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The Bell of Justice

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The Bell of Justice Part II
The horse approached Atri, looking for something to eat.
The horse approached Atri, looking for something to eat.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Below is the second part of "The Bell of Justice."

As the tired old horse trudged out into the hot summer sun, his belly begged for something to eat. The horse wandered through dry pastures, finding no fresh grass to nibble on. The horse wandered through barren fields, finding no corn or grain to eat. And so the Knight of Atri's horse finally wandered into the town of Atri, hoping to find something to eat there.

But as the horse walked down the cobblestone streets, food was hard to find. The angry dogs of the town barked at the horse and chased him away. The people of the town had shut their doors and windows on this particularly hot day, hoping to keep the sun and heat out of their houses. The heat had driven the townspeople out of the streets and into their homes, where it then lulled them to sleep.

Still hungry, the horse spotted the center of town, where a green vine hung from the Bell of Justice.

The horse hurried to the Bell of Justice, imagining how the vine might taste. While horses do not know about such things as the ringing of bells and the righting of wrongs, they do know that a juicy green vine can fill an empty and rumbling stomach.

The horse pulled and pulled on the vine, causing the Bell of Justice to ring.
The horse pulled and pulled on the vine, causing the Bell of Justice to ring.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

It was with this knowledge that the hungry old horse grabbed the vine that was tied to the Bell of Justice. The horse simply wanted a bite to eat. But the vine had been tied to the end of the bell's old, tattered rope rather tightly and the horse could not pull it loose. The horse pulled and pulled. And the bell rang and rang.

The bell rang so loudly and for so long that all of the people of Atri awoke from their summer naps. They opened their doors and their windows, at first wondering what the ruckus was. Then they came out into the streets, wondering why the Bell of Justice was being rung.

The townspeople walked to the bell, where they found the poor, hungry horse munching on the vine. At the front of the crowd stood the town's judge. Knowing that the horse belonged to the Knight of Atri, the judge sent for him.

The townspeople found the hungry horse munching on the vine.
The townspeople found the hungry horse munching on the vine.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

When the old knight arrived, the judge said:

What good, what honor, what repute

Can come from starving this poor brute?

He who serves well and speaks not, merits more

Than they who knock loudest at the door.

Therefore I decree that as this steed

Served you in youth, you shall take heed

To comfort his old age, and to provide

Shelter, food, and field beside.

From that day forth, the Knight of Atri took good care of his old horse, and the people of the town never forgot the good that the Bell of Justice could bring.

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