Ebooks - Fiction, Non-Fiction 1000s of Them - Tons of Free Stories to Read ~ Main Page

 

 

 

Faith by William Somerset Maugham

I

The moon shone fitfully through the clouds on to the weary face of Brother Jasper kneeling in his cell. His hands were fervently clasped, uplifted to the crucifix that hung on the bare wall, and he was praying, praying as he had never prayed before. All through the hours of night, while the monks were sleeping, Brother Jasper had been supplicating his God for light; but in his soul remained a darkness deeper than that of the blackest night. At last he heard the tinkling of the bell that called the monks to prayers, and with a groan lifted himself up. He opened his cell door and went out into the cloister. With down-turned face he walked along till he came to the chapel, and, reaching his seat, sank again heavily to his knees.

The lights in the chapel were few enough, for San Lucido was nearly the poorest monastery in Spain; a few dim candles on the altar threw long shadows on the pavement, and in the choir their yellow glare lit up uncouthly the pale faces of the monks. When Brother Jasper stood up, the taper at his back cast an unnatural light over him, like a halo, making his great black eyes shine strangely from their deep sockets, while below them the dark lines and the black shadow of his shaven chin gave him an unearthly weirdness. He looked like a living corpse standing in the brown Franciscan cowl—a dead monk doomed for some sin to wander through the earth till the day, the Day of Judgment; and in the agony of that weary face one could almost read the terrors of eternal death.

The monks recited the service with their heavy drone, and the sound of the harsh men's voices ascended to the vault, dragging along the roof. But Jasper heard not what they said; he rose and knelt as they did; he uttered the words; he walked out of the church in his turn, and through the cloister to his cell. And he threw himself on the floor and beat his head against the hard stones, weeping passionately. And he cried out,—

'What shall I do? What shall I do?'

For Brother Jasper did not believe.

II

Two days before, the monk, standing amid the stunted shrubs on the hill of San Lucido, had looked out on the arid plain before him. It was all brown and grey, the desolate ground strewn with huge granite boulders, treeless; and for the wretched sheep who fed there, thin and scanty grass; the shepherd, in his tattered cloak, sat on a rock, moodily, paying no heed to his flock, dully looking at the desert round him. Brother Jasper gazed at the scene as he had gazed for three years since he had come to San Lucido, filled with faith and great love for God. In those days he had thought nothing of the cold waste as his eyes rested on it; the light of heaven shed a wonderful glow on the scene, and when at sunset the heavy clouds were piled one above the other, like huge, fantastic mountains turned into golden fire, when he looked beyond them and saw the whole sky burning red and then a mass of yellow and gold, he could imagine that God was sitting there on His throne of fire, with Christ on His right hand in robes of light and glory, and Mary the Queen on His left. And above them the Dove with its outstretched wings, the white bird hovering in a sea of light! And it seemed so near! Brother Jasper felt in him almost the power to go there, to climb up those massy clouds of fire and attain the great joy—the joy of the presence of God.

The sun sank slowly, the red darkened into purple, and over the whole sky came a colour of indescribable softness, while in the east, very far away, shone out the star. And soon the soft faint blue sank before the night, and the stars in the sky were countless; but still in the west there was the shadow of the sun, a misty gleam. Over the rocky plain the heavens seemed so great, so high, that Brother Jasper sank down in his insignificance; yet he remembered the glories of the sunset, and felt that he was almost at the feet of God.

But now, when he looked at the clouds and the sun behind them, he saw no God; he saw the desert plain, the barrenness of the earth, the overladen, wretched donkey staggering under his pannier, and the broad-hatted peasant urging him on. He looked at the sunset and tried to imagine the Trinity that sat there, but he saw nothing. And he asked himself,—

'Why should there be a God?'

He started up with a cry of terror, with his hands clasped to his head.

'My God! what have I done?'

He sank to his knees, humiliating himself. What vengeance would fall on him? He prayed passionately. But again the thought came; he shrieked with terror, he invoked the Mother of God to help him.

'Why should there be a God?'

He could not help it. The thought would not leave him that all this might exist without. How did he know? How could anyone be sure, quite sure? But he drove the thoughts away, and in his cell imposed upon himself a penance. It was Satan that stood whispering in his ear, Satan lying in wait for his soul; let him deny God and he would be damned for ever.

