The Bell Ringers

Enjoy a good shaggy dog story?

In its original sense, a shaggy dog story is an extremely long and involved story containing numerous irrelevant incidents and ending in an absurd or irrelevant punch line. Read two of the best shaggy dog stories we’ve found: “The Bell Ringer” and “The Bell Ringer’s Brother.”

The Bell Ringer

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, he decided to call it a day when a lone, armless man approached him and announced that he was there to apply for the bellringer’s job. The bishop was incredulous.

“You have no arms!”

“No matter,” said 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, rushing 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,” the bishop sadly replied, “but his face rings a bell.”

You want more, you say?