The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. by W. Heywood, , at sacred-texts.com
How a boy friar, while St. Francis was praying by night, saw Christ and the Virgin Mary and very many other saints hold converse with him
WHILE St. Francis yet lived, a boy very pure and innocent was received into the Order; and he abode in a little Place, wherein the friars, of
necessity, slept on rugs. Once St. Francis came to the said Place, and, in the evening, when compline had been said, betook himself to sleep to the end that he might be able to rise up at night and pray, while the other friars slept, as he was wont to do. Now the said boy settled it in his heart to observe carefully the ways of St. Francis, if so be he might know his sanctity and especially that which he did at night when he rose up. Wherefore, that sleep might not betray him that boy laid himself down to sleep close to St. Francis and tied his cord to the cord of St. Francis that he might perceive when he rose up. And of this St. Francis felt nothing. But during the night, in the first watch while all the other friars slept, he rose up and found his cord thus tied, and he loosed it gently that the boy might not perceive it, and so St. Francis gat him alone to the wood which was hard by the Place, and entered into a little cell which was there and betook himself to prayer; and, after a certain time, the boy awoke and finding the cord untied and St. Francis gone away, he rose up and went to seek him; and finding the gate which led into the wood open, he bethought him that St. Francis might have gone thither, and he entered into the wood. And coming nigh unto the place where St. Francis was praying, he began to hear a sound as of many folk talking, and drawing nearer to see and to understand that which he heard, he beheld a wonderful light which encompassed St. Francis round about, and in the midst thereof he saw Christ and the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist and the Evangelist and a very great multitude of angels who spake with St. Francis. When he saw and heard this, the boy fell to the ground in a swoon. Thereafter, the mystery of that holy vision being ended, St. Francis, as he returned to the
[paragraph continues] Place, stumbled upon the said boy, lying as if dead; and for compassion he lifted him up and carried him in his arms, even as the good shepherd carrieth his lambs. And then, learning from him how he had beheld the said vision, he commanded him to tell no man as long as he lived. Afterward the boy, increasing in great grace with God and in devotion to St. Francis, became a worthy man in the Order; and after the death of St. Francis he revealed the said vision to the friars.