Acts of kindness

■ Friendships that accept the differences

The lion, king of the beasts, was dozing under a shady tree, on a hillside that looked out over his kingdom. It so happened that a little mouse, scampering around looking for food, stumbled into one of the lion's paws. The king of beasts awakened. "What are you doing disturbing my siesta?" he roared.

The little mouse squealed in fear and said, "I am sorry, your Majesty. I wasn't looking where I was going. I didn't mean to disturb you. Please don't eat me."

"Lucky for you," said the lion, "I have just had a big meal and feel satisfied—but why shouldn't I crush you for disturbing my sleep?"

"Please," the mouse pleaded, "let me go. If you do a good turn for me, then maybe one day I can do a good turn for you."

The lion roared in laughter at the thought that the humble little mouse could ever help the king ofbeasts but, as he wasn't hungry and the mouse had given him a good laugh, he decided to let it go.

Weeks and weeks later the lion was out stalking prey when he, too, stumbled—right into a hunter's trap. A net fell, totally entrapping him. He struggled to break free but the more he did, the more entangled he became. He roared in pain and fear.

As it so happened the little mouse heard the lion's cries and ran to his rescue. With its sharp teeth the mouse gnawed through the strands of the net, cutting out a hole big enough for the lion to escape.

"You were right," said the lion, thanking the mouse, "being kind can have its benefits. Do you think it is possible for a mouse and a lion to be friends?" And it is said that the lion and the mouse remained friends to this very day.

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