The Lion and the Mouse

K, 1, 2

Fables teach lessons or morals through animal actions. The exaggerated human-like characteristics of animals make the moral lesson appealing. The story of the "Lion and the Mouse" illustrates that a kind deed is never wasted.

PrintOne Thirty-Minute Session
  • describe characteristics of a good citizen 

read-aloud copy of the fable "The Lion and the Mouse" for reading or to guide oral retelling



  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Talk about stories in which someone small and meek does something that helps others in a big way. For example, Frodo, a small hobbit saves Middle Earth (in Lord of the Rings by Tolkien) with his dedication to his task and by staying below the awareness of the major powers. Harry Potter, a young wizard, saves the world through his goodness. The Lion and the Mouse is a fable that illustrates this concept through the actions of animals. Say, "After we read this story, we are going to come up with ideas of things young people can do to make a difference to others."

  2. Explain that fables are brief stories, often told orally, that teach lessons or morals through animals. The animals in the stories have character traits they are known for but with human capabilities, like speech. If you plan to tell the story rather than read it, tell listeners to use their ears and imagination since there are no storybook pictures to look at. You may help them picture the savanna habitat by desribing it or showing an online image. Ask the listeners to show with their hands how big a mouse is. Then ask them how big a lion is. "Can a mouse do something to help a lion, or is the lion certainly going to eat a mouse that crosses its path?"

  3. Tell the story to the children and discuss it when you are finished. Ask: What choices did the mouse make? What choices did the lion make? Why do you think they each chose to help one another, and what difference did their kindnesses make? What is the main idea or lesson this story tells?

  4. What does this story make you think you could say or do that is not the typical way of doing things? 

  5. Read The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts. Compare the main idea of the two stories.

  6. Make a list of things you can do and say when someone is being bullied or when you see something that needs your help.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.