The Pink Fairy Book
The Wounded Lion
There was once a girl so poor that she had nothing to live on, and wandered about the
world asking for charity. One day she arrived at a thatched cottage, and inquired if they
could give her any work. The farmer said he wanted a cowherd, as his own had left him,
and if the girl liked the place she might take it. So she became a cowherd.
One morning she was driving her cows through the meadows when she heard near by a
loud groan that almost sounded human. She hastened to the spot from which the noise
came, and found it proceeded from a lion who lay stretched upon the ground.
You can guess how frightened she was! But the lion seemed in such pain that she was
sorry for him, and drew nearer and nearer till she saw he had a large thorn in one foot.
She pulled out the thorn and bound up the place, and the lion was grateful, and licked her
hand by way of thanks with his big rough tongue.
When the girl had finished she went back to find the cows, but they had gone, and though
she hunted everywhere she never found them; and she had to return home and confess to
her master, who scolded her bitterly, and afterwards beat her. Then he said, 'Now you
will have to look after the asses.'
So every day she had to take the asses to the woods to feed, until one morning, exactly a
year after she had found the lion, she heard a groan which sounded quite human. She
went straight to the place from which the noise came, and, to her great surprise, beheld
the same lion stretched on the ground with a deep wound across his face.
This time she was not afraid at all, and ran towards him, washing the wound and laying
soothing herbs upon it; and when she had bound it up the lion thanked her in the same
manner as before.
After that she returned to her flock, but they were nowhere to be seen. She searched here
and she searched there, but they had vanished completely!
Then she had to go home and confess to her master, who first scolded her and afterwards
beat her. 'Now go,' he ended, 'and look after the pigs!'
So the next day she took out the pigs, and found them such good feeding grounds that
they grew fatter every day.
Another year passed by, and one morning when the maiden was out with her pigs she
heard a groan which sounded quite human. She ran to see what it was, and found her old
friend the lion, wounded through and through, fast dying under a tree.
She fell on her knees before him and washed his wounds one by one, and laid healing
herbs upon them. And the lion licked her hands and thanked her, and asked if she would
not stay and sit by him. But the girl said she had her pigs to watch, and she must go and
see after them.