The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 594 

those birds rose into the air with marvelous songs. Then, following the Cross Saint Francis made over them, they divided themselves into four groups: one group flew toward the east, one toward the west, one toward the south and one toward the north. And each group went singing marvelous songs. Thus they signified that just as Saint Francis, the banner-bearer of the Cross of Christ, had preached to them, and made the sign of the Cross over them, according to which they divided themselves into the four parts of the world, so, in the same way, the preaching of the Cross of Christ, renewed by Saint Francis, was to be carried through the whole world by himself and his brothers who, like the birds, possess nothing of their own in this world, and entrust their life only to the providence of God.

To the praise of Jesus Christ
and the little poor man Francis.
Amen.

Chapter 17
HOW, WHILE SAINT FRANCIS WAS PRAYING AT NIGHT, A YOUNG BROTHER, A BOY, SAW CHRIST AND THE VIRGIN MARY AND MANY OTHER SAINTS TALK WITH HIM

A boy who was very pure and innocent was received into the Order while Saint Francis was living; and he was staying in a small place where the brothers, out of necessity, slept outside on the ground. Saint Francis once came to this place and in the evening after saying compline, he went off to sleep as he usually did, so he could get up at night to pray when the other brothers were asleep. The boy had in mind to spy attentively on Saint Francis's movements in order to find out about his holiness and especially to know what the saint did at night when he arose. To make sure that sleep would not overcome him, he lay down to sleep at Saint Francis's side and tied his cord to that of Saint Francis, so he would feel when the saint arose. And Saint Francis did not feel any of this. That night, during the first time of sleep, when all the other brothers were sleeping, Saint Francis got up and found his cord tied that way. He gently untied it so that the boy did not feel it, and Saint Francis went alone into the woods near the place, entering a little cell there and set himself to pray. The boy awoke after a while and found the cord untied and Saint Francis gone, so he got up to look for him. When he found the gate to the woods open, he thought that Saint Francis had gone out there, so he entered the woods. Reaching the place where Saint

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 594

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