Picture description. The gargoyle and the pigeon. Image drawn by
"So? What are you
wondering?" the pigeon finally replied to the gargoyle after he had looked at
"I wonder what's over there..." the stone creature said. It helps to know that
pigeon and gargoyle were on the roof of one of the town's highest buildings,
overlooking large parts of the city. It was still not too late yet to survey the
hustle and bustle on the streets from a vantage point like this, but whatever
the town had to offer, it got more and more engulfed in the cloak of the night.
"What is over there?" the gargoyle repeated.
"Where, over there exactly?" the pigeon asked back.
"Well, right there, way, way in the distance. Does it all end there?"
"Behind the horizon you mean?"
"Aye, if you so want," the gargoyle nodded. "Behind the horizon. What is a
"You wouldn't know a horizon from a pair of slippers, would you?" the pigeon
cooed, mocking him. "And yet you stare at it all the time! Life of a gargoyle, I
guess..." The bird cackled, at least as much as pigeons are able to cackle. A
full moon had risen by now, lending the town a placid atmosphere, and clouds
unhurriedly moved towards the east. It was a lovely evening indeed and the bird
enjoyed the breeze coming in from the sea that was caressing its feathers. And
now it was having a chat with a gargoyle... "Well, the 'horizon'," he then
explained to the gargoyle, "that's a word for 'as far as you can see', of
course. But it doesn't all just end there. It goes on and on afterwards."
"You sure?" the gargoyle said in disbelief.
"Well, I'm not from here, if you must know, but it's the same everywhere," said
the pigeon. "I trust it just goes on and on, on and on, here as well. Houses
upon houses, and then more houses, and then maybe a river or a hill, or a
mountain, that's what's different from town to town. But it does go on."
"Pray, can you make sure for me?" the gargoyle begged. "I really want to know.
It's been bothering me for quite a while, and my colleague too wants to know. I
cannot not think about it. Maybe it goes on elsewhere, but who says it
doesn't actually end here on this horizon? Maybe it's the very last
"Yeah, maybe it's the very last horizon!" the other gargoyle to his left agreed,
though he didn't turn his head, after all he was made of stone.
"You bet!" the pigeon sneered, thinking that the gargoyles had lost their wits.
"You two don't get around much, do you? Well, fine then, stone monkeys, I'll
have a look. I'll be back later."
"We'll be here," the gargoyles both said at the same time.
It took until the next evening
for the pigeon to return. The gargoyle and his colleague already feared the
worst when they heard a flapping of wings and a familiar cooing. The pigeon must
have returned! – And indeed, there he was, the little bird!
"So?" the gargoyle wanted to know once his scout landed next to him. He was
eager to learn the news. "What took you so long? What's over there? How was it?"
"It's just as I said..." he was told by the pigeon, all matter-of-fact. "No big
surprises, really. I flew far, far out, and it goes on and on. Houses upon
houses, and then more houses. And after that a river and a hill. And a mountain.
That's just how it is. Here and elsewhere. Now you know."
"So it's not the last horizon here?" The gargoyle almost sounded disappointed.
"No, and I told you so already, if you'd only listen. You and your hunches,
conjectures, whatever you name it. All balderdash!" said the pigeon and thought
that settled the matter. "But you know what? – I've come upon a couple of your
"What do you mean 'your like'?" The gargoyle's eyes widened.
"Stone monkeys, numbskull! Gargoyles, just like you two!"
"Really? Just like us?" The statue was surprised.
"Got something in your ears?" the bird cooed. "Stone moneys, just like you!
That's what I said, that's what I've seen. Some have two horns, long tails or
enormous claws; others sit on large orbs, with wings and everything. Quite the
collection throughout town!"
"But we're the only ones around here! I've never seen any other gargoyles, and
I've been here all my life!" the stone figure said.
"And neither have I," the second gargoyles chipped in. "And I've been watching a
whole different part of the town. This certainly cannot be, you're making this
up, pigeon! We're the only ones around here!"
"Oh dear, oh dear," the pigeon jerked his head, looking alternately at the first
gargoyle, then at the second. "You know why you haven't seen any other
gargoyles? That's because it all ends at your horizon for you, nitwits! No
wonder you get such dumb ideas about the world ending over there and what
not..." The bird hopped at a ledge and pointed with its beak towards the
outlines of a structure, which was much taller than the rest, however was
difficult to recognize in the evening haze. "Over there, my friends! Look! If
you squint you will see the three gargoyles sitting on top of that tower. And
these are just the one's on this side, there are three more on the other,
believe you me! And you'll find even more on other buildings!"
