| The Bell of Atri (a tale from Italy)

Posted by admin at 2006, May 18, 12:29 AM
More of this topic in Fairy tale

Long ago there was a king in Italy who was known for his goodness and wisdom. King John of Atri believed in justice, and so one day he purchased a great bell. БWww。fAiry-tAle.INFo/Вㄙbīε

From the bell King John hung a long, thick rope that reached to the ground so that everyone - even the littlest child - could ring that bell.

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Then the king called all the villagers to the square to tell them the purpose of the bell of Atri. IフwWw.fAiRY-TaLE.Info/ン

"Listen closely," the king said. "You must ring this bell only when you have been wronged. When you ring it, our judges will gather in this square to hear your case." ξتر『ㄔúWWW.FaIry-Tale。INfo≡

For many years King John's planned worked perfectly. Whenever the judges heard the bell, they gathered in the square to hear the case.

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After a while, whenever people thought to steal or lie, the memory of the sound of that bell and the justice that followed would change their mind. And the bell rang less and less often.

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Eventually the rope that hung from the silver bell began to fray. The rope was too high for the children to reach, and the judges gathered to repair it. But they had no hemp, and a young man from the village offered to help. "I have a bundle of hay. It could be braided into a rope," he said. フ♀√マ∠WWW。fAIRy-TaLE.InFoЗ

A few days later, on a lazy afternoon, suddenly the bell began to ring and ring, shattering the peace and startling the villagers out of their siesta.

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Everyone rushed to the town square to see who could be in such trouble. But they were stunned to see only a poor old horse, lame and bony, nearly blind. He was trying to eat the hay that hung from the bell rope, and in struggling to do this, he was ringing the bell. ㄆЫㄌㄦǔwWw.faiRy-taLe.InfoH

Naturally the judges came, too, and when they saw the crowd gathered around, the first judge bellowed, "Who's horse is this?"

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"And why is he here?" thundered the second judge. àνㄊソホwww。fAIrY-talE。iNfOFǔ)ㄕ

"The owner must step forward at once," the third judge growled.

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At last a young man stepped shyly forward. "This horse belongs to the old soldier who lives on the hill. He carried his master into battle, but his master has no use for him now."

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When the judges heard this, their faces grew red with anger. When the fellow appeared, the first judge asked, "Is it true you let this faithful creature go because he no longer serves you?" はカ7αüWWw.fairy-Tale.iNFoجمν

The old soldier lowered his head. He loved his money and no longer wished to pay to feed the horse. But he could not say that, not out loud. YkwWw.FaIry-tAlE.InfOヴЕ

"Aren't you ashamed of your behavior?" the second judge roared.

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Still the old soldier said nothing in his own defense, but looking now at his poor, starving horse, even his miserly heart began to hurt.

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"Our judgment is this," said the third judge. "You will spend half your money to pay for his food and shelter. You will give him a large green pasture where he may graze for the rest of his days. At night you will keep him in a large, warm stall to give him comfort. And you will not forgot to include hay, for everyone deserves justice, even our animals."

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The miser nodded. "Yes, I will," he said. ㄝwww.FAirY-TALE。InfoヵrГ∏ρㄟ

"And one more thing," the first judge said. "You will pay for a new rope for our bell."

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The old soldier led the horse back home, and he lived there for the rest of his days, feasting on grass and hay, and sleeping with his belly full and his heart mended. He was loved by one and all who came to visit and to thank him for proving that the bell of Atri would always offer justice to all. g∪úwwW.fAIRY-Tale。iNfOР

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