The story of a sculptor called Prince who turned the remains of a tree trunk into a giant carved dog had far from a tail-wagging ending this week.
Prince Jah, who hails from Sierra Leone, has spent the past two weeks working on his riverside project near the Queens footbridge in Bedford, known as the Slipe.
Hundreds of passers-by saw him chiselling the remains of an old willow trunk to create the shape of a dog.
“It was harmless and delightful occupation that was giving pleasure to many,” said one passer-by.
“It was beautiful, so much so that at least one person offered him money to take it away to her garden,” she said.
But artist Prince, whose passion is creating works of art out of waste, did not have long to enjoy his sculpture once it was finally finished.
He was visited at his spot by the river by a group of young men who objected to the sculpture, saying that anything depicting a dog was against their Muslim religion.
A witness said: “They accused Prince of creating a shape that was forbidden.
“As a result, the dog sculpture was then thrown into the river, lost to us all.
“It was such a shame, as there was nothing idolatrous in this work of art.”
The sculpture floated downstream towards Kempston and was later spotted floating near the site of the former Britannia iron works.
It is not known whether Prince has managed to retrieved it or whether it has continued its journey.
Some Islamic traditionalists can regard dogs as ‘impure and unclean.’