(Return to Web Text-ures)
Here to return to
Legends of the Rhine
Click Here to return to
the previous section
The little Man at the Angel's
Close to the famous clock in the Cathedral of Strassburg, there is a little man in stone gazing up at the angel's pillar which supports the south wing of the cathedral. Long ago the little man who is now sculptured in stone, stood there in flesh and blood. He used to stare up at the pillar with a criticising eye from top to bottom and again from bottom to top. Then he would shake his head doubtfully each time.
It happened once that a sculptor passed the cathedral and saw the little man looking up, evidently comparing the proportions of the pillar.
"It seems to me you are finding fault with the pillar, my good fellow," the stone-cutter remarked, and the little man nodded with a self-satisfied look.
"Well, what do you think of it? Speak out my man," said the master, tapping the fellow's shoulder encouragingly.
"The pillar is certainly splendid," began the latter slowly, "the Apostles, the angels, and the Saviour are most beautiful too. But there is one thing troubling me. That slender pillar cannot support that heavy vault much longer; it will soon totter and fall down, and all will go to pieces."
The sculptor looked alternately at the work of art and at its strange fault-finder. A contemptuous smile passed over his features.
"You are quite convinced of the truth of your statement, aren't you?" asked he enquiringly.
The bold critic repeated his doubts with an important air.
"Well," cried the stone-cutter, with comical earnestness, "then you will remain there always, gazing at the pillar until it sinks down, crushed by the vault."
He went straight off into his workshop, seized hammer and chisel, and formed the little man into stone just as he was, looking upwards with a knowing face and an important air.
This little figure is still there at the present day with both hands leaning on the balustrade of St. Nicholas' chapel, awaiting the expected fall of the pillar, and most likely he will remain there for many a century to come.Click to go to the next section of the Legends of the Rhine