Corto Maltese in Valletta was born July 10, 1887 a native of Cornwall father , sailor in the Royal Navy, and a gypsy , a native of Seville, the famous " Niña de Gibraltar ". Illegitimate child , he grew up in an environment bathed magic with his mother , who can read the past and future in the cards as in the lines of the hand . Corto likes to believe that the painter Ingres took his mother as a model. He would have his mother up the face, nose, cheekbones and piercing eyes, and her father down, mouth and square jaw . He owes his education Ezra Toledano, a youthful love of his mother, a rabbi who brings 12 years in a Hebrew school in Valletta where he studied the Torah, the Talmud and the Zohar Sefer Ha . One day a friend of his mother tries to read the future in the lines of his hand and is surprised to see no line of luck. "Luck is me who did it! , " He replies . He runs rummaging through his father's business , grabbed a razor and deeply cut the palm of the hand.