No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted – Aesop


If we help someone without expecting anything in return, the simple act of kindness is not wasted. And there may come a time when that act of kindness can be repaid in unexpected ways. We can make a very loyal friend by being kind and selfless.

Aesop was fond of this notion, and used it in the fable of Androcles and the Lion, and also the Mouse and the Lion.


A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled
to the forest.  As he was wandering about there he came upon a
Lion lying down moaning and groaning.  At first he turned to flee,
but finding that the Lion did not pursue him, he turned back and
went up to him.  As he came near, the Lion put out his paw, which
was all swollen and bleeding, and Androcles found that a huge
thorn had got into it, and was causing all the pain.  He pulled
out the thorn and bound up the paw of the Lion, who was soon able
to rise and lick the hand of Androcles like a dog.  Then the Lion
took Androcles to his cave, and every day used to bring him meat
from which to live.  But shortly afterwards both Androcles and the
Lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to
the Lion, after the latter had been kept without food for several
days.  The Emperor and all his Court came to see the spectacle,
and Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena.  Soon the
Lion was let loose from his den, and rushed bounding and roaring
towards his victim.  But as soon as he came near to Androcles he
recognised his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his hands
like a friendly dog.  The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned
Androcles to him, who told him the whole story.  Whereupon the
slave was pardoned and freed, and the Lion let loose to his native

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.


  The Lion and the Mouse

A LION was awakened from sleep by a Mouse running over his
face. Rising up angrily, he caught him and was about to kill
him, when the Mouse piteously entreated, saying:  “If you
would only spare my life, I would be sure to repay your
kindness.”  The Lion laughed and let him go.  It happened
shortly after this that the Lion was caught by some hunters,
who bound him by strong ropes to the ground.  The Mouse,
recognizing his roar, came and gnawed the rope with his teeth
and set him free, exclaiming:

“You ridiculed the idea of my ever being able to help you,
expecting to receive from me any repayment of your favor; now
you know that it is possible for even a Mouse to con benefits
on a Lion.”

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted – Aesop.


Perhaps a singing bird will come

green tree1

I thought this Aubrey Beardsley design (which is in the public domain, so can be used for free) was the perfect image to accompany an old Chinese proverb: “Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.”

To me, this means never give up hope, because good things will come if your heart is open to life, learning, nature and beauty.

This is also another of the little magnets I’ve made on Zazzle

My Zazzle items for Quotes and Inspiration

“Set me free, and I will teach you three precepts which will be of great use to you.”

A hunter once caught a bird that was very clever and able to speak seventy languages, and it thus addressed is captor, “Set me free, and I will teach you three precepts which will be of great use to you.”

“Tell me these rules, and I will set you free,” said the fowler.

“Swear to me first,” retorted the clever bird, “that you will keep your promise and in truth set me free.”

And when the man swore to keep his promise, the bird said, “My first precept is: Never rue anything that has happened. My second rule of conduct is: Never believe anything you are told that is impossible and beyond belief. My third precept is: Never try to reach something that is unattainable.”

Having spoken thus, the bird reminded the bird-catcher of his promise and asked him to set him free, and the man opened his hand and let the captive bird fly away.

The bird sat down on the top of a tree that was taller than all the other trees, and mockingly called to the man below, “Stupid man, you did allow me to fly away not knowing that a precious pearl was hidden in my body, a pearl that is the cause of my great wisdom.”

When the bird-catcher heard these words he greatly regretted having allowed the bird to fly away, and rushing up to the tree, he tried to climb it, but failing in his efforts he fell down and broke his legs.

The bird only laughed aloud, and said, “Stupid man! Not an hour has passed since I taught you three wise precepts, and you have already forgotten them. I told you never to rue anything that was past, and you did repent having set me free. I told you never to believe anything that was evidently beyond belief, and you were credulous enough to believe that I actually carried a costly pearl in my body. I am only a poor wild bird hourly in search of my nourishment. And finally, I advised you never to strive in vain after the unattainable, while you did try to catch a bird with your hands, and are now lying below with broken legs. It is of men of your kidney that the philosopher has said, ‘A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.’ [Proverbs, ch. 17, v. 10] But alas, you are no exception, for there are many men as unwise as yourself.”

And thus speaking, the wise bird flew away in search of nourishment.