The Treatise on the Miracles of Saint Francis - 413 

24Another time he was travelling by boat on the same lake. When he arrived at the port, someone offered him a large fish that was still alive. Calling it "brother" in his usual way, he put it back next to the boat. The fish kept playing in the water in front of the saint, which made him very happy, and he praised Christ the Lord. The fish did not leave the spot until it was commanded by the saint.

25When blessed Francis, fleeing, as was his custom, from the sight of human company, came to stay in a certain hermitage, a falcon nesting there bound itself to him in a great covenant of friendship. At nighttime with its calling and noise, it anticipated the hour when the saint would usually rise for the divine praises. The holy one of God Lk 4:34 was very grateful for this because the falcon's great concern for him shook him out of any lazy sleeping-in. But when the saint was burdened more than usual by some illness, the falcon would spare him, and would not announce such early vigils. As if instructed by God, it would ring the bell of its voice with a light touch about dawn.

It is no wonder that other creatures revered
the greatest lover of the Creator.

26A nobleman from the area of Siena sent a pheasant to blessed Francis while he was sick. He received it gladly, not with the desire to eat it, but because it was his custom to rejoice in such creatures out of love for their Creator. He said to the pheasant: "Praised be our Creator, Brother Pheasant!" And to the brothers he said: "Let's make a test now to see if Brother Pheasant wants to remain with us, or if he'd rather return to his usual places, which are more fit for him." At the saint's command a brother carried the pheasant away and put him down in a vineyard far away. Immediately the pheasant returned at a brisk pace to the father's cell.

The saint ordered it to be carried out again, and even further away, but with great stubbornness it returned to the door of the cell, and as if forcing its way, it entered under the tunics of the brothers who were in the doorway. And so the saint commanded that it should be lovingly cared for, caressing and stroking it with gentle words.

A doctor who was very devoted to the holy one of God saw this, and asked the brothers to give it to him, not because he wanted to eat it, but wanting rather to care for it out of reverence for the saint.

What else? The doctor took it home with him, but when separated from the saint it seemed hurt, and while away from his presence it absolutely refused to eat. The doctor was amazed, and at




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 413