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Aesop's Fables: Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)

16. A LION AND A MOUSE (Perry 150)

Upon the roaring of a Beast in the Wood, a Mouse ran presently out to see what News: and what was it but a Lion hamper’d in a Net! This Accident brought to her mind, how that she her self, but some few Days before, had fall’n under the Paw of a certain generous Lion, that let her go again. Upon a strict Enquiry into the Matter, she found this to be that very Lion, and so set herself presently to work upon the Couplings of the Net, gnaw’d the Threads to pieces, and in Gratitude deliver’d her Preserver.
THE MORAL Without good Nature and Gratitude, Men had as good live in a Wilderness as in a Society. There is no Subject so inconsiderable, but his Prince, at some time or other may have occasion for him: and it holds through the whole Scale of the Creation, that the Great and Little have need one of another.

L'Estrange originally published his version of the fables in 1692. There is a very nice illustrated edition in the Children's Classics series by Knopf: Sir Roger L'Estrange. Aesop - Fables which is available at amazon.com.