Four men were climbing a mountain in Italy. All four of them were monks: St Francis was leading three brothers of his order. The mountain side was covered with trees, and at the top there was an open flat space where St. Francis wished to pray, in the hope of having a new vision of things divine. The saint was well known and revered by rich lords and poor villagers alike.
The day was hot and the path steep. Francis was too tired to walk. So one of the monk went to a peasant and asked him to lend his ass for Francis to ride. The peasant willingly agreed; the saint mounted the ass and the monks walked by his side while the peasant followed behind. ” Tell me,” said the peasant, ” are you Brother Francis? ” ” Yes ” he replied. ” Then, ” said the peasant,” try to be as good as people think you are, so that men may keep their faith in you.”
When he heard this, St. Francis was not at all displeased, for he would take advice from anyone, whether prince or poor peasant. He got down from the ass, bowed down before the countryman and thanked him for his good advice.