who can be seen during the day, bathing or combing their hair. You can see a picture of one of these elf-like ladies on the right.

Page 219. " He had called her 'Little Flea' in those days "

Little Flea is one of the characters in a short fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, which you can read here.

Page 220. " this is the hour of pride and power "

This is a poem from the Jungle Book (see bookmark for page 194); the full version goes like this:

Now Chil the Kite brings home the night

That Mang the Bat sets free--The herds are shut in byre and hut,
For loosed till dawn are we.This is the hour of pride and power,
Talon and tush and claw.Oh, hear the call!--Good hunting all
That keep the Jungle Law!