Antonio was an Italian boy who loved music, but whenever he tried to sing the music
that was in his heart, it came out so badly that all his friends laughed at him. Next to
singing, the boy loved to hear the violin. He had a pocketknife he always carried with him
and he would whittle all sorts of things with it. One day Antonio learned that the
greatest violin maker in all Italy, the great Nicolo Amati, lived in his village! Antonio
began to whittle a violin and worked for many hours on it. When finished, the boy walked
to the house of Amati, who just happened to answer the door. The boy handed the master the
small violin he had carved and said, "Sir--I love music, but cannot sing. I wish with
all my heart I could learn to make violins." The great Amati smiled, looked at the
small gift and said, "Beautifully done! You want to make violins? And so you shall!
In time your violins will make the most beautiful music ever heard!" And so, Antonio
Stradivari became the pupil of Nicolo Amati and in time made violins that equaled his
Bits & Pieces, January, 1990, p. 11.
During World War I a Protestant chaplain with the American troops in Italy became a
friend of a local Roman Catholic priest. In time, the chaplain who moved on with his unit
was killed. The priest heard of his death and asked military authorities if the chaplain
could be buried in the cemetery behind his church. Permission was granted. But the priest
ran into a problem with his own Catholic Church authorities. They were sympathetic, but
they said they could not approve the burial of a non-Catholic in a Catholic cemetery. So
the priest buried his friend just outside the cemetery fence. Years later, a war veteran
who knew what had happened returned to Italy and visited the old priest. The first thing
he did was ask to see the chaplain's grave. To his surprise, he found the grave inside the
fence. "Ah," he said, "I see you got permission to move the body."
"No," said the priest. "They told me where I couldn't bury the body. But
nobody ever told me I couldn't move the fence."
Bits & Pieces, November, 1989, p.
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