“What are we to think of that other narrative, to disbelieve in which, is “to risk one’s salvation”, as we were informed by a Pope’s missionary of the Order of the Franciscans? When St. Francis preached a sermon in the wilderness, the birds assembled from the four cardinal points of the world. They warbled and applauded every sentence; they sang a holy mass in chorus; finally, they dispersed to carry the glad tidings all over the universe.
A grasshopper, profiting by the absence of the Holy Virgin, who generally kept company with the saint, remained perched on the head of the “blessed one” for a whole week. Attacked by a ferocious wolf, the saint, who had no other weapon but the sign of the cross which he made upon himself, instead of running away from his rabid assailant, began arguing with the beast. Having imparted to him the benefit to be derived from the holy religion, St. Francis never ceased talking until the wolf became as meek as a lamb, and even shed tears of repentance over his past sins. Finally, he “stretched his paws in the hands of the saint, followed him like a dog through all the towns in which he preached, and became half a Christian!” Wonders of zoology! A horse turned sorcerer, a wolf and a dragon, turned Christians!
These two anecdotes, chosen at random from among hundreds, if rivaled are not surpassed by the wildest romances of the Pagan thaumaturgists, magicians, and spiritualists! And yet, when Pythagoras is said to have subdued animals, even wild beasts merely through a powerful mesmeric influence, he is pronounced by one-half of the Catholics a bare-faced impostor, and by the rest a sorcerer, who worked magic in confederacy with the Devil.
Neither the she-bear, nor the eagle, nor yet the bull that Pythagoras is said to have persuaded to give up eating beans, were alleged to have answered with human voices; while St. Benedict’s “black raven”, whom he called “brother”, argues with him, and croaks his answers like a born casuist. When the saint offers him one-half of a poisoned loaf, the raven grows indignant and reproaches him in Latin, as though he had just graduated at the Propaganda!”
H. P. Blavatsky