A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled to the forest. As he was wandering about there he came upon a Lion lying down moaning and groaning.
At first he turned to flee, but finding that the Lion did not pursue him, he turned back and went up to him. As he came near, the Lion put out his paw, which was all swollen and bleeding. Androcles found that a huge thorn had got into it, and was causing all the pain.
He pulled out the thorn and bound up the paw of the Lion, who was soon able to rise and licked the hand of Androcles in gratitude. Then the Lion took Androcles to his cave, and every day would go hunting to bring meat back for Androcles to eat.
But shortly afterwards both Androcles and the Lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to the Lion, after the latter had been kept without food for severaldays. The Emperor and all his Court came to see the spectacle. Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena. Soon the Lion was let loose from his den, and rushed bounding and roaring towards his victim.
But as soon as he came near to Androcles he recognized his friend, and crouched happily at his feet, licking his hands like a friendly dog. The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned Androcles to him, who told him the whole story. Impressed by the courage and compassion shown by Androcles, the king pardoned the slave and set him and the Lion free.
Moral of the story: Gratitude and compassion are the signs of a noble soul.
It pays to be kind to all creatures, both human and animal. You never know when that kindness may be repaid. Animals have shown to be extraordinary in their courage and unconditional in their love for their human companions.