I was frankly astonished to hear what he said
Then I gasped, for the lobster was going quite red.
He glared at the crab then he reared up his head
And I felt sure he wanted to strike him stone dead.
"How dare you," the lobster said, purple with rage,
As he felt for the crab with his claw,
"You've insulted my title and mocked at my age
And thereby you've broken the law.
I decided I'd better retreat from the beach
While the crab was still safely beyond Nippum's reach
For I knew, if he caught him, they'd lose a claw each -
Those lobsters and crabs both holdon like the leech.
The lobster advanced, as i rose to my feet,
The crab took a step to one side.
As Nippum roared, "Varlet, your facing defeat."
They were both swept away by the tide.
As I sat on the rocks one autumn day
Watching the tide roll far away,
A crab and a lobster were there at play
And I listened to hear what they had to say.
"My man" said the lobster, most sternly I thought,
"You'r not pulling your weight, so I hear.
You've forgotten the duties you've always been taught.
No, you're running away, Sir, I fear".
I expected to see the crab crimson with shame
But his face was unaltered - exactly the same.
I thought, "He's unmoved by disgrace or by fame -
Or he's perfectly certain he isn't to blame."
"Dear Nippum," - I noticed he smiled as he spoke
"You haven't been told, I can see
That lecture you gave me was really a joke
For I work just as hard as can be
I was puzzled to know what a crab's job could be,
Perhaps it was pruning trees under the sea.
He certainly looked very cutting to me
Not at all a nice person to have home for tea.
"Friend Nippum, " the crab said, "I manage a bank.
And a ticklish job it is too.
It isn't a question of age or rank
I should have to be careful even with you