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Long, long ago, in a small village lived two brothers: Ian, the oldest, and his little brother Claes. Claes could not speak. Their parents had died and it was up to Ian to continue to run the small sheep herd and see to it that his brother was taken care of. He had given Claes a silver bell he had found in the fields the day Claes was born to keep around his neck which he was to use if he needed help while he was tending the sheep.
In the larger city that was some distance from their village was a big, magnificent cathedral which was famous for its bell tower. It was near Christmas time and the tradition of the country was to make a pilgrimage to the cathedral and present a present to the Christ Child. The Christmas season was in full swing and wherever one went in the small village one could hear the sounds of the Christmas season. While working the people of the village sang Christmas Carols.


Christmas Carol – Sing of the Glory, Sing of the Joy

On a calm, clear day, even thought the Cathedral was miles away, one would listen to hear if the bells in the bell tower of the Cathedral would sound. It had been silent for many, many years and it was said that the bells would only sound again when a worthy gift was presented on the altar of the Cathedral.




2nd Verse:
Shepherds heard and wondered why; sing of the glory, sing of the joy.
As angels sang of the earth and of the sky, sing of the glory, sing of the joy.
Rejoice, rejoice, Noel, Noel. Peace to all on earth, Noel, Noel
3rd Verse:
Ring out the message of good will and cheer, sing of the glory, sing of the joy.
Proclaim the prophet’s night is here; sing of the glory, sing of the joy.
Rejoice, rejoice, Noel, Noel. Peace to all on earth, Noel, Noel
4th Verse:
A star to follow leading to a stable, sing of the glory, sing of the joy.
Come ye rich and poor and lame and able, sing of the glory, sing of the joy.
Rejoice, rejoice, Noel, Noel. Peace to all on earth, Noel, Noel.
5th Verse:
With holly and bells it is the caroling season, sing of the glory, sing of the joy.
Sing the Noel, of feast and good reason, sing of the glory, sing of the joy.
Rejoice, rejoice, Noel, Noel, peace to all on earth, Noel, Noel.02-cat



Tower High, Valley Low
There was a legend about the Cathedral of the Bells. It was said that a miracle was the reason the Cathedral was built. It was said that a blind musician was granted sight by Jesus and the musician promise to build a Cathedral when he was able to see. Being a musician he had included a large, tall bell tower, its sound echoed throughout the country side. But, after the musician died, the bells remained silent. The only way to again hear the bells was for one of the parish faithful to give a worthy gift.

Tower High




Legend of the Bells
All the people tried to give this worthy gift so they may be the one to make the bells ring, but so far these many years, no one had succeeded to ring the bells. Each Christmas they would come from far and near to present the Christ Child with a gift. The rich would give very expensive gifts but never did the bell ring.


Legend of the Bells:
This is the legend of the Christmas Bells, high in a tower built in ancient times.
In the distant past when Christ walked the land, lived a musician, a good and righteous man.
To copy music was his labor by day, with pen and parchment in the ancient way.
At night by candle light e wrote long hours not by note.
Verse 2:
By the dim lit flame he wrote his serenades, his eyes became weak, his sight began to fade.
He heard that Christ had worked miracles before, just a word from the master, it would happen once more.
To end his plight he prayed night and day, for a glance from Christ his way.
Verse 3:
When Christ passed by, a voice he did hear, “Lord that I may see” he heard so loud and clear.
“Rise my son, your faith has saved your sight. Remember on this day God showed his might. Remember that true faith is strong and you are never alone.”
With his sight restored again he did write. He thought of repaying, to try and do what’s right.
Verse 4:
One night the spirit of the Lord he did see. To save my people, build a cathedral form me, and add a tower with great bells to ring on Christmas day.
The Cathedral he build with bell tower high, near a town called Bethlehem where mountains meet the sky.
At Christmas time it was the custom to bring a gift to the altar, to make the bells ring.
A worthy gift would make them ring, the love of which we sing.
Verse 5:
The bells have been silent for many a year. No gift from the faithful who came from far and near.
Some day the bells will ring out all around, a worthy gift will make them sound.
The years go by but the Christmas bells stand silently and still.
This is the legend of the Christmas Bells, high in a tower built in ancient times.04-cat



My Gift
Claes was in the fields lending the sheep and began thinking of his little silver bell and how it sounded. He would sometimes ring it softly just to hear it sound. He once had rang it loudly when a wolf was seen. Ian came running and chased the wolf away. Claes is safe with his little silver bell.

