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A New Bellringer

  • Category: Story  |
  • 5 Jun, 2009  |
  • Views: 1426  |
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After Quasimodo’s death, the bishop of the cathedral of Notre Dame sent word through the streets of Paris that a new bellringer was needed.

The bishop decided that he would conduct the interviews personally and went up into the belfry to begin the screening process. After observing several applicants demonstrate their skills but not being particularly impressed with any of them, he decided to call it a day. Just then a lone, armless man approached him and announced that he was there to apply for the bellringers job.

The bishop was incredulous. “But you have no arms !!” he said to the man.
“No matter,” replied the man, “Observe!”

He then began striking the bells with his face, producing a beautiful melody on the carillon. The bishop listened in astonishment, convinced that he had finally found a suitable replacement for Quasimodo.

Suddenly, whilst leaning forward to strike a bell, the armless man tripped, and plunged headlong out of the belfry window to his death in the street below. The stunned bishop rushed to his side. When he reached the street, a crowd had gathered around the fallen figure, drawn by the beautiful music they had heard only moments before.

As they silently parted to let the bishop through, one of them asked,
“Bishop, who was this man ?”
“I don’t know his name,” replied the bishop sadly, “but his face rings a bell.”

The following day, despite the sadness that weighed heavily on his heart due to the unfortunate death of the armless campanologist, the bishop decided to continue his interviews for the replacement bellringer of Notre Dame.

The first man to approach him said,
“Your excellency, I am the brother of the poor, armless wretch that fell to his death from this very belfry yesterday. I pray that you’ll honour his life by allowing me to replace him in this duty.”

The bishop agreed to give the man an audition, and as the armless man’s brother stooped to pick up a mallet to strike the first bell, he groaned, clutched at his chest and died on the spot. Two monks, hearing the bishop’s cries of grief at this second tragedy, rushed up the stairs to his side.

“What has happened ?” the first breathlessly asked, “Who is this man ?”
“I don’t know his name,” sighed the distraught bishop, “but he’s a dead ringer for his brother.”

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