In my novel Fireborn, there is a secret organisation called the Guild of Shadows, tasked to defend Earth from supernatural threats. Each member of the guild is assigned a gargoyle guardian, and the pack of gargoyles is used to keep watch, and fight off threats. To incorporate the Gargoyle into my novel, I researched the history behind these terrifying looking stone creatures, perched on top of buildings, watching all below.
The word Gargoyle stems from France and was and was an architectural appendage designed to carry water from the roof and building, to prevent leaking and water erosion of the stone. The water spout on the stone piece’s mouth was known as the Gargoyle, which when translated, means throat or gullet, and kind of sounds like the word gargle.
The actual decorative creature, which typically depicted wings, horns, talons, tails and wings, is called the grotesque. According to myth, the sculpture is considered a protector and guardian of buildings, designed to ward off evil. This myth traces back to the French legend of Le Gargouille, a dragon with huge bat-like wings and a long neck that terrorized the townsfolk near the River Seine by burning buildings, swallowing ships and vomiting water from its mouth and flooding areas. It is said that when the dragon was defeated, its head was cut off and mounted on the church walls, to ward off evil spirits from the people in the church.
These stone sculptures can be found in numerous ancient cultures, like the lion head water spouts in Greece and Rome, the Green Man in Celtic folklore was a human head entwined with leaves was used to represent fertility, and the griffin symbolized
a guardian of the divine to the Egyptians.
How could I go past discussing a French myth and not make a chocolate bread?
Pain au Chocolat Recipe
2 sheets of gluten free puff pastry (with each sheet cut into 12 squares)
4 3.5-ounce bars of your choice of chocolate cut into six 2×3/4-inch pieces
1 large egg beaten
1 tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Line baking tray with paper sheet.
Brush the top of each pastry square with egg and water glaze.
Place 1 chocolate piece on the edge of each pastry square.
Roll the dough tightly over the chocolate and repeat for each square.
Place pastry rolls on baking sheet.
Brush remaining glaze on top of the rolls and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
Bake until pastries are golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Serve warm so the chocolate is melted!