A New Story Of The Lion And The Mouse

: Keep-well Stories For Little Folks

A long while ago, so the story goes, there was a time when the Lion,

King of Beasts, had a little mouse at his mercy. The Lion was about to

crush the mouse with his paw. The little mouse begged for his life, and

the great King of Beasts spared him.

Not a great while after that day the Lion was caught in a net. He could

not get out, and howled with rage. The little mouse heard him, and ran

to help his old-
ime friend.

The great King of Beasts did not think the little mouse could help him.

But the mouse gnawed the cords in the net with his teeth, and thus set

the Lion free.

This story that I am going to tell you is of a rat--a kind of cousin to

the mouse.

In many of our cities the City Fathers have not thought much of the many

rats that live in the alleys and big warehouses, where cotton and grain

are stored.

The City Fathers, like the King of Beasts, have looked with contempt on

the little rats. They did not believe they were large enough to do any

great harm, but rats and mice are dirty little animals and can carry

disease. The Health Doctors, who are always digging into things, have

made a serious charge against Mr. Rat. They say that he is the "Carrier"

of a terrible disease, and that he is to be more feared than the biggest


The rats have brought this disease from the far-away countries in Asia.

You will ask--How could the rats bring this disease, which is called

"the plague," since they cannot swim across the ocean? No, that is true.

But you know that the rats are great wanderers, and they frequently get

on the ships which are loaded in the harbors in China, or Japan, and

travel with the ships to the next port. You must remember that rats have

fleas on them. In the far-away country the fleas bite persons who have

the plague. The fleas then get on the rats in the neighborhood, and even

give the plague to the rats.

When the ship unloads its cargo, in Mobile, San Francisco, or New York,

these rats, with their fleas and plague germs, go ashore, and in this

way they spread the disease.

When the fleas from the rats bite persons, they poison them with the

plague germs. Many persons in Asia die of this disease every year.

In this country we prevent it by doing what the Lion of long ago did not

do. We kill the rats, for they are dirty little animals.


1. Tell the story of the Lion and the Mouse. Who

wrote this fable? What is a fable?

2. Why are we not so merciful to the rat as the

Lion was?

3. What disease germs does the rat carry?