Children

The crafty crane

Illustration: Satheesh Vellinezhi  

In a forest was a pond filled with fish. One day, a crane flew in and sat by the side of the pond, watching the fish swim around.

When the fish saw him, they asked, “What are you thinking about?”

The crane said, “Of you…”

The fish were surprised. “Why?”

“See how the water in your pond has dried up. Soon you will have nothing to eat and it is very hot too. What you will do?”

The fish cried out, “Oh yes, it is a great source of worry to us.”

“I know a fine, large pond with water where lotuses bloom in plenty. I can take you and put you in that pond.”

The fish were amazed. Never in all their lives had a crane thought so kindly about them. Trustingly, they agreed to be moved. Every time the crane returned, he regaled the others with the glories of the new pond. One by one, the crane carried away all the fish, until there was only a crab left.

A cunning crane and a crafty crab

The crane said, “Hi Crab! Would you too like to go to the other pond?” The crab had been watching the crane but had never trusted him.

“Oh yes,” said the crafty crab. “I would like to go too, but how will you carry me there?”

“In my beak, of course,” said the crane.

“You will drop me halfway through,” said the crab. The crane tried his best to convince the crab but to no avail.

Finally, the crab said, “I’ll tell you what, we crabs have a tight grip. I will hang on to your neck till we reach the pond.” The crane, so full of his success with the fish, never thought twice about the suggestion. The crab caught hold of the crane’s neck and they were off. The crane flew over a large pond, filled with lotuses, and veered towards a Varana tree.

“Crane, the pond lies that way,” said the crab.

“Oh! Does it?” sneered the crane. “You think I am your slave to carry you around? Look at the foot of the Varana tree. Can you see the fish bones? I have eaten all those foolish fish. Now I will eat you!”

The crab laughed and said, “I am not like the foolish, trusting fish. I will not let you eat me. Instead, I will destroy you. I will cut off your head with these pincers.” And he caught the crane’s neck in a vice-like grip. With tears in his eyes, the crane gasped, “Please, please let me live! I never intended to eat you.”

“In that case go to the pond and put me down there.” The crane turned around and placed the crab in the mud at the edge of the pond. But, the crab cut through the crane’s neck and walked into the water.


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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 5:03:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/the-crafty-crane/article35089104.ece

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