Some Inspirational Stories for Optimisic Little Boys and Girls

1. The Lion and the Mouse

Retold by Neon Tetra

Once upon a time, a mighty lion lived deep in the vast Asian jungle. The lion was very strong, very fierce, and very lonely, for every other lion on the face of the earth lived on the African savannah. This lion spent his days stalking through the jungle, hunting his prey and terrorizing any creature unfortunate enough to enter his presence.

One balmy Thursday afternoon, as the lion continued his usual predatory stalking activities, a little mouse stumbled out of the scrub and found herself snagged between the lion's fearsome claws. The lion grinned and began to play with his food, tossing the mouse in the air and catching her on his tongue.

"Oh, please, Sir," cried the mouse, "if you spare my life now, I promise that I'll return the favor someday!"

The lion scoffed. "You, save my life? Do you take me for a fool?"

"Actually, I take you for an apex predator trying to eke out a living in a vanishing ecosystem," the mouse replied.

"You're putting me on."

"Not at all. I know that, as part of the outer string of the local food web, you see me as an insignificant varmint, and you may feel superior and independent of every other creature in this jungle," lectured the mouse, "but there will come a time when you could use a mouse's help."

"That's the biggest crock I ever heard," the lion said, laughing heartily as he set the mouse down. "All right, I'll let you go, as long as you promise to stop lecturing me."

"Thanks a bunch! I owe you one, buddy!" With that, the mouse scurried off through the underbrush, probably never to be seen again.

Months went by, and the lion went on hunting and terrorizing, all but forgetting the mouse that he had spared. Suddenly, he found himself dangling upside-down in an airborne net, for he had stepped on a trip wire. Struggle as he may, he quickly found that he own might was insufficient to rend the sinister fabric that bound him. After an hour, he merely roared angrily; after a day, he mewled pathetically.

Just when the lion had given up hope, a plucky, socially-conscious female mouse materialized on the ground below him.

"You again!" he roared.

"I've come to repay my debt," the mouse explained, scaling the tree that held the net and scurrying down the main rope. She took part of the thick mesh between her teeth and began to chew. All afternoon, she worked indefatigably, until she had created a hole large enough to admit the starving and exhausted lion.

"Thanks," the lion panted, glad to feel the ground beneath his feet once again.

"No trouble at all. And you thought I couldn't help you!" the mouse chided. "It just goes to show you the impor--"

The lion gulped down the mouse with a satisfying crunch and went off to find a rock where he could sun himself.

Moral: Don't stand around preaching pro-social values to a hungry lion.