The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 612 

to him. While he was lying there on the ground in bad shape, the one leading him said: "Get up, you must still make a long journey." The brother replied: "You seem to me a very undiscerning and cruel man. You see me about to die from the fall that has smashed me in this way, and you tell me 'Get up!'?" The angel came up to him and touched him, mending all his limbs perfectly and healing him. Then he showed him a huge plain of sharp and cutting stones, thorns and thistles, and told him that he had to run across that whole plain, going barefoot, until he reached the end, where he saw a burning furnace which he had to enter.

After the brother crossed that whole plain with great anguish and pain, the angel said to him: "Go into this furnace, for that is what you must do." The brother replied: "Oh, you are a cruel guide; you see me nearly dead from this terrible plain, and now for a rest you tell me to go into this burning furnace. And as he looked he saw around the furnace many demons with iron pitchforks in hand, and with these, since he hesitated to go in, they suddenly pushed him in. Once inside the furnace, he looked around and saw someone who had been his godfather and he was burning all over. And he asked him: "Poor Godfather, how did you come to be here?" And the other replied: "Go on a little further and you'll find my wife, your godmother and she'll tell you the reason for our damnation." As the brother went on further, that godmother appeared, all burning, enclosed in a measure for grain all made of fire, and he asked her: "Poor, pitiful Godmother, why did you come to such a cruel torment?" And she replied: "Because at the time of the great famine, which Saint Francis predicted in advance, my husband and I used false measures for the grain and meal we sold, therefore I am burning, tight in this measure."

At these words, the angel who was leading the brother pushed him out of the furnace and then said to him: "Prepare yourself to make a horrible journey, which you must undergo." The brother, grieving, said : "Oh, you're a hard guide, and you have no compassion for me. You see that I'm almost totally burned in this furnace, and you still want to take me on a dangerous and horrible journey!" Then the angel touched him and made him whole and strong. Then he led him to a bridge, which he could not cross without great danger because it was very thin and narrow and very slippery and without side-supports. Under it flowed a frightening river full of serpents and dragons and scorpions, and it gave off a great stench. The angel said to him: "Cross this bridge: you must absolutely cross it." But the brother replied: "How will I be able to cross it without falling into that dangerous river?" The angel said: "Follow me and put your foot




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 612