Don't you come near my wife, do you hear...

Androcles and the Lion

Androcles

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(quaking, but keeping between the lion and Megaera)_ Don't you come near my wife, do you hear? (The lion groans. Androcles can hardly stand for trembling) Meggy, run. Run for your life. If I take my eye off him, it’s all up. (The lion holds up his wounded paw and flaps it piteously before Androcles) Oh, he's lame, poor old chap! He's got a thorn in his paw. A frightfully big thorn. (Full of sympathy) Oh, poor old man! Did um get an awful thorn into um's tootsums wootsums? Has it made um too sick to eat a nice little Christian man for um's breakfast? Oh, a nice little Christian man will get um's thorn out for um; and then um shall eat the nice Christian man and the nice Christian man's nice big tender wifey pifey. (The lion responds by moans of self-pity) Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Now, now (taking the paw in his hand) um is not to bite and not to scratch, not even if it hurts a very, very little. Now make velvet paws. That's right. (He pulls gingerly at the thorn. The lion, with an angry yell of pain, jerks back his paw so abruptly that Androcles is thrown on his back) Steadeee! Oh, did the nasty cruel little Christian man hurt the sore paw? (The lion moans assentingly but apologetically) Well, one more little pull and it will be all over. Just one little, little, leetle pull; and then um will live happily ever after. (He gives the thorn another pull. The lion roars and snaps his jaws with a terrifying clash) Oh, mustn't frighten um's good kind doctor, um's affectionate nursey. That didn't hurt at all: not a bit. Just one more. Just to show how the brave big lion can bear pain, not like the little crybaby Christian man. Oopsh! (The thorn comes out. The lion yells with pain, and shakes his paw wildly) That's it! (Holding up the thorn) Now it's out. Now lick um's paw to take away the nasty inflammation. See? (He licks his own hand. The lion nods intelligently and licks his paw industriously) Clever little liony-piony! Understands um's dear old friend Andy Wandy. (The lion licks his face) Yes, kissums Andy Wandy. (The lion, wagging his tail violently, rises on his hind legs and embraces Androcles, who makes a wry face and cries) Velvet paws! Velvet paws! (The lion draws in his claws) That's right. (He embraces the lion, who finally takes the end of his tail in one paw, places that tight around Androcles' waist, resting it on his hip. Androcles takes the other paw in his hand, stretches out his arm, and the two waltz rapturously round and round and finally away through the jungle)

George Bernard Shaw, Androcles and the Lion, 1912, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/AndroclesandtheLion(Shaw)/Prologue

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