Jack Westerhoff wrote:The term "gargoyle" was derived from French gargouille meaning 'throat' and Latin gurgulio meaning 'gullet'. (Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 307/"gargoyle") An explanation for the use with the protruding architectural means could be, although more charming than credible, the following legend: A dragon called La Gargouille lived in a cave close to the River Seine in France. It swallowed ships, caused destruction with its fiery breath, and spouted so much water that it caused flooding. The residents of nearby Rouen attempted to placate La Gargouille with an annual offering of a live victim; although the dragon preferred maidens, it was usually given a criminal to consume. Around the year 600, the priest Romanus (or Romain) arrived in Rouen and promised to deal with the dragon if the townspeople agreed to be baptized and to build a church. Equipped with everything needed for an exorcism, Romanus subdued the dragon by making the sign of the cross. La Gargouille was burned at the stake, but the head and neck, well tempered by the heat of the dragon's fiery breath, would not burn. These remnants were mounted on the town wall and became the model for gargoyles for centuries to come.
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