Tales Tell: The Great Crab of the South Sea


Deep within the ancient South Sea, a colossal and enigmatic creature emerged, known as the Giant Crab of the South Sea. Its shell gleamed with a vibrant crimson radiance, capable of rending cliffs asunder with a single strike of its formidable claws. It was rumored that this magnificent being, possessing both extraordinary strength and wisdom, safeguarded a hidden trove of treasures beneath the sea. Furthermore, it possessed a peculiar ability—to assume the guise of a human. When transformed, it would surreptitiously infiltrate the throngs of people at night, testing their intellect and fortitude.

The presence of the Giant Crab of the South Sea both awed and intrigued people. One day, a young man heard the legend of the Giant Crab and bravely ventured to the South Sea, seeking out the island where the colossal crab resided. As he set foot on the island, a gentle breeze whisked by, and the Giant Crab transmuted into a beautiful girl, resembling a resplendent rose, standing before him. She smiled and said, “Young man, are you willing to undertake my challenge? If you can pass my trial, I shall bestow upon you a remarkable surprise.”

Without hesitation, the young man accepted the challenge. The Giant Crab presented a rusty iron box containing five different colored gemstones. She said to the young man, “Among these five gemstones, only one is the true treasure, while the other four are false. You must choose the genuine treasure to receive my blessing.”

 The young man pondered over the five gemstones, gazing at them intently. After a moment of contemplation, he made his decision.

He gingerly picked up one of the gemstones, feeling its weight and admiring its radiance. He knew that this was a choice fraught with risks, but he had a mysterious intuition guiding him. The Giant Crab remained silent, merely smiling as she observed the young man. A growing sense of nervousness welled up within the young man’s heart, uncertain if he had chosen wisely. Suddenly, a fierce wind swept through the surroundings, and the ocean unleashed a tempestuous roar, as if the entire island held its breath, awaiting the young man’s fate.

As he handed the chosen gemstone to the Giant Crab, a hint of regret flickered in her eyes. Slowly, she extended her claw and gently touched the young man’s hand. He felt a strange energy coursing through his body, and his figure gradually blurred. Bathed in the captivating moonlight that beckoned the tides, he vanished into the wind. Leaving behind the Giant Crab of the South Sea and the shimmering island, radiant as fire.

Dai Fu. “The Great Crab of the South Sea” (from “Guang Yi Ji”). Early Tang Dynasty. China.

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I am a farmer, a street vendor, and a wandering sailor, weaving tales of the miraculous passed down through generations. Once, I entrusted these stories to prudent monks and the children of nobility. Later, collaborating with literary figures, we made these legends radiate within the pages of books, enabling their vibrant presence in books and transporting them to uncharted territories. And now, I embark on a storytelling endeavour alongside machines…

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