The Little Gargoyle


I’m looking for the face I had
Before the world was made.
Yeats, A Woman Young and Old

The little Gargoyle was sitting, the last of his kind, still as usual, listening to the faint sound of human voices from down below that the wind today seemed to be determined to carry in another direction. The Gargoyle sighed. Many days now he sat unmoved by the simple signs of social life the parish displayed on the little stage of his vision field. Sometimes he thought about the times when the others had contributed to his own observations with descriptions of what they could see. They all had had places of much greater exposition and had enjoyed a better view of the human spectacle down below. His own place in the shadows of the rear entrance suited the much less elaborate work that the artist had employed by carving him, basically not intending much more than creating a somehow sophisticated rainspout.
One might have thought that his first decades of existence must had been filled with envy or humiliation as his far more artistically executed companions had not failed to point out the aesthetic and social difference that clearly existed between his own simple self and their proud display. The truth was though that his nature was as simple and good willing as his face and that he had always preferred listening to talking and had been glad of their companionship despite their arrogance. Over time as boredom had led to an increasing tendency to quarrel among the more prominent members of the little society they chose him to confide in when their antagonists were drifting off to sleep, a deep, dreamless sleep, not unlike death, but the little gargoyle – clearly a failure in this respect as well as in his aesthetic execution – unable to retrieve his thoughts had been sitting alert and looking out into the night waiting for another morning that should restore his companions to him.
When they were all finally hovering quietly in their respective darkness he had often asked himself if the stonemason had known that he had been awakening the stone with his hammers and chisels and had he known would he still have chosen to give life and then abandon his creation? The little gargoyle of course had the patience and endurance of all stone creatures and one night, one week, one month of silence meant little to him. But he found that by never being able of sleeping he had lost some of his countenance, his stone nature, and during his long nights of silent thoughts while the others where embedded in an enviable state of coma had developed an inner life that didn’t seem quite suitable for a simple gargoyle.

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