The Story of the Prawn and the Crab
Storyteller: Arenla Subong
Translated by Arenla Subong
Once upon a time the prawn and the crab lived together in the river. They would laugh and make fun of each other, and yet they were great friends and they could not do without one another.
In the winter, the water flow was low in the river and the crab felt cold, so he decided to sunbathe near the river bank. The prawn suddenly appeared and started jumping about teasing the crab, “Oh crab, what are you doing? Can you jump like this? See how fast I am! See how smart I am!”
The crab replied, “Yes, I know you can jump about, but can you rest like this? Can you be out of the water like me and enjoy it for a while? Come friend, come and enjoy with me!” The two would make fun of each other like this, and whenever the crab wanted to rest, the prawn would come and disturb him saying, “Hey, look, look” Look at me! Can you do like this?” It was very irritating indeed. “Can you do like this? Look how smart I am!” the prawn would boast to the crab, and she would never let him rest.
In the olden days we would sing in rhyme, and the crab sang something like this, “Just look at me my friend! We are just for the people you know, those people will come and get us and eat us for dinner, so no need to make such a fuss, let us be happy while we are living.” So when the crab had finished telling the prawn that their purpose was to be there for other people’s supper, some villagers appeared carrying baskets made from bamboo which they would use in those days, and still today, for fishing. They came in a group, singing and the removed the stones, and dammed the water and when the water was low, they took everything from it. They took all the crabs from under the stones and the prawn and the crab from our story were picked up. Having taken everything from the river, the villagers went home and cooked and ate their catch- including both the crab and the prawn. So that was how their life ended, just the way the crab had predicted, making other people happy.