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The Giant Crab and Other Tales from Old India   By: (1863-1950)

The Giant Crab and Other Tales from Old India by W. H. D. (William Henry Denham) Rouse

First Page:

THE GIANT CRAB And Other Tales from Old India

Retold by W. H. D. ROUSE

Illustrated by W. Robinson

London David Nutt, 270 271, Strand 1897


To the Studious or Scientific Reader

I hope no one will imagine this to be a scientific book. It is meant to amuse children; and if it succeeds in this, its aim will be hit. Thus the stories here given, although grounded upon the great Buddhist collection named below, have been ruthlessly altered wherever this would better suit them for the purpose in view; and probably some of them Buddha himself would fail to recognise.

My thanks are due to the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press for permitting the use of their translation of the Jataka Book; [1] from which comes the groundwork of the stories, and occasionally a phrase or a versicle is borrowed. To this work I refer all scholars, folk lorists and scientific persons generally: warning them that if they plunge deeper into these pages, they will be horribly shocked.



The Giant Crab 1 The Hypocritical Cat 6 The Crocodile and the Monkey 9 The Axe, the Drum, the Bowl, and the Diamond 14 The Wise Parrot and the Foolish Parrot 26 The Dishonest Friend 30 The Mouse and the Farmer 34 The Talkative Tortoise 38 The Monkeys and the Gardener 41 The Goblin and the Sneeze 45 The Grateful Beasts and the Ungrateful Prince 49 The Goblin in the Pool 56 The Foolish Farmer and the King 59 The Pious Wolf 62 Birds of a Feather 64 Spend a Pound to Win a Penny 68 The Cunning Crane and the Crab 70 Union is Strength 77 Silence is Golden 80 The Great Yellow King and his Porter 82 The Quail and the Falcon 86 Pride Must Have a Fall 88 The Bold Beggar 95 The Jackal Would A Wooing Go 97 The Lion and the Boar 102 The Goblin City 106 Lacknose 111 The King's Lesson 114


Once upon a time there was a lake in the mountains, and in that lake lived a huge Crab. I daresay you have often seen crabs boiled, and put on a dish for you to eat; and perhaps at the seaside you have watched them sidling away at the bottom of a pool. Sometimes a boy or girl bathing in the sea gets a nip from a crab, and then there is squeaking and squealing. But our Crab was much larger than these; he was the largest Crab ever heard of; he was bigger than a dining room table, and his claws were as big as an armchair. Fancy what it must be to have a nip from such claws as those!

Well, this huge Crab lived all alone in the lake. Now the different animals that lived in the wild mountains used to come to that lake to drink; deer and antelopes, foxes and wolves, lions and tigers and elephants. And whenever they came into the water to drink, the great Crab was on the watch; and one of them at least never went up out of the water again. The Crab used to nip it with one of his huge claws and pull it under, and then the poor beast was drowned, and made a fine dinner for the big Crab... Continue reading book >>

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