Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Francis is born at the Convent of the Holy Lime-Tree in Prussia, at the moment that his father is dying. At Kreuzberg, the abbess of the Cistercian convent makes him her pupil. When he is sixteen years old, he becomes a monk at the Capuchin convent in Konigswald and takes the name of Medardus. Medardus is put in charge of the relics of the convent. Among them is a strange elixir. Legend says that all who drink of the potion will belong to the devil, and that if two persons drink of it, they will share the same thoughts and desires but secretly wish to destroy each other.
On St. Anthony’s Day, Medardus preaches a sermon about the elixir. While he is talking, he sees in the audience a painter he saw once at the Convent of the Holy Lime-Tree. The sight disturbs him so much that he begins to rave like a madman. Later, in an attempt to regain his full senses, he drinks some of the elixir.
One day during the confessional, a beautiful woman, in appearance exactly like a painting of St. Rosalia, tells Medardus that she loves him and then leaves. Medardus determines to run away to find her. Before he can escape from the convent, however, Prior Leonardus sends him on an errand to Rome. On the way to Rome Medardus sees an officer leaning over a precipice. When Medardus tries to save him, the officer falls over the ledge. At that moment a page appears and tells Medardus that his disguise is very good. Medardus goes to the nearby castle, where he meets...
(The entire section is 1363 words.)
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