LITTLE FLOWERS OF SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, chapter 16
HOW ST FRANCIS, HAVING BEEN TOLD BY ST CLARE AND THE HOLY BROTHER SILVESTER THAT HE SHOULD PREACH AND CONVERT MANY TO THE FAITH, FOUNDED THE THIRD ORDER, PREACHED TO THE BIRDS, AND REDUCED TO SILENCE THE SWALLOWS
This Chapter is probably the best known outside the Roman and Fransiscan traditions, and has been treated reverently wherever it has come under discussion in other Christian traditions, as far as I can ascertain - implying no serious research.
This is the kind of story I read without effort at reasoning out its deeper meanings, assuming I'm learning things I'm not aware I'm learning.
Can I tell a story from Zen without breaking the spell here? there's a similar character to St. Francis in Zen stories. I don't remember the details, I probably haven't read any of that stuff in twenty or thirty years. Anyhow, one of his fellow monks asks why the birds don't come to him - the fellow monk. The reply was, "because you have a murderous nature." There's an intersting thought. I know people who think if their dog bites someone it's because their dog is a good judge of character, and I remember in the Tolkien stories how Farmer Maggot's dogs reacted to the Black Rider. Back to Brother Francis, could it be that the birds are good judges of character and that's why they came to him but don't come to us?
I don't think it's because we have a murderous nature that the birds don't come to us, but birds and animals are good judges of character, so there's food for thought in a story about them relating to Brother Francis so differently from us.