Crane and the Crab
upon 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
were 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 little fat!
the 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.
In order 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
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
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 miserable
said, "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."
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!"
they 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!"
crane 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."
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.
crane 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.
home, 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
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.
crane 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!
became 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
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."
the crab thought, "There is no doubt this overstuffed
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 claws."
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."
crane 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
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."
foolish 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?"
crane 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 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!"
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."
he flew down to the shore and continued, "Now
please release me. For your own good, please trust
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 pond.
the inquisitive fairy had also come to the new pond
and seen all that had happened. Sitting on the very
top of the big tree, he said for all the gods to hear: