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Saving the Moon - a Filipino Folktale

Published June 15, 2006
Countries: Philippines
Age Levels: 8 and up

Long ago, a giant crab lived deep in the ocean.  It was the largest creature in the sea, even bigger than the largest whale.  It lived in a deep hole at the bottom of the sea.  Two times every day, the giant crab would crawl out of his home to search for food.  When it left its home, the empty hole would immediately fill up with water.

Since the crab was so large it took all of the water along the shore to fill the crab's hole.  When the crab finished eating, it crawled back into his hole.  The water was forced back out causing the water to push high up on the shore.  Some people call these times of the day high tide and low tide.

One evening, a beautiful island princess was walking along the sea shore close to her home.  As she walked, she looked at the ocean.  Suddenly, she saw an island rising up out of the sea.  She watched as it came up higher and higher out of the water.  Then she watched as the island stood up and started to walk towards the shore.  It was not an island,  It was the giant crab!

The crab was taller than the tallest tree on the island.  It was taller than the largest mountain on the island.  She had never seen anything so large.  Then the princess saw the crab's giant pinchers and the crab's eyes.  The crab was looking at the moon as it rose in the sky.

The princess watched as the crab opened and closed its pinchers.  It opened and closed its mouth.  It tried to pinch and bite the moon as it rose in the sky.  The giant crab's red eyes followed the moon as it climbed higher.  Then the crab reached out and tried to grab the moon.

"Snap! Snap!" The crab spapped its pinchers.  They sounded like thunder in the air.

Oh no!  If the crab caught the moon and ate it, the night sky would be dark forever.  The seas would not be safe ever again for the fishermen on the island.  Young men and their girl friends could no longer walk hand in hand under the moon.

The Princess knew her people were all at a giant feast,  Music was playing.  Drums were beating loudly.  People were dancing and having fun.  No one would see the crab until it was too late.  She needed help to stop the crab from eating the moon.  There was no time to run back to the village.  The Princess could not yell loud enough to get the attention of the villagers.

Suddenly the Princess had an idea.  She ran to the edge of the shore and found an empty conch shell on the dry sand.  She put her lips to the shell and blew into it.  A loud noise came out.  "Barroooo!!!"

The Princess watched the crab's giant pinchers come closer and closer to the moon.  "Snap!  Snap!  Snap!"  She blew on the shell again and again.  The crab's claws came closer and closer to the moon!

The Princess blew the conch shell one more time with the loudest breath yet.  As the sound of the shell died out, the drums stopped beating.  The Princess looked towards the village and saw a line of torches coming towards her.  The waving line of torches looked like a giant snake coming down the mountain side on the way to the beach where the Princess was.  She blew the conch shell one more time then ran towards her people.

Warriors armed with swords, knives and spears appeared on the shore.  The eyes of the people looked where the finger of the Princess pointed.

Their eyes showed fear as they looked at the largest crab they had ever seen.  It stood taller than the mountains as it tried to grab at the moon.  One pincher reached higher than before and almost caught the moon.  Everyone took a breath!  But, the moon slipped from the crab's grip, and the crab fell on its back.

The Princess grabbed a spear from a warrior and ran down the beach to where the crab was trying to turn over and get up.  She ran up the side of the crab.  Every warrior followed her.  The Princess aimed her spear at the soft belly of the crab.  She stabbed her spear into the the crab.  Every warrior did the same while trying to avoid the moving pinchers.

A few warriors tried to cut off the crab's legs.  They dodged the dangerous pinchers.  One warrior cut off one of the claws.  Then the other claw was cut off.  Soon the crab was dead.  The moon was safe.   

The bravery of the Princess had saved the moon.  The night skies are still lighted by the moon's glow.  Ships can sail by the light of the moon.  Families still feast on meat from that giant crab all over the world.

The waters of the oceans still move back and forth from high tide to low tide and back again.  People say it is the pull of the moon that causes these tides.  But, islanders still say it is really the waters still flowing in and out of the crab's home at the bottom of the sea.

Dr. Mike Lockett is an educator, storyteller and children's author from Normal, IL. Dr. Lockett has given more than 4000 programs across the USA and as far away as eastern Asia. Contact Mike by writing to in order to book him for a storytelling program or young authors program or to inquire about purchasing his books and CDs.