the man and the crab

A man was walking across a desert-
as he walked, he did not wonder how he found himself there
or where he was going
or how long it would take to arrive.
He did not notice his thirst
or peril,
moving foot by foot,
following a blind power to keep moving.

After some time had passed, a crab came to follow him in the sand.
The crab said to the man,
I will follow you.
I do not know where I am going,
and I seek water and shelter from this heat.

The man turned to the crab, fiercely shouting,
Go! I am blind with hunger.
I follow no path.
I know no water.
I will eat you if you follow.

Still the crab persisted.
But I must! There is no one else to lead.

I am only a small crab in a huge desert.
Eat me if you will, but until then I will follow in your shadow.

The man shouted again, and kicked sand.
Still the crab did not go.
The man grew silent, weakened from his outburst.
He turned and continued walking, the crab following behind.

After many, many miles, the man stopped and turned.
The crab froze, preparing to be eaten.
Then the crab said,
Thank you. You have been a kind and good leader.

The man said,
I do not understand why you follow me blindly.
I have been neither kind nor good and I have no strength to care for you.
I will not eat you, but I must cross this desert alone.

The crab heard him, then gazed ahead and scurried past the man,
saying nothing.

The man watched the crab move ahead, alone in the blazing sun.
He watched until it was out of sight, then fell to his knees in tears.
He did not know why he cried, but knew that without the crab he would not continue on.

After a moment, he stood again and yelled out,
Wait! I am coming! Please wait!
He ran ahead, his eyes desperate and looking.
He said,
You have already been my food.
Your companionship on this journey sustains me.

He ran faster, shouting
Forgive me!

And in that moment he saw the sea.



Filed under gifts, lisa goettel, writing

4 responses to “the man and the crab

  1. SandySays1

    Good study in the human minds perception versus the way it deals with reality.

  2. Emund Coppinger

    Dear Lisa, Thanks for The Man and the Crab, a powerful parable. I hear the question; What am I willing to risk, and how can I pare or cut away distractions so as to focus on the essential ? It seems too powerful for me, yet I can’t ‘
    “rest” here, something draws me on. Ed

  3. Linda R. Jones

    Good lord — I wept reading this, and I don’t know why.

    I love you, Miss Lisa.


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