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Adapted from Aesop’s THE SNAKE AND THE CRAB

Updated on April 8, 2012
The fable of the Snake and the Crab in the 1470s Medici Manuscript -The Snake and the Crab in Ancient Greece was the equivalent of the modern idiom, 'Pot calling the kettle black'.
The fable of the Snake and the Crab in the 1470s Medici Manuscript -The Snake and the Crab in Ancient Greece was the equivalent of the modern idiom, 'Pot calling the kettle black'. | Source

A snake and a crab had become friends and were living together. Their home was an environment that suited them both, for it was halfway between the sea and vegetation.She could go to the edge of the shore to find a worm or some seaweed, and he would find his eggs, mice and other carnivorous treats within the undergrowth of the trees.

“Snake my dear”, she initiated, “why do you always have to warp yourself to find your food?”

“Problem”, he hissed back, “yes”, she quickly snapped. “I just don’t get why you cannot simply go up to your food and eat it, it is so annoying watching you twist and turn, confusing your prey.I think it is quite wicked the way you tease and play with your food before you eat it”.

She watched the snake recoil itself back from her.He then extended his head right up to hers and held it, firmly holding her gaze. “Sss so, you don’t like the way I move”, with that, still holding her stare, he began moving his bottom half from left to right.This agitated her and she began to snap her claws.

“Do you think you are any different? I move from side to side just like you, see. You are just jealous because you’re not so flexible like me”.

“Stop being so contorted!” she was struggling to keep herself still, and as he was moving his body, she found herself swaying from side to side as well.

“No!I’ll move the way I want, you prig!”, retorted the snake.

His movements were making her become dizzy; she felt as if she was being toyed with and knew in that moment, he would not be taking her advice. So she grabbed the snake by the neck and snapped “one’s comrade should be straight and not think twisted thoughts”.With that she squeezed him between her claws.

As he was dying, she began to see that he was stretching out straight. He held him in mid air, his head above her claw and then placed him on the ground.In this moment she felt regret for she realised that he had the form of a straight creature, even more so than her. She nudged his form with her claw and there was no reaction, no coiling, and no twisting. With his last breath the snake hissed “you now have me as you want me”.

The crab regretting the punishment she had dealt to the snake lay down by her companion and said “this would never have happened, if you had but lived as straight as you died”.


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