Once there was a beautiful maiden whose name is Maria. She was very kindhearted and obedient. Her own mother passed away when she was still a young girl. Her father got married again with whom he had two more daughters. Unfortunately her stepmother did not love Maria, all she cared about were her two real daughters. Worse, her two ugly and lazy stepsisters were always envious of her because of the beauty she inherited from her own mother. And worst, to get at her, they got their mother to side with them, and together they treated Maria rather unfairly.
To begin with, she was forced to do most of the housework day in day out while her stepmother and stepsisters just sat idle and ordered her around. Her work begins early in the morning fetching water from the well. It was a difficult task for she had to fetch water several times enough for everyone to use for taking baths and make similar reserve for other uses. Afterwards she still has to wash the clothes, cook the meals, wash the dishes, water the plants, and sweep the house. She was often the last to eat her meals which had gone cold by then. By the end of the day, she was already very tired, though she never complained about anything.
One day, Maria was crying by the well because she felt tired and hungry. She missed her breakfast and had just finished fetching water. She was about to begin washing the clothes when suddenly she heard a kind voice spoke to her saying, "Don't cry, Maria. I brought some food for you. Eat it, my child."
Maria looked everywhere around wondering who was talking. She saw the food but saw no one. Just when she picked up the food to eat, she was suddenly surpised to see a Big Crab (alimango, in the local dialect) beside the washing basin she used for washing clothes.
"Don't be frightened, my child, I am your, dead mother. And don't worry, anymore. For from today on I'll take care of you," promised the Big Crab.
Maria was thrilled. True to her word, the Big Crab came everyday to the well and brought Maria nice food to eat. One time, her stepmother went to the well to ask Maria to run an errand for her. Just when Maria left for the market, the Big Crab came bringing food with her. for Maria. Her stepmother was still around then, and when she saw the big crab, she caught it then brought it home. Then she placed it inside the large kettle, cooked and ate it together with her two daughters.
When Maria returned from the errand in time for lunch, she was met halfway on the stairs of the house by her stepmother and stepsisters who were on their way to the market. As usual, her stepmother ordered her to clean up the table of the bones and shells that was left of the crab she mentioned in passing she luckily caught near the well and which they ate for lunch as well. At this news her heart nearly sank knowing it was the remains of her mother- turned-crab that was left on the table top. She got to the dining table and when she saw the bones, she just burst into open tears. Moments later, she heard a voice speak to her again. She recognized it at once to be the voice of her mother issuing out of the crab shells, saying, "Don't cry Maria. Just pick up the shell and bones of the crab then bury them in the yard".
Maria did as the voice told her. The next morning, she saw to her surprise a full-grown tree standing on the spot where she buried the shell and bones of the crab. The tree was laden with many ripened golden fruits. Her two ugly sisters also saw the tree and came running down the house to pick some. But to their disappointment, none of them could pull any of the fruits down, neither was her stepmother able to pick any. Frustrated the three left leaving Maria all by herself beside the strange tree. When it was her turn, Maria easily plucked the fruits without any bit of effort. She quickly sat down and ate the fruits unseen by anyone. She decided to keep it a secret for she knew that only she had the special touch to pick the golden fruits.
One day, a young handsome prince happened to pass by their place and saw the fruit tree with the golden fruits. He asked for some from the two stepsisters who were in the yard then. But none of them could still pick any fruit. They called their mother, but she also could not pick any herself.
"I'll pick some for you," said a gentle voice. It was Maria who had just come back from the well. Quickly she picked some of the fruits and handed them over to the prince.
The prince stood there watching her, astounded by her beauty that he was moved to exclaim, "How beautiful you are, young lady!" From then on, the prince visited Maria everyday. It time, they got married and lived happily ever after.