THE MOUSE AND THE LION
Once upon a time . . . a little mouse, scampering over a lion he had
chanced upon, happened to wake him up. The angry lion grabbed the mouse and
held it to his jaws. "Don't eat me, Your Majesty!" the mouse pleaded: "Forgive
me! If you let me go, I'll never bother you again. I'll always be grateful,
and will do you a good turn one day."
The lion, who had no intention of eating such a little scrap, and only
wanted to frighten the mouse, chuckled: "Well, well. A mouse that hopes to do
a lion a good turn! By helping me to hunt, maybe? Or would you rather roar in
my place?" The mouse was at a loss for words. "Sire, I really . . ."
"All right. You can go," said the lion, shortly, opening his paw. The mouse
scurried thankfully away.
Some days later, the lion fell into a trap and found he was caught fast in
a stout net. Try as he might, he could not a escape. And the more he
struggled, the more he became entangled in the mesh, till even his paws were
held fast. He could not move an inch: it was the end. His strength, claws and
fearsome fangs gave him no help in freeing himself from the tangle. He was
about to resign himself to a cruel fate when he heard a small voice: "Do you
need help, Sire?"
Exhausted by his struggles, his eyes wet with rage, the lion looked round.
"Oh, it's you! I'm afraid there's little you can do for me . . ."
But the mouse broke in: "I can gnaw the ropes. I have strong teeth and,
though it will take me some time, I'll manage." So the little mouse quickly
gnawed at the meshes and soon the lion tugged a paw free, then another, till
he finally succeeded in working himself free of the net.
"You see, Sire, said tne mouse, "I've cone you a good turn in exchange for
the favour you did me in letting me go unharmed."
"How right you are. Never before has a big animal like myself had to be so
grateful to a little scrap like you!"