He prayed with all his strength, he argued with himself, he cried out, 'I believe! I believe!' but in his soul was the doubt. The terror made him tremble like a leaf in the wind, and great drops of sweat stood on his forehead and ran heavily down his cheek. He beat his head against the wall, and in his agony swayed from side to side.... But he could not believe.

III

And for two days he had endured the torments of hell-fire, battling against himself—in vain. The heavy lines beneath his eyes grew blacker than the night, his lips were pale with agony and fasting. He had not dared to speak to anyone, he could not tell them, and in him was the impulse to shout out, 'Why should there be?' Now he could bear it no longer. In the morning he went to the prior's cell, and, falling on his knees, buried his face in the old man's lap.

'Oh, father, help me! help me!'

The prior was old and wasted; for fifty years he had lived in the desert Castilian plain in the little monastery—all through his youth and manhood, through his age; and now he was older than anyone at San Lucido. White haired and wrinkled, but with a clear, rosy skin like a boy's; his soft blue eyes had shone with light, but a cataract had developed, and gradually his sight had left him till he could barely see the crucifix in his cell and the fingers of his hand; at last he could only see the light. But the prior did not lose the beautiful serenity of his life; he was always happy and kind; and feeling that his death could not now be very distant, he was filled with a heavenly joy that he would shortly see the face of God. Long hours he sat in his chair looking at the light with an indescribably charming smile hovering on his lips.

His voice broken by sobs, Brother Jasper told his story, while the prior gently stroked the young man's hands and face.

'Oh, father, make me believe!'

'One cannot force one's faith, my dear. It comes, it goes, and no man knows the wherefore. Faith does not come from reasoning; it comes from God.... Pray for it and rest in peace.'

'I want to believe so earnestly. I am so unhappy!'

'You are not the only one who has been tried, my son. Others have doubted before you and have been saved.'

'But if I died to-night—I should die in mortal sin.'

'Believe that God counts the attempt as worthy as the achievement.'

'Oh, pray for me, father, pray for me! I cannot stand alone. Give me your strength.'

'Go in peace, my son; I will pray for you, and God will give you strength!'

Jasper went away.

Day followed day, and week followed week; the spring came, and the summer; but there was no difference in the rocky desert of San Lucido. There were no trees to bud and burst into leaf, no flowers to bloom and fade; biting winds gave way to fiery heat, the sun beat down on the plain, and the sky was cloudless, cloudless—even the nights were so hot that the monks in their cells gasped for breath. And Brother Jasper brooded over the faith that was dead; and in his self-torment his cheeks became so hollow that the bones of his face seemed about to pierce the skin, the flesh shrunk from his hands, and the fingers became long and thin, like the claws of a vulture. He used to spend long hours with the prior, while the old man talked gently, trying to bring faith to the poor monk, that his soul might rest. But one day, in the midst of the speaking, the prior stopped, and Jasper saw an expression of pain pass over his face.

'What is it?'

'Nothing, my son,' he replied, smiling.... 'We enter the world with pain, and with pain we leave it!'

'What do you mean? Are you ill? Father! father!'

The prior opened his mouth and showed a great sloughing sore; he put Jasper's fingers to his neck and made him feel the enlarged and hardened glands.

'What is it? You must see a surgeon.'

'No surgeon can help me, Brother Jasper. It is cancer, the Crab—it is the way that God has sent to call me to Himself.'

Then the prior began to suffer the agonies of the disease, terrible pains shot through his head and neck; he could not swallow. It was a slow starvation; the torment kept him awake through night after night, and only occasionally his very exhaustion gave him a little relief so that he slept. Thinner and thinner he became, and his whole mouth was turned into a putrid, horrible sore. But yet he never murmured. Brother Jasper knelt by his bed, looking at him pitifully.

'How can you suffer it all? What have you done that God should give you this? Was it not enough that you were blind?'

'Ah, I saw such beautiful things after I became blind—all heaven appeared before me.'

'It is unjust—unjust!'

'My son, all is just.'

'You drive me mad!... Do you still believe in the merciful goodness of God?'

A beautiful smile broke through the pain on the old man's face.

'I still believe in the merciful goodness of God!'

There was a silence. Brother Jasper buried his face in his hands and thought brokenheartedly of his own affliction. How happy he could be if he had that faith.... But the silence in the room was more than the silence of people who did not speak. Jasper looked up suddenly.

The prior was dead.

