The Song of the Whistling Crab by Michael McGlade

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The Song of the Whistling Crab by Michael McGlade in kaleidotrope is a tale of a man (Cú) and his hermit crab. The man’s a hermit as well, so it works well for them. The crab whistles. Remember that.

They met after the man’s wife (Saoirse) ran off with a circus strongman and the man ran after her. Then he heard the song of the crab. A fair trade, a hermit crab for a hermit’s wife. They, man and crab, were soul mates, and the crab’s whistled song– mesmerizing.

One day the strongman and the hermit’s wife come for the crab, to take it back. And thereby hangs the tale of the man and the whistling crab.

“Cú” means “hound” in Irish. “Saoirse” means “freedom”. So it goes the freedom-seeking wife is at first hounded by the husband. The strongman with whom the wife seeks freedom sounds like a hero from epic poetry, mighty-thewed. The crab’s name is– Jules Verne.

This all sounds symbolic, like “The Yellow Wallpaper”, only with a crab who whistles a song about the sea. The sea is ever-calling, and the crab hears/whistles the song all the time. One day he’d like to return to the sea. It is a science fictional crab, to be sure. The song of Jules Verne would be science fiction, so perhaps the tale is about the transformative power of science fiction.


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