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  • Il Novellino

    Of a bell that was ordered in King John's days

    In the days of King John of Acre1 a bell was hung for anyone to ring who had received a great wrong, whereupon the King would call together the wise men appointed for this purpose, in order that justice might be done.

    It happened that the bell had lasted a long time and the rope had wasted, so that a vine clung to it.

    Now it befell that a knight of Acre had a noble charger which had grown old, so that it had lost its worth, and the knight, to avoid the expense of its keep, let it wander about. The famished horse tugged at the vine to eat it. As it tugged, the bell rang.

    The judges assembled, and understood the petition of the horse who, it seemed, asked for justice. They sentenced that the knight whom the horse had served when it was young, should feed it now that it was old.

    The King commanded him to do so under grave penalties.

    1 Or Atri. See Longfellow's poem The Bell of Atri.

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    Il Novellino : The Hundred Old Tales
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    Storer, Edward, trans. Il Novellino: The Hundred Old Tales. London: G. Routledge & Sons Ltd.; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., [1925]. 124-125


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