Then the monk bent over the body and looked at the face into the opaque white eyes; there was no difference, the flesh was warm—everything was just the same, and yet ... and yet he was dead. What did they mean by saying the soul had fled? What had happened? Jasper understood nothing of it. And afterwards, before the funeral, when he looked at the corpse again, and it was cold and a horrible blackness stained the lips, he felt sure.

Brother Jasper could not believe in the resurrection of the dead. And the soul—what did they mean by the soul?

IV

Then a great loneliness came over him; the hours of his life seemed endless, and there was no one in whom he could find comfort. The prior had given him a ray of hope, but he was gone, and now Jasper was alone in the world.... And beyond? Oh! how could one be certain? It was awful this perpetual doubt, recurring more strongly than ever. Men had believed so long. Think of all the beautiful churches that had been made in the honour of God, and the pictures. Think of the works that had been done for his love, the martyrs who had cheerfully given up their lives. It seemed impossible that it should be all for nothing. But—but Jasper could not believe. And he cried out to the soul of the prior, resting in heaven, to come to him and help him. Surely, if he really were alive again, he would not let the poor monk whom he had loved linger in this terrible uncertainty. Jasper redoubled his prayers; for hours he remained on his knees, imploring God to send him light.... But no light came, and exhausted Brother Jasper sank into despair.

The new prior was a tall, gaunt man, with a great hooked nose and heavy lips; his keen, dark eyes shone fiercely from beneath his shaggy brows. He was still young, full of passionate energy. And with large gesture and loud, metallic voice he loved to speak of hell-fire and the pains of the damned, hating the Jews and heretics with a bitter personal hatred.

'To the stake!' he used to say. 'The earth must be purged of this vermin, and it must be purged by fire.'

He exacted the most absolute obedience from the monks, and pitiless was the punishment for any infringement of his rules.... Brother Jasper feared the man with an almost unearthly terror; when he felt resting upon him the piercing black eyes, he trembled in his seat, and a cold sweat broke out over him. If the prior knew—the thought almost made him faint. And yet the fear of it seemed to drag him on; like a bird before a serpent, he was fascinated. Sometimes he felt sudden impulses to tell him—but the vengeful eyes terrified him.

One day he was in the cloister, looking out at the little green plot in the middle where the monks were buried, wondering confusedly whether all that prayer and effort had been offered up to empty images of what—of the fear of Man? Turning round, he started back and his heart beat, for the prior was standing close by, looking at him with those horrible eyes. Brother Jasper trembled so that he could scarcely stand; he looked down.

'Brother Jasper!' The prior's voice seemed sterner than it had ever been before. 'Brother Jasper!'

'Father!'

'What have you to tell me?'

Jasper looked up at him; the blood fled from his lips.

'Nothing, my father!' The prior looked at him firmly, and Jasper thought he read the inmost secrets of his heart.

'Speak, Brother Jasper!' said the prior, and his voice was loud and menacing.

Then hurriedly, stuttering in his anxiety, the monk confessed his misery.... A horror came over the prior's face as he listened, and Jasper became so terrified that he could hardly speak; but the prior seemed to recover himself, and interrupted him with a furious burst of anger.

'You look over the plain and do not see God, and for that you doubt Him? Miserable fool!'

'Oh, father, have mercy on me! I have tried so hard. I want to believe. But I cannot.'

'I cannot! I cannot! What is that? Have men believed for a thousand years—has God performed miracle after miracle—and a miserable monk dares to deny Him?'

'I cannot believe!'

'You must!' His voice was so loud that it rang through the cloisters. He seized Jasper's clasped hands, raised in supplication before him, and forced him to his knees. 'I tell you, you shall believe!'

Quivering with wrath, he looked at the prostrate form at his feet, moved by convulsive weeping. He raised his hand as if to strike the monk, but with difficulty contained himself.

Then the prior bade Brother Jasper go to the church and wait. The monks were gathered together, all astonished. They stood in their usual places, but Jasper remained in the middle, away from them, with head cast down. The prior called out to them in his loud, clear voice,—

'Pray, my brethren, pray for the soul of Brother Jasper, which lies in peril of eternal death.'

