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Gubbio (Umbria), Italy

Saint Francis and the Wolf

Legend has it that with his ability to soothe and speak to animals, St. Francis of Assisi saved an entire village. When the small village of Gubbio was being terrorized by a blood thirsty wolf, it was the Franciscan friar who came to their aid.

This wolf had been killing the animals of the village and mauling and killing the villagers themselves. Something had to be done! When the townspeople decided to search and kill this savage beast, he stepped in.

He told the villagers that he would speak to this animal and headed up into the forest to find it. With his team of men, who feared for their lives, he head up into the forest. The further they went into the dark forest, the fewer men accompanied him. They fled in fear of seeing this blood thirsty animal.

When he reached the wolf's territory he called out to it. Standing without fear, only love, it is said the animal came and laid at the saint's feet.

The wolf knew it had done wrong, killing the farm animals and injuring the townspeople, but it was scared and hungry. With love for this animal he took it to the village. When the villagers saw this wolf they cowered in fear and ran to hide. It was only when the Saint of Assisi called them back, telling them they were safe did they return.

He explained to them the wolf was hungry and had only taken the animals to feed itself.

It was then decided that to protect their village and their domesticated animals, they merely needed to keep the wolf fed.

It was through looking at the problem from both sides and finding the cause of the problem that an agreeable solution was found.