A Crab Tale
From Malaysia, we learn that in the days of long ago there was only one animal of each kind on the earth, but each of these was quite gigantic. For example, the First and Only Cow would graze on forests as if they were fields of grain. Although these animals were of tremendous size, they were also very gentle and most caused no harm to the people. The only exception was the First and Only Crab. This Crab did not look like the ones we are familiar with today. She lived in a huge hole at the bottom of the sea, and this was the problem When the First and Only Crab would leave her hole to search for food, the sea would rush in, and the water would pull away from he shore; and when she returned, she would squeeze all of the sea out of her hole, and the water would come way up the shore. This would happen several times a day, and nobody knew when it would occur. In some places the water level would change by 50 feet! This was a disaster for people who were trying to make a living by fishing, and it was dangerous for small children to play on the beaches.
When He-Who-Made-All-Things saw the plight of the people, he went down to the bottom of the sea to talk to the First and Only Crab. He told her of the harm she was causing, and he said she would have to stay in her hole from then on. But the Crab said that she would starve to death if she did that. "I am hungry all the time as it is, and live in fear of the sharks and other beasts." Then He-Who-Made-All-Things offered a solution. He said, "You must be regular in your habits. You will come out to search for food just twice each day, with these times a half a day apart. If you do as I say, you will always have enough to eat." The Crab made no reply. "Furthermore," said He-Who-Made-All-Things, "if you do as I say, you and your children and your children's children will have hard shells to protect you from the sharks, and you will have legs so you can walk on land as well as in the sea, and you will have strong claws for getting food and digging holes in the sand." First and Only Crab realized that this was an offer she could not refuse, and she quickly agreed to the bargain.
To make sure that the Crab would not forget her commitment, He-Who-Made-All-Things placed in the sky a Crab made out of stars. To this day, First and Only Crab leaves her hole her regular way that she promised. However, since she now always has more than enough food, she has gotten a bit lazy, and she is usually a little late with her comings and goings. Thus, the tides come a little later each day but the people know this is so, and they have learned to live with it.