The Legend of the Three Companions - 68 

If you deem it expedient, you may insert these few things we have written into the other legends. For we believe that if these things had been known to the venerable men who wrote those legends, they would in no way have passed them by; rather they would have embellished them with their own polished style as best they could, and thus transmitted them to posterity.

May your Paternity always be well in the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we commend ourselves to your holiness as your devoted sons.

Given at Greccio, August 11, in the year of Our Lord 1246.

Chapter Ia
HIS BIRTH, VANITY, FRIVOLITY AND PRODIGALITY,
HOW HE BECAME GENEROUS AND CHARITABLE TO THE POOR

2Francis was raised in the city of Assisi, which is located in the boundaries of the valley of Spoleto. His mother at first called him John; but when his father, who had been away when he was born, returned from France, he later named him Francis.

When he grew up, endowed with clever natural abilities, he pursued his father's profession, that of a merchant. He was, however, vastly different from his father. He was more good-natured and generous, given over to revelry and song with his friends, roaming day and night throughout the city of Assisi. He was most lavish in spending, so much so that all he could possess and earn was squandered on feasting and other pursuits.

Because of this his parents often reprimanded him, telling him that he spent so much money on himself and others that he seemed to be the son of some great prince rather than their son. But since his parents were wealthy and loved him very much, they tolerated all these things to avoid upsetting him. When neighbors commented on his extravagance, his mother replied: "What do you think of my son? He will still be a son of God through grace."

He was lavish, indeed prodigal, not only in these things, but also in spending more money on expensive clothes than his social position warranted. He was so vain in seeking to stand out that some-

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Legenda Trium Sociorum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1374-1375


11Quibus haec pauca quae scribimus poteritis facere inseri, si vestra discretio viderit esse iustum. 12Credimus enim quod si venerabilibus viris qui praefatas confecerunt legendas haec nota fuissent, ea minime praeterissent quin saltem pro parte ipsa suo decorassent eloquio et posteris ad memoriam reliquissent.

13Semper integre valeat vestra sancta paternitas in Domino Iesu Christo, in quo nos filios vestros devotos, sanctitati vestrae recommendamus humiliter et devote.
14Data in loco Grecii, tertio idus augusti anno Domini millesimo ducentesimo quadragesimo sexto.

Caput I
De nativitate eius et de vanitate et curiositate et prodigalitate
ipsius et qualiter ex his pervenit ad largitatem et caritatem circa pauperes.

2 1Franciscus de civitate Assisii oriundus quae in finibus Spoletanae vallis est sita, Iohannes prius est vocatus a matre, a patre vero tunc redeunte de Francia in cuius absentia natus erat, Franciscus est postmodum nominatus.

2Hic, postquam fuit adultus et subtilis ingenii factus, artem patris id est negociationem exercuit, 3sed dissimiliter valde quoniam ipso hilarior et liberalior, deditus iocis et cantibus, civitatem Assisii die noctuque circuiens sibi similibus sociatus, in expendendo largissimus adeo ut omnia quae habere poterat et lucrari in comestionibus aliisque rebus consumeret.

4Propter quod multotiens arguebatur a parentibus, dicentibus ei quod tam magnas expensas in se et in aliis faceret, ut non eorum filius sed cuiusdam magni principis videretur. 5Quia tamen divites erant parentes eius et ipsum tenerrime diligebant, tolerabant eum in talibus ipsum turbare nolentes. 6Mater autem eius, cum de prodigalitate sua sermo a convicinis fieret, respondebat: « Quid de filio meo putatis? Adhuc erit filius Dei per gratiam ».

7Ipse vero non solum in his erat largus, immo prodigus, sed etiam in indumentis multipliciter excedebat, cariores pannos faciens quam ipsum deceret habere. 8In curiositate etiam tantum erat vanus quod aliquando in eodem indumento pannum valde carum panno vilissimo consui faciebat.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 68

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