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The Faithful Lion

Saint Gerasimus was a monk. He lived happily with many monks and his donkey. He spoke to the people about God and his mercy. He helped the poor and the sick people. So everyone in the village loved him.

One day saint Gerasimus and his donkey went to the river at noon. They bathed in the river and returned with a jug of water.

On the way they heard a lion's roar. The donkey was afraid but Gerasimus was not afraid. He listened carefully to the sound of the lion's roar. It came again and again. It was sad and painful.

After some time the lion came towards them.. He limped with great difficulty. He lifted one of his forelegs and showed it to the saint. He did not attack Gerasimus and his donkey. Gerasimus and his donkey. Gerasimus thought, "Someone has done some harm to the lion. Poor some thing! His eyes are full of tears. I shall help him and be kind to him."

Then he took the paw of the lion's left leg in his hand and examined it. He removed it gently and carefully. The lion did not cry again. He held the saint's hand thankfully. He followed the saint to his house on the hill. He did not go back to the forest.

At first the monks in the house were afraid of the lion but he did not do them any harm. They liked his company too.

The monks said to Gerasimus, "Look! You have brought a lion to our place. He is big and strong. He is kind and harmless too. We shall not give him any meat. Bring him up on milk and porridge only."

Gerasimus agreed to this. The lion was obedient to him. He sat with Gerasimus at table and ate with him his porridge and milk. At night the lion lay near him and kept watch over him.

One day Gerasimus went Out with his lion and donkey to the market. On the way a man in tears appeared before him.

He said to Gerasimus. "O, kind saint! My child is very ill. Will you come with me and give him some medicine and pray for his health?"

Gerasimus left the lion and the donkey near a big tree and said to them, "Be here, I shall return to you in a few minutes. Don't go to sleep."

But soon the lion closed one of its eyes and watched the donkey with the other. In a moment it fell asleep.

Someone came that way. He saw the donkey with a lot of things on it. He was a thief. He took away the donkey with its things. After some time the lion woke up. He did not see the donkey. He roared very loudly for some time.

Gerasimus returned to the tree after forty-five minutes. He saw the angry lion. He did not find the donkey with it. He thought, "The lion has killed the donkey. Is it not a beast of the jungle" He looked at the lion angrily and said, "You have failed in your duty. I don't want your friendship. Don't follow me to the house."

The lion did not listen to his words. Its eyes were full of tears. It followed him again to the monk's house.

Everyone in the house was angry with the lion. They treated him very badly. They put him in the stable and tied him with a rope to a pillar. They gave him all the work of the donkey. The lion bore their cruelty with patience.

The lion thought, "One day my master will learn the truth. I am not at fault. He will know it then."

On a Saturday Gerasimus and the lion went to the town. The saint bought a lot of things and loaded them on the back of the lion.

The boys in the town laughed and said, "Look! The lion is doing the work of a donkey."

Suddenly the lion roared very loudly. The children were terribly afraid. The lion leaped forward towards a man and his donkey. They were standing near a tree by the side of the road.

Gerasimus turned round and went to the man. It was his own donkey. The man was the thief. He was trembling all over.

Gerasimus said to the lion, "Don't hurt him. He has done wrong. He has stolen my donkey. He will not steal it again. God will punish him."

The man knelt before the saint and said, "Forgive me, please. I won't do it again. You have saved my life from the lion thank you."

Then Gerasimus, with the lion and the donkey, returned to the house with all his things. The donkey was also happy. The other monks in the house were also happy. They treated the lion very kindly from the day.

Five weeks passed. Gerasimus fell ill and died on a Friday morning. They buried him with deep sorrow. The lion sat near his grave with tears in his eyes. He did not eat anything that day. He thought of his kind master and friend. In the evening he died near his master's grave.