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The John Shone Collection
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Specialist in the buying, selling and renovation of fine antique grandfather clocks for over 30 years

The longcase grandfather clock and the sun dial

A longcase grandfather clock which served for many years to repeat the hours and point out time, happened to fall into conversation with a sun dial which also served when the sun shone, to tell what was the time of day. It happened to be in a cloudy forenoon when the sun did not shine.

Says the longcase grandfather clock to the sun dial, "What a mean slavery do you undergo, you cannot tell the hour without the sun pleases to inform you and now the half of the day is past and you know not what o'clock it is. I can tell the hour at any time and would not be in such a dependant state as you are in, for the world, night and day, are both alike to me. It is just now twelve o'clock". Upon this the sun shone forth from under a cloud and showed the exact time of the day, it was half an hour past twelve.

The sun dial then replied to the longcase grandfather clock, "You may now perceive that boasting is no good, for you see, you are wrong. It is better to be under direction and follow truth than to be eye to one's self and go wrong. Your freedom is only liberty to err, and what you call slavery in my case, is the only method of being freely in the right. You see, that we should all of us, keep our stations and depend upon one another. I depend upon the sun and you depend upon me, for if I did not serve to regulate your motions, you see, you would forever go wrong."


There is probably no complete independency in the world. Everybody depends in their station, upon some above them, and if this order was taken away, there would be nothing except error and confusion in the universe.