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The Story of the Four Little Children Who Went Round the World
by Edward Lear

Crusty Crabbies Crying

As a token of parting respect and esteem, Violet made a courtesy quite down to the ground, and stuck one of her few remaining parrot-tail feathers into the back hair of the most pleasing of the Blue-Bottle-Flies; while Slingsby, Guy, and Lionel offered them three small boxes, containing, respectively, black pins, dried figs, and Epsom salts; and thus they left that happy shore forever.

Overcome by their feelings, the four little travellers instantly jumped into the tea-kettle, and fell fast asleep. But all along the shore, for many hours, there was distinctly heard a sound of severely-suppressed sobs, and of a vague multitude of living creatures using their pocket-handkerchiefs in a subdued simultaneous snuffle, lingering sadly along the walloping waves as the boat sailed farther and farther away from the Land of the Happy Blue-Bottle-Flies.

Nothing particular occurred for some days after these events, except that, as the travellers were passing a low tract of sand, they perceived an unusual and gratifying spectacle; namely, a large number of Crabs and Crawfish — perhaps six or seven hundred — sitting by the water-side, and endeavoring to disentangle a vast heap of pale pink worsted, which they moistened at intervals with a fluid composed of lavender-water and white-wine negus.

"Can we be of any service to you, O crusty Crabbies?" said the four children.

"Thank you kindly," said the Crabs consecutively. "We are trying to make some worsted mittens, but do not know how."

On which Violet, who was perfectly acquainted with the art of mitten-making, said to the Crabs, "Do your claws unscrew, or are they fixtures?"

"They are all made to unscrew," said the Crabs; and forthwith they deposited a great pile of claws close to the boat, with which Violet uncombed all the pale pink worsted, and then made the loveiest mittens with it you can imagine. These the Crabs, having resumed and screwed on their claws, placed cheerfully upon their wrists, and walked away rapidly on their hind-legs, warbling songs with a silvery voice and in a minor key.


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