Oban's Myths & Legends
Ancrocles and the Lion
retold by Oban
Long ago there was a man called Androcles who lived in a large town. Many people there were rich and lived in large houses. But others, like Androcles, were very poor. The laws then were different to ours today, and if someone had enough money and wanted to do it, they could buy someone else as their slave. These owners were called the Masters of their slaves.
Androcles had been a slave for many years, and his life was very hard. His Master forced him to work very hard every day, did not give him enough to eat, and often beat him.
One day Androcles decided he’d had enough. “I have to escape, or I will die as a slave” he said to himself. He knew it was against the law for a slave to run away from his Master, and the punishment was death, but he was so tired and worn out, the risk seemed worth it.
One night, when everyone else in his Master’s house was asleep, Androcles left his straw bed in the stable, crept through the courtyard and out the back gate. He walked quickly and quietly through the streets, keeping in the shadows, until he reached the edge of the forest. Hiding in the trees he looked back, his heart pounding with fear.
No-one was following him. He breathed a sigh of relief and then turned and ran through the forest as fast as he could. He ran all night, not daring to stop and when the sun came up he was far away. By now he was panting hard, and very hungry, and he found it difficult to keep moving.
“I have to rest!” He gasped. “Just for a few minutes, to get my strength back.”
Androcles fell to the ground, exhausted and hungry, and closed his eyes. But then he heard loud roaring and moaning not far away. It was the mighty roar of a lion “RrroooaarR!”
Androcles looked up in fright and saw a large lion limping towards him. “Aaaahhh!” screamed Androcles, trying to jump up and run, but falling down on the ground again.
“Now, I am going to die” he whispered to himself. “I escaped from a cruel master, and now I’ll be eaten by a lion. Life is not fair!”