When he was beyond the seas, before he had quite mastered the French language some Knights Templars from France asked him to give them a sermon, and this is the simple way in which he got over the difficulty. Wishing them to understand from the very outset that he knew but little French, and trusting, by means of an occasional word in that tongue, they might gather the meaning of along sentence. in German, he stood with his back to a wall of about his own height, and began–”Brethren, supposing an ass were standing on the other side of this wall, and were simply to raise his head high enough for you to see one of his big ears, we should all conclude rightly that a whole ass was there, for so we would take in the whole by means of a part. And so, too, it often comes to pass that a whole phrase is gathered from one short word slipped into the middle of a long German sentence.”
When on his way home to his convent with a fresh batch of novices, as they were all saying compline together, one of them fell to laughing, and the rest catching on joined in right heartily. Upon this one of the blessed Master’s companions made a sign for them to be quiet, which only set them off laughing more than ever. When the blessing had been given at the end of compline, the Master turning to this friar rebuked him sharply: ‘Brother, who made you their master? What right have you to take them to task?’ Then addressing the novices very gently, he said, ‘Laugh to your hearts’ content, my dearest children, and don’t stop on that man’s account. You have my full leave, and it is only right that you should laugh after breaking from the devil’s thraldom, and bursting the shackles in which he held you fast these many years past. Laugh on, then, and be as merry as you please, my darling sons.’ They were all much relieved on hearing him say so, and never again indulged in a hearty laugh without a good reason.