Faith by William Somerset Maugham
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 cowla 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
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
'What shall I do? What shall I do?'
For Brother Jasper did not believe.
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
joythe 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
'Why should there be a God?'
He started up with a cry of terror, with his hands clasped to his
'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
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.
And for two days he had endured the torments of hell-fire, battling
against himselfin 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 monasteryall 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-nightI 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
'Go in peace, my son; I will pray for you, and God will give you
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, cloudlesseven 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
'What is it? You must see a surgeon.'
'No surgeon can help me, Brother Jasper. It is cancer, the Crabit
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 blindall heaven
appeared before me.'
'It is unjustunjust!'
'My son, all is just.'
'You drive me mad!... Do you still believe in the merciful goodness
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
warmeverything 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 soulwhat did they mean by the soul?
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.
Butbut 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
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
'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 knewthe 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 himbut 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
whatof 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!'
'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
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
'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
yearshas God performed miracle after miracleand 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
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.'
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 fleshbut 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 hefor
shepherds and tenders of swine. But Christ himself had said that
miracles only came by faith, butJasper 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 showedah! 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 knowthe 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 Himwho 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 alreadyfor 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 bedit was the dead of night and all the monks were
sleepingand, 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
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 fumesbut the night
remained silent and quiet; not a sound broke the stillness of the
monastery; the snow outside fell steadily.
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 youa devil of obstinacy and pride. You shall
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 scourgeone less than
Christthat 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
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
'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.
'See!' said the prior. 'See the fate of him who has not faith in
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
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
'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 himselfand 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 himthe 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 strengthperhaps He
had sent the miracle that he might have no answer at the Day of
'Faith thou hadst notI showed Myself to thee in flesh and blood, I
moved My head; thou didst not believe thine own eyes.' ...
Next day, at vespers, Jasper anxiously fixed his gaze on the
stained-glass windowagain 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 windowonly 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 youngam 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
'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 crucifixesa 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 ithe 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 iceand 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.
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
The monks sallied forth anxiously, and came to the silent figure,
clasping the cross in supplication.
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 prayerhe 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
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