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Androcles and the Lion

In ancient days, a young Greek warrior named Androcles was captured in battle. He was taken to Rome and forced to become a slave.

Androcles was a slave for many years. He was made to work hard every day and every night. He had no freedom and was treated badly.

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Androcles wanted, more than anything, to escape. He carefully planned how he would get away. Then, one night, he quietly escaped into the darkness.

Androcles was free, but he had nowhere to go.

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Androcles ran away from Rome. He was hungry and scared.

Late one night, he crawled into a cave and fell asleep.

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A loud roar woke up Androcles. A huge lion stood in front of him. Androcles was trapped in the cave!

Androcles shook in fear.

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But instead of attacking, the lion lay down next to Androcles. His roars turned into soft whimpers.

One of the lion’s paws was hurt. Androcles saw a huge thorn stuck in the lion’s paw.

Androcles gently picked up the lion’s paw and pulled out the thorn.

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The lion let out a mighty roar. Then he started to purr.

Then he licked Androcles’ hands and face.

The man and animal curled up side-by-side and fell asleep.

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The next morning, the lion left the cave. He returned with a rabbit. Androcles cooked the meat over the fire. He shared it with the lion.

The two lived together in the cave for many weeks.

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Then, one day, the lion left and didn’t return.

Androcles was hungry and went to look for food. He was captured again and taken back to Rome.

Androcles was to be punished for escaping. He would have to fight a lion in the Roman arena.

Androcles knew he could not win such a fight.

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On the day of the fight, Androcles was led into the arena. He had only a spear to protect himself.

Androcles looked around. The stands were filled with Romans. Some were cheering for him; others were cheering for the lion. Androcles was scared.

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The emperor was sitting on his throne. He signaled for the fight to begin.

The door to the lion’s cage opened. The great beast ran toward Androcles.

Androcles tried to be brave. But, he knew he was in trouble.

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Suddenly, the mighty lion stopped. He put both front paws on Androcles’ shoulders and licked the man’s face.

Androcles laughed.

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It was the lion he had helped in the cave! Androcles now knew why the lion had not returned to the cave. The lion had also been captured.

“Hello, my old friend,” he said to the lion, still laughing. “I missed you, too.”

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The Roman citizens couldn’t believe their eyes.

The Emperor asked the guards to bring Androcles to him. He ordered Androcles to explain what had happened.

Androcles told the Emperor how he pulled the thorn from the lion’s paw and how they became friends.

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The emperor had never heard such a happy story. He decided to free Androcles.

The lion was set free, too!

For many years, Androcles and the lion lived happily together in the city of Rome.

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FAZ Reading Level Detail

Lexile Score 430
Word Count 516
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