Androcles and the Grateful Lion

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 recognized 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.

The lesson here for me, is Gratitude. Androcles found a creature who was in dire need of help and did so, even at the risk of being killed or maimed. The Lion, being grateful, repaid his kindness in that he fed Androcles and kept him safe from other predators. A kinship was built upon this act of kindness and transcended beyond the relationship of predator and prey. When we help others and show them compassion, we do so at times at a risk to ourselves. But when we take the leap of faith, and show kindness and compassion to another who needs us, we also are at risk of making a new friend and ally.

It is a widely accepted belief that all things are connected, what happens to one, can most certainly happen to another. Because we strive to respect all Life, when we find ourselves dealing with a person who is in a bad spot, or even when interacting with others, we develop a basic Respect and decency for them and keeps things in a fair perspective.

Do you agree with the lesson taught in this story? What other lessons can we learn from it?

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