Androcles and the Porcupine

And so it came to pass that Androcles, while strolling through the woods, happened upon a porcupine. The poor creature was covered with sharp quills stuck into every part of its body yet, bravely, exhibited no expression of pain.

Androcles, overcome by sadness and compassion, began pulling out the quills one by one. Although his effort surely must have relieved some of the porcupine’s pain, it also resulted in considerable blood loss for the rodent.

Alarmed at the bleeding, Androcles prepared to clean and dress the wounds when the creature began shaking and flinging razor-sharp spines his way.

His feelings were damaged even more than his body and Androcles watched—stunned—as the porcupine casually waddled away.

At that moment, a fierce lion appeared with a roar that sent Androcles flying. In seconds, he was frightened, bleeding and cornered by a ferocious beast. The end seemed near.

The lion looked at the quivering man, the quills and the blood. He began removing the quills from Androcles. With deep gratitude, Androcles vowed to quit his hobby of big game hunting after bagging one last lion.

Moral: Don’t do anything until you know what’s going on. Corollary: You never really know what’s going on.