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Bell of Justice

Atri is an old town situated on a hill in Italy. Years ago, the king of Atri purchased a giant metal bell with a lengthy rope and hung it in the main market of Atri. He named it the Bell of Justice. Its rope was so long that a child could touch it. The next day the whole town was in the market, saying why this bell is here. Soon the king arrived and explained the reason for the bell to them. This bell is for you, my fellow citizens. If anybody has done wrong to anyone, they can come and ring the bell at any time. Judges will listen to his plea and will provide them justice without any discrimination. The people of Atri praised their king for this revolutionary step.

For years the bell rang. Judges provided justice to the people and punished the culprits. The rope of the bell was almost worn out. It became too short that only a tall person could reach it. When judges knew about it, they were not happy and said, what if a child needs justice? A child will not be able to ring the bell. Judges ordered to replace the rope as soon as possible. But that long rope was not available in the Atri's market. A man came forward and said, I can fix it. Judges asked him to do so. He went to his orchard and brought the grapevine. He climbed up and joined the grapevine to the rope. The slim vine, with its leaves still upon it, followed to the ground. Judges were satisfied with this modification.

On the other side, on top of the hill, there lived a man, who was once a great soldier. He fought many wars when he was young. His only friend was his strong horse. Who accompanied him in many battles and never let him down. But as he grew older, his priorities changed. He was no more interested in fighting battles but was interested in gold. He sold everything he had except his horse. Meanwhile, he totally ignored his years’ old friend, who was half-starved and facing the cold outside his hut.

He started thinking about the expenses he has to bear for his horse, which was of no use according to him. He thought about selling his horse but changed his mind saying who will buy this useless horse. He decided to let him go. So the courageous old horse ended up finding what he could in those lands. Faltering and debilitated, he walked around the dusty streets, looking for something to eat. The children of Atri teased him by throwing stones at him.

One day, when nobody was in the streets, the horse risked meandering into the market. Not a man nor kid was there. He saw the grapevine rope that hung from the bell of justice. The leaves upon it were still fresh. What a fine supper they would be for a destitute horse!

As he stretched his neck to eat it, he accidentally rang the bell. All the people of Atri heard it, and they gathered in the market with judges to provide justice. Some of the citizens recognized the horse and told the judges about the horse and its master's mistreatment. Judges immediately ordered to bring the old man in the court.

When he was brought in, they bade him stand and announce their judgment.

This horse has served you well for years," they said. "He has saved you from numerous dangers. Judges ordered that fifty percent of all his gold will be put aside to purchase his safe house and food.

The master regrets his decision of abandoning his old friend the horse. On the other hand, the horse started his new life happily.

Moral of the Story: Greed is a curse.




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