N THE TIMES… when the sea was rich, and the world was no longer so new and all, All-the-Crab-that-is played the play the Eldest Magician had given them because of the gift that the Man’s own best beloved little girl-daughter had given to Pau Amma. You remember the gift, do you not, Best Beloved? Yes, it was the girl-daughter’s scissors, given to crack open coconuts, for in those days, All-the-Crab-that-is loved to eat coconuts.
All of Pau Amma’s children played — so! They breathed the air of the dry land, and under every stone they found a safe Pusat Tasek, and they ate coconuts until they were as stuffed full of tender, white coconut meat as ever they could hold.
Now, there came upon the world a Glutton from the deepest regions of the Altogether Uninhabited Interior and from the direction of the lands near Massachusetts. He was very similar in most respects to the Gluttons of the High and Far-Off Times, but he carried with him the ever-so-insatiable hunger of the Seven Billion, which is a very great deal of hunger as you will soon see, and of course he himself had a particular fancy for the tender white coconut meat of the crab children of Pau Amma.
On one day, the Glutton vowed he would satisfy the ever-so-insatiable hunger of the Seven Billion, and he vowed this by means of a Sloka, which as you have not yet heard, I will now proceed to relate:
What the Seven Billion need
Is an all-you-can-eat crab feed.
And there is a good deal more in that than you may think, for the very next day, such a banquet was prepared as was never prepared the likes of before, and the Glutton entreated to feast with him the hunger of the Seven Billion, which is a very great deal of hunger as I will next explain. As much of the tender white coconut crab meat as ever a man could eat was promised. The tables were spread out as far and as wide as the eyes could see, lined up all neat in little rows, and as close together as possible, so as to be near Massachusetts you see.
Now, three is the number of crabs that can satisfy the hunger of a hungry man, and this was determined In The Beginning through the wisdom of the Eldest Magician when he gave everyone their play to play. By the manner of arithmetic, Best Beloved, you can conclude that twenty-one billion crabs would be needed for the hunger of the Seven Billion, which you can now see is a very great hunger indeed.
The Glutton declared that the feast would begin. All the crab from all the markets was brought before them, and they ate. And they ate. The crab traps in the seas were harvested and they were emptied, and they ate. And they ate. And then the Glutton by his example, stuffed several crabs into a sack, for he saw how great the ever-so-insatiable hunger of the Seven Billion was, and he hid the sack away to be taken back to the Altogether Uninhabited Interior and feasted upon later. And the hunger of the Seven Billion saw this, and in like kind they hid several crabs away, and a great cry went suddenly up from the feast. Do you understand why, Best Beloved?
Yes, they were angry with the Glutton. He had promised them all the crab they could eat and they were out of crab, and they wanted more crab, and they couldn’t have any more crab because the crab were all stuffed into their sacks! So All-the-Fishermen-there-is were sent out to sea to bring back All-the-Crab-there-is, and they ate some more. And of course more crabs were stuffed into sacks so that the hunger of the Seven Billion would not be cheated again, and they ate, and they ate, until the very sea itself was empty, and still they were hungry.
All-the-Crab-that-is they ate with their appetites — so! Until at last there was only one little crab left, Pau Amma himself, hidden in his little Pusat Tasek, where he’s been hiding since the day the Eldest Magician took his shell.
The hunger of the Seven Billion grew angrier still, for as I’m sure you have not forgotten, that is a very great deal of hunger, and the Eldest Magician was summoned.
“Magician,” they complained, “we were promised all the crab we could eat, but as you can see, there is no crab left here. We’ve been cheated by the Glutton.”
The Eldest Magician stroked his beard and he said, “I am a man of great wisdom. When I gave the crabs their play to play, their play was to make six crabs for every man. And when I gave the Man his play to play, I told the man he would be filled by three crabs. How then is it you come to me and tell me there is no crab?”
The hunger of the Seven Billion held in their stomachs so the Eldest Magician could not see their hidden sacks. And the Glutton, he hid his sack too. And then he said to the Eldest Magician and to the hunger of the Seven Billion, “I know how to make everyone happy! We will make this an annual event. And next year, each man who did not have enough crab can have twice as much to make up for it!”
The ever-so-insatiable hunger of the Seven Billion cheered, and the Glutton asked the Eldest Magician, “Kun?” (Is this right?)
“Payah-kun,” said the Eldest Magician, for he knew there would be no crab the next year, and he knew the hunger of Seven Billion was a very great hunger indeed.
And that is the end of that tale.
If you travel southeast from North Where-We-Are
To the Altogether Uninhabited Interior
The closer one gets
The more one finds crab tastes superior!
© 2013 Anne Schilde