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Polaris AB: The Fable Collection of Short Stories
Androcles once lived as a free man in the lands of his ancestors. The invading armies of Rome soon changed that.
Facing certain death against the superior strength of the Roman Legions, he fought bravely but was soon overwhelmed and captured. Admiring his fortitude in battle, the Roman Consul spared his life but made him a slave instead labouring hard but without reward or recognition for his work.
One day, determined to escape from his Master, he fled to the forests and mountains where he took shelter in a cave which also just happened to be the den of a great Lion. Upon seeing Androcles, the Lion roared loudly but Androcles stood his ground facing the Lion, once again with the same fortitude he had shown his previous enemy. Instead of attacking him, the Lion lay down upon the ground moaning and groaning, holding up a paw which was swollen and bleeding. Upon drawing closer to the Lion, he could see a large thorn that had become embedded in the Lion's paw which he quickly pulled out and then bound up the wound. The Lion accepted Androcles into his cave and upon recovering from his wound, in gratitude, brought meat to the cave from which they both could live upon.
But soon after, the hunt for the runaway slave soon caught up with him and both Androcles and the Lion were caught and taken to Rome where he was sentenced to death in the Colosseum. The Emperor and the people of Rome came to see the spectacle as Androcles was paraded out and released from his chains onto the sands of the arena. The sentence for runaway slaves was to be torn apart by wild beasts.
As the gates were raised, a hungry Lion that been caged without food for days rushed out roaring and bounding towards the helpless victim. Androcles stood tall awaiting the fate that lay before him. But instead of a gruesome attack, the Lion knelt down at his feet and licked his hand like a friendly dog. It was the same great Lion he had nursed back to health from within the cave.
The Emperor and crowd were astonished to see such a thing - and Androcles was immediately summoned to appear before him. He confidently explained the whole story from the battle which led to his enslavement, his removal of the thorn from the Lion's paw and the friendship with the Lion that had then developed before his capture and appearance within the arena. The Emperor was so impressed with what he had seen and heard - he immediately pardoned and freed Androcles to live the life that he was surely destined to live, despite all that had previously befallen him.
And the Moral of the Story is:
A man's fate is determined by his actions, not his misfortunes.
Fortitude shapes fate into destiny.
Aesop's Fables c.600 B.C.