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Group Three

21 The tortoise

22 A thin reed survives

23 The lion and the mouse

24 The goat and the lion

25 The mother lion

26 The donkey's shadow

27 The dove and the ant

28 The greedy boy's hand

29 The greedy woman

30 The tricky donkey

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23. The Lion And The Mouse Exchange Favors

A mouse once danced without a look,
Not noticing the road he took.
He suddenly looked down and froze!
He'd danced out on a lion's nose!
        Zip! Zap! Before he could withdraw
        He lay beneath the lion's paw.
SORRY! said he in wild dismay---
So Lion let him go his way.

A short time later hunters set
A trap-- and Lion fell in their net!
And as he moaned his awful fate
Up came the mouse calm and sedate,
        And gnawed and gnawed and gnawed and gnawed
        Until that net in two was sawed!
Then running off their separate ways
They thought: Yes, kindness always pays.

MORAL: Little friends may prove to be great friends.


from the book Prayers and Fables and the forthcoming book Aesop's Best: 80 Fables in Verse by William Cleary

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