This story comes from the book: The Aesop for Children. Although most of the Aesop stories I've found are better understood by an elementary aged child, there are some I enjoy using with flannel boards or props and used this way, can be enjoyed by a younger child. Last month we used these flannel board pieces to tell and retell the story The Lion and the Mouse. (I changed the words used in the story but the storyline remains the same.)
Deep in the forest, a great lion was resting among the fruit trees. He was tired from a long day of hunting and very hungry because he did not find much to eat.
A tiny mouse was scurrying about looking for berries to eat. She saw a bush covered with wonderful colored berries. She was hungry too but she could not reach the berries because they were too high up in the berry bush. Looking around she noticed the lion resting. "If I am very quiet I might be able to climb up on that lion and reach the berries." Up she climbed, carefully, quietly, until suddenly "Roar! Who is on my back?"
"It is me, squeaked the mouse. I was trying to reach those berries. I am so hungry that I thought if I climbed on your back I might be able to reach them. I am so sorry to wake you from your rest." "You did wake me, and I am hungry too. I think I will eat you now." "Oh, please, spare me Lion. If you let me go I will help you someday, I will surely repay you." The Lion laughed and laughed some more. "You help me? How?" You are so small and I am so big! I will let you go because you made me laugh!" The mouse thanked the lion and then quickly scurried away.
The next day the lion went deep into the forest to go hunting again for food. As he walked, suddenly, a hunters trap caught his legs and the next thing he knew he was tangled in the hunter's strong ropes. Unable to free himself, he filled the forest with angry roaring.
The mouse, who was out looking for more fruit, heard the roaring and recognized the voice. Quickly the mouse found the lion struggling in the net. When the lion saw the mouse he said "It is no use. These ropes are strong and the more I pull the tighter the net becomes." Quickly the mouse went to work gnawing at the pieces of rope until at last the lion was free.
The lion was glad to be free and very surprised that the mouse freed him. I am sorry I thought you were too small to help me and I am sorry that I laughed at you. You were right, it doesn't matter if you are big or small, everyone can be a help." So the lion invited the mouse back to the berry bush and let the mouse climb on his back to reach the biggest and juiciest berry he could find.