Fermin Arrudi, el Gigante de SallentValle de Tena
Fermín Arrudi Urieta (Sallent de Gállego, July the 7th 1870 – May the 2nd 1913)
Fermín Arrudi, also known as “The Giant of Sallent”, was a famous celebrity in the whole Aragonese Pyrenees thanks to his height, as he reached 2,29 meters high and travelled all around the world showing his height.
Fermín was rather a small baby, his parents had a normal height, but when he was eleven years old he got ill with high temperature. That illnees made him have a growth spurt till he was 25 years old. In that moment he measured 2,29 meters and weight 180 kg.
His adolescence was a real tormet, as he observed that the world was not designed for him, he couldn't sit down like the other people, he couldn't go up stair, he had to cross the doors ducked…
In spite of having force and show strength, he was very sensitive, tender, caring and warm with adults and children. He could develop all these attitudes in order to adapt himself to the way of life having very few resources, even having hunger till he was 12/14 years old and started working in different jobs.
After that, many universities from Spain and abroad carried out some studies about his height at size. That's why he gained a cultural and language training.
He could also play music, he was a genius playing de Jota “rondada”, he also played bandurria, laud, guitar, violin and guitarrico, the two last where his favorites ones.
He worked firstly in Canfranc Train Station and then he started to show his big body all around the world.
He was exhibited in Europe, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Austria and France. In some state of the USA and also in South America, the Caribbean Islands and Argelia (Africa). There exist some proofs which show the places he visited because the newspapers always wrote about him.
He was also exhibited in the Paris Universal Exposition in 1900. He made the shows more pleasant playing instruments and singing “jotas”.
The musician Demetrio Galán wrote once the book “El libro de la jota aragonesa” and will remain later Fermín Arrudi writing that he played “the guitar, the violin, the laúd, the tambourine, the hierrecillos, the requinto, the bandurria, the flute and the armonium”, and everything self-taught.
With the fame came also the love… Louis Carlé Dupuis, a Parisian woman, became his wife. He was an example of modernity, tolerance, loyality, care and empathy, not just with his wife but will all the people.
He could make a small fortune with his exhibitions that he used to build a house in Sallent.
A must in Sallent is visiting the Fermin Arrudi Statue, near the Town Hall. No one can resist to make a photograph to compare themselves with the statue. It has been inaugurated in 2014 and was made by Pedro J. Larraz.
Foto: Diario del Alto Aragón
Rafael Andolz and David Dumall have writen books with his life. It also exist a version for children: Garabato Books, El gigante de Sallent.
Foto: Garabato Books