Saturday, November 26, 2005

foolish trust - the scorpion and the frog

I like this old fable. It's especially pertinent to me, as I sometimes have a tendency to trust too much. Today I received a painful reminder that it's time I took this story to heart.

One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.

The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn't see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.

Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.

"Hellooo Ms. Frog!" called the scorpion across the water, "Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?"

"Well, Mr. Scorpion, if I try to help you, how do I know that you won't try to sting me?"
asked the frog hesitantly.
"Because," the scorpion replied, "If I were to sting you, then I'd die too, for you see I cannot swim!"
This seemed to make sense to the frog, who liked to be helpful. Still, she asked. "What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to sting me and get back to the shore!"

"That's right,"
agreed the scorpion, "But then I wouldn't be able to get to the other side of the river!"

" do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN sting me?"
asked the frog.
"Ahh...," crooned the scorpion, "Because you see, once you've taken me to the other side of this river, I'll be so grateful for your help that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!"

The frog believed what the scorpion said, and so she agreed to take him across the river. She swam over to the bank and settled herself near the mud to pick up her passenger. The scorpion crawled onto her back, his sharp claws prickling into her soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. She kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, her flippers paddling wildly against the current.

Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in her back and, out of the corner of her eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from her back. A deadening numbness began to creep into her limbs.

"Oh no!" croaked the frog, "Now we'll both die!" She looked at the scorpion, still not believing what he'd done. "Why on earth did you do that?" she asked, sadly.

The scorpion shrugged.
"I didn't plan it," he said. "It just happened. It's my nature."
Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.

Gandhi said, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world." Ghandi was right.


Cynthia said...

Excellent fable -- one I needed to read again.

Tammy said...

Hi Judi, I have an ex that sounds just like that scorpion. I'm sorry you have been hurt by a scorpion but I enjoyed learning more about you. I lost my mom to scuba diving and I am much more spiritual than religious! Glad you enjoyed Chicago!


Theresa Williams said...

It took me a long time to really understand this fable and apply it to my life without guilt. Well, I do still feel guilty sometimes, but I'm getting better about not feeling guilty. :-) Everything acts of its nature. When we forget about that, we get stung by bees, eaten by bears, and shat upon by birds. People, too, have their natures. The Tao Te Ching says not to keep company with people who are not good for you. Sometimes separating ourselves from hurtful people is an important form of survival. We must be vigilant, even as we are kind.

Robbie said...

Hmmm...that's a bit different twist at the end then I recall. But, it all means much the same. And, definitely, love the Gandhi quote. Keep telling yourself that.

Tina said...

I like this one, too. And I seem to get a bit different twist on it each time I read it. I think the bottom line is always the same, though. " Keep your eyes open." Onemoretina

AlbGlinka said...


Remind me not to cross any rivers today. ;-)


Paul said...

How about this old song?

On her way to work one morning down the path ' longside the lake
A tender hearted woman saw a poor half-frozen snake
His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew
" Poor thing " she cried " I' ll take you in and I' ll take
care of you"

" Take me in, tender woman
" Take me in for heaven' s sake
" Take me in, tender woman
Sighed the snake

She wrapped hi up all cozy in a comforter of silk
And she laid him by her fireside with some honey and some milk
She hurried home from work that night and soon as she arrived
She found that pretty snake she' d taken in had been revived

" Take me in, tender woman
" Take me in for heaven' s sake
" Take me in tender woman"
Sighed the snake

She clutched him to her bosom, " You' re so beautiful" she cried
" But if I hadn' t have brought you in, m you might have died
She stroked his pretty skin again and kissed and held him tight
Instead of saying " thanks" the snake gave her a vicious bite

" Take me in, tender woman
" Take me in for heaven' s sake
" Take me in tender woman"
Sighed the snake

" I saved you!" cried the woman " and you' ve bitten me, but why?
" You know your bite is poisonous" and now I' m going to die"
" Aw shut up, silly woman" said the reptile with a grin
" You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in

emmapeelDallas said...
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Melissa said...

Hmmm, food for thought. Thanks for sharing.