In the North Sea there is a great rock called the Inch-cape Rock. It

is twelve miles from any land, and is covered most of the time with


Many boats and ships have been wrecked on that rock; for it is so near

the top of the water that no vessel can sail over it without striking


More than a hundred years ago there lived not far away a kind-heart-ed

man who was called th
Abbot of Ab-er-broth-ock.

"It is a pity," he said, "that so many brave sailors should lose their

lives on that hidden rock."

So the abbot caused a buoy to be fastened to the rock. The buoy

floated back and forth in the shallow water. A strong chain kept it

from floating away.

On the top of the buoy the abbot placed a bell; and when the waves

dashed against it, the bell would ring out loud and clear.

Sailors, now, were no longer afraid to cross the sea at that place.

When they heard the bell ringing, they knew just where the rock was,

and they steered their vessels around it.

"God bless the good Abbot of Ab-er-broth-ock!" they all said.

One calm summer day, a ship with a black flag happened to sail not far

from the Inch-cape Rock. The ship belonged to a sea robber called

Ralph the Rover; and she was a terror to all honest people both on sea

and shore.

There was but little wind that day, and the sea was as smooth as

glass. The ship stood almost still; there was hardly a breath of air

to fill her sails.

Ralph the Rover was walking on the deck. He looked out upon the glassy

sea. He saw the buoy floating above the Inchcape Rock. It looked like

a big black speck upon the water. But the bell was not ringing that

day. There were no waves to set it in motion.

"Boys!" cried Ralph the Rover; "put out the boat, and row me to the

Inchcape Rock. We will play a trick on the old abbot."

The boat was low-ered. Strong arms soon rowed it to the Inchcape Rock.

Then the robber, with a heavy ax, broke the chain that held the buoy.

He cut the fas-ten-ings of the bell. It fell into the water. There

was a gur-gling sound as it sank out of sight.

"The next one that comes this way will not bless the abbot," said

Ralph the Rover.

Soon a breeze sprang up, and the black ship sailed away. The sea

robber laughed as he looked back and saw that there was nothing to

mark the place of the hidden rock.

For many days, Ralph the Rover scoured the seas, and many were the

ships that he plun-dered. At last he chanced to sail back toward the

place from which he had started.

The wind had blown hard all day. The waves rolled high. The ship was

moving swiftly. But in the evening the wind died away, and a thick fog

came on.

Ralph the Rover walked the deck. He could not see where the ship was

going. "If the fog would only clear away!" he said.

"I thought I heard the roar of breakers," said the pilot. "We must be

near the shore."

"I cannot tell," said Ralph the Rover; "but I think we are not far

from the Inchcape Rock. I wish we could hear the good abbot's bell."

The next moment there was a great crash. "It is the Inchcape Rock!"

the sailors cried, as the ship gave a lurch to one side, and began to


"Oh, what a wretch am I!" cried Ralph the Rover. "This is what comes

of the joke that I played on the good abbot!"

What was it that he heard as the waves rushed over him? Was it the

abbot's bell, ringing for him far down at the bottom of the sea?