Frog and Crab Race

(Kunigami, Okinawa Island)

One night, a long time ago, a frog came out from a pond and went to a beach. Under a full moon, the frog met a crab on the silvery shinning sands.

"Hi, Mr. Frog, what a beautiful moonlight night!" the crab greeted the frog.

"Oh, Mr. Crab, how are you? How about having a race? As it's as bright as daytime."

The crab agreed and said, "Let's race to the root of the Adan over there."

Then the frog said, "I'm afraid that you're such a fast runner that I might not be able to follow you."

To this the crab suggested, "You can mount my back and then see how fast I can go. And when it's your turn to run, then do the same and carry me."


The frog agreed to this. The crab, with the frog on his back, ran faster than ever, just like a breeze across the pure moonlit sand. He was such a fast runner! Next the crab climbed onto the frog's back.

The frog jumped up high into the air shouting, "I can run as fast as the wind while jumping as high as the moon. Don't look down at your neighborhood or the height will make you dizzy. Just look at the moon and hold tight."

The sight of the clouds over the moon passing by so swiftly amazed the crab.

He finally said, "Oh! Mr. Frog you run so fast that I almost faint through dizziness."

The frog announced proudly, "Now you know that I'm a faster runner than you."

When the crab reached the ground he discovered that they were back at the original starting point. He soon realized that the frog hadn't being running at all, but simply jumping up and down on the same spot. It wasn't a fair race!

The crab became angry and cried out, "You did not run! You just jumped straight up, high into the night-sky, making me believe that you had run a long distance!"

For revenge the crab pinched the frog's waist with his pincers. From this punishment the frog's waist became bent, just as it today.

Note: This story is found only in the Yaeyama Islands, which has produced the widest variety of personified animal stories. This type of story generally ends in an act of revenge due to a partner's deceit.

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