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Rabbit and The Crab

Once upon a time the rabbit teamed up with the crab to grow some carrots. They worked for several days together in harmony. First they chose the seed and then they planted it. Then they took care of the young plants, the two of them always in agreement. They harvested the crop and separated the tops from the carrots.

But the arguments began when the time came to divide the crop. The rabbit wanted to deceive the crab with sweet talk:

"See? We have two piles there, a big one and a little one. You can have the big one and I'll take the small one."

After seeing that the big pile was of tops and the small one was of carrots, the crab answered:

"Thank you very much, my dear friend, but I like to be fair. Let's divide the two piles in half, I'll divide and you choose, or you divide and I'll choose, as you prefer. What do you say?"

"No, no! I can't agree," said the rabbit. Let's walk some thirty paces from here and we'll come back running. The first one to get there gets the carrots and the other one gets the tops. What do you say?"

"Well, all right, it seems fair to me," answered the crab.

"Finally we're in agreement!" said the rabbit. He was very happy, because he was sure he was going to win: "I'm so pleased about this, that if you win, I'm prepared to give you all the carrots and all the tops. Do you agree?"

"I agree!" repeated the crab.

"There's one other thing," said the rabbit, "since I know you're slower than me, I'm going to give you a ten-pace handicap."

"No, that's too much! I can't accept that," said the crab, pretending that he didn't want to take advantage of him. "You're the one that ought to have a ten-pace handicap. I won't take no for an answer."

"I accept, I accept," the rabbit hastened to answer, not wanting to contradict him, and glad to do what he asked. That way the other fellow wouldn't get angry, and he threw himself in behind the crab.

With this agreement they went together in a friendly fashion to the place where the race was going to start. The rabbit went ahead to take the ten-pace handicap. But, as soon as he turned his back, the crab, who was neither slow nor lazy, seized the rabbit's tail with his claws, without him realizing it.

When they came to where the carrots were, the rabbit turned around thinking that he had left the crab far behind. But then the crab opened his claws and fell real quietly on top of the carrots.

"Where are you, friend?" the rabbit asked happily when he didn't see him anywhere.

"Here I am!" answered the crab behind him.

The rabbit jumped with surprise and then stood frozen in his tracks, not believing what he saw. There was the crab, climbing over the piles of carrots:

"Here I am! And I got here before you did!"

That day was the first time ever that the rabbit lost. He was very sad because he could not understand how the crab got ahead of him. That's how the crab got to keep the carrots.

This was the story of the rabbit and the crab.

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The Indigenous Peoples' Literature pages were researched and organized by Glenn Welker.