The Frog and the Scorpion
A frog is about to cross a river at its narrow point when he notices a fearsome scorpion prowling the bank. The frog quickly tries to take cover in some reeds but the scorpion has already seen him and moves closer. Just as the frog is about to jump into the water and flee he notices the scorpion’s demeanour, it looks almost sad. The scorpion asks, ‘please will you help me to cross this river? I can jump on your back and you can carry me.’ Being a kind creature the frog pauses and listens. However, the frog is no fool and replies ‘But, you will sting me and kill me!’ The scorpion responds, ‘If I did we would both drown.’ The frog considers for a moment and compassion and kindness take hold. The frog agrees. Midway across the river the frog feels a sharp pain in his back as the scorpion’s stinger penetrates his skin. ‘Why did you do that?’ asks the Frog, ‘we will both now drown!’. The scorpion replies, ‘I could not help it, it’s in my nature’.
This is one of those very simple stories that we can relate with in many different ways. When I first heard this my thoughts was of nature, transience, impermanence and the thought that however hopeful, we cannot change that much of the negative nature of this physical world, time passes, things change, decay and die. Tagging some keywords for this post was revealing about the depth of meaning that I take from this, a much more positive outlook.
I empathise with the frog, the frog is hopeful or change, it wants to believe the good in something seen as bad. Perhaps the frog was naive, he should have trusted his knowledge and not trusted the scorpion. But, the frog tried to make a better world, it died doing so, but at least it tried.
But, perhaps sometimes things are just not meant to be, people are not ready to change, as hopeful and however much we give and try, we often have to accept this and take care of ourselves.
As for the scorpion? I do not view the scorpion as all bad, its acting from it’s conditioning as a scorpion, it just cannot help itself. It’s ‘nature’ cost them their lives. Life is such, somethings we cannot change, we just have to accept them.
I can also empathise with the scorpion, sometimes my nature has led me towards patterns of behaviour that upon reflection I have regretted – but like the scorpion we can only act according to our current level of consciousness.
Of course, I would rather live like the frog, with hope and optimism and risk getting stung – that’s in my nature.