The Lion and the Mouse

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The Lion and the Mouse

Once, as a lion lay sleeping in his den, a naughty little mouse ran up his tail, and onto his back and up his mane and danced and jumped on his head ... that the lion woke up.

The lion grabbed the mouse and, holding him in his large claws, roared in anger. 'How dare you wake me up! Don't you know that I am King of the Beasts? Anyone who disturbs my rest deserves to die! I shall kill you and eat you!'

The terrified mouse, shaking and trembling, begged the lion to let him go. 'Please don't eat me Your Majesty! I did not mean to wake you, it was a mistake. I was only playing. Please let me go - and I promise I will be your friend forever. Who knows but one day I could save your life?'

The lion looked at the tiny mouse and laughed. 'You save my life? What an absurd idea!' he said scornfully. 'But you have made me laugh, and put me into a good mood again, so I shall let you go.' And the lion opened his claws and let the mouse go free.

'Oh thank you, your majesty,' squeaked the mouse, and scurried away as fast as he could.

A few days later the lion was caught in a hunter's snare. Struggle as he might, he couldn't break free and became even more entangled in the net of ropes. He let out a roar of anger that shook the forest. Every animal heard it, including the tiny mouse.

My friend the lion is in trouble,' cried the mouse.

He ran as fast as he could in the direction of the lion's roar, and soon found the lion trapped in the hunter's snare. 'Hold still, Your Majesty,' squeaked the mouse. 'I'll have you out of there in a jiffy!' And without further delay, the mouse began nibbling through the ropes with his sharp little teeth. Very soon the lion was free.

'I did not believe that you could be of use to me, little mouse, but today you saved my life,' said the lion humbly.

'It was my turn to help you, Sire,' answered the mouse.

Even the weak and small may be of help to those much mightier than themselves.

For the crafting of a thematic topic statement section of the TIQA Handout, students may ask themselves the following questions:

  • If you were one of the main characters in the story, what major concern, objection, or issue would you have with the other character?

  • Does a character say or do something in the story that alarms you?

  • What major conflict occurs in the story?

  • Does the behavior of a character seem unacceptable to you? If yes, why?

  • What thematic topic statement is the author trying to get across about these characters’ behavior?

  • What comment is the author trying to make about people's ethical responsibilities, in other words, people's understanding of right versus wrong?

  • What topic from The Lion and the Mouse” occurs in other stories you have read? How are the topics similar? If you find a similarity, what thematic topic statement can you make about both stories?

  • What character traits best describe the main character or characters? How do you know? Can you use these traits to help develop a theme statement?

For the analysis section of the TIQA Handout, students can answer the guided questions below.

  • Based on your chosen topic, what outcome, result, effect, opinion, or new understanding of people or humanity does the author want the readers to have?

  • Based on your chosen topic, does your topic take place currently in our society? What are the events in our society associated with the topic? What conclusion and opinion can you make about the topic based on those events in society? If so, what is the author’s opinion about the society, so to speak, in One?

  • Based on your chosen topic, does your topic happen worldwide? What conclusion and opinion can you make about the topic in the story if it occurs around the world?

  • Is there a direct link between the introduction of quotes and the quoted text in your analysis section?

Are you making sure you are ANALYZING why or how the quoted material proves your thematic topic statement?

Guided Group Practice Handout: TIQA TIQA paragraph for “The Lion and the Mouse”

Topic: ________________

Thematic topic statement:___________________________________________________


TIQA TIQA Paragraph

Topic Sentence:  _________________________________________________________


Introduce Quote: _________________________________________________________


Quote: _________________________________________________________________






Transition sentence: ______________________________________________________


Introduce Quote:_________________________________________________________


Quote: ________________________________________________________________


Analysis: _______________________________________________________________



KEY: Teaching Phase “The Lion and the Mouse” (from Lesson 1)

  1. Kindness Reciprocity Friendship

  1. Kindness to others has its rewards.

  1. A. The lion says to the mouse “I shall let you go” rather than eat the mouse.

  1. The mouse responded to the lion’s roar of “anger” saying,”My friend the lion is in trouble.”

  2. The mouse helps the lion escape from the hunters trap by “nibbling through the ropes with [its] sharp teeth.”

Topic Sentence:  Aesop’s Fable “The Lion and the Mouse” teaches readers the importance of kindness.

Introduce Quote: In the story, a “naughty” little mouse wakes a sleeping lion, a sleeping lion who then threatens the mouse with death for waking him.

Quote: After the mouse begs for its life and promises to be the lion’s friend forever, the lion states, “I shall let you go,” laughing at the mouse’s suggestion it will return the favor of saving the lion’s life one day.

Analysis: By not taking advantage of its size and strength over the little mouse, the lion’s kindness suggests that it is incumbent on the powerful to use their power judiciously, in other words, to show compassion for those weaker and less fortunate. Since the mouse appears to be truly sorry and begs for its life after waking the lion, Aesop implies that forgiving a slight transgression is the more prudent and appropriate course of action since the mouse’s actions were unintentional.

Transition: Later in the story the powerful lion is trapped by hunter’s ropes and unable to get free, becomes weakened and requires rescue.

Introducing quote: Hearing the lion’s angry growl, the mouse exclaims “My friend the lion is in trouble” and scampers to the lion’s aid.

Quote: After chewing through the ropes and setting the lion free, the lion tells the mouse “I did not believe you could be of use to me.”

Analysis: If the lion had not let the mouse go free, the lion would have been captured and most likely killed by the hunters. Aesop’s story expresses the idea that one never knows when a seemingly small kindness may be reciprocated in a big way. Furthermore, Aesop’s use of irony—an insignificant and tiny rodent saves the powerful lion, king of the jungle—reinforces the notion that no matter one’s position is a society, powerful or weak; everyone has an equal capacity to show kindness to his or her fellow man.

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