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St. Francis Preaches to the Birds

On another time, when he was walking 
with a certain Brother through the Venetian 
marshes, he chanced on a great host of birds that 
were sitting and singing among the bushes. See- 
ing them, he said unto his companion: "Our 
sisters the birds are praising their Creator, let us 
too go among them and sing unto the Lord 
praises and the canonical Hours." When they 
had gone into their midst, the birds stirred not 
from the spot, and when, by reason of their 
twittering, they could not hear each the other 
in reciting the Hours, the holy man turned unto 
the birds, saying : "My sisters the birds, cease 
from singing, while that we render our due praises 
unto the Lord." Then the birds forthwith held 
their peace, and remained silent until, having said 
his Hours at leisure and rendered his praises, the 
holy man of God again gave them leave to sing. 
And, as the man of God gave them leave, they at 
once took up their song again after their wonted 

-- The life of Saint Francis by Saint Bonaventura c. 1270 page 89

Giotto di Bondone, St. Francis Preaching to the Birds, 1297 – 1299.