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Home :  African Legends :  The lion and the mouse

The lion and the mouse

Bura Folktales Legend (Nigeria)

The lion is the king of the bush. He fears nothing. Everything in the bush fears him and keeps away from him. Only flies will venture to touch his body.

One day the lion was sleeping and a mouse crawled up over his side. The mouse played about on his side. In his sleep the lion dreamed that something was playing on his side. He opened his eyes slowly and saw the mouse. In an instant be had the mouse under one claw and the poor mouse was crying. The mouse said, "Great one, will you not let me go? You know I may be able to do something for you some day." The lion laughed and laughed and then said, "A little thing like you, what could you do for me?" But the lion let the mouse go, and the trembling mouse hurried away to hide himself in a hole in the ground.

The lion started off to hunt meat. He had not gone far when he suddenly realized that he was fast in a trap. At first the lion felt sure that he would be able to free himself, but the
harder he pulled the tighter he was held, The rope was very strong and he could not break it. The lion began to cry, because he knew that when the owner of the trap came only death was left. That is what caused the lion to cry loud and long.

The mouse heard the lion crying and decided to find out what could be wrong. When the mouse arrived he found that the lion was held tight by a great strong rope. The mouse said to the lion, "Do you want me to let you loose?" The lion said, "Yes, yes, if you can." The mouse began to gnaw at the rope. He gnawed it in two and the lion was set free.

The lion never imagined that a little mouse could do anything for any one. He was amazed that the little mouse could save him from death. The lion said, "Had it not been for you, I would have met death at the hands of the owner of the trap."


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