Other Chronicles and References - 591 

a celebrated collection of fables. All of his works were designed for the aid of preachers and enjoyed a wide circulation.

The following is a story or “exemplum” included by Odo in his collection of Sunday Sermons, first published at Paris at the end of 1219.a Would Odo have heard this story from the first brothers to reach France at just about this time? We do know he was also very interested in the new Dominican Order, and he refers to Francis as “Brother,” an indication that he probably composed this story before Francis’s canonization.b On the other hand, there is reason to believe that Odo oversaw revised editions of his Sunday Sermons years afterwards, so a dating after 1219 may well be possible.c

Brother Francis, asked who was going to take care of his brothers, since he received all [who came to him] indifferently, answered: “A certain king made love to a woman who lived in the woods and she bore a son. After she had raised him for a time, she came to the gate of the king, so that he might take care of her son from then on. When this was announced to the king, he said: ‘So many evil and useless men eat food at my court; isn’t it only right that my own son should be fed among them?’ ” After he told this story, Francis said that he was the woman whom the Lord had impregnated with his word, and that he had borne these spiritual sons. “And so, if the Lord provides for so many unjust people, you should not wonder how he is going to supply nourishment for his own children along with the others.”

Chronicle of Lauterberg (c. 1224)

We do not know the identity of the author of the chronicle of the Premonstratensian abbey of Lauterberg (Montis Sereni), near Halle, then in the archdiocese of Magdeburg. But he clearly echoes the traditionalist attitude of many members of the existing orders, manifest in canon 13 of the Fourth Lateran Council, which required founders of new religious communities to take

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S. Francsci parabola , S. Francsci parabola..., p. 584-586


Odo of Cheriton (1219/47)16

Frater Franciscus, requisitus quis pasceret fratres suos, quia indifferenter omnes recepit, respondit: «Quidem rex impregnavit quandam in nemore; que peperit. Quem cum per aliquod tempus nutrierat, venit ad portam regis, ut filium suum de caetero pasceret. Quod cum nunciatum esset regi, respondit: 'Tot pravi et inutiles in curia mea comedunt cibum; iustum est, ut filius meus inter eos sustentetur.' Quod exponens, dixit se esse mulierem quam Dominus verbo suo impregnavit, qui filios spirituales genuit. Ex quo Dominus tot iniustos pascit, non est mirandum, si filios proprios inter alios sustentet».

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 591