The Life of Blessed Francis - 593 

praising God!" At once they were silent and remained in silence as long as it took the brothers to say the hours at length and to finish their praises. Then the holy man of God gave them permission to sing again. When the man of God gave them permission, they immediately resumed singing in their usual way.

Near the cell of the man of God at Saint Mary of the Portiuncula, there was a cricket living and singing on a fig tree. With its song, it frequently aroused the Lord's servant to the divine praises, for he had also learned to marvel at the Creator's magnificence even in insignificant creatures. One day, after he called it, it flew upon his hand as if taught from heaven. He said to it: "Sing, my Sister Cricket, and with your joyful song praise the Lord Creator!" Obeying without delay, it began to chirp; nor did it stop until at the father's command it flew back to its own place. There it remained for eight days, coming each day, singing and returning at his command. Finally the man of God said to his companions: "Let us give permission to our sister cricket now, for while making us so happy with her singing, she has aroused us to the praises of God over the space of eight days." As soon as it received permission, the cricket went away and never appeared there again, as if it did not dare to disobey his command in the slightest way.

10When he was sick at Siena, a nobleman sent him a live pheasant he had recently caught. The moment it saw and heard the holy man, it was drawn to him with such affection that it would in no way allow itself to be separated from him. For many times it was put down outside the brothers' place in the vineyard so that it could go away if it wanted. But every time it ran right back to the father as if it had always been reared by him. Then it was given to a man who used to visit God's servant out of devotion but it absolutely refused to eat, as if it were upset at being out of the sight of the devoted father. It was finally brought back to God's servant, and as soon as it saw him, showed signs of joy and ate heartily.

When he went to the hermitage of La Verna to observe a forty-day fast in honor of the Archangel Michael, birds of different kinds flew around his cell, with melodious singing and joyful movements, as if rejoicing at his arrival. They seemed to be inviting and enticing the devoted father to stay. When he saw this, he said to his companion: "I see, brother, that it is God's will that we stay here for some time, for our sisters the birds seem so delighted at our presence."

When he extended his stay there, a falcon nesting there bound itself to him in a great covenant of friendship with him. For at the

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 850-852


donec laudes Deo debitas persolvamus! » 5At illae continuo tacuerunt, tamdiu in silentio persistentes, quamdiu, dictis horis spatiose et laudibus persolutis, a sancto Dei cantandi licentiam receperunt. 6Dante autem eis viro Dei licentiam, statim cantum suum more solito resumpserunt.

7Apud Sanctam Mariam de Portiuncula iuxta cellam viri Dei super ficum cicada residens et decantans, cum servum Domini, qui etiam in parvis rebus magnificentiam Creatoris admirari didicerat, ad divinas laudes cantu suo frequentius excitaret, ab eodem quadam die vocata, velut edocta caelitus, super manum volavit ipsius. 8Cui cum dixisset: « Canta, soror mea cicada, et Dominum Creatorem tuo iubilo lauda! », sine mora obediens canere coepit nec destitit, donec iussu patris ad locum proprium revolavit. 9Mansit autem per octo dies ibidem, quolibet die veniendo, cantando et recedendo eius iussa perficiens. 10Tandem vir Dei ait ad socios: « Demus iam sorori nostrae cicadae licentiam; satis enim nos suo cantu laetificans, ad laudes Dei octo dierum spatio excitavit ». 11Et statim ab eo licentiata recessit nec ultra ibidem apparuit, ac si mandatum ipsius non auderet aliquatenus praeterire.

10 1Eidem Senis infirmo phasianus quidam de novo captus a nobili quodam transmissus est vivus. 2Qui continuo, ut virum sanctum audivit et vidit, tanta illi amicabilitate cohaesit, ut nullo modo pateretur ab ipso seiungi. 3Nam pluribus vicibus extra locellum fratrum in vinea positus, ut abiret, si vellet, rapido semper cursu redibat ad patrem, tamquam si ab eodem omni fuisset tempore educatus. 4Deinde cuidam collatus viro, qui ex devotione servum Dei visitare solebat, velut sibi molestum foret a pii patris absentari conspectu, escam recusavit omnino. 5Reportatus tandem ad famulum Dei, statim ut conspexit eumdem, quibusdam hilaritatis praetensis gestibus, avide manducavit.

6Cum ad eremum pervenisset Alvernae propter quadragesimam celebrandam in honorem Archangeli Michaelis, diversi generis aves circa ipsius cellulam volitantes, concentu sonoro et laetitiae gestibus, quasi de eius adventu gaudentes, patrem pium invitare ac allicere videbantur ad moram. 7Quo viso, dixit ad socium: « Cerno, frater, voluntatis esse divinae, quod hic aliquamdiu commoremur; tantum sorores aviculae de nostra videntur praesentia consolari ».

8Cum igitur contraheret ibi moram, falco ibidem nidificans magno se illi amicitiae foedere copulavit. 9Nam semper horam nocturno tempore,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 593

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