Once upon a time, a Lion was taking his daily 23 hour nap.
A small Mouse, figuring the Lion was out for the rest of the day and possible acting on a bet made by the other mice, began to run up and down the length of the Lion.
Contrary to what the mice were thinking, this woke the Lion, who was none too pleased. He smacked his large paw upon the Mouse and opened his jaws, ready to consume the Mouse as an hors d'oeuvre.
The Mouse thought fast, and spoke up. "Pardon, O great wise and wonderful King," he said. "Please forgive my intrusion this one time, and I shall never forget your kindness. And who knows? Perhaps, one day, I will be able to do a life-saving favor for you!"
The Lion thought that highly unlikely. But he also thought that a Mouse, straight up, didn't make much of a snack. And he was amused at the idea that a scrawny Mouse would one day we able to help him. Having thought these deep thoughts, the Lion lifted his paw, releasing the Mouse, who scampered back to his friends.
Not a week had passed, however, before the Lion, during his daily one-hour hunt, found himself caught in a trap. The hunters who caught him, determined to carry a live lion back to their King, tied him to a tree while they went in search of a wagon for their triumphant march home.
Try as he might, the Lion could not get free, and was sure his hours were numbered. Just then, who should appear but the little Mouse. When he saw the dire situation of the Lion, he leaped onto the trap and began to gnaw at the ropes. He gnawed and gnawed and gnawed until he had freed the King of Beasts.
The Lion was overcome with gratitude. The Mouse merely shrugged. "Told you so," he said.
Moral: Little friends may prove great friends.
Secondary moral: Mice make unpleasant hors d'oeuvres.
The Lion and the Mouse can be found here.