Pepino is a 10-year-old orphan in the Italian town of Assisi. His only family and "legacy" is a donkey named Violetta with a Mona Lisa smile. They make a living together by transporting goods for people. But one day Violetta falls very ill, and ceases to smile. Pepino is desperate, and wishes to take Violetta to the crypt of St. Francis, who loved all living things, in the lower church of the Basilica, and pray to him. But Fra Bernard, the lay Supervisor, and even the Bishop do not look kindly upon the idea of bringing livestock into the church. How far up the hierarchy can Pepino go to save his dearest friend? This is one of Gallico's sweetest, most delicate little tales.
This report prepared by David Loftus