The Yellow Fairy Book
The Golden Crab
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, and 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,
'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
'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
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