36.000 x 24.000 inches
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St. Francis Taming The Wolf
Painting - Oil On Canvas
While Francis was staying in the town of Gubbio, he learned of a wolf so ravenous that it was not only killing and eating animals, but people, too. The people took up arms and went after it, but those who encountered the wolf perished at its sharp teeth. Villagers became afraid to leave the city walls.
Francis had pity on the people and decided to go out and meet the wolf. He was desperately warned by the people, but he insisted that God would take care of him. A brave friar and several peasants accompanied Francis outside the city gate. But soon the peasants lost heart and said they would go no farther.
Francis and his companion began to walk on. Suddenly the wolf, jaws agape, charged out of the woods at the couple. Francis made the Sign of the Cross toward it. Then Francis called out to the creature: �Come to me, Brother Wolf. In the name of Christ, I order you not to hurt anyone.� At that moment the wolf lowered its head and lay down at St. Francis� feet, meek as a lamb.
St. Francis spoke compassionately to the wolf. �Brother Wolf,� said Francis, �I want to make peace between you and the people of Gubbio. They will harm you no more and you must no longer harm them. All past crimes are to be forgiven.� The wolf showed its assent by moving its body and nodding its head.
St. Francis returned to Gubbio with the wolf. Then to the absolute surprise of the gathering crowd, Francis asked the wolf to make a pledge. As St. Francis extended his hand to receive the pledge, the wolf extended its front paw and placed it into the saint�s hand. St. Francis offered the townspeople peace, on behalf of the wolf. The townspeople promised in a loud voice to feed the wolf. Then Francis asked the wolf if he would live in peace under those terms. He bowed his head and twisted his body in a way that convinced everyone he accepted the pact. Then once again the wolf placed its paw in Francis� hand as a sign of the pact.
From that day on the people kept their pact. The wolf lived for two years among the townspeople, going from door to door for food. The wolf hurt no one and no one hurt it. Even the dogs did not bark at it. When the wolf finally died of old age, the people of Gubbio were sad.
November 9th, 2012
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