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1001 Stories Collection

The Lion and the Mouse

1001 thelionandthemouse
Added on 01st July 2020

Oral tradition Fable found in Africa, India and Ancient Greece

Europe Animals Fables
1001 , Audio , Text

Size isn't everything and even the smallest creature can make a difference as shown in this well-known fable.

Story

When a little mouse accidentally wakes a sleeping lion, the mighty beast traps it with his paw. The mouse begs to be freed and eventually the lion agrees. Later, the lion becomes entangled in a hunter’s net. Can the mouse return his good deed?

Why we chose it

This was one of the stories chosen by Geraldine MacCaughrean for our World Stories project with St Ebbes School in 2016. The stories were represented on fabric hangings made by artist Ally Baker, which can still be found hanging in the museum.

Where it came from

The Lion and the Mouse is most often associated with Aesop but versions of the story can be found in Africa, India and China. The story appears in both the Hindu Panchatantra and the ancient Egyptian Myth of the Sun’s Eye.

Where it went next

In 1484, William Caxton translated Aesop’s fables into English in one of the first English books ever printed. The Lion and the Mouse has gone on to inspire countless artworks, films, poems and books, including Jerry Pinkney’s award-winning picture book in 2009.

Associated stories

Stories about the weak helping the strong- or the weak defeating the strong – are common in many story telling traditions. In some, like The Lion and the Mouse, a kindness is returned or bravery is proved. In others the smaller creature tricks the larger and proves that size isn’t everything. In the African story of Elephant, Hippotamus and Rabbit, the rabbit challenges the larger animals to a tug of war, tricking both into thinking that rabbit is on the other end of the rope while they are in fact pulling against each other.

Added on 01st July 2020

Oral tradition Fable found in Africa, India and Ancient Greece

Europe Animals Fables
1001 , Audio , Text

Story Resources

  • The Lion and the Mouse story text PDF (34.193 KB)
    Download