Sat upon the cold ledge,
Of a tiny church,
Atop a rough tor,
Rested the ever-watching gargoyle,
Affectionately known by parishioners,
As Old Ben.
Ben would watch by day,
And spy the attenders of the church,
Watch them walk in and worship,
Leave and attend their business.
It made him ache.
He wanted to move from the ledge,
He wanted to leave and see the world.
As the choir sang their tune,
A spirit from the Yew Tree,
Planted in the yard,
Drifted up to the top of the spire.
She lay her hand upon Old Ben,
And brought him to life.
“Dear Ben, I watch you weep,
Although you are stone,
I wish to grant you,
Freedom to roam,
But remember this,
And remember it well,
Return by dawn,
Or undone will be the spell.”
That glorious night,
Old Ben circled the churchyard in flight,
He swooped down and saw the rabbits in the field,
But by morning,
He was returned to his ledge where,
He turned back to stone.
The next night,
Old Ben flew out to the nearby home,
Of an elderly lady,
Where he tended to her garden for her.
She had grown so old that it,
But Old Ben cleared it and made it beautiful once again.
He was returned once again to his ledge,
Where he turned back to stone.
On the third night,
Old Ben flew out to the nearby farm,
Of a young couple,
Where he helped bring in their crops.
They had struggled with the birth,
Of their new baby,
But Old Ben ensured their barn was filled with wheat.
He was returned once again,
And during the day,
Overheard the people talk of their blessed angel,
Caring for them.
Although he was stone,
He smiled inside.
On the Thursday night,
Old Ben flew out to the local stream,
Where he spotted a young girl,
She was sinking under the water,
And was close to a grizzly fate,
When he hurried down to scoop her out.
He flew her all the way back home,
Far away from the church.
He heard the bells toll and saw the sun peek.
He raced back to the church,
But before he could land on his ledge,
And so did he…
The grey skin of Old Ben cracked,
His eyes sealed over,
And he turned back to stone.
He came crashing down like a meteor,
Fallen from the heavens.
His hand crumbled,
His body broke into pieces,
And all that truly remained,
Was the face of his head.
Later in the morning,
The young girl hurried her family,
The old lady,
And the farmer and his wife,
To go to the churchyard.
Instead of finding the gargoyle,
They found only his broken pieces.
Each of them wept for him,
Saddened that their helper had met such a fate,
With the blessing of the church,
They buried him in the graveyard at Brentor.
Upon his gravestone,
They marked the name of Old Ben,
And up until the little girl’s eightieth birthday,
She visited him every Thursday to say a prayer.
His grave was lost amongst the others,
But the memory of his selflessness,
Lived on in the village forever.