In the steeple of an old church was a beautiful chime of bells, which for many years had rung out joyous peals at the touch of the sexton’s hand upon the rope.
“I’ll make the air full of music to-morrow,” said the white-haired man, as he lay down to his slumbers. “To-morrow is Christmas, and the people shall be glad and gay. Ah, yes! right merry will be the chimes I shall ring them.” Soon sleep gathered him in a close embrace, and visions of the morrow’s joy flitted over his brain.
At midnight some dark clouds swept over the tower, while darker shadows of discontent fell on the peaceful chime.
Hark! what was that? A low, discordant sound was heard among the bells.
“Here we have been ringing for seven long years,” murmured the highest bell in the chime.
“Well, what of it? That’s what we are placed here for,” said a voice from one of the deeper-toned bells.
“But I have rung long enough. Besides, I am weary of always singing one tone,” answered the high bell, in a clear, sharp voice.
“Together we make sweetest harmony,” returned the bell next the complainer.
“I well know that, but I am tired of my one tone, while you can bear monotony. For my part, I do not mean to answer to the call of the rope to-morrow.”
“What! not ring on Christmas Day!” exclaimed all the bells together.
“No, I don’t. You may exclaim as much as you please; but, if you had common sympathy, you would see in a moment how weary I am of singing this one high tone.”
“But we all have to give our notes,” responded a low, sweet-voiced bell.
“That’s just what I mean to change. We are all weary of our notes, and need change.”
“But we should have to be recast,” said the low-toned bell, sadly.
“Most certainly we should. I should like the fun of that. Now how many of you will be silent in the morning when the old sexton comes to ring us?”
“I will,” answered the lowest-toned bell, boldly.
“If part of us are silent and refuse to ring, of what use will the rest be?” said one who had remained quiet until then. “For a chime all of us are needed,” she added, sadly.
“That’s just the point,” remarked the leader. “If all will be still, none will be blamed: the people will think we are worn out and need making over. So we shall be taken down from this tower where we have been so long, and stand a chance of seeing something of the world. For my part, I am tired to death of being up here, and seeing nothing but this quiet valley.”
A murmur ran from one to another, till all agreed to be silent on the morrow, though many of the chime would have preferred to ring as usual.
The man who had presented the bells to the church returned at midnight, after a long journey to his native valley, bringing with him a friend, almost solely to hear the beautiful chime on the morrow.