At last he sold all that he had, except his horse, and went to live in a little hut on the hill-side. It was then removed with many other relics, and served for years as ordinary bell-rope in a private house. Unknown to him, however, the stone had the magic power of fixing his affections upon its wearer. There was powder in the hold. The heat had driven the townspeople out of the streets and into their homes, where it then lulled them to sleep. Church-bells at best but ring us to the door; But go not in to mass; my bell doth more: It cometh into court and pleads the cause Of creatures dumb and unknown to the laws; And this shall make, in every Christian clime, The Bell of Atri famous for all time. The lord of Eckhardtsberg, seeing the animal's sorry plight, and hearing how faithfully it had served its master in the days of its youth, declared that in return for its former services it should now be treated with respect, and condemned the unfeeling, avaricious owner to give it a place in his stable and plenty of food as long as it lived.
But the knight, when he grew older, cared no more to ride into battle; he cared no more to do brave deeds; he thought of nothing but gold; he became a miser. Therefore the law decrees that as this steed Served you in youth, henceforth you shall take heed To comfort his old age, and to provide Shelter in stall, and food and field beside. Then rode he through the streets with all his train, And, with the blast of trumpets loud and long, Made proclamation, that whenever wrong Was done to any man, he should but ring The great bell in the square, and he, the King, Would cause the Syndic to decide thereon. He who serves well and speaks not, merits more Than they who knock loudest at the door. The air was filled with black smoke.
The Knight was called and questioned; in reply Did not confess the fact, did not deny; Treated the matter as a pleasant jest, And set at naught the Syndic and the rest, Maintaining, in an angry undertone, That he should do what pleased him with his own. Take the horse home and be as true to him as he has been to you. Louder than thunder, louder than the roar of all the guns! 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. Is it not time that we too should leave it? These are familiar proverbs; but I fear They never yet have reached your knightly ear. Suddenly they were awakened by the arousing bell: Some one - hath done - a wrong! The horse wandered through dry pastures, finding no fresh grass to nibble on. And you will not forgot to include hay, for everyone deserves justice, even our animals. Lame and sick, he strolled along the dusty roads, glad to find a blade of grass or a thistle.
It is a very old town, and is built half-way up the side of a steep hill. Suffice it that, as all things must decay, The hempen rope at length was worn away, Unraveled at the end, and, strand by strand, Loosened and wasted in the ringer's hand, Till one, who noted this in passing by, Mended the rope with braids of briony, So that the leaves and tendrils of the vine Hung like a votive garland at a shrine. But he could not say that, not out loud. On the spot where they suffered martyrdom Charlemagne erected a memorial pillar, above which he hung a bell, saying that it could be rung by anyone who had been wronged, and that they should receive immediate justice. Then the king came down the street. The angry dogs of the town barked at the horse and chased him away. The sails were all ablaze.
If he starves to death, so much the better. His best friend through all that time had been his horse, — a strong, noble steed that had borne him safe through many a danger. One could hear nothing but the roar of the big guns. How could the judges know about it, if the injured one could not reach the old rope? Still hungry, the horse spotted the center of town, where a green vine hung from the Bell of Justice. It was a very pretty bell, and was, pol-ished until it looked almost as bright and yellow as the sun.
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. After many years of not being used, the bell fell into disrepair. Let him go feed upon the public ways; I want him only for the holidays. Rich and poor, old and young, all alike may come; but no one must touch the rope unless he knows that he has been wronged. This he hoarded and saved, living poorly, that he might save the more. A long time ago, the King of Atri bought a fine large bell, and had it hung up in a tower in the market place. In memory of the horse which guided him hither, the Cathedral was built in the shape of a horseshoe, and as Charlemagne could not endure the thought of ever leaving this enchanted neighborhood, he left orders to bury him in the minster of Aix-la-Chapelle.
He stretched his thin neck, and took one of the tempting morsels in his mouth. He did not even take the rope in his hands. Hemans, wrote a poem about this brave boy Casabianca. Go, now; take him home. But in the square they were stunned to see only a poor old horse, lame and bony, nearly blind. Unless all indications fail it will be shown all over the United States, and abroad as well.
When the old knight arrived, the judge said: What good, what honor, what repute Can come from starving this poor brute? October 16, 1920 marked an important day in the visual history of Humane Education. A great crowd had gathered around. Eventually the rope that hung from the silver bell began to fray. How swift the happy days in Atri sped, What wrongs were righted, need not here be said. If he starves to death, so much the better.
Not a man nor child was there, for the heat of the sun had driven them all indoors. What if some great wrong should be done before it came? It was before him, behind him, all around him. At length he said: 'What is the use or need To keep at my own cost this lazy steed, Eating his head off in my stables here, When rents are low and provender is dear? A few moments later the bell rang again, but when the servant once more announced that no one was there, the emperor bade his guards hide near the pillar, and seize the miscreant who dared to pull the bell of justice in mere fun. Let him go feed upon the public ways; I want him only for the holidays. The slender vine, with its leaves and ten-drils still upon it, trailed to the ground.