In Assisi, Italy, in the Thirteenth Century, Francis has gathered some followers in a primitive monastery. A boy appears at the gate and asks to speak with Francis, who has gone into the woods. Though poorly dressed, the boy is an angel sent to test the charity of the men and to expose the one who is a fraud. One monk, Masseo, is too foolish to recognize who the boy really is, and reacts to him with comic resentment. The Vicar, Elias, is too angry to treat the boy charitably, sending him away. Elias then lies to Francis about what happened to the boy, but Francis understands what has really happened and also discovers that Elias has been hoarding food for himself and mistreating others. Furious, Elias leaves the monastery. Francis and Masseo then go to meet the townspeople who are preparing food for a feast, regaling each other enroute with jolly banter.