The Tortoise and the Geese and Other Fables of Bidpai  by Maude Barrows Dutton

The Frog, the Crab, and the Serpent


A certain Frog was wont to hatch her eggs in the neighborhood of a Serpent's hole, and always, before the tadpoles had lost their tails, the Serpent devoured them. Greatly distressed over the loss of her young, the Frog went at last to a Crab and told him her trouble. The Crab was a kindly creature, and promised to think of a way to get rid of the Serpent. Thus it was that he came one day to the Frog and said,—

"There lives near at hand a Weasel, who is as bloodthirsty as the Serpent. Go, therefore, and catch a large number of minnows and place them in a line reaching from the Weasel's home to the hole of the Serpent. The greedy Weasel will snatch up the little fish one by one, until he comes to the Serpent's nest. It may be that without noticing he will also devour the Serpent, thinking that it is another fish."

The Frog thanked the Crab and did as he told her. The plan succeeded, even as the Crab had said, and the Frog slept soundly that night, knowing that her brood was safe from harm. In the meantime the Weasel grew hungry again and remembered the feast of fish. Hurrying back to the place where he had found them, he stumbled over the Frog's hiding-place, where he ate up not only the young tadpoles but the mother herself.