Crane and the Crab
a time, there was a crane who lived near a small pond. Right next
to the pond was a big tree with a fairy living in it. He learned
by observing the various animals.
also many small fish living in the small pond. The crane was in
the habit of picking up fish with his beak and eating them. Since
there happened to be a drought in the area, the water level in
the pond was becoming lower and lower. This made it easier for
the crane to catch fish. In fact, he was even getting to be a
crane discovered that no matter how easy it was to catch fish,
and no matter how many he ate, he was never completely satisfied.
But he did not learn from this. Instead, he decided that if he
ate all the fish in the pond, then he would find true happiness.
"The more the merrier!" he said to himself.
to catch all the fish in the pond, the crane thought up a clever
plan. He would trick the fish, and deceive them into trusting
him. Then when they trusted him the most, he would gobble them
up. He was very pleased with himself for thinking up such a trick.
To begin with,
the crane sat down on the shore. He remained quietly in one position,
just like a holy man in the forest. This was intended to get the
fish to trust him.
The fish came
to him and asked. "Sir crane, what are you thinking?"
The holy-looking crane answered, "Oh my dear fish, it makes
me sad to think of your future. I am thinking about the coming
"My lord, what disaster is coming to us?" To which the
crane replied, "Look around you! There is very little water
left in this pond. You are also running out of food to eat. This
severe drought is very dangerous for you poor little ones."
Then the fish
asked, "Dear uncle crane, what can we do to save ourselves?"
"My poor little children," said the crane, "you
must trust me and do as I say. If you allow me to pick you up
in my beak, I will take you, one at a time to another pond. That
pond is much bigger than this one. It is filled with water and
covered with lovely lotuses. It will be like a paradise for you!"
heard the part about the beak, the fish became a little suspicious.
They said, "Mr. Crane, how can we believe you? Since the
beginning of the world, there has never been a crane who wanted
to help fish. Cranes have put fish in their beaks only to eat
them. This must be a trick. Or else you must be joking!"
then raised his head and made himself look as dignified as possible.
He said, "Please don't think such a thing. Can't you see
that I am a very special crane? You should trust me. But if you
don't believe me, send one fish with me and I will show him the
beautiful pond. Then when I bring him back here, you will know
I can be trusted."
The fish said
to each other, "This crane looks so dignified. He sounds
like an honest crane. But just in case it's a trick, let us send
with him a useless little troublemaker fish. This will be a test."
Then they found a young fish who was known for playing hooky from
school. They pushed him towards the shore.
bent his head and picked up the little one in his beak. Then he
spread his wings and flew to a big tree on the shore of a beautiful
big pond. Just as he had said, it was covered with lovely lotuses.
The fish was amazed to see such a wonderful place. Then the crane
carried him back to his poor old pond, just as he had promised.
the little fish described the wonders of the beautiful big pond.
Hearing this, all the other fish became very excited and rushed
to be the first to go.
The first lucky passenger was that same useless little troublemaker.
Again the crane picked him up in his beak and flew to the big
tree on the shore of the beautiful new pond. The little one was
sure the helpful crane was about to drop him into the wonderful
pond. But instead, the crane suddenly killed him, gobbled up his
flesh, and let the bones fall to the ground.
returned to the old pond, brought the next little fish to the
same tree, and ate him in the same way. Likewise, one by one,
he gobbled up every last fish!
so stuffed with fish meat that he had trouble flying back to the
little pond. He saw that there were no more fish left for him
to trick and eat. Then he noticed a lonely crab crawling along
the muddy shore. And he realized that he was still not completely
So he walked
over to the crab and said, "My dear crab, I have kindly carried
all the fish to a wonderful big pond not far from here. Why do
you wish to remain here alone? If you simply do as the fish have
done, and let me pick you up in my beak, I will gladly take you
there. For your own good, please trust me."
But the crab
thought, "There is no doubt this over-stuffed crane has eaten
all those fish. His belly is so full he can hardly stand up straight.
He definitely cannot be trusted! If I can get him to carry me
to a new pond and put me in it, so much the better. But if he
tries to eat me, I will have to cut off his head with my sharp
Then the crab
said, "My friend crane, I am afraid I am much too heavy for
you to carry in your beak. You would surely drop me along the
way. Instead, I will grab onto your neck with my eight legs, and
then you can safely carry me to my new home."
was so used to playing tricks on others, that he did not imagine
he would be in any danger even though the crab would be
grasping him by the throat. Instead he thought, "Excellent!
This will give me a chance to eat the sweet meat of this foolish
So the crane
permitted the crab to grab onto his neck with all eight legs.
In addition, he grasped the crane's neck with his sharp claws.
He said, "Now kindly take me to the new pond."
crane, with his neck in the clutches of the crab, flew to the
same big tree next to the new pond.
Then the crab said, "Hey you stupid crane, have you lost
your way? You have not taken me to the pond. Why don't you take
me to the shore and put me in?"
said, "Who are you calling stupid? I don't have to take that
from you. You're not my relative. I suppose you thought you tricked
me into giving you a free ride. But I'm the clever one. Just look
at all those fish bones under this tree. I've eaten all the fish,
and now I'm going to eat you too, you stupid crab!"
The crab replied,
"Those fish were eaten because they were foolish enough to
trust you. But no one would trust you now. Because you tricked
the fish, you have become so conceited you think you can trick
anyone. But you can't fool me. I have you by the throat. So if
one dies, we both die!"
Then the crane
realized the danger he was in. He begged the crab, "Oh my
lord crab, please release me. I have learned my lesson. You can
trust me. I have no desire to eat such a handsome crab as you."
Then he flew
down to the shore and continued, "Now please release me.
For your own good, please trust me."
But this old
crab had been around. He realized the crane could not be trusted
no matter what he said. He knew that if he let go of the crane,
he would be eaten for sure. So he cut through his neck with his
claws, just like a knife through butter! And the crane's head
fell on the ground. Then the crab crawled safely into the wonderful