One day the land crabs had a meeting. One of them said: "What shall
we do with the waves? They sing all the time so loudly that we cannot
possibly sleep well at night." "Do you not think it would be well
for all of us males to go down and fight them?" asked the eldest of
the crabs. "Yes," all replied. "Well, to-morrow all the males must
get ready to go."
The next day they started to go down to the sea. On the way they met
the shrimp. "Where are you going, my friends?" asked the shrimp. The
crabs answered: "We are going to fight the waves, because they will
not let us sleep at night."
"I don't think you will win the battle," said the shrimp. "The waves
are very strong, while your legs are so weak that your bodies bend
almost to the ground when you walk," and he laughed. The crabs were
so angry at his scorn that they ran at the shrimp and pinched him
until he promised to help them in the battle.
When they reached the shore, the crabs looked at the shrimp and said:
"Your face is turned the wrong way, friend shrimp," and they laughed
at him, for crabs are much like other people, and think they are the
only ones who are right. "Are you ready to fight with the waves? What
weapon have you?"
"My weapon," replied the shrimp, "is a spear on my head." Just then
he saw a large wave coming, and ran away; but the crabs, who were
all looking towards the shore, did not see it, and were killed.
The wives of the dead crabs wondered why their husbands did not come
home. They thought the battle must be a long one, and decided to go
down and help their husbands. As they reached the shore and entered
the water to look for their husbands, the waves killed them.
A short time afterwards, thousands of little crabs, such as are now
called fiddlers, were found near the shore. When these children were
old enough to walk, the shrimp often visited them and related to them
the sad fate of their parents. And so, if you will watch carefully
the fiddlers, you will notice that they always seem ready to run back
to the land, where their forefathers lived, and then, as they regain
their courage, they rush down, as if about to fight the waves. But
they always lack the courage to do so, and continually run back and
forth. They live neither on dry land, as their ancestors did, nor in
the sea, like the other crabs, but up on the beach, where the waves
wash over them at high tide and try to dash them to pieces.