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Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi
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CHAPTER IX


HOW BROTHER JUNIPER, IN ORDER TO BE DESPISED, PLAYED AT SEE-SAW


As Brother Juniper was once entering Rome, the fame of his sanctity led many of the devout Romans to go out to meet him, but he, as soon as he saw this number of people coming, took it into his head to turn their devotion into sport and ridicule. So, catching sight of two children who were playing at see-saw upon two pieces of wood, he moved one of them from his place, and mounting on the plank in his stead, he began to see-saw with the other. Meanwhile the people came up and marvelled much at Brother Juniper’s see-sawing. Nevertheless they saluted him with great devotion, and waited till he should have finished his play to accompany him honourably to the convent. Brother Juniper took little heed of their salutation, reverence, or patient waiting, but gave his whole attention to his see-saw. And when they had waited thus for a long time, they began to grow tired, and to say, “What folly is this?” Some few, who knew his ways, were moved to still greater devotion; but at last they all departed, leaving Brother Juniper on the see-saw. When they were gone, Brother Juniper remained full of consolation, because he saw in what contempt they held him. Then came he down from his see-saw, and entering Rome with all meekness and humility, came to the convent of the Friars Minor.


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