My Gift




Little Silver Bell
After the day’s work was done, the two boys would sit around their stove and read and think about the hard day’s work in the fields. Ian would sing to Claes. Tonight he sang a beautiful Christmas Carol about the birth of the child Jesus to Mary.

Little Silver Bells




A Little Boy Came to Bethlehem Town

A Little Boy Came To Bethlehem Town

The night was cold and the wind was bold and the little baby cried. A shepherd took a tiny little bell from a little lamb that came inside. He gave it to the new born babe and the mother rang it o so mild, and the baby slumbered fast sleep among the cattle ox and sheep.
3rd Verse:
This little boy born in Bethlehem town on this cold and wintry night, some day would become the savior of the world, now he lies in silent peaceful sleep.
The carol was a favorite of Claes, but his favorite was the “Noel.” He liked it because he could take part in its performance as a certain place i the music he got to ring the bell.07-cat



Noel, Noel, Ring the Bell:


     It had been the desire of both boys that they would make a pilgrimage to the Cathedral and they had been saving a small sum to give to the Christ child. Ian began thinking that it was time. They had saved the small amount and he wondered if Claes could make the trip with him to present their gift together. He thought of the great distance to the Cathedral.08-cat



How Far the Cathedral

How Far

     It was time to go to the Cathedral. It was the day of Christmas Eve and the entire village seemed to be going. Everyone was hurrying around getting ready to go and soon there was a line of people proceeding to the direction of the Cathedral.09-cat



Hurry to the Christmas Service


     The brothers began the long journey to the Cathedral with their small gift and some water and food for the trip. It was cold and began to snow. They were dressed warmly to prevent the cold and walked for many a mile. As they came over a hill they could see the bell tower reaching high into the sky. They were only a few miles away. It was just about Christmas Eve and they; would just make the holy mass. As they turned a bend they saw a figure on the side of the road. They approached the figure of a woman. She had fallen and could not continue her journey. They boys went to her and tried to comfort her. It was no use; the woman could not go on. Ian made a hard decision. He must stay and help the women. He told Claes he would have to go on alone because he would have to stay with the woman and help her. Claes was to send for help after he got to the Cathedral.10-cat



You Must Go On Alone, Brother

Go on Alone

     It was very cold and snowy and Ian had to build a fire to keep them both warm. He would miss the Christmas Service but he must help this fallen women. He gathered wood and built a fire and thought how much he would miss the Christmas Service.11-cat



Build a Fire

Build a Fire

     Claes finally reached the Cathedral. The mass had already begun. The choir was singing and everyone was praying. They had come from far and near to attend the service and to present their gift. The song that was sung was first heard from the choir and then the whole congregation sang the refrain.12-cat



A Gift

A Gift

     Claes sat in the back during the service and was waiting until everyone else approached the altar with their gift and waited for the bells to ring but there was only silence. When everyone had gone to the altar with their gift, and only then, Claes approached the altar. He reached into his pocket to get the small coins but they were not there. He had lost them. He had nothing to give the Christ child. It was then that he took the little silver bell and laid it on the altar. Softly at first one thought he heard a sound. Gathering strength the sounds became louder. What was it? The people who had begun to leave the Cathedral also heard something. The sound was coming from the bell tower. It reached a crescendo and yes, the bells began ringing, louder and soon the heavenly sounds of the giant bells were ringing throughout the valley and countryside. The people hastened to see what gift had made the bells ring. They only saw a little boy kneeing at the altar praying to his God. The choir began singing and it soon spread throughout the congregation. This indeed was a miracle of the bells.13-cat



Chorale Prelude



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