The monks looked at him suddenly, and Brother Jasper's head sank lower, so that no one could see his face. The prior sank to his knees and prayed with savage fervour. Afterwards the monks went their ways; but when Jasper passed them they looked down, and when by chance he addressed a novice, the youth hurried from him without answering. They looked upon him as accursed. The prior spoke no more, but often Jasper felt his stern gaze resting on him, and a shiver would pass through him. In the services Jasper stood apart from the rest, like an unclean thing; he did not join in their prayers, listening confusedly to their monotonous droning; and when a pause came and he felt all eyes turn to him, he put his hands to his face to hide himself.

'Pray, my brethren, pray for the soul of Brother Jasper, which lies in peril of eternal death.'

V

In his cell the monk would for days sit apathetically looking at the stone wall in front of him, sore of heart; the hours would pass by unnoticed, and only the ringing of the chapel bell awoke him from his stupor. And sometimes he would be seized with sudden passion and, throwing himself on his knees, pour forth a stream of eager, vehement prayer. He remembered the penances which the seraphic father imposed on his flesh—but he always had faith; and Jasper would scourge himself till he felt sick and faint, and, hoping to gain his soul by mortification of the body, refuse the bread and water which was thrust into his cell, and for a long while eat nothing. He became so weak and ill that he could hardly stand; and still no help came.

Then he took it into his head that God would pity him and send a miracle to drive away his uncertainty. Was he not anxious to believe, if only he could?—so anxious! God would not send a miracle to a poor monk.... Yet miracles had been performed for smaller folk than he—for shepherds and tenders of swine. But Christ himself had said that miracles only came by faith, but—Jasper remembered that often the profligate and the harlot had been brought to repentance by a vision. Even the Holy Francis had been but a loose gallant till Christ appeared to him. Yet, if Christ had appeared, it showed—ah! but how could one be sure? it might only have been a dream. Let a vision appear to him and he would believe. Oh, how enchanted he would be to believe, to rest in peace, to know that before him, however hard the life, were eternal joy and the kingdom of heaven.

But Brother Jasper put his hands to his head cruelly aching. He could not understand, he could not know—the doubt weighed on his brain like a sheet of lead; he felt inclined to tear his skull apart to relieve the insupportable pressure. How endless life was! Why could it not finish quickly and let him know? But supposing there really was a God, He would exact terrible vengeance. What punishment would He inflict on the monk who had denied Him—who had betrayed Him like a second Judas? Then a fantastic idea came into his crazy brain. Was it Satan that put all these doubts into his head? If it were, Satan must exist; and if he did, God existed too. He knew that the devil stood ready to appear to all who called. If Christ would not appear, let Satan show himself. It meant hell-fire; but if God were, the monk felt he was damned already—for the truth he would give his soul!

The idea sent a coldness through him, so that he shivered; but it possessed him, and he exulted, thinking that he would know at last. He rose from his bed—it was the dead of night and all the monks were sleeping—and, trembling with cold, began to draw with chalk strange figures on the floor. He had seen them long ago in an old book of magic, and their fantastic shapes, fascinating him, had remained in his memory.

In the centre of the strange confusion of triangles he stood and uttered in a husky voice the invocation. He murmured uncouth words in an unknown language, and bade Satan stand forth.... He expected a thunderclap, the flashing of lightning, sulphurous fumes—but the night remained silent and quiet; not a sound broke the stillness of the monastery; the snow outside fell steadily.

VI

Next day the prior sent for him and repeated his solemn question.

'Brother Jasper, what have you to say to me?'

And absolutely despairing, Jasper answered,—

'Nothing, nothing, nothing!'

Then the prior strode up to him in wrath and smote him on the cheek.

'It is a devil within you—a devil of obstinacy and pride. You shall believe!'

He cried to monks to lay hold of him; they dragged him roughly to the cloisters, and stripping him of his cowl tied it round his waist, and bound him by the hands to a pillar.... And the prior ordered them to give Jasper eight-and-thirty strokes with the scourge—one less than Christ—that the devil might be driven out. The scourge was heavy and knotted, and the porter bared his arms that he might strike the better; the monks stood round in eager expectation. The scourge whizzed through the air and came down with a thud on Jasper's bare shoulders; a tremor passed through him, but he did not speak. Again it came down, and as the porter raised it for the third time the monks saw great bleeding weals on Brother Jasper's back. Then, as the scourge fell heavily, a terrible groan burst from him. The porter swung his arm, and this time a shriek broke from the wretched monk; the blows came pitilessly and Jasper lost all courage. He shrieked with agony, imploring them to stop.

