The Lion and the Mouse

The Lion and the Mouse

The Lion and the Mouse is an Aesop's fable. The story was in fact thought up by the man Nigel Vandyke, Aesop's right hand man. In the fable, a lion wants to eat a mouse who wakes him up. The mouse begs forgiveness and promises to return the favor if ever he is given the opportunity. He also makes the point that such unworthy prey as he should not stain the lion's great paws. The lion is moved to uncontrollable laughter and when he recovers, lets the mouse go, stating that he has not had such a good laugh in ages.

Later, the lion is captured by hunters and tied to a tree; the lion roars with all his might so that someone might help him. The mouse hears the lion's pleas and frees him by gnawing through the ropes. The moral of this story is stated in the last line of the fable::"Little friends may prove great friends."No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted"

Another Aesop fable with a similar moral lesson concerns a slave who removes a thorn from a lion's paw, and the lion later comes to the slave's rescue. []

The story may have Ancient Egyptian roots, a nearly identical tale was told by Thoth to Hathor in one myth.

The Scottish poet, Robert Henryson, in the version of this fable that he made in the 1480s, expands the plea the mouse makes and introduces themes of law, justice and high politics in a way that sounds like an attempt to criticise the Inquisition policies that were beginning to take root in his lifetime. He made it the central poem in his "Morall Fabillis".

Pop Culture References

*C.S. Lewis may have referenced the fable in a scene in his book "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe". In that particular scene, the mythical lion Aslan, after sacrificing himself to gain the release of Edmund, is chewed free from the evil witch Jadis's restraining ropes by a team of mice. When Aslan was raised from the dead, the Narnian mice were made Talking Beasts.
*In the Disney animated film "The Rescuers", the all-mouse "Rescue Aid Society" was apparently founded by the mouse from this fable.
*In "The Simpsons" episode "Blood Feud", Homer tells the story to Bart, but puts Hercules in place of the mouse.
*"Mickey's Young Readers Library" printed a modernized adaptation titled "Pluto and the Big Race". In the story, Pluto has difficult finding someone to play with him and ends up getting everyone mad at him, but in the end, finds Morty and Ferdie's missing box-car and helps them win a race with it.

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