Impasto painting of a lobster and sheep in the jungle in Mexico.

The Lobster and the Lamb, a Mexican Fable

The Lobster and the Lamb is a Mexican folktale about aggression and agreeableness. It’s an Aesopic fable, with different animals embodying different ideals.

As is tradition with folktales, this a telling in my own words.

The Fable

On a calm night, a lobster was foraging along the estuary riverbed when it met a lamb that had come to drink the brackish water. The lobster, proud of his hard, interlinking armour, couldn’t help but compare himself to the soft, woollen lamb.

“Frail lamb,” the lobster said, “don’t you see how the gods favour me? I’ve been given armour like that of a noble knight, strong and beautiful, while you have nothing but soft wool to protect you.”

The lamb nodded in agreement. “You may be right, Sir Lobster. Your armour is indeed magnificent.”

The lobster, satisfied with the lamb’s response, went on his way.

Sometime after, a band of barbarians came to shore, seeking to plunder the nearby villages. When they encountered the lobster, he brandished his powerful claws, snapping and injuring many of their fingers before they got the better of him. He died an honourable death, a proud smile on his face.

When the barbarians approached the lamb, she offered no resistance. Instead, she humbly surrendered, offering her wool to the invaders and promising to grow more. The barbarians brought the lamb back with them, fed her well, and sheared her wool each season.

The Moral

The moral of The Lobster and the Lamb is easiest to explain with a brief anecdote:

My wife and I brought our son to visit Canada during the Tulip Festival, and he asked why there were so many tulips everywhere. We explained how, a long time ago, many Canadian men, some as young as 18 years old, went overseas to fight in the Second World War. Many of them died horrible deaths, but their sacrifice freed the Netherlands from Nazi occupation.

Meanwhile, the future Queen of the Netherlands and her family sheltered in Canada.

Afterwards, the Dutch royal family sent a hundred thousand tulips to Canada to express their thanks, and they have continued to send tulips ever since.

If you liked this fable, there are a few other Mexican folktales you might like. Of course, there’s The Black Sheep. There’s also The Man Who Looked for Cockroaches. Or, if you want to venture further West, try The Man Who Never Lied.

Juan Artola Miranda

I am Juan Artola Miranda, a fabulist living in the Mexican Caribbean. My friends know me by the name of my father's father, but that name grew into something bigger, my writing reaching tens of millions of readers. It was too strong for me to control. Artola Miranda is the name of my mother's mother. It's a better name for a fabulist.

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