HomeCulturePostman collects pebbles, builds castle with them Watch your mailman. He might be stealing your stones. Ferdinand Cheval was a postman in village of Hauterives, France. One day Cheval tripped over an oddly shaped rock. Instead of throwing it in anger like an American, he stuck in his pocket to later admire its odd beauty like a Frenchman. “I thought: since nature wants to do the sculpture, I’ll do the masonry and the architecture,” he later wrote in his journal. Once inspired, the intrepid mailman pushed a wheelbarrow along his route to better facilitate the fleecing of neighborhood rocks. Like most possessed people, Ferdinand abandoned his son with his god parents to spend more time building his mansion of minerals. Countless hours produced his ideal palace, or “Palais Ideal”. Completed in 1912, the structure has since turned into a tourist destination. The site’s webpage notes that it was “built with no architectural rules” and is regarded as a prime example of “outsider artwork” – a free-spirited, rudimentary piece completed outside the bounds of traditional design principles. We all want to leave our mark on this world. Ferdinand Cheval left a beautiful one.