According to one of the early accounts of the saint’s life, toward the end of Anthony’s life Jesus appeared to him in the form of a child, allowed Anthony to embrace him and touched Anthony on the forehead. A certain Count Tiso witnessed this event but was sworn to secrecy during the rest of Anthony’s life. The count told the story after Anthony died.
In fact, Anthony is sometimes pictured holding not the Child Jesus but a book, representing the Gospels which Anthony so zealously preached. The Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua has two such paintings; a museum in that city has a painting of Anthony with a book in one hand and a lily (symbol of purity) in the other.