But the gargoyle said: "I cannot even turn my head, and you know it, pigeon! How
could I ever be sure you speak the truth?"
"No, no, this most certainly cannot be, it's all made up!" The other gargoyle
said. He had no doubt about that. "We're the only ones around here!"
"Well, fine then, suit yourself," the pigeon pouted. Already he prepared for
taking off again, leaving the gargoyles alone with their narrow-mindedness.
"Dear pigeon?" the gargoyle suddenly pleaded in the softest voice he could
muster. "Would you do me one more favor? Just that one?"
"What is it now?" the bird cooed, a bit annoyed.
"Could you..." The gargoyle was hesitating. "Could you pay these gargoyles you
speak of a visit and convey our greetings? And ask them how they're faring over
there? If they really do exist, they should know that there are others of their
kind who think about them and care about them, even if they can't see them."
The bird considered the request, found it reasonable and so he agreed to play
the messenger once more. It was for a good cause after all. "Fine then, I'll do
it," the pigeon said. "One last message for you, stone monkeys! Expect me back a
"Thank you kindly," the gargoyle said. "We'll be here."
The next night the pigeon
returned and joined the gargoyles on their roof again, and this is what he told
them: "The weirdest thing happened, stone monkeys! I visited all of the
gargoyles I've seen the other night, and guess what they told me? What every
single one of them told me?"
"What? What did they tell you?" both gargoyles asked in unison.
"They said: 'Hogwash! We're the only ones around here. Never have we seen any
other gargoyles, and we've been here for all our lives!' and another said: 'I've
been watching a whole different part of the town than my brother. Other
gargoyles? This certainly cannot be! You're making this up, pigeon!'" The bird
fluttered up and down in his agitation. "I'm telling you: It was uncanny!"
"Maybe that gargoyle is right and the pigeon is making this all up," the
second gargoyle said. He had had his suspicions before, you know.
"If that gargoyle is right, then he exists as well, stonehead," the pigeon
cooed. Which made the grotesque statue look somewhat stupid, and yet his
appearance hadn't changed a bit. "But do whatever you want," the bird finally
said. He was fed up with them. "The other gargoyles don't know about horizons
either, so there. You're all so stuck in your ways, no wonder that you can't
move anymore to see for yourself whether I'm telling the truth."
"But we've always been that way," the first gargoyle moaned.
"Sure, sure," the pigeon cooed cheekily. "But back in the days, at least so I've
heard, every single gargoyle had wings of their own. Some even still do – as
you'd see for yourself at your friends over there. With a little effort they
could be put to use, I'm sure, if they'd only tried! Though in your case..." The
pigeon sighed, jerking its tiny head here and there, eyeing the gargoyle from
various angles. "Well, maybe there were wings there somewhere on you
once, though they must have merged with your bodies over time, because you
didn't need them anymore. And so they have gone... Ah, what a pity!"
"But we can't move!" the gargoyle whined. "Not – at – all!"
"Have you ever tried?" the pigeon taunted. Then he lifted off, deigning the
gargoyles with no further word, heading for the horizon.
'Have you ever tried?' it resonated in the gargoyle's head again and
again long after the pigeon had flown off, never to be seen again. And the words
echoed in his companion's head as well. 'Maybe I can at least move a claw, or
a single finger,' the gargoyle thought. 'Maybe, if I only set my mind to
And then he tried.
And this concludes our story for
today about a gargoyle and a pigeon.
Why are we telling you this tale? Well, it is one of many explanations people
have related to account for something strange that happened within the walls of
our city not too long ago. Which was that all kinds of gargoyles sitting on the
roofs of our highest buildings, be they great or small, lovely looking,
grotesque, horrid, whatever they were and wherever they could be found, had,
well – disappeared. Overnight. One day they just were all gone for good. None of
them had fallen from any ledge. There were no traces left whatsoever, not on top
of the buildings, and neither below. Remarkably, exactly the same mysterious
disappearances took place in the clock tower in the northernmost district, in
the governor's observatory at the other end of the town and at the lighthouse –
way, way south on a lonesome island in midst of the sea.
Now admittedly, the story of the gargoyle and the pigeon is quite a wild one,
isn't it? But so is the disappearance of these stone creatures into thin air.
Nevertheless it happens, you know, from time to time at least, that those stuck
in their ways finally do begin to move, and for the most curious of reasons. If
it happens elsewhere, why not with the gargoyles on the roofs in our town? The
truth of the matter is: Stone statues and narrow-minded people can be found
everywhere. All it takes for a little miracle is hearts and minds making a first
And then off they go, towards new horizons... – Who knows where they might end