The New Zealand Guild of Storytellers

Story of the Month
Posted: February 14th, 2014 by Antoinette Everts | Leave a comment


The Lion and the Mouse

One of Aesop’s Fables (retold by Antoinette Everts at NZIOS)

One day the Lion, the King of the Jungle, was sitting on top of his rock in the sun, looking down at his jungle kingdom.

Everything was quiet. All the animals feared him, and stayed far away from the lion. He’d finished his dinner, he was bored and lonely and tired. It was time for a nap. He laid his great head on his giant paws, and soon his snores filled the jungle.

A little mouse wandered past. He saw the great lion fast asleep on his rock.

“Well,” said the mouse, “This is my chance to get up close to the fearsome beast!” and he climbed up close to the lion. The lion slept on.

“I think I’ll have some fun,” said the mouse, and climbed onto the lion’s back. He played with the tawny lion’s mane. He studied the ears, and gently pulled a whisker. Still the lion slept on. The mouse decided to use the lion’s head as a slide – right down to his paws. But at that moment the lion woke up and – put his giant paw, claws out, over the mouse.

“How dare you play games with me, little mouse. Don’t you know that I am the King of the Jungle!” and he roared.

The mouse shook with fright. “Please don’t eat me!’

“You are such a little mouthful, you’re hardly worth my opening my mouth,” said the lion, not hungry at all after his big meal. “Still, you’ll do as a snack.”

“Please! Please don’t eat me. If you spare my life, one day I’ll save your life in return,” said the mouse.

When he heard that, the lion roared with laughter. “What, you little squirt, how can you ever help great mighty me? But just for fun, I’ll let you go.” The lion lifted his mighty paw. The mouse thanked the lion, repeated his promise of help, and scuttled away into the jungle.

The next day, hunters came to the jungle. They spread a rope net right by the lion’s den, and when the lion came home, he was trapped in the net and couldn’t move.

Again his roars filled the jungle, this time full of despair and fear. “Please come and help me, someone, anyone!”

Most animals stayed far away from the dangerous beast. But the little mouse came close, and studied the situation.

“The hunters have used just one rope to make this net. Stay still please,” said the mouse. “I will set you free.” And the mouse began to gnaw with his sharp little teeth on the rope around the lion. He nibbled and chewed and gnawed , until finally he bit through the rope. The lion rose to his feet and shrugged the rest of the rope off him.

“You have indeed saved my life,” said the lion, and bowed before the little mouse. “Please be my friend and accept my gratitude.” And the lion and the mouse became great friends.