Thursday, 1 September 2011

Two tales of a scorpion, one Catholic, one Muslim

I was inspired to recollect a story about a scorpion from the account posted on Virtuous Planet yesterday, please visit their site and read the story of the Monk and the Scorpion and then compare it with my Muslim one.

The Arabs tell this tale (although we claim it as an Aesop's Fable) to illustrate the manner in which they think, it is, perhaps, a bit of a jibe at their own nature, here it is.....

                                   The Frog and the Scorpion

A scorpion came to the edge of a river and desperately wanted to get to the far bank but was unable to swim. Very soon a frog approached and the scorpion, seizing the opportunity, addressed him thus: "Dear and esteemed frog would you please be kind enough to carry me across this river on your back?"

The frog responded: "But you must think me a fool for if I carried you on my back across the river you would surely sting me and then I would die"

"Not at all, my dear friend" said the scorpion. "For if I was to sting you then we would both die, you from my sting and me from drowning"

The frog thought that this was eminently logical and, being a kindly soul, agreed to carry the scorpion.
All went well until they were halfway across the river when the scorpion suddenly dealt the frog a fatal sting.

"Aaah" cried the frog, "Now we are both done for, why did you sting me?"

"Because" said the scorpion "It is my nature."

I much prefer the Catholic version on Virtuous Planet but the other does give an interesting insight into the Arab psyche.


  1. Now, if I were the frog, to whom the scorpion's sting would be fatal, I would certainly hop off quickish.

    For the monks, the sting is clearly non-lethal.

    In real life (nasty me!) provided I was wearing thick boots, I would stamp the scorpion flat.

  2. Great analogy! I had heard this before but never really put it into perspective this way.