The Life of Blessed Francis - 592 

the lamb, which was Francis's disciple and had now become a master of devotion, was held by the lady as an object of wonder and love.

8Another time at Greccio a small live hare was given to the man of God, which he put down on the ground free to run away where it pleased. At the call of the kind father, it leapt quickly into his lap. He fondled it with the pious affection of his heart and seemed to pity it like a mother. After warning it with gentle talk not to let itself be caught again, he let it go free. But as often as he placed it on the ground to run away, it always came back to the father's bosom, as if it perceived with some hidden sense of its heart the piety he had for it. Finally, at the father's command, the brothers carried it away to a safer place of solitude.

In the same way, on the island in the Lake of Perugia, a little rabbit was caught and offered to the man of God. Although it fled from everyone else, it entrusted itself to his hands and his heart as if to natural security.

When he was hurrying across the Lake of Rieti to the hermitage of Greccio, out of devotion a fisherman offered him a little water-bird. He received it gladly and, with open hands, invited it to go away, but it did not want to go. He remained in prayer for a long time with his eyes lifted to heaven. Returning to himself as if after no more than an hour stay in another place, he gently ordered the little bird to go away to praise the Lord. And so the bird, having received permission with a blessing, flew away expressing its joy in the movements of its body.

On the same lake in a similar way he was offered a large fish that was still alive. Calling it by name in his usual brotherly way, he put it back in the water next to the boat. The fish kept playing in the water in front of the man of God; and as if it were attracted by his love, it would in no way leave the boat until it received from him his permission with a blessing.

9Another time when he was walking with a brother through the marshes of Venice, he came upon a large flock of birds singing among the reeds. When he saw them, he said to his companion: "Our Sister Birds are praising their Creator; so we should go in among them and chant the Lord's praises and the canonical hours." When they had entered among them, the birds did not move from the place; and on account of the noise the birds were making, they could not hear each other saying the hours. The saint turned to the birds and said: "Sister Birds, stop singing until we have done our duty of

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 849-850


11Propter quod agnus, Francisci discipulus, devotionis iam magister effectus, ut mirabilis et amabilis a domina servabatur.

8 1Alio quoque tempore apud Graecium vivus viro Dei oblatus fuit lepusculus, qui liber in terra positus, cum posset quo vellet effugere, vocante se patre benigno, in sinum illius propero cursu saltavit. 2Quem ipse pio cordis affectu circumfovens, videbatur eidem compati quasi mater dulcique allocutione commonitum, ne se iterum capi permitteret, liberum abire permisit. 3Cumque pluries in terra positus ut abscederet, semper in sinum patris rediret, tamquam si sensu quodam occulto cordis ipsius perciperet pietatem, tandem iussu patris a fratribus delatus est ad loca solitudinis tutiora.

4Modo quoque consimili in insula lacus Perusini cuniculus quidam captus et viro Dei oblatus, cum ceteros fugeret, manibus eius et sinui se domestica securitate commisit.

5Per lacum Reatinum eidem ad eremum de Graecio properanti piscator unam ex devotione fluvialem obtulit avem. 6Quam cum libenter susceptam apertis invitaret manibus ad recessum, nec fila vellet abire, erectis in caelum oculis, diu in oratione permansit, et quasi aliunde post longam horam ad se reversus, dulciter iterato mandavit aviculae, ut Dominum laudatura recederet. 7Suscepta itaque cum benedictione licentia, gestu corporis quoddam pratendens gaudium, avolavit.

8In eodem lacu similiter oblatus fuit ei piscis magnus et vivus, quem more solito fraterno nomine vocans, in aquam reposuit iuxta navem. 9Piscis vero coram viro Dei in aqua ludebat, et quasi amore ipsius allectus, nullatenus recessit a navi, nisi prius ab eodem cum benedictione licentia sibi data.

9 1Alio tempore ambulans cum quodam fratre per paludes Venetiarum, invenit maximam avium multitudinem residentium et cantantium in virgultis. 2Quibus visis, dixit ad socium: « Sorores aves laudant Creatorem suum; nos itaque in medium ipsarum euntes, laudes et horas canonicas Domino decantemus ». 3Cumque in medium earum intrassent, non sunt aves motae de loco; 4et quia propter garritum ipsarum in dicendis horis se mutuo audire non poterant, conversus vir sanctus dixit ad aves: « Sorores aves, a cantu cessate, donec laudes Deo debitas persolvamus! »

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 592

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