By Manoshi de Silva There was once a little crab, who lived under a rock. He lived all alone because, he didn’t trust anyone and he was always afraid of others. So he didn’t like talking with anyone or being near them. He felt bored and lonely all the time. So one day he decided [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Little Crab and The Shell


By Manoshi de Silva
There was once a little crab, who lived under a rock. He lived all alone because, he didn’t trust anyone and he was always afraid of others. So he didn’t like talking with anyone or being near them. He felt bored and lonely all the time. So one day he decided to take a short walk away from his home.

When he came out of his rock, some fish came swimming his way. They turned their big shiny eyes and looked at him curiously. “They are going to harm me!” thought Little Crab. So he quickly got himself buried in the sand. The water turned murky and the fish swam away.
After everything turned quiet, Little Crab came out again. He took a few steps forward and a Jellyfish came near him. The Jellyfish started going around Little Crab, observing him. Little Crab felt scared. “I think he’s going to catch me!” he thought and quickly hid behind some sea-weed.

Little Crab decided to go back home. As soon as he turned around another creature with many legs came near him. It was an Octopus! He pointed one of his long tentacles at Little Crab and opened his mouth. “Oh, no! He’s going to swallow me!” thought Little Crab and ran back as fast as he could to his home; under the rock.

“I will never go anywhere again. It’s not safe!” thought Little Crab. But soon he got hungry and he had to go out in search of food. “I won’t go too far this time!” he promised himself. So he peeped from under his rock still feeling scared to come out. Just then he saw an empty sea-shell, shaped like a cone.

Little Crab went near it and crept under it. It fitted him perfectly.
“This is it,” thought Little Crab, “whenever I have to go out, I’ll go covered in this shell. Then no one can harm me!” So he went about happily, half hidden under the shell. Every time he heard someone coming near, he quickly went inside it and stood still,
till he felt safe to come out.

He soon got used to this shell. But there was one small problem. Sometimes it was difficult to see around clearly while wearing the shell. “But safety is more important than sightseeing!” decided Little Crab. The shell gave him confidence to go out a bit. But still he was lonely and bored.
One day Little Crab, in his ‘shell cover’, walked in search of food. He suddenly knocked onto something and stopped. “This must be a rock” he thought, unable to see clearly with the shell above his head. But the thing opened like a huge mouth. Little Crab got so scared and started to shiver. The shell fell off his head. “Please big-mouth, don’t eat me!” he pleaded.

“I am not a ‘big-mouth’! I am an Oyster!” laughed the creature, “Haven’t you seen an Oyster before?”
“No,” replied Little Crab, “I don’t walk too far from home!”
“Then I suppose you’ve also never seen a pearl!” said the Oyster and showed Little Crab a beautiful shiny pearl she had with her.
“That is so beautiful,” said Little Crab, “I’ve never seen anything so pretty!”
“But there are so many beautiful things around here!” said the Oyster.
“It’s difficult to see around because of the shell I’m carrying with me!” replied Little Crab.
“But why do you carry a shell?” asked the Oyster.
So Little Crab explained how he was worried about his safety.
Just then the Octopus came near them. Little Crab quickly grabbed the shell and covered himself.
“This is Mr. Octopus,” said the Oyster, “don’t you want to be introduced?”
“But he’ll eat me,” whispered Little Crab.
“Why would I eat you, you silly little Crab?” laughed the Octopus. “The other day I came near you to say ‘hello’, but you ran away so quickly!”
Both the Octopus and the Oyster laughed and Little Crab felt so silly.
So he apologized and started talking with the Octopus. He was surprised at how friendly both of them were.

Then the Jellyfish was swimming towards him. Before Little Crab could creep into his shell, the Octopus introduced him to the Jellyfish. “Yes, I remember seeing you once. I came near you to ask you if you’d like to play with me. But you disappeared before I could even talk,” said the Jellyfish. “So he was not trying to catch me. He was just being friendly,” thought Little Crab in surprise.

“Come with me,” said the Jellyfish, “I am going towards the corals. There are many beautiful things to see around there.” So Little Crab went along with the Jellyfish towards the coral reef. The Jellyfish introduce Little Crab to a lot of others; different types of Fish, Seahorses, Starfish and a lot of other new friends.

By the end of the day, Little Crab had more friends than he could count. He went back home happily. He was surprised at how friendly and nice everyone was. “Hello Little Crab, how was your day?’ shouted the Oyster.

“It was great. Thank you for making friends with me and introducing me around. I am truly surprised at how friendly everyone here is!”
“Well, I guess they always wanted to make friends with you,” said the Oyster, “but you were always avoiding them. So you never really got a chance to get to know them!”

“I was always shy and afraid to come out of my shell. I know there are dangers which I should avoid, but at the same time I was wrong to think that everyone was bad!” said Little Crab. The Oyster laughed and said, “well, you don’t need that shell now or to be shy anymore. Now that you know everyone around here, you will never be lonely again!”

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