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12. Changed into good after his visit to the lepers, he would take a companion, whom he loved very much, to secluded places, telling him that he had found a great and precious treasure. The man was not a little overjoyed, and gladly went with him whenever he was summoned. Francis often led him to a cave near Assisi, and, while he went alone inside, he left his companion outside, eager for the treasure. Inspired by a new and extraordinary spirit, he would pray to his Father in secret, wanting no one to know what was happening within except God alone, whom he consulted about acquiring heavenly treasure.

The enemy of the human race, observing him, strove to lure him from the good he had begun by striking fear and dread in him. There was in Assisi a deformed, hunchbacked woman, whom the devil, appearing to the man of God, recalled to him. He threatened to inflict him with her deformity unless he reneged on the plan he had conceived. But the very braveknight of Christ, shunning the devil's threats, prayed all the more fervently within the cave that God would direct his path.

He endured great suffering and mental anxiety, unable to rest until he accomplished in action what he had conceived in mind. Different thoughts followed one after the other, and their relentlessness disturbed him even more severely. For he was burning inwardly with a divine fire, unable to conceal outwardly the flame kindled in his soul. He repented that he had sinned so grievously. While his past and present transgressions no longer delighted him, he was not yet fully confident of refraining from future ones. This is why, when he emerged from the cave, he seemed to his companion to have changed into a different man.

FF 1409