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Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

Perry 196 (Chambry 290 *)

A snake and a crab had become friends and were living together. The crab had a straightforward character and he urged the snake to change his wicked ways but the snake refused to follow the crab's good advice. So the crab kept an eye on the snake and when he found him sleeping he grabbed the snake by the neck and squeezed him to death between his claws. As he was dying, the snake stretched out straight. The crab then remarked, 'Hey, if you had been this straightforward to begin with, I would not have had to punish you for your crooked behaviour!'
This fable shows that people who treat their friends deceitfully end up hurting themselves instead.

Note: A version of this story is cited by Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 15.50, as an Athenian drinking song. For the proverbially crooked crab, see Fable 369.

Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
NOTE: New cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.