But ferociously the prior cried,—

'Did Christ bear in silence forty stripes save one, and do you cry out like a woman before you have had ten!'

The porter went on, and the prior's words were interrupted by piercing shrieks.

'It is the devil crying out within him,' said the monks, gloating on the bleeding back and the face of agony.

Heavy drops of sweat ran off the porter's face and his arm began to tire; but he seized the handle with both hands and swung the knotted ropes with all his strength.

Jasper fainted.

'See!' said the prior. 'See the fate of him who has not faith in God!'

The cords with which he was tied prevented the monk from falling, and stroke after stroke fell on his back till the number was completed. Then they loosed him from the column, and he sank senseless and bleeding to the ground. They left him. Brother Jasper regained slowly his senses, lying out in the cold cloister with the snow on the graves in the middle; his hands and feet were stiff and blue. He shivered and drew himself together for warmth, then a groan burst from him, feeling the wounds of his back. Painfully he lifted himself up and crawled to the chapel door; he pushed it open, and, staggering forward, fell on his face, looking towards the altar. He remained there long, dazed and weary, pulling his cowl close round him to keep out the bitter cold. The pain of his body almost relieved the pain of his mind; he wished dumbly that he could lie there and die, and be finished with it all. He did not know the time; he wondered whether any service would soon bring the monks to disturb him. He took sad pleasure in the solitude, and in the great church the solitude seemed more intense. Oh, and he hated the monks! it was cruel, cruel, cruel! He put his hands to his face and sobbed bitterly.

But suddenly a warmth fell on him; he looked up, and the glow seemed to come from the crucified Christ in the great painted window by the altar. The monk started up with a cry and looked eagerly; the bell began to ring. The green colour of death was becoming richer, the glass gained the fulness of real flesh; now it was a soft round whiteness. And Brother Jasper cried out in ecstasy,—

'It is Christ!'

Then the glow deepened, and from the Crucified One was shed a wonderful light like the rising of the sun behind the mountains, and the church was filled with its rich effulgence.

'Oh, God, it is moving!'

The Christ seemed to look at Brother Jasper and bow His head.

Two by two the monks walked silently in, and Brother Jasper lifted up his arms, crying:

'Behold a miracle! Christ has appeared to me!'

A murmur of astonishment broke from them, and they looked at Jasper gazing in ecstasy at the painted window.

'Christ has appeared to me.... I am saved!'

Then the prior came up to him and took him in his arms and kissed him.

'My son, praise be to God! you are whole again.'

But Jasper pushed him aside, so that he might not be robbed of the sight which filled him with rapture; the monks crowded round, questioning, but he took no notice of them. He stood with outstretched arms, looking eagerly, his face lighted up with joy. The monks began to kiss his cowl and his feet, and they touched his hands.

'I am saved! I am saved!'

And the prior cried to them,—

'Praise God, my brethren, praise God! for we have saved the soul of Brother Jasper from eternal death.'

But when the service was over and the monks had filed out, Brother Jasper came to himself—and he saw that the light had gone from the window; the Christ was cold and dead, a thing of the handicraft of man. What was it that had happened? Had a miracle occurred? The question flashing through his mind made him cry out. He had prayed for a miracle, and a miracle had been shown him—the poor monk of San Lucido....And now he doubted the miracle. Oh, God must have ordained the damnation of his soul to give him so little strength—perhaps He had sent the miracle that he might have no answer at the Day of Judgment.

'Faith thou hadst not—I showed Myself to thee in flesh and blood, I moved My head; thou didst not believe thine own eyes.' ...

VII

Next day, at vespers, Jasper anxiously fixed his gaze on the stained-glass window—again a glow came from it, and as he moved the head seemed to incline itself; but now Jasper saw it was only the sun shining through the window—only the sun! Then the heaviness descended into the deepest parts of Jasper's soul, and he despaired.

The night came and Jasper returned to his cell.... He leant against the door, looking out through the little window, but he could only see the darkness. And he likened it to the darkness in his own soul.

'What shall I do?' he groaned.

He could not tell the monks that it was not a miracle he had seen; he could not tell them that he had lost faith again.... And then his thoughts wandering to the future,—

'Must I remain all my life in this cold monastery? If there is no God, if I have but one life, what is the good of it? Why cannot I enjoy my short existence as other men? Am not I young—am not I of the same flesh and blood as they?'

