Androcles and the Lion

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Read the story on Androcles and the Lion with Illustrations

It was in ancient times that a slave named Androcles escaped from his master and fled into the forest. He wandered there for a long time until he was weary and spent the entire night with hunger and despair. Just then he heard a lion near him moaning and groaning and at times roaring terribly. 

Tired as he was, Androcles rose and rushed away from the lion. As he made his way through the bushes, he stumbled over the root of a tree and fell twisting his ankle. When he tried to get up, he saw the lion coming towards him, limping on three feet and holding his fore-paw in front of him.

Poor Androcles was in despair, he had no strength to rise and run away, and the lion was coming upon him. The great beast came up to him. Instead of attacking him, it kept on moaning and groaning. I looked at Androcles holding out his right paw, which was covered with blood and very much swollen. 

Looking more closely at it, Androcles saw a great big thorn pressed into the paw, which was the cause of all the lion’s trouble. He seized hold of the thorn and drew it out of the lion’s paw. The lion found such relief from it that he rubbed up against Androcles and showed in every way he knew, that he was truly thankful for being relieved from such pain. Instead of eating him up, he brought him a young deer that he had slain, and Androcles managed to make a meal from it. For some time the lion continued to bring the game he had killed to Androcles, who became quite fond of the huge beast.

One day several soldiers came marching through the forest and found Androcles, and as he could not explain what he was doing, they took him to prison and brought him back to the town he had fled. Here, his master found him and brought him before the authorities, and he was condemned to death because he had fled from his master. Now it used to be the custom to throw murderers and other criminals to the lions in a huge circus so that while the criminals were being punished, the public could enjoy the spectacle of combat between them and the wild beasts.

So Androcles was condemned to be thrown to the lions, and on the appointed day he was led forth into the arena and left there alone with only a spear to protect him from the lion. The Emperor of Rome was in the Royal Box that day and gave the signal for the Lion to come out and attack Androcles. But when it came out of its cage and got near Androcles, what do you think it did? Instead of jumping upon him, it rubbed up against him and stroked him with its paw, and made no attempt to do him any harm. It was the same Lion Androcles had met in the forest.

The Emperor, surprised at seeing such strange behavior in such a cruel beast, summoned Androcles to him and asked him how it happened that this particular lion had lost all its cruelty of character. So Androcles told the Emperor, all that had happened to him and how the lion showed his gratitude for his having relieved it of the thorn. Thereupon the Emperor pardoned Androcles and ordered his master to set him free, while the lion was taken back to the forest and let loose to enjoy the freedom, once more.

Moral of Androcles and the Lion- “Never forget the person who helps us when we are in trouble.”