The Golden Crab
: The Yellow Fairy Book
'Prinz Krebs,' from Griechische Mahrchen. Schmidt.
Once upon a time there was a fisherman who had a wife and three
children. Every morning he used to go out fishing, and whatever
fish he caught he sold to the King. One day, among the other
fishes, he caught a golden crab. When he came home he put all
the fishes together into a great dish, but he kept the Crab
separate because it shone so beautifully,
nd placed it upon a
high shelf in the cupboard. Now while the old woman, his wife,
was cleaning the fish, and had tucked up her gown so that her
feet were visible, she suddenly heard a voice, which said:
'Let down, let down thy petticoat
That lets thy feet be seen.'
She turned round in surprise, and then she saw the little
creature, the Golden Crab.
'What! You can speak, can you, you ridiculous crab?' she said,
for she was not quite pleased at the Crab's remarks. Then she
took him up and placed him on a dish.
When her husband came home and they sat down to dinner, they
presently heard the Crab's little voice saying, 'Give me some
too.' They were all very much surprised, but they gave him
something to eat. When the old man came to take away the plate
which had contained the Crab's dinner, he found it full of gold,
and as the same thing happened every day he soon became very fond
of the Crab.
One day the Crab said to the fisherman's wife, 'Go to the King
and tell him I wish to marry his younger daughter.'
The old woman went accordingly, and laid the matter before the
King, who laughed a little at the notion of his daughter marrying
a crab, but did not decline the proposal altogether, because he
was a prudent monarch, and knew that the Crab was likely to be a
prince in disguise. He said, therefore, to the fisherman's wife,
'Go, old woman, and tell the Crab I will give him my daughter if
by to-morrow morning he can build a wall in front of my castle
much higher than my tower, upon which all the flowers of the
world must grow and bloom.'
The fisherman's wife went home and gave this message.
Then the Crab gave her a golden rod, and said, 'Go and strike
with this rod three times upon the ground on the place which the
King showed you, and to-morrow morning the wall will be there.'
The old woman did so and went away again.
The next morning, when the King awoke, what do you think he saw?
The wall stood there before his eyes, exactly as he had bespoken
Then the old woman went back to the King and said to him, 'Your
Majesty's orders have been fulfilled.'
'That is all very well,' said the King, 'but I cannot give away
my daughter until there stands in front of my palace a garden in
which there are three fountains, of which the first must play
gold, the second diamonds, and the third brilliants.'
So the old woman had to strike again three times upon the ground
with the rod, and the next morning the garden was there. The
King now gave his consent, and the wedding was fixed for the very
Then the Crab said to the old fisherman, 'Now take this rod; go
and knock with it on a certain mountain; then a black man will
come out and ask you what you wish for. Answer him thus: ''Your
master, the King, has sent me to tell you that you must send him
his golden garment that is like the sun.'' Make him give you,
besides, the queenly robes of gold and precious stones which are
like the flowery meadows, and bring them both to me. And bring
me also the golden cushion.'