The Slave and the Lion Slave ran away from his master, by whom he had been most cruelly treated, and, in order to avoid capture, betook himself into the desert. As he wandered about in search of food and shelter, he came to a cave, which he entered and found to be unoccupied. Really, however, it was a Lion's den, and almost immediately, to the horror of the wretched fugitive, the Lion himself appeared. The man gave himself up for lost: but, to his utter astonishment, the Lion, instead of springing upon him and devouring him, came and fawned upon him, at the same time whining and lifting up his paw. Observing it to be much swollen and inflamed, he examined it and found a large thorn embedded in the ball of the foot. He accordingly removed it and dressed the wound as well as he could: and in course of time it healed up completely. The Lion's gratitude was unbounded; he looked upon the man as his friend, and they shared the cave for some time together. A day came, however, when the Slave began to long for the society of his fellow-men, and he bade farewell to the Lion and returned to the town. Here he was presently recognised and carried off in chains to his former master, who resolved to make an example of him, and ordered that he should be thrown to the beasts at the next public spectacle in the theatre. On the fatal day the beasts were loosed into the arena, and among the rest a Lion of huge bulk and ferocious aspect; and then the wretched Slave was cast in among them. What was the amazement of the spectators, when the Lion after one glance bounded up to him and lay down at his feet with every expression of affection and delight! It was his old friend of the cave! The audience clamoured that the Slave's life should be spared: and the governor of the town, marvelling at such gratitude and fidelity in a beast, decreed that both should receive their liberty.
Activity One Read these three alternative versions of the story and, in your group discuss whether or not you think they are better or worse than the original and why.
A) The Slave escapes, finds a cave, meets the Lion, removes the thorn and lives happily ever after in the cave with him.
B) The Slave escapes and meets the Lion, as in the original, but upon returning to his town his master tells him how much he has missed him and promises to be much kinder in the future.
C)Everything thing happens exactly as in the original expect the Lion kills the slave in the arena.
Personal Response A) Option A is very unrealistic and lack creditable clausabilityas it would be inhuman to live with a Lion considering they are higher on the food chain than humans, this means that, the Lion would end up eating the Slave. In addition this is also unrealistic because the Lion and Slave are two different species and do not share the same communication skills, ethics and morals as one another.
Personal Response B) Again Option B is very unrealistic although the equilibrium is fulfilled in the story. However this version lacks character motivation and development. Nothing in the story triggers the Master to have missed his Slave. Why would the slave return to his Master? And during the time period the relationship between Slaves and their apparent Owners would of not been ones of friendship but rather fear and control.
Personal Response C) Option C leaves the audience feeling unfulfilled and confused as a resolution does not happen. Ultimately, this version makes the audience question the rest of the narrative and why it is necessary if there is not resolution. In addition, there is no moral conveyed in the story and its seems as if the friendship created through out the narrative (where the slave removes a thorn from the Lions foot) has no relevance as in the end there friendship is destroyed as the Lion kills the slave. Considering, these tales would normally be told to children the moral of doing a good deed may seem pointless as not karma is returned.
Activity 2 In small groups, discuss The Slave and Lion in relation to the following questions.
A) Who is the main character in the story? Why?
B)What is the difference between the Slave in the beginning and the Slave at the end?
C)What are the different goals or aims that the Slave has during the course of the story?
D) Does the story seem finished? Why?
E) What is the story about? Have the characters learned anything?
Personal Response The main character is the Slave, we know this because the story is fixated around him and the Lion does not have as much importance in the narrative as the Slave does as a main character. In comparison, the Lion is used as a sub-plot in the narrative.
Personal Response In the beginning of the story, The Slave is helpless and does not really have his own persona as he is used to being controlled. The Slave then encounters a number of sub-plots such as entering the cave in search of food, thinking the Lion would eat him, helping the Lion. It is through these that we see the character of the Slave develop and character motivation is created as he helps the lion and in return the Lion helps him.
Personal Response The biggest goal through out the story is the mission for freedom. The slave wants to be free from his master, in addition, he wants to escape the Lions den. Furthermore, he wants to create the cruelty in the world.
Personal Response The story does feel finished as a resolution and equilibrium is fulfilled through the Lion and Slave gaining liberty.
Personal Response By the end a moral is portrayed which is be kind to others and in return they will be kind to you. In addition, a friendship is gained leaving the audience with a happy state of mind.