I found this book at the thrift store a few weeks ago and I love it! We are focusing on world geography this year and it has fiction stories from all around the world. It is called "The bookshelf for boys and girls", Stories and Songs from Many Lands Volume 4. Hmmm.... That must mean there are more books. I wonder if the other books have stories from other lands as well. At any rate to give you an example of the stories here is a summary of a story I read to the boys from it last week:
It is called "The Bell of Atri" by James Baldwin. The story took place in the small town of Atri in Italy. The King of Atri installed a bell in the center of the town. He put a really long rope on it so that anyone could reach the rope. The purpose of the bell was so that if anyone was wronged they could ring the bell and the judges would come, hear the case, and make sure justice was done. Well, this went on for many years successfully. Until at last the rope was wearing away and they needed a new rope. Until they could get one a farmer went and got some grape vine from his garden and tied that onto the bell. It reached all the way down to the ground.
The story shifts to a Knight and his horse. This knight had been vary valient in his day and brave and his horse had carried him through many battles. Later on in life though his heart changed and all he cared about was money. He even stopped taking care of his horse so it grew thin and weak. He ended up letting it go to fend for itself and starve to death.
When he let the horse go it wandered into the town square and found the bell with the vine hanging from it. When he chewed some of the leaves off of the vine he rang the bell. The townspeople came and saw it was the rich man's horse whom he had let go to starve and so they called the judges to make sure justice was done for the horse.
They ended up making the man give 1/2 of all his wealth to see that the horse was fed and cared for well, by someone else of course.