The Treatise on the Miracles of Saint Francis - 422 

the ground and called out to Saint Francis again and again, saying, "It is I who have sinned; you were right to punish me. Give me back, dear saint, the one you took from this wicked blasphemer, for now I have repented. I surrender myself to you; I promise you lasting service, and will always offer you all the first fruits."

Amazing! At these words the boy arose, called for a halt to the wailing, and spoke about his experience of death. "When I had died," he said, "blessed Francis came and led me along a very dark and long road. Then he put me in a garden so beautiful and delightful that the whole world can't be compared to it. Then he led me back along the same road and said to me, 'Return to your mother and father; I do not want to keep you here any longer.' And, as he wished, I have returned."

44In the city of Capua a lad was playing carelessly with his friends on the bank of the river Volturno. From the bank of the river he fell into the deep. The force of the river Ps 46:5 [Vulgate, Ps 45:5] quickly swallowed him up and buried him, dead, beneath the sand.

The children who had been playing near the river with him shouted, and many men and women ran quickly to the spot. When they learned what happened they cried out tearfully, "Saint Francis, return the boy to his father and grandfather: they are sweating in your service!" Indeed the boy's father and grandfather were working as hard as they could on building a church in honor of blessed Francis. All the people were humbly and devoutly invoking the merits of blessed Francis.

Some distance away a swimmer heard their cries and approached them. He learned that a good hour had passed since the boy fell into the river. He invoked the name Acts 22:16 of Christ and the merits of blessed Francis, then taking off his clothes flung himself naked into the river. Since he did not know where the boy had fallen in, he began to search back and forth along the banks and on the bottom. Finally by the will of God he found the place where mud had covered over the boy's cadaver like a tomb. He dug and dragged him out, and was saddened to find him dead. Though the crowd saw that the youth was dead, they nevertheless wept and cried out, "Saint Francis, give the father back his child!" The same phrase was also said by the Jews who had come, moved by natural piety: "Saint Francis, give the father back his child!" Blessed Francis, moved by the people's prayers and devotion (as is clear from what happened) quickly raised the dead boy. They all marveled and rejoiced. When the boy got up, he begged to be taken to the church of blessed Francis, swearing he had been revived thanks to him.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 422