The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. by W. Heywood, , at sacred-texts.com
How Friar Juniper once cooked for the friars food enough for fifteen days
ONCE when Friar Juniper was in a very little Place of friars, for a certain good reason all the friars had to go forth, and only Friar Juniper remained in the house. The Guardian said: "Friar Juniper, we are all going out, and therefore look thou to it that when we return thou hast cooked a little food for the refreshment of the friars". Friar Juniper made answer: "Very gladly will I do so; leave it to me". And, when all the friars were gone forth, as hath been told, Friar Juniper said: "What unnecessary labour is this that a friar should be lost in the kitchen and kept away from all prayer? In sooth, now that I am left behind to cook, I will prepare so much that all the friars, even if there were more of them than there are, shall have enough for fifteen days." So he went to the town in haste and begged divers great cooking-pots and got fresh meat and salt, and fowls, and eggs,
and herbs; and he begged firewood enough, and put everything on the fire, to wit the fowls with their feathers on, the eggs in their shells, and all the other things in like fashion. When the friars returned to the Place, one who well knew the simplicity of Friar Juniper went into the kitchen and saw all those great pots standing on a roaring fire; and he sat him down and looked on with amazement and said nothing, watching with what diligence Friar Juniper did this cooking. Because the fire was exceeding great, and he could not very easily approach his pots to skim them, he took a plank and tied it tightly to his body with his cord, and thereafter kept jumping from one pot to another, so that it was a joy to see him. And, when he had observed all this, to his very great amusement, that friar went out of the kitchen and, having found the other friars, said: "I can tell you that Friar Juniper is preparing a wedding feast". The friars took that saying as a jest. Then Friar Juniper lifted those pots from off the fire, and caused the bell to be rung for dinner, and the friars came to the table; and he gat him to the refectory with the food which he had cooked, all ruddy with his exertions and with the heat of the fire, and said to the friars: "Eat well; and afterward let us all go to prayer. And let no one think any more of cooking for a while, for I have made so great a banquet to-day that I shall have enough for much more than two weeks"; and he sec this poultice of his upon the table before the friars; and there is no pig in all the city of Rome so famished that he would have eaten it. Friar Juniper belauded the viands he had cooked like a shopman puffing his wares, for he saw already that the other friars were not eating, and he said: "Now these fowls are excellent to invigorate the brain; and this broth will
keep you the body moist, so good is it". And while the friars were yet marvelling at the devotion and simplicity of Friar Juniper; the Guardian, full of wrath at such folly and at the loss of so much good food, rebuked Friar Juniper with great severity. Thereupon Friar Juniper forthwith flung himself upon the ground and kneeled before the Guardian and humbly confessed his fault to him and all the friars saying: "I am the worst of men; such an one committed such a sin, for the which his eyes were torn out, but I was much more guilty than he; such an one was hanged for his crimes, but much more do I deserve it for my wicked deeds; and now I have wasted the good things of God and of the Order"; and thus bitterly lamenting he went forth, and all that day never showed himself where any friar was. And then the Guardian said: "Most dear friars of mine, I would that every day, even as now, this friar wasted an equal quantity of good things, if we had them, if only he might be edified thereby; for out of great simplicity and charity hath he done this".