The Frog and the Scorpion

As told by David Madrid

Art by Juliet Welsh

frog and scorpion

        The cautious frog hopped into the cluster of canal reeds near a Hohokam village.

        Why was he cautious? There were several reasons, but foremost in his mind was his effort to avoid becoming a meal.

        Hunters sometimes scoured the man-made irrigation canals in search of the amphibians, whose meaty legs were tasty treats.

        As the frog headed to the water, he heard a voice behind him say, “Hey frog. Can you give me a lift and help me cross the canal?”

        It was a scorpion. That was the other reason the frog was wary. He made sure he kept his distance from the venomous arthropod.

        “If I take you across, you’ll sting me and I’ll die,” the suspicious frog argued.

        The scorpion was scary looking, but he was what is called a smooth talker.

        “If I sting you, then we will both die because I can’t swim,” the honey-voiced scorpion reasoned.

        It was solid logic with which the frog could not argue, but he still didn’t trust the eight-legged predator.

        The scorpion pleaded with the frog in a most convincing way.

        “You are trying to escape the hunters. So am I. The hunters fear me just as you fear me, and if they find me, they will kill me, just as they will kill you. If they catch us together, they will kill us both.”

        Despite his better judgment, the frog decided to trust the scorpion. It was true that they were both in danger. Also, could someone with such a fine voice be untrustworthy?

        “Promise me that you will not sting me,” the frog demanded.

        “I promise,” said the scorpion, who had every intention of keeping that vow. “We must hurry.”

        “Get on my back,” the compassionate frog said.

        So the scorpion climbed onto the frog’s back, and the green amphibian entered the canal and began to swim toward the other side. What a tale he had for his frog friends.

frog and scorpion (2)

        Halfway across the canal, the scorpion stung the frog in the head. The stinger sunk all the way to the frog’s brain, rapidly paralyzing him.

        “Why did you do that? Now we are both going to die,” the stunned frog managed to say before his voice froze.

        As the dying frog sank under the water, he heard the scorpion say: “I’m sorry. I couldn’t help myself. It’s my nature.”

Moral: Trust your instincts.

© 2012

Email: David Madrid