Stone Sentinels and Gifts from Afar.

I came home just the other day to a delicate scratching coming from within a big, brown box that was sitting on my bed. I put my ear gently against the rigid cardboard and listened intently. *scratchscratch* went the box, or whatever was inside it. With a little trepidation and much child-like joy, I saw the lovely handwriting on the top of the box and that it had recently made a very long journey all the way from The Neverlands, which until now I had only heard of in stories.

They say that beautiful, dear people live in The Neverlands.

I found a serrated blade and carefully sliced open the tape on the top of the cardboard box, making sure that any delicacies within were spared from the sharp metal and my deft hand. The scratching stopped immediately, and a quiet murmuring came from underneath the balls of crinkled newsprint paper inside – I was fearful at first, but there was nothing but a glow of warmth and kindness emanating from the package. I knew it just had to be something finely crafted and magical in nature. As I gently moved away the protective stuffing, I spied a delightful stone visage peering up at me from underneath mounds of bubblewrap and paper. Whatever-it-was-in-the-box gave me a little squeak of recognition and another of friendship. I was not scared at all, even considering its grimaced mouth and protruding fangs. It seemed to resemble a stone gargoyle, the type of which could be found on ancient churches and cathedrals throughout Europe and other places nearly as old. Being careful not to startle the little creature, I slowly offered my hand and gently pulled aside the plastic wrapping so it might be better able to breathe. I carefully lifted the wee goyle out of its carrier and set him on the bed, watching as it took in its new surroundings, blinking madly in the brighter light of a California afternoon.

“Hallo,” I said deliberately, “I am Darren, and it seems that you have arrived safely in the Land of Sand and Fog. You are very welcome to be here! You must be tired and not a little bit thirsty from your long trip across mountain, sky, and sea. May I fix you a nice cup of tea?” The little stone goyle squeaked a bit then, perhaps in recognition of a tasty treat just ahead, and then it tried to speak: “Hel-o. I am…I am…pleased to be meet-ing you. I am…Earconbert the Gar-goyle. I come from the warm, caring hands of a very kind girl who lives in The Nev-er-lands. Do you have any sweeties to go with that tea?”

Needless to say, I was very shocked at the excellent communicative skills this rocky rogue was able to muster immediately after such a long trip. I retired quickly to the kitchen and fixed up a fine kettle of peppermint tea, and by chance found some rather old almond biscotti which would seem to appeal to such a creature as this gargoyle, who may have once been part of an ancient stone church or cathedral in Europe or in other places nearly as old. I made a small plate and brought it back to my room, where I spied the cute, dear thing curled up beneath my burgundy velvet covers and grey flannel sheets. He was making the most splendid cooing sounds, undoubtedly brought on from great comfort after so many hours in that box. The little creature saw me enter and sat quickly upright, holding his paws out in front of him, clearly in supplication for the treats I was holding. “One thing about pretty girls from The Neverlands,” Earconbert stated, matter-of-factly, “they do not pack traveling boxes so well. I would like to stay here for a while. Especially if there is lots of tea and many sweets involved.”

I smiled to myself in marvel of this funny little thing sitting on my bed, munching stale biscotti and slurping down great mouthfuls of peppermint tea. “Earconbert, you are welcome to stay here as long as you like. But please take care that you don’t spill tea on my sheets. They are very difficult to clean, and quite expensive, at that.” The goyle looked up at me, a crumb of biscotti precariously balanced upon his lower, fanged lip, and smiled a big, toothy smile. “Don’t you worry, Dar-ren. I am not here to soil your sheets. I am here to protect you and Le Chateau de Jambon. That is what I do. And all I need from you is lots of love and a bit of tea now and again. Do you perchance have any more of this very yummy cookie?”

Before I could return to the kitchen to search for more expired confectionary products, Earconbert produced a folded note of colored paper from out of the box and he handed it to me with a stony-clawed paw. I had missed whatever this was amidst the crinkled paper and other packing materials, and I was very thankful to my small new friend for retrieving it. Upon closer inspection, I saw with some delight that I had received a very kind missive from one of those very lovely people that lives far across the sea. In almost perfect handwriting, the letter explained that Earconbert (who, as I looked over the top of the letter, was now nibbling at my curtains) was a gift of success, friendship, and love. This brought me much delight, especially considering I’ve not yet been to The Neverlands, but if this is any indication of the demeanor of its inhabitants, I should be bringing loads of tea and old biscotti there immediately, in meager reciprocity for such a kind gift. It is no wonder they tried to stay neutral during the War.

Gently pulling Earconbert down from my curtain rods, I brought him to the facade of Le Chateau and showed him where he might best be used to ward off bad spirits, negative energy, and occasional gangsta rappers roaming through our neighborhood at night. The little stone creature was delighted to fit so perfectly in this exemplary corner, and a long, rigid smile crept on to his grey lips as he took his place on the step next to our doormat. That grin still stays to this day, and I see it every time I come home from a hard day playing in the warm, California sunshine.

In reflection, I find it quaint that my very sweet friend from afar may not believe that her delightful gift is really alive. I would gladly invite her to visit our fair land (though perhaps not as fair as The Neverlands), and see the astounding amounts of used tea bags we have lying in our compost bin. I would show her the little stone pooplets littering our front steps and ask her to kindly whisk them away with a broom that I would be happy to supply. I would then gently take her by the hand, thank her warmly for her selfless gift, and assure her that this stony little dear is, in fact, very much alive.


