St. Francis and the Monkey

Saint Francis awoke early as usual. He dressed quickly so that he could hurry off to the woods for his morning walk. Darkness was giving way to light as Saint Francis crossed the beautiful gardens of the Monastery of Assissi with its religious statues and fountains. Saint Francis dropped some nuts in the bird feeder as he approached the forest. It was still cool and the lawn was wet with dew.

As Saint Francis entered the woods, there was a rustle of leaves, and a flapping of wings, as foxes, squirrels, sparrows, rabbits and the old hedgehog scurried away from their chores to welcome Saint Francis. Even though they spent time with Saint Francis every morning, they could not resist the pleasure they got from being with their human friend. As they arrived, birds landing on Saint Francis' shoulder, foxes, squirrels and rabbits falling in behind him, all chirping, chuckling and clacking in unison. Then all of a sudden there was a loud and piecing cry from deep within the forest. The animals and Saint Francis stopped frozen in their tracks, chatter ceased and all were listening. There was another louder and more desperate scream. None were sure which animal could make this scream and why such a scream would be needed. After the second scream all was silent in the woods. The animals sensed danger and were terrified.

Saint Francis beckoned to his furry friends to venture forward and find the source of this terrible scream. Slowly the animals began to breath again and move towards Saint Francis. As Saint Francis hurried in the direction of the scream, the animals began to follow, but in complete silence. This was so different from the normal morning ritual. As they came upon other animals, whose morning activities had been halted by the scream, these animals also fell in behind St. Francis. As they walked on they began to hear a more muffled noise. None of the animals recognized these noises. Then they heard some movements and looked in front of them. It was a small monkey, an animal not native to these northern woods, caught in a hunter's trap. The monkey's leg was lodged in the trap and he made whimpering sounds. None of the other animals had ever seen this monkey or in fact any monkey before. Saint Francis went up to the monkey, and said: Be quiet little monkey, I can help you if you stop struggling. Immediately the monkey relaxed and lay still. Saint Francis released the trap and picked the monkey up in his arms. He kept cooing to the little monkey, shh shh. When they were back at the edge of the forest all the animals stopped, but Saint Francis walked on to the monastery. Saint Francis and the other monks made a cast for the monkeys broken leg. It took no time for the monkey's leg to heal. Saint Francis named the monkey "Scream".

When Scream was well, he began accompanying Saint Francis on his morning walks into the woods. Scream loved jumping through the trees but always returned with Saint Francis back to the monastery where he lived a long and happy life with the monks.