The Man and the Lion

A man set out to capture a lion to prove his bravery, but the lion asked him if he believed bravery meant defeating others or standing up for what is right. The man realized that true bravery is about standing up for what is right, not defeating others.

The Man and the Lion
Aesop's Fables: The Man and the Lion

In a nation far, far away, there once lived a guy who took great pride in his bravery. He was always eager for new challenges and would brag to anybody who will listen about having taken on and defeated various scary beasts.

The man had learned one day that a lion had made its home in the adjacent woods. Many people had tried to capture this lion, widely considered the most dangerous predator in the area, but they had always failed. A guy with a spear and a shield set out into the forest, determined to be the one to kill the lion once and for all.

The further the man went into the jungle, the more excited he became. Many difficulties had come his way, but nothing like this. He anticipated being lauded as a hero if he succeeded in capturing the lion.

The man had been looking for the lion for hours before he finally stumbled upon it. It was an enormous creature with a golden mane and glowing green eyes. The man gathered his composure and prepared his spear, intent on killing the lion.

As he got closer to the lion, though, an odd thing occurred. The lion didn't bother to strike; instead, it just stared at the man and mumbled something.

Why do you want to capture me?" the lion enquired.

The guy was caught off guard. Though initially taken aback by the idea of a talking lion, he immediately recovered and responded, "I wish to capture you because I am the bravest man in all the land, and I want to show it by defeating the most terrifying beast in the forest."

When asked, the lion gave a knowing nod and remarked, "I see. But are you really certain that bravery entails triumphing over foes to display one's own strength? Also, is it about having the courage to do the right thing even when it's not easy?"

The lion's remarks were enough to intimidate and silence the man. Until then, he had never considered bravery in such a way. Perhaps he had been incorrect all along; real bravery, he concluded, lay in taking a position for what was right, not in winning an argument.

As they continued their conversation, the man picked up some important pointers from the lion about bravery and what it means to be a hero in the real world. When all was said and done, the man went home a more mature and self-aware individual who owed a debt of gratitude to the lion for teaching him the meaning of courage.

Standing up for what is right, even when doing so puts you in harm's way, is the essence of bravery, the story's takeaway.