With very special thanks to completely_lost.

26 Responses to “Stone Sentinels and Gifts from Afar.”

  1. shawree Says:
    August 17th, 2005 at 12:55 am

    You have quite a gift for writing Mister! This made me smile & also reminded me of the little gargoyle that should've made the migration from Germany to the UK ages ago – you probably saved it from many more months of existence in a box. 🙂

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 21st, 2005 at 12:58 am

    Thank you very much. This story really wrote itself. And it's all true – I swear it!

  3. hermiston Says:
    August 17th, 2005 at 1:18 am

    You are indeed lucky to be guarded by such a strong and unique character. The strength received from other dimensions is super-effective in our own. One word of warning however: Your special bond is a reciprocal agreement, remember you owe Earconbert more than tea and biscotti, you owe must afford him the same degree of protection. Are you prepared to rise, targe in hand, to protect Neverland if you're needed?

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 21st, 2005 at 12:59 am

    Ach, they're Orange, my cousin. That would conflict with our loyalites, no?

  5. gingiber Says:
    August 17th, 2005 at 3:33 am

    What an adorable gargoyle.

  6. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 21st, 2005 at 1:00 am

    Don't let his cute little toes fool you – he'll tear your head clean off.

  7. dichroicynosure Says:
    August 17th, 2005 at 6:39 am

    How sweet was this?! Your story was endearing–you should write children's books.
    I was thinking about asking you for a single elf lock of yours to concoct some sort of neo-victorian hair memorial. Memento mori, you know.

  8. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 21st, 2005 at 1:01 am

    If I wrote a children's book, darling, I would be sued a thousand times over.
    Are you asking or are you still thinking about asking?

  9. dr_beep Says:
    August 17th, 2005 at 7:01 am


  10. thistlelurid Says:
    August 17th, 2005 at 9:13 am

    Playful, the way one of his big toes wafts just barely over the other…
    and how a creature with such a furrowish brow and determined stare
    could gently clasp hands together with his pointy finger gently resting
    on his knuckle like that…..leave it to ella to find you the one goyle in
    "never" embodiing the perfect mix of guardian and companion!

  11. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 21st, 2005 at 1:04 am

    What an observant eye you have, dear Kat, to scrutinize even the most subtle mannerism of wee Earconbert the Grey. He blurs to my own eyes, always changing, and appearance ever in flux.

  12. angledge Says:
    August 17th, 2005 at 9:41 am

    Many thanks to <lj user = completely_lost> for providing le Chateau with a charming new familiar!

  13. kid_lit_fan Says:
    August 17th, 2005 at 9:53 am

    What a lovely guardian, and how beautifully you told us his story.
    If I recall correctly, his ancestor lives on Notre Dame Cathedral, and was carved by a nun who didn't think that protective spirits needed to be angry.

  14. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 21st, 2005 at 1:05 am

    I'm thoroughly impressed that you're aware of young Earconbert's earliest origins. A scholar of stone you are, indubitably.

  15. kid_lit_fan Says:
    August 21st, 2005 at 1:03 pm

    I know someone who has one of his relatives guarding her fireplace and eating party crumbs, and she told me the story. Her Earconbert said "Mmm, fromage bleu! Y a désormais il des gateau de chocolat?"

  16. dirtbaby Says:
    August 17th, 2005 at 10:01 am

    Your stylus style is, indeed, stylish.

  17. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 21st, 2005 at 1:06 am

    Not as verbose as your verbiage.

  18. scotis_man Says:
    August 17th, 2005 at 11:13 am

    Reading that allowed me to share in the gift. Thank you.

  19. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 21st, 2005 at 1:07 am

    My pleasure! Now come pick up some of the little, stone pooplets littering my stair.
    That's you really sharing the gift, my friend.

  20. ihavemanyskills Says:
    August 19th, 2005 at 11:38 pm

    I hope you don't mind.. I posted a link to this entry in my own journal. This is so precious – it needs to be shared.
    BTW – I'm a friend of <lj user="kratkrat">'s. He'll vouch for me not being a journal stalker.

  21. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 21st, 2005 at 1:09 am

    I'm sorry – I only allow journal stalkers to post in this forum.
    It's my pleasure to have you link to this, and also my pleasure to meet you.

  22. rachel_eurydice Says:
    August 20th, 2005 at 12:36 pm

    That's the cutest thing I've read in…a really long time. 🙂

  23. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 21st, 2005 at 1:10 am

    Thanks very much for saying so.
    A cute goyle certainly deserves an appropriate tale, yes?

  24. catarzyna Says:
    August 28th, 2005 at 12:37 pm

    I really enjoyed your entry! Today has been particularly stressful! Thanks for the smile!!
    My husband and I received a gargoyle for a wedding gift, he sits prominently in our dining room guarding all of our guests! We named him Norman.

  25. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 28th, 2005 at 10:50 pm

    Thanks very much for reading. Do we get to see pictures of your new, little guardian?

  26. catarzyna Says:
    August 29th, 2005 at 11:14 am

    Actually, he's not such a new guardian because my husband and I have been married almost 8 years. After we get internet connection hooked up in our "new" home (built 1895) I'll try to get a pic of him on-line. I should be back on-line on 9/1. 🙂

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