The Scorpion and the Turtle

One day, a turtle sat casually near the riverbank, not hurrying to do much of anything. He continued not hurrying in this manner for quite some time until disturbed by a scorpion that had wandered up from his right. The scorpion was of a rather ferocious looking variety, and quite large as scorpions go. The scorpion leaned his head toward the turtle’s and said, “My good fellow, I would very much like to cross this river and wonder if it would be too much trouble to ask for a lift. I would ride upon your back if you would.”

The turtle pondered this request for a bit before responding. “You are a scorpion. If I were to assist you, allowing you to ride upon my back as it were, you would sting me.” The turtle felt he had said all that was needed on the subject and went back to not hurrying to do much of anything. “I understand your concern my fine hard-shelled chap, but it is really quite unnecessary. If I were to sting you as we traversed this river together, we would both drown.” The scorpion, accustomed to making his points in a convincing manner, felt confident he would soon be crossing the river.

The turtle pondered the scorpion’s point for a bit before responding. “What you say makes sense to me. I was not planning on crossing the river today, but I have no other plans. You may climb aboard my shell and I will carry you across.” So this rather ferocious looking scorpion with the eloquent manner made his way aboard his transport for the ride across the river.

The turtle, doing what turtles do, swam slowly yet gracefully across the water, enjoying the contrasting feel of the cool water below him with the hot sun above him. The scorpion, enjoying the heat of the sun on his back, felt a sudden instinctive urge overcome him. He reared back his long, segmented tail with his venomous stinger held high, glistening in the sunlight. With a velocity that would make other scorpions green with envy, this large ferocious looking scorpion thrust a venom-filled stinger into the soft skin of the turtle, just above the right leg.

The turtle cried out in pain. “You have stung me, as I suspected you would! Now we will both drown!” The scorpion pondered the turtle’s point for a bit before responding. “I could not help myself for you see, it is my nature.”


  • The above is this author’s version of the classic fable