The hare boasted to all the animals, “I have never been beaten.” Of course, he became full of his own power, took a nap, and lost to the slowest of creatures, the tortoise. The race is not always to the swift. The deceitful wolf went hungry until it dressed up like a sheep and led a little lamb away to slaughter. Later the shepherd would take care of the wolf. The worker-bee ants worked and worked storing up food while the grasshopper spent all its time playing its fiddle until it was too late and had nothing stored away for the winter.
Of course, I’m talking about Aesop’s cast of characters.
And the morale of the story is . . .
When I first started to read, I fell in love with Aesop’s fables. I loved the short tales and morals they promoted. Aesop was the reputed creator of the numerous stories and tales about animals — illustrating human virtues and failings — even though the stories were more likely written by several people. Aesops stories were first told from person to person until they were collected and printed three centuries after Aesop’s death in 1484. Most people of course know about “The Hare and the Tortoise,” “The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing,” and “The Ants and the Grasshopper,” I liked all of those stories, but my favorite has always been “The Lion and the Mouse.”
Forget that one? The lion is fast asleep until a mouse wakes him up. The lion opens his mouth to swallow the lion, but the mouse begs him to rethink eating him. The mouse says maybe he’ll be useful to the lion in the future. The lion laughs at the idea, but agrees to let the mouse go. Of course, sometime later, the lion is caught in a hunter’s trap. The same little mouse walks by and notices the sad plight of the Lion. He walks up and gnaws away at the rope to free the lion.
“You laughed when I said I would repay you,” said the Mouse. “Now you see that even a Mouse can help a Lion.”
Good things come in small packages
The morale of the story is that size doesn’t matter, small or large, it is best to maintain great relationships with everyone and to be kind to all. You never know where your kindness can lead you.
For a little kid, who was the smallest or next to the smallest in his class, I loved the meaning behind the story. I loved that the bigger they are, the harder they fall, and that the little guy saves the day. Aesop packs a powerful message in 178 words. Heck, I’m much older now, but the story still amazes and moves me . . . now if only the latest New York Times Best Seller or the newest comic book, action movie got the same reaction?
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