Paladini Potpie

Adventures within The Crust!

The Prodigal Crab

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It was five A.M. I headed toward my magic chair for quiet time.  Pale first light came through the window, and there was a little shimmer from the aquarium.  Our new carpet felt wonderful on my bare feet.  And then I saw a small dark something on the carpet in the middle of the room. I reached to pick it up, rejoicing in how easy it is to keep this new carpet clean. 

The thing wriggled in my hand – something scaly or crusty! I screamed and threw it back onto the floor with some force!  I ran across the room to get a tissue to pick it up, and as I turned I saw that it was trying to scurry for cover. I had an awful idea what it was. Yesterday we had our regular yard spraying for fleas and assorted bugs, and I was pretty sure one of those horrible black oriental water bugs had sought refuge in our house. 

I shuddered as I headed toward the bathroom with the wadded up tissue. I’d give the creepy creature a one way cruise! Then I glanced down at the tissue and saw a small claw sticking out. A claw? I was dumfounded. I opened the tissue; and there was Arthur Fiedler, our cute little fiddler crab!  Somehow he had gotten out of the aquarium.

I ran into the kitchen and filled a drinking glass with water and dumped the little guy in.  There was no room for him to do his customary sideways shuffle, but he tried.  He ended up going around in circles. He seemed to be rehydrating. I was relieved to see lots of little bubbles coming from his nose or mouth or gills or whatever fiddler crabs breathe with. He was going to be okay.

But his fiddle claw had become detached and lay forlornly in the tissue. 

After a few minutes he seemed as if he’d like to be active if he wasn’t so confined.  I took him over to the aquarium and opened the top and gave him a gentle waterfall ride home.


Why in the world had Arthur run away from home?  A fiddler crab the size of a nickel in a 60 gallon aquarium. Such freedom of wide open spaces! He has a lovely little fiberglass castle to live under, and a beautiful Greek Pavilion where he likes to hang out. Every morning abundant food rains down from heaven – so to speak. He has his friend, Nat King Crab, and eleven peaceful tropical fish for company. I hope they will still maintain peaceful relations with  the poor little clawless crab.  (I wonder if Fiddler crabs grow new claws?)


There are always consequences when we are determined to be willful and go our own way.  We’ll hope Arthur’s claw grows back, and that he remembers the lesson of the dry brown carpet on the other side of the fence.

I’ve seen this parable before.  It’s the story of Gypsy, the dog in Vanuken’s A Severe Mercy.  I saw it with our desert tortoise, Shelly, who went through an escape artist stint. I’ve read about it in the Gospels and, alas, I’ve seen it in my own life. 

I’ve learned that there’s restoration, and there’s grace…but the bottom line is, there’s no place like home!

“Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalm 37:3-4

Arthur Fiedler, in happier times, standing on the rock.


Author: paladinipotpie

Welcome! My name is Andrena Paladini and this is a blog about family and love and faith and fun. I call it Paladini Potpie because a potpie is like an adventure in a crust. You never know what might come up, but it’s always going to be good! Think of the best potpie you’ve ever eaten…hot flaky crust holding a rich savory sauce and all kinds of pieces of meat and vegetables…and who knows what? As a family, we’ve chosen to live within the parameters of God’s love and protection. This is the crust of our Paladini Potpie. The crust never changes. Within this crust, the savory sauce of family love binds it all together. That is also fairly constant. But beyond the crust and the sauce we can add just about anything! Good ideas come our way and we’ve adopted and adapted them to add to what John calls our treasure box of memories. These stories and ideas from John’s treasure box of memories are the ingredients I’m putting into our Paladini Potpie. (Okay, so this ridiculous mixing of metaphors about treasure boxes and potpies is exactly what I’m talking about. Silly and ungrammatically correct. But both illustrations work… so we’ll mix them together and it’ll be just fine!) John and I have been married for 30 years. Our children have wonderfully doubled in number since David married Amanda, Monica married Dan, and Matthew married Sarah. And the newest little treats that have been added to our potpie are six adorable grandchildren - Ethan, Angelina, Nathan, Audrey, Maleia and Caleb! I hope you’ll subscribe to my Paladini Potpie blog, and keep up with all the fun new ingredients I add. Hopefully you’ll enjoy our stories and ideas, and find something you’ll want to put into your own potpie! Bon appétit!

One thought on “The Prodigal Crab

  1. Poor Arthur, what a hard lesson! I hope he soon regains all he lost in his unsuccessful bid to “see the world”.

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