Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
141. THE SNAKE AND THE CRAB
Perry 196 (Chambry
A snake and a crab had become friends and were living together. The crab
had a straightforward character and he urged the snake to change his wicked
ways but the snake refused to follow the crab's good advice. So the crab
kept an eye on the snake and when he found him sleeping he grabbed the
snake by the neck and squeezed him to death between his claws. As he was
dying, the snake stretched out straight. The crab then remarked, 'Hey,
if you had been this straightforward to begin with, I would not have had
to punish you for your crooked behaviour!'
This fable shows that people who treat their friends deceitfully end
up hurting themselves instead.
Note: A version of this story is cited by Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae
15.50, as an Athenian drinking song. For the proverbially crooked crab,
see Fable 369.
Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura
Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.