The Crab that played with the Sea

Notes on the text

These notes draw on those written by Lisa Lewis for the OXFORD WORLD’S CLASSICS edition of Just So Stories (1995) with the kind permission of Oxford University Press, together with material from the Kipling Society’s ORG. The page numbers below refer to the Macmillan Uniform Edition of Just So Stories.

[Page 153, initial] The drawing shows a horseshoe or king crab, which is not a crustacean (like other crabs) but a marine arachnid.

[Page 155, line 18] great Indian desert The Bikanir desert in northern India.

[Page 156, line 5] Magic Flowers The Magician’s pose resembles the Hindu god Vishnu, holding three (Tibetan) lotus blossoms. The lotus symbolises the birth of a divine being in Egyptian, Hindu, and Buddhist mythology.

[Page 156, line 33] magic mark The swastika was part of Kipling’s logo, accompanying an elephant’s head with a lotus-flower held in its trunk.

This was designed by his father John Lockwood Kipling, after the traditional Hindu merchant’s sign, drawn on account books to bring good luck. When Hitler came to power in Germany Kipling had the swastika removed from the covers of his books.

[Page 159, line 10] Perak river Flows through Perak, a state in western Malaya.

[Page 159, line 11] sweet-water Fresh or river water, as opposed to sea water.

[Page 160, line 3] kris Malay dagger.

[Page 160, line 8] Selangor… Malacca States of western Malaya, south of Perak.

[Page 162, lines 21-2] Raja Moyang Kaban This phrase is not in Pearson’s.

[Page 162, line 26] Raja Abdullah This phrase is also not in Pearson’s.

[Page 163, line 9] king crab The giant king crab (Tachypleus gigas moluccanus) is mentioned in Skeat’s book Malay Magic (see headnote).

[Page 163, lines 11-2] Sarawak State in north-west Borneo.

Pahang An eastern Malayan state.

[Page 164, line 5] King crab The crab in the drawing is a monster crustacean, but his eyes are not on his shell as in ordinary crabs.

[Page 170, line 33] Bintang An island off Singapore.