According to an old story, a terrible water dragon haunted the forest of Rouvray. He lived in the swamps of Malpalu near the city of Rouen in France. For several years, he devoured and terrorized the men and the animals of the region. This type of dragon was able to spit huge amounts of water. Nobody wanted to face the terrible Gargoyle.
The people of Rouen asked the help of their archbishop. St-Romain agreed to deliver them from this monster. The archbishop asked for two sentenced men to death for assisting him to capture the beast. In exchange, he promised them freedom. One of the prisoners being too afraid withdrew at the last minute and fled. The other said he had everything to gain since in any case, he was sentenced to death.
Saint Romain and the prisoner went to the swamp at the mouth of the Seine and at the foot of Mount Gargan where the dragon lived. The courageous bishop approached slowly. When he was close enough, Romanus with a sign of the cross made the terrible beast unable to hurt them. She lay at the feet of the two men. The holy man puts on his stole around the neck of the monster. Then he said to the prisoner to take the lead and drove the dragon city.
She was burned at the stake in the presence of all the inhabitants of the city. The head and the neck of the gargoyle became very hard and did not burn. The ashes were thrown into the Seine. The Gargoyle head was placed on the wall of the church for protection and to ward off the evil spirits.
The Gargoyle of Rouen is a very interesting story. It refers to a type of rare dragon living in swamps and capable of spitting water. Romanus by placing the head of the dragon on the wall of his church will give birth to a new architectural tradition. The water-breathing dragon inspires stonemasons of the time to sculpt gutters shaped like a dragon's head spitting rain water by the mouth. By throwing the water away from the buildings, they protected the mortar joints of the cathedral walls against erosion. Thereafter, the gargoyles will become ornamental. Masons made them like ugly and horrible animals. Not only their shapes will change, but also their functions. The gargoyle moved from a decorative utility element to a talisman able to ward off evil spirits of these magnificent buildings. What was this mysterious animal ? Did it really exist ? Does the water dragon still exist today ? The mystery remains.
The mysterious origin of the dragon (Page 4)