Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The she-crab

The she-crab sensed the receding sun and the incoming night. The harshness of the day was gone. It was time!
She stepped out from her hole and cackled. The night was young and the evening breeze of the Bay of Bengal whished past her pincers. She paused and took in the breeze for some moments and looked around.

The humans were gone; some of the huge population of her neighbours was coming out for a tentative reconnaissance. Sensing that the beach was now theirs, scores and scores of her neighbours scuttled out. The sandy beach which lay plain suddenly transformed as though punctured. Holes of all shapes and sizes miraculously appeared in the hitherto unblemished sand as crabs poked their heads out of their lay.
Clack-clack-clickety-clack, went their pincers. They danced to the tune of the waves. The waves came across with full force of the high tide that night. The crabs scurried across in delight as the waves swept them to the shore and took them back in to the sea.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab
The few months old she-crab took in the atmosphere with a sense of wonder. She had only recently come ashore having spent her formative months in the sea. The giant things called humans were new to her and she was still getting used to the concept. The fact there was anything other than water in this world also took some getting used to.
Without the humans, and in the company of her own kind, she felt more secure. She took a few tentative steps across the sandy beach, sideways. One or two of her neighbours looked curiously in her direction. A new-comer, one who could be bullied, they concluded.

They came towards her trying to find out more. Her hole where she had stayed during the day was untenanted. The she-crab alarmed by the interest shown in her, rushed defensively back to her hole and buried herself up. The bullies paused, unsure what to do next. They lost interest and decided to focus on more pressing needs such as food.
After a certain lapse of time; slowly, with more caution, the she-crab poked her head out of her hole. Her stomach was rumbling. Making sure no one was paying any attention to her; she quietly observed her neighbours and their ways of catching food.

A small worm crawling near her abode caught her attention –a likely candidate for dinner. She hesitated, timid and unsure about leaving her abode. By the time she made up her mind to hunt the worm, it had vanished. She sat plaintively at the edge of her burrow taking in the activities of her fellow-crabs.  
Soon another worm presented itself to her as an opportunity. She made her way across before realizing she wasn’t the only one who had spotted the worm. Another of her neighbours was stalking the worm and he was closer to the potential prey. The she-crab’s stomach rumbled once more and she endeavoured to have her way. A feeling of competitiveness overcame her. Neither of the two crabs backed off as they proceeded in the direction of the worm. And then, it began!

The fight over the worm lasted a minute with other neighbours acting as curious though passive bystanders. Both attacked the other with their pincers. One blow after another was traded as they sparred brutally. However, the end came as swiftly as it began. One blow on the opponent’s pincers left him injured and he backed off. The worm was hers for the taking.
Sadly though, the worm had not stayed around to watch the conclusion of this sparring match. It had disappeared. The she-crab, not for the first time regretted her crab-like mentality.

However, the fight had not gone waste. She had earned the respect of her peers and could now stride confidently amongst the rest. She made swift progress - watching and learning with the others, digging into the sand and finding worms for her meal.
The waves continued to make roaring noises as it lashed the beach. She felt soothed in the music of the waves and the serenity of the moonlight. She had found her place in the clan and was now accepted.

Dawn was in the offing. It would soon be time to scuttle back into her hole before the humans polluted their space.

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