The unfolding drama takes place by the tranquil lakeside. A wise, old crane stands gracefully on a single leg, burdened with deep sorrow. The lively fish leap, glide, wiggle, gambole and flop in the shimmering waters. Curiosity sparked within one audacious fish as it approached the crane, using its fin to gesture and inquire, "Respected crane, why do you linger here without pecking, prodding, or catching any fish?" The crane let out a muffled response, "Dear fish, I am indeed a fish-eater, but today I am plagued by unhappiness."


Intrigued, the fish pressed further, "Why do you carry such melancholy, dear crane?" The crane hesitated, questioning the fish's curiosity, but the fish reassured, "Please, do tell me."


The crane sighed softly and replied, "It may startle you." The fish grew eager, its eyes shining with anticipation. "Your words are enlightening to me," the fish expressed.


The crane spoke with caution, "There is a fisherman making his way to this very lakeside." The fish nonchalantly retorted, "Let him come then." The crane interjected, "No, you misunderstand. He plans to capture all of you at once."


The fish gasped, exclaiming, "Oh no!" and swiftly dove into the depths of the lake, disappearing from sight. A short while later, a group of fish thrashed and struggled before the sorrowful crane. The fish collectively addressed the crane, their voices united, "Oh, harbinger of bad news, could you offer guidance for our escape?"


The crane, pretending sympathy, responded, "Alas, I am aged and feeble. I cannot contend with the fisherman. However, as a means to absolve my own sins, I propose carrying each of you individually to another lake. In doing so, I will gain a reputation as a great benefactor in my twilight years."


Trusting the crane's offer to preserve their lives, the fish agreed to the proposition. How could the crane's virtuous act possibly lead to ruin? Impossible, they believed.


And so, the crane began transporting the fish, one by one. But as it carried them, it consumed some and dropped others onto a scorching rock, leaving them to dry out. Unbeknownst to the fish, the watchful crab observed this spectacle from the depths of the lake. It, too, longed to escape to the other lake. The crane, believing that all things occur at the opportune moment, seized the crab with its beak and took flight.


High above, the crab noticed the scattered fish bones on the ground, prompting thoughts of its own fate. Fueled by the instinct for survival, the crafty crab devised a plan. Just as a diamond can cut another diamond, the crab approached the crane and spoke with a tone of persuasion, "Dear crane, I have numerous friends residing in this lake. If you kindly return me, I will introduce them all to you."


The crane delighted in this stroke of luck and eagerly retraced its flight path back to the old lake. On the journey, the crab swiftly seized the moment, slicing through the crane's neck, and plunging into the welcoming waters below, successfully freeing itself from the crane's grasp.


Meanwhile, the fish, seeking refuge with the cunning crane, tragically perished. The astute crab, having realized the perils of relying on a deceitful companion, survived to recount the tale, serving as a reminder that aid from a treacherous individual can be perilous to one's very existence.