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One day, an old crane stood at the edge of a large lake on a warm summer day. He did not make any attempt to catch fish. Suddenly, he spotted a crab and started crying. A curious crab approached him and asked, “Why are you crying, Mr. Crane? Don’t you want to catch any fish from the lake?”
The crane turned back and replied to the crab, “I have given up hunting. Today I found out that the lake is going to dry up very soon due to severe drought. I heard a prophecy that it wouldn’t rain for the next few years. I’m crying because all the animals in the lake will die very soon.”
Ordinarily, the crab would not have trusted the crane, because he was the enemy of the fish, but he was worried by the news. He went inside the lake and informed the fish about the prophecy. Everyone panicked and did not know what to do next. One of the fish said, “I have noticed that the old crane has given up hunting. Since he knows about the prophecy, why don’t we seek his help to find a solution to our problem?”
The crab and the other fish agreed with this suggestion. They approached the crane and asked for his guidance.
The wicked crane smiled. His cunning plan was succeeding. He addressed the fishes in a sympathetic tone. “I know a huge lake on the other side of the forest that will not dry, even if it does not rain for many years. I can carry one fish in my beak to the new lake every day. Soon all of you will have a new home.”
The fishes and the crab were fooled by the crane’s words and trusted his suggestion. They agreed and requested him to transport them to the new lake. Instead of transporting the fish, the cunning crane flew only a short distance and descended to a large rock. He then smashed the fish against it, killing it instantly, ate the flesh quietly, and returned to the lake late in the evening.
Whenever the other fish enquired about life in the new lake, the crane would lie and assure them that their friends were having a grand time in their new home. One day the crab approached the crane and said, “Mr. Crane, I am disappointed. You always carry the fish, but you have never offered to carry me to the new lake.”
The crane thought, “I am bored of eating fish. Maybe carrying this stupid crab would not be such a bad idea after all. I will enjoy eating this crab today, and from tomorrow, I can start eating the fish again.”
The crane asked the crab to sit on his back. While they were flying over the large rock, the crab noticed a large number of fish bones scattered around it.
The clever crab immediately guessed the crane’s cunning plan. He said innocently, “Mr. Crane, you must be tired. Why don’t we rest for a while?”
The fiendish crane boasted, “There is no new lake. You are about to die. I’m going to eat you!”
The crab did not lose his presence of mind. He grabbed the crane’s throat and squeezed it hard. The crane tried to fight back, but the crab choked it to death. The crab went back to the lake and said, “There is no new lake. The wicked crane tricked us and killed our friends, but he is dead now. We should never believe the promises of our enemy.”