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The Crab and the Snail

4th April, Story #95/366

By L.C. SchäferPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
Thank you AI, specifically DALL-E

Once upon a time, a crab went travelling and met a snail. Intrigued by her spiral shell, he stopped scuttling to ask her about it.

The snail shrugged a slow, gloopy shrug.

"I don't know," she said, "I've always had it, as long as I can remember."

"Don't you get bored of it?" he asked. Being a hermit crab, he'd inhabited several shells and thought it odd to be stuck with the same one forever. He didn't want to offend Snail by saying this outright. Instead, he told her proudly,

"I've had many shells. I choose them mostly for their fit, but some are beautiful. Some are light as feathers, some are strong. It's wonderful to be free, to inhabit any shell I choose."

The snail was fascinated. The process of moving into a new shell left one vulnerable to predators, but Crab saw admiration shining in Snail's expression, and didn't mention that part.

At last, having exhausted himself as a topic of conversation, Crab said, "Have you considered getting a new one? That one looks... heavy."

Snail, feeling small and dull, confessed that actually, yes, it was heavy... But she'd never known it could be removed.

The crab gave her lots of encouragement, because encouraging people is kind, and his mother had always taught him to be kind. Then he scurried away on his adventures.

Snail was determined to rid herself of the shell which she now realised felt like such a burden. "But it's part of you!" some of the other snails said, aghast.

"No it isn't," she replied, determined. "And that's why it has to go."

Snail befriended Bird, who was, naturally, delighted to help her with the unwanted shell problem.

Some snails were secretly heartbroken for her, but said nothing. Their mothers, too, had told them to be kind. So they gave her only encouragement and admiration. Snail basked in it. Eventually she celebrated, bleeding, as Bird pecked away at her wondrous curling shell until it was completely destroyed.

Forever marked and vulnerable, Snail relied on the village to tend to her. And they did, because one must always be kind.


Word count: (excluding note): 366

Submitted on: 4th April at 13:02

*Quick Author's Note*

First, and most importantly: thank you for reading! Especially if you are one of the people who has been staunchly reading these daily scribbles since the start of the year. I see you, and appreciate you 😁

A Year of Stories: I'm writing a story every day this year. This one makes an 95 day streak since the 1st January. I'm collating them all here.

The story behind the story: I wanted to write a story in the style of an old fable. I'm not sure whether I've done a good enough job of it, here. I think it might be too clunky. It should be simple, streamlined. Fewer layers. Less open to interpretation. Still, this is my effort.

Living with teenagers, I find myself repeating messages of self-acceptance often. This is not the modern way; if you don't like yourself, you can just change. <gloopy shrug>

Well, I don't like this modern message and I'm countering it.

I wanted to say: even though your body can feel awkward or uncomfortable, or a part of you can feel burdensome, it doesn't mean it's not spectacular in its own right. That you're not spectacular just the way you are. This is especially true for teenage girls, I think, but many people (especially women, but many men and boys as well) are likely able to relate.

It need not be so literal either; the "part of you" could be literally a part of your body, or it could be another part of your Self. Your past, for instance. I wanted to promote self-acceptance, in particular when the alternative is self-destructive. And also urge caution; when someone is encouraging your self-destruction, they are either gaining something from it, or it's easier for them to smile and look away.

Thank you

Thank you again!

FableShort StoryMicrofiction

About the Creator

L.C. Schäfer

Book-baby is available on Kindle Unlimited

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Sometimes writes under S.E.Holz

"I've read books. Well. Chewed books."

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Comments (12)

  • Lamar Wiggins2 months ago

    I loved the message here. Kind of similar to dysmorphia. I think you did a fine job capturing it using the snail’s story.

  • I think you did quite well with the fable, L.C. And it was especially kind of the bird to oblige without then taking advantage & eating her. Admittedly, I somewhat expected either the crab or the bird to have ulterior motives.

  • Poor Snail 🥺 Sometimes we tend to get so influenced by what others can do and it's detrimental.

  • Caroline Craven3 months ago

    I really loved the story and the message behind it. Sadly these days it’s needed more than ever - even when everyone is allegedly ‘being kind’. I don’t think this is in the least bit clunky. You write with precision and effortlessness (that was harder to spell than I thought!)

  • John Cox3 months ago

    LC, as always, I loved your story. It had your trademark tongue-in-cheek humor but surprisingly, you resisted the ending I expected of the snail turned slug as birdee breakfast.

  • I think this is a message that is deeply needed in the world that sadly is not told enough.

  • Esala Gunathilake3 months ago

    Felt it lovely. Thank you!

  • D. D. Lee3 months ago

    I enjoyed this and it has two very good lessons.

  • Heather Hubler3 months ago

    Ah, wonderful tale :) And I appreciated the afterword as I was hoping Snail did not choose to get rid of its shell when reading the story portion and a bit disappointed but was glad that the other snails took care of Snail afterward. Having raised (and still raising) four teens, it's such a delicate balance to encourage change and new things while also encouraging self-love/acceptance. Wonderful story, LC :)

  • Gerard DiLeo3 months ago

    Fable, yes. And a great one.

  • That is a wonderful fable, though glad the bird didn't go French and make a meal of the snail. I think we never want to be vulnerable but sometimes we have no choice

  • ROCK 3 months ago

    I am more like a snail than I thought; I never knew hermit crabs moved from shell to shell. This makes me a hermit snail! Can we survive without our shells? Touching, thoughtful fable!

L.C. SchäferWritten by L.C. Schäfer

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