64 THE TRAVELS OF
my own free will cast myself in." But they, heeding not what he said, straightway threw him into it. And when
they had done so, and he was there abiding in the fire, it blazed so high and ,far abroad that no one was able to see him, but they heard his voice continually invoking the name of the Blessed Virgin. And when the fire was quite spent, there was Friar James standing on the embers, joyous and exultant, with his hands raised to heaven making the sign of the cross, and with sound mind and pure heart praising the Lord without ceasing. And though the fire had been so great the slightest hurt or burn could not be found upon him. And when the people saw this they began to call out with one consent, " They are saints ! They are saints ! 'Tis sin to do them hurt. And we see that in truth their religion is good and holy." And when they had said thus, Friar James was called forth from the fire, and came out sound and unhurt. And when the Cadi saw this, he too began to cry out saying : " He is no saint ! he is no saint ! But the reason why he is not burnt is that he path on his back a garment from the land of Abraham.l Wherefore let him be stript naked and so cast into the fire !"
And that this might be done effectually then came some villains of Saracens, and kindled a fire twice as great as before. And then they stript Friar James, and washed him, and anointed him copiously with oil, and that the fire might blaze more fiercely and burn up the friar the faster, they poured great quantities of oil upon the pile of wood, and then flung Friar James with a forcible fling into the middle of it. And the Friars Thomas and Demetrius abode without upon their knees, engaged fervently and instantly
1 The tradition respecting Abraham's being cast into a fire by Nimrod for his contempt of idol worship is well known, and may be read at length in Weil's Biblical Legends, both in its Jewish and Mussulman shapes. The legend forms the subject of one of the great frescoes in the Campo Santo at Pisa.