The Crab that played with the Sea
This is the story of the Crab that played with the sea..
and it happened Just So.
Long Ago before the High and Far Off times there was the time of the Very Beginning.
This was the time when the Eldest Magician was getting the world ready for all to enjoy.
First he got the Earth ready.
Then he got the Sea ready.
Then one by one he showed every animal in the world the part it should play in the pattern of things.
And by evening he had told just about all the birds and beasts and fishes the play they were to play.
Then he came upon Man with his Little Girl Daughter and said..
Now it is time for YOU to play your part.
I will make all the animals in the world obey you if you promise to always care for them properly.
I promise that I shall and my Little Girl Daughter will help me.
Lurking nearby was the gigantic Pau Amma King of Crabs and he said..
Huh, he thought, I will never obey this son of Adam.
I will play my own play alone in the deepest water in the world.
But the Little Girl Daughter saw him slip away and kept the memory of it safe in her mind's eye.
Thinking that he had given orders to absolutely every animal on Earth the Eldest Magician decided to see that all the animals were playing properly.
He looked North to the Elephant.
Is this Right? said the Elephant. That is quite right said the Eldest Magician and created the great Himalayan Mountains.
He looked East to the Cow.. is this right?
That is quite right said the Eldest Magician and created the Indian and Sahara deserts.
He looked West to the Beaver. IS this right? said the Beaver.
That is quite right said the Eldest Magician and created the Everglades in Florida.
He looked South to the Turtle. Is this Right? said the Turtle.
That is quite right said the Eldest Magician and create the beautiful Malay Archipelago.
Ho, son of Adam, are all the animals obedient to you? Yes, said the Man.
And are you taking care of them? Yes, said the Man.
Is all the Earth obedient to you? Yes, said the Man.
Is all the Sea obedient to you? NO said the Man.
Once a Day and Once a Night the sea runs up the Peraq River causing much harm and alarm.
Once a Day and Once a Night the river runs back to the Sea leaving Death and Destruction.
Really, well this is a VERY bad thing, somebody is playing with the Sea.
Who dares to disobey my commands.
Then all the birds and beasts and fishes said..
Not us Eldest Magician we play the plays you taught us but non of us would EVER play with the Sea.
Ho Fisher of the Moon boomed the Eldest Magician. Are you playing with the Sea?
I am too busy trying to catch the world on my hook.
And you rate o the moon, Are you playing with the Sea?
No said the Rat I am too busy trying to bite through the line of this Old Fisherman.
Then the Little Girl Daughter said. At the time of the Very Beginning I saw one beast who went away naughtily into the Sea, before you had taught him his play.
He was huge and round with strong armour upon his back, his eyes grew on stalks,
and he walked sideways, like this!
Aaah wisest of Humans, said the Eldest Magician I think it's time we talked to Pau Amma.
Come out Pau Amma and explain what you have been doing.
Go Away, I'm doing no harm. Once a day and once a night I go out to look for food.
Once a day and once a night I return. Surely that is of no consequence.
LOOK said the Magician, your movements are of GREAT consequence.
When you go out the waters of the Sea sink and the rivers shrink back from the shores.
When you come back waters of the Sea rise and flood the land causing much harm and alarm.
HO HO said Pau Amma I never knew I was so important in future I shall go out SEVEN times
a day and the waters shall never be still.
And the Eldest Magician grew angry you know that I cannot force youth play properly because you escaped me at the Very Beginning. However.. I COULD make a bargain with you.
So come up and face me - unless you are afraid of course.
I am the most important creature in the world. Tell me of your bargain.
Attend Closely said the Eldest Magician .
For the first part begins like THIS!
OH no gasped Pau Amma without my hard shell I am not important at all.
I am so soft that everyone from Sharks to Dog Fish will try to eat me.
And I'm so big that the only place to hide is in the deepest water in the heart of the sea.
Oh Please, Please tell me of the rest of your bargain.
Well I could make every hole and bunch of weed a safe place for you to hide.
I could make the dry land a safe place for you to scuttle around in, said the Man.
I could give you these golden scissors so you could hunt for food and defend yourself.
That is all very well said the Not-So-Important King Crab.
But without my hard shell all these things are of no use to me.
Tell me what I must do as my part of the bargain.
You must accept your shell back again said the Magician.
But this time it will remain hard for only eleven months of the year.
During the twelfth month it will go all soft as it is now to remind you that
I am the all powerful maker of the world and YOU are only a crab.
And should play your part along with everyone else,
Well that all sounds fair enough said Pau Amma I shall keep my part of the bargain and accept my shell back again.
And we, smiled the Magician, will keep our side of the bargain too.
Then the tiny Pau Amma, smallest of all King Crabs said,
I can hide in the seaweed. I can breath the fresh air, I can crack nuts.
That was well done, said the Man, but now without Pau Amma's great wave to help us I shall have to paddle back home and it's SUCH a long way.
You are LAZY said the Magician, so you and your children's children will always be called "Malazy"
The Lazy People. But I owe your Little Girl Daughter a kindness.
So Fisherman, Pull this Lazy Man's Canoe home with your line.
Was that right? said the fisherman.
That was quite right , said the Eldest Magician.
See now that you pull the Sea twice a day and twice a night to save the Malazy having to paddle in and out of the Perak River.
And ever since that day the Moon has pulled the sea up and down in what we call tides.
And as for Pau Amma's children's children they skittle safely from seaweed to stones frightening off naughty children who try to catch them.
And once a year their hard shell turns soft, precisely as the Eldest Magician warned it would when he
cut Pau Amma down to size.