The Scorpion and the Frog

Once upon a time in a land where anthropomorphism was alive and well, there lived a scorpion who lived on a secluded mountain. The scorpion was well known in throughout the community, and was regarded with wariness by one and all. The scorpion grew weary of this, was hoping for a bit of challenge and intrigue. So the scorpion set off down the mountain and across the valley looking for change and adventure. Soon enough there came the Delaware River. Just the day before there had been a heavy rain storm, and the river was at near flood level, it was wide and running swiftly.  The scorpion stood on the bank, considering the situation. New Jersey was calling out. It was the land of Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, and The Real Housewives of Jersey. This was the place to be. But as the scorpion paused and looked, there was not see a way across the river. Running upstream and downstream, and the waters looks too wide, too deep, too fast to be forded even by a mean and lean scorpion.

 Just on the verge of abandoning hope, then the scorpion came across a frog sitting on the bank just across the river, “Hey, Froggy, would you be kind enough to carry me across the river?” the scorpion shouted across.

 “Yo, scorpion, what kind of fool do you take me for!” the frog responded. “How do I know you won’t take me out with your stinger?”

 “Easy queasy” replied the scorpion, “If I kill you, I will drown! I can’t swim; otherwise I would just pop in the river and swim across on my own.”

 The frog thought about it, and then asked, “so, how do I know you won’t wait until we are close to the other side, and then you would sting me and kill me when you don’t need me anymore?”

 “Gratitude,” said the scorpion. “Once you have carried me across the river, I will be so grateful to you my gratitude would prevent me from such an action.”

 The frog thought a bit more, what the scorpion said made sense, and so the frog swam across the river, jumped up the other bank and agreed to carry the scorpion across the river from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.

 The scorpion crawled onto the frog and with his claws, held onto the frog’s delicate back for dear life.  The frog jumped into the Delaware, but stayed near the surface so that the scorpion would not drown. The current carried the two unlikely travelers downstream, much as it had as Washington attempted his crossing of the very same (but different) river some years before, and like Washington before them, they made progress across the river. They were just about half way across the Delaware when the frog felt a sharp sting, and turning to see what had happened, the frog saw the scorpion pulling a stinger from the frog’s back. The frog was stunned! How could this be happening! The scorpion had sworn an oath! As the frog felt the numbness permeate limbs and his body, the frog croaked out, to the scorpion, “you fool! What did you do? Now we will both die! And for what?!?”

 The scorpion shrugged and said, “It’s my nature, I just couldn’t help myself” even as they both sank to the river bottom.

 Just one’s nature! Do we have an immutable nature?

 Is change possible?

 Should we trust? Who? When?

 Is altruism foolish?

 Does no good deed go unpunished?

 There are no answers here today, just questions. But, maybe wisdom is knowing the right questions?