Lion and the mouse

Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

There was a lion in the forest. All the animals looked up to him because he appeared majestic with his beautiful cascading mane. He was muscular and fast chasing the game and bringing it down in less than a minute. He was so adept he was honored and received a certificate extolling him as the Minuteman of the Jungle. He dragged his dead game to one of the many cave palaces he had in the forest. Sometimes his spouse joined him in the hunt. He had three children, two boys and one girl.
A mouse was living near one of the caves. He ate scraps left on the bone scattered around the cave palace. Mostly the mouse ate fruits and grains. He was grateful to the lion for its daily supply of high-protein food, though not intended by the lion. The mouse wanted to ride on the mane of the lion when he went chasing the stray animals from the nearby village.
The mouse: Greetings to you, your majesty. Thanks for leaving scraps on the bone. I needed that high-protein food for my muscles.
The maned lion: You are welcome. What can I do for you?
The mouse: Your majesty, you run fast. I will enjoy a ride on your mane, while you go hunting. That thrill ride will satisfy my soul. I can claim suzerainty with other mice.
The lion: What can you do for me in return for your thrill rides on my mane?
The mouse: I don’t know yet. There will come a time I may be useful to you.
The lion agreed to let him take a thrill ride on his mane every time he went on a hunt. As he rode on the lion, he cut the mane and made a mane-bedding for it and its sons and daughters.
One day, when the lion was chasing its food, it stepped on a thicket of thorns. The chase ended abruptly and the game got away. The mouse immediately went to work and pulled out two thorns from its right front paw. The mouse held the thorn by the mouth and using the forefeet as lever yanked the two thorns. The lion was happy that such a free-riding mouse could help pull out the thorns.
In a few days the puncture wounds healed and the lion resumed the hunt, carrying the mouse on its mane.