The Frog & The Scorpion

The Frog & The Scorpion

Alan Sturrock, Wilmington

Author: Alan Sturrock

“To think, “[Buttercup] murmured, “all the time it was your cup that was poisoned.”

“They were both poisoned,” said the man in black. “I’ve spent the past two years building up

immunity to iocane powder…” [The Princess Bride, Chapter 5]


          Once upon a certainty, there was this scorpion, see, and it wanted to go to

where the grass was greener [no creeping socialism, no forced health care, and no big

brother government albatrossing on one’s back]. This required a trip across a wide,

swift-flowing river and this was a problem for the scorpion, for he couldn’t swim.


          Quite frustrated, it sunned itself on the river bank waiting for opportunity to 

stop by. As it was waiting, it saw the grasshopper also sunning itself while the

industrious ant practiced industry. Then there was the fox and the crow practicing a

re-enactment of the fable with the same name. Just as it was beginning to give up all

hope of help, the political wind shifted, north north west [as it had for that erstwhile

prince, Hamlet], and lo and behold, a visitor bounced in.  Indeed, a large bullfrog

ribitted in –as bullfrogs are wont to do—