A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and
fled to the forest. As he was wandering about there he came
upon a Lion lying down moaning and groaning. At first he
turned to flee, but finding that the Lion did not pursue him,
he turned back and went up to him. As he came near, the
Lion put out his paw, which was all swollen and bleeding,
and Androcles found that a huge thorn had got into it, and
was causing all the pain.
He pulled out the thorn and bound
up the paw of the Lion, who was soon able to rise and lick
the hand of Androcles like a dog. Then the Lion took Androcles
to his cave, and every day used to bring him meat
from which to live. But shortly afterwards both Androcles
and the Lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to
be thrown to the Lion, after the latter had been kept without
food for several days.
The Emperor and all his Court came
to see the spectacle, and Androcles was led out into the
middle of the arena. Soon the Lion was let loose from his
den, and rushed bounding and roaring towards his victim.
But as soon as he came near to Androcles he recognised
his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his hands like
a friendly dog. The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned
Androcles to him, who told him the whole story. Whereupon
the slave was pardoned and freed, and the Lion let loose
to his native forest.
Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.