The Crabs




tour coastline cruise liner
dock coast harbor
pier embark disembark
stroll local bucket
crawl pass by pincher
grab edge climb
lid escape chuckle
claw glance had better
reach explore


Cruise Liner in Alaska

In 2007 I was working on board a cruise liner as a waiter. That summer we toured the coastline of Alaska.

At one coastal town, the liner docked at its harbor, and the passengers disembarked. With a few hours of leave, I got off and explored the town.

The Pier

Before returning to the liner, I strolled down a pier where some locals were fishing with nets. Beside each fisherman was a bucket.

As I passed by one of them, I looked into his bucket. The bottom was filled with nice, big crabs. They were crawling on top of each other.

The Crabs

Then I noticed that one of the crabs had walked on the others and grabbed the top edge of the bucket with its claw.

It was gradually climbing out.

Climbing Out

“Excuse me, sir,” I said to the fisherman. “But one of your crabs is trying to climb out and escape. You had better put a lid on that bucket.”

The old fisherman glanced at me and chuckled. “Sonny, don’t worry about that,” he said, then turned back to his net in the harbor water and slowly pulled it up.

I looked back at the bucket and watched. The crab continued to climb out of the bucket. Now it was almost over the top edge.

“The old man has so many crabs, he doesn’t care if some run away,” I thought.


Then suddenly, one of the other crabs reached up and grabbed the left leg of the climbing crab with its pincer. Another crab grabbed its right leg. Yet another crab grabbed the pincer of the first crab.

Together they all pulled the escaping crab back to the bottom of the bucket.

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1. The writer was vacationing on board a cruise liner as a passenger?

2. Was the ship cruising around in the Caribbean Sea? Where was he?

3. He visited cafes and bars in the harbor? What did he do at the harbor?

4. Were women standing on the pier fishing with fishing poles? What did he see?

5. What did he see? What had happened?

6. Did he warn the fisherman? What did he say to the fisherman? What happened?

7. Is there an analogy to this story? Is it an allegory?
A. Can you give examples of this from real life?

B. Are some people in your school, company or community jealous of others?

C. Whose accomplishments and lifestyles do you admire?

D. Is jealously and resentment good, bad, both or neither for people, business and society?

E. Can a successful person mitigate or minimize jealously and envy? How can they minimize envy and jealousy?

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