Vague recollections came to him of those new lands beyond the ocean, those lands of sunshine and sweet odours. His mind became filled with a vision of broad rivers, running slow and cool, overshadowed by strange, luxuriant trees. And all was a wealth of beautiful colour.

'Oh, I cannot stay!' he cried; 'I cannot stay!'

And it was a land of loving-kindness, a land of soft-eyed, gentle women.

'I cannot stay! I cannot stay!'

The desire to go forth was overwhelming, the walls of his cell seemed drawing together to crush him; he must be free. Oh, for life! life! He started up, not seeing the madness of his adventure; he did not think of the snow-covered desert, the night, the distance from a town. He saw before him the glorious sunshine of a new life, and he went towards it like a blind man, with outstretched arms.

Everyone was asleep in the monastery. He crept out of his cell and silently opened the door of the porter's lodge; the porter was sleeping heavily. Jasper took the keys and unlocked the gate. He was free. He took no notice of the keen wind blowing across the desert; he hurried down the hill, slipping on the frozen snow.... Suddenly he stopped; he had caught sight of the great crucifix which stood by the wayside at the bottom of the hill. Then the madness of it all occurred to him. Wherever he went he would find the crucifix, even beyond the sea, and nowhere would he be able to forget his God. Always the recollection, always the doubt, and he would never have rest till he was in the grave. He went close to it and looked up; it was one of those strange Spanish crucifixes—a wooden image with long, thin arms and legs and protruding ribs, with real hair hanging over the shoulders, and a true crown of thorns placed on the head; the ends of the tattered cloth fastened about the loins fluttered in the wind. In the night the lifelikeness was almost ghastly; it might have been a real man that hung there, with great nails through his feet. The common people paid superstitious reverence to it, and Jasper had often heard the peasants tell of the consolations they had received.

Why should not he too receive consolation? Was his soul not as worth saving as theirs? A last spark of hope filled him, and he lifted himself up on tip-toe to touch the feet.

'Oh, Christ, come down to me! tell me whether Thou art indeed a God. Oh, Christ, help me!'

But the words lost themselves in the wind and night.... Then a great rage seized him that he alone should receive no comfort. He clenched his fists and beat passionately against the cross.

'Oh, you are a cruel God! I hate you, I hate you!'

If he could have reached it he would have torn the image down, and beat it as he had been beaten. In his impotent rage he shrieked out curses upon it—he blasphemed.

But his strength spent itself and he sank to the foot of the cross, bursting into tears. In his self-pity he thought his heart was broken. Lifting himself to his knees, he clasped the wood with his hands and looked up for the last time at the dead face of Christ.

It was the end.... A strange peace came over him as the anguish of his mind fell away before the cold. His hands and his feet were senseless, he felt his heart turning to ice—and he felt nothing.

In a little while the snow began to fall, lightly covering his shoulders. Brother Jasper knew the secret of death at last.

VIII

The day broke slowly, dim and grey. There was a hurried knocking at the porter's door, a peasant with white and startled face said that a brother was kneeling at the great cross in the snow, and would not speak.

The monks sallied forth anxiously, and came to the silent figure, clasping the cross in supplication.

'Brother Jasper!'

The prior touched his hands; they were as cold as ice.

'He is dead!'

The villagers crowded round in astonishment, whispering to one another. The monks tried to move him, but his hands, frozen to the cross, prevented them.

'He died in prayer—he was a saint!'

But a woman with a paralysed arm came near him, and in her curiosity touched his ragged cowl.... Suddenly she felt a warmth pass through her, and the dead arm began to tingle. She cried out in astonishment, and as the people turned to look she moved the fingers.

'He has restored my arm,' she said. 'Look!'

'A miracle!' they cried out. 'A miracle! He is a saint!'

The news spread like fire; and soon they brought a youth lying on a bed, wasted by a mysterious illness, so thin that the bones protruding had formed angry sores on the skin. They touched him with the hem of the monk's garment, and immediately he roused himself.

'I am whole; give me to eat!'

A murmur of wonder passed through the crowd. The monks sank to their knees and prayed.

       * * * * *

At last they lifted up the dead monk and bore him to the church. But people all round the country crowded to see him; the sick and the paralysed came from afar, and often went away sound as when they were born.

They buried him at last, but still to his tomb they came from all sides, rich and poor; and the wretched monk, who had not faith to cure the disease of his own mind, cured the diseases of those who had faith in him.