Slave and lion

Italian parable

Unable to bear the beatings of his master any longer, the slave threw off his chains and fled. He passed the streets of Rome, rushed through the fields straight into the forest and collapsed exhausted at the entrance of the cave.

Then he saw with horror that a huge lion was coming out of the cave. The beast placed its bleeding paw on his knees. A spike protruded from the messy fur. The slave pulled the thorn out of the paw and ran on to escape from the chasers.

After a long wandering, he was again caught and returned to Rome. As a punishment  he had to fight a hungry lion. Before a cheering crowd, the guards pushed him into the arena. But – a miracle! – the lion turned out to be exactly the one that the slave had once saved from terrible pain. Although the animal was mad with hunger and fear, but, recognizing his savior, he lay down at his feet, like a dog. The shocked crowd fell silent, and the emperor, having learned the whole story, released the slave to freedom.