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 The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 613 

where you see me put mine, and so you will cross safely." The brother, following the angel as he had told him, reached the middle of the bridge. And once he was in the middle of the bridge, the angel flew away and, leaving him, went up to a very high mountain quite far from the bridge. He noted carefully the place where the angel had flown, but remaining without a guide and looking down, he saw those terrifying animals raising their heads out of the water and their mouths open, ready to devour him if he fell. He stood there in such terror that he did not at all know what to do or say, for he could not turn back nor go forward.

Seeing himself in such distress and having no other refuge than in God alone, he bent over and embraced the bridge, and with all his heart and with tears he entrusted himself to God, that He should aid him by His most holy mercy. Having made this prayer, it seemed to him that he was starting to sprout wings, and because of this with great joy he waited for them to grow so that he could fly beyond the bridge to where the angel had flown. But after a little while, because of the great desire that he had to cross that bridge, he tried to fly; and since the wings on him had not yet grown, he fell onto the bridge and the feathers fell from him. So once again he embraced the bridge and entrusted himself to God as before. Having made this prayer, again it seemed to him that he was sprouting wings, and, as before, he did not wait for them to grow perfectly; and so, trying to fly ahead of time, he once again fell on the bridge, and the feathers fell from him. Because of this, seeing that he fell on account of the haste he had about flying too soon, he began to say to himself: "Surely if I sprout wings a third time, I will wait until they are big enough for me to fly without falling again." And as he had these thoughts it seemed to him that he was sprouting wings for a third time; and he waited a long time, until they were really big; and it seemed to him that for the first and second and third time the wings sprouted he had been waiting a good one hundred and fifty years. In the end this third time, with all his effort he lifted himself in flight, and he flew all the way to the place where the angel had flown.

When he arrived at the door of the palace where the angel was, the porter asked him: "Who are you who've come here?" The brother replied: "I am a Lesser Brother." The porter said: "Wait, because I want to bring Saint Francis here to see if he knows you." As he went to get Saint Francis, the brother began to look at the marvelous walls of this palace, and those walls appeared so shining and clear that he clearly saw the choirs of saints and what was done there. While he was standing there, he was dumbfounded by what he saw: Saint Francis was coming with Brother Bernard and Brother Giles, and

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 613

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