The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 491 

arrived at an inn where it was necessary for him to stay in order to rest, he found there a woman with a beautiful face but a very filthy mind who solicited Saint Francis for a vile act. Saint Francis answered: "I accept your offer." "So, let's go and get a bed ready," she replied. Saint Francis said: "Come with me and I'll show you the most beautiful bed." He led her to the huge fire which had then been lit in that house. In fervor of spirit he stripped and placed himself naked on that red-hot hearth as if on a bed. And calling her he said: "Undress! Hurry! Enjoy this splendid, flowery, wonderful bed. You have to be here, if you wish to obey me." That fire did no harm to Saint Francis. He lay smiling on that hot, burning hearth as if on flowers. The woman, dumbstruck on seeing something so amazing, was converted to our Lord Jesus Christ not only from the manure of sin but also from the darkness of unbelief, and she became a person of such admirable holiness and grace that, helped by the merits of the holy Father she won many souls for the Lord in that region.

15 Saint Francis, however, seeing that he was unable to produce fruit there, by God's revelation decided to regather his companions and return to the lands of the faithful.a Returning to the Sultan he explained his decision to return. The Sultan said: "Brother Francis, I would willingly be converted to the faith of Christ, but I am afraid to do it now, because these men, if they heard of it, would immediately kill me and you with your companions. Since you can yet accomplish much and I have to put some great affairs in order for the salvation of my soul, I would not willingly bring about an unexpected death for you and me. But tell me how I may be saved. I am prepared to obey you in all things." Saint Francis said to him: "Lord, I am indeed leaving you now; but after I return to my country, at God's call I shall pass on to heaven. But after my death, by God's design I will send two of my brothers, from whom you will receive baptism and you will be saved, just as the Lord Jesus Christ has revealed to me. In the meantime, free yourself from all your present affairs so that, when the grace of God comes, it will find you prepared in faith and devotion." The Sultan joyfully agreed and faithfully obeyed. Then Saint Francis bid him farewell and returned to the lands of the faithful with that venerable assembly of holy companions.

20 Some years later this Sultan fell ill. Awaiting the promise of the saint, who had already passed to blessed life, he posted lookouts at port entrances so that, when two brothers in the habit of Saint




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 491