Once, long ago in a dense forest lived many animals, some were vegetable eaters and some carnivorous, who preyed on other living creatures. Among them was a fierce Lion who ruled the forest and the tiny mouse who lived in a tree hole along with his family.

The animals in the forest were both hunters and hunted. The bigger animals preyed on the smaller animals and were fearful of being hunted by the humans someday. The lion went about his hunting without any fear from other animals as he was strong and fearless. The Mouse went hunting for food with a fear that some big animal will eat him up one day and therefore was cautious in his whereabouts.

And it so happened one day ….

The mouse, while hunting and gathering food for his family; went very far from his den and was getting late. He was rushing back home when he encountered the big lion sitting on the very track that leads to his home. At first, the mouse thought of going back and trying some other route to his home but it was getting very late. The mouse looked closer at the lion and saw that the lion was sleeping. So the mouse took a chance and got on to the tail of the lion and then on to the back of the lion. The lion was only dozing and the nimble walk of the mouse tickled him all over his body. The lion waited till the mouse reached his head and gave a jerk which made the mouse fall just in front the fearful lion. The mouse started shivering with fear but did not loose his mind. Gathering all his wits he said, “O mighty lion spare me. I have a family to feed and I am but only a tiny creature not worth your feed.”

The lion roared, “But you have disturbed my sleep and I must punish you for that.”

“If you spare my life today, I promise to come in good stead and repay your kindness someday” said the mouse, now little composed.

The lion laughed out loud and said, “What a tiny creature like you can do for me? I am big and fearful. All the other animals are scared of me.” But the lion just had his meal was otherwise quite contended and thought the little mouse won’t satiate him so he said again, “Okay, I will spare you for today but don’t ever come my way again.”

That was enough for the little mouse and he scurried home as fast as he could.

The days went by and the lion had forgotten all about that incident but the mouse remembered and knew that during his lifetime he must return the lion’s kindness.

Though in the forest the lion was the king, there were still dangers from other kind animals called Humans, who hunted not for food but for pleasure and were more cunning than the animals in the forest.

One day a group of hunters (humans) were in the jungle for hunting and they laid a trap with nets on the tree above and a big loaf of meat for the big cat. The lion was hunting on the other side of the forest and did not see the hunters. He roamed freely and reached the spot where the hunters had laid the trap. The lion could see the meat loaf and thought, “Aha, there is ready food and I don’t have to hunt.” He went nearer and as soon as he pawed at the meat loaf, the net above on the tree fell on him. The lion sensing the betrayal, tried to wriggle out of it but more he tried, he got entangled in the net. The lion got exhausted and felt doomed.

It was by chance that the mouse was returning home in the evening when he saw the lion and his predicament. The mouse remembered his promise to the lion and immediately rushed towards him. The lion looked at him and said, “Go away, can’t you see I am doomed, the hunters will come soon and slay me.”

The mouse did not say anything and went on his task of chewing at the rope of the net. The ropes were strong and it took lot of strength for the mouse to chew them. He went on relentlessly and by the dawn could make a sizable gap in the net for the lion to come out.

The lion got out and thanked the mouse for saving his life. The mouse said that he merely returned the kindness once shown by the lion himself.

The Mouse and the Lion became friends for life for they realized that size really does not matter but the attitude and love for all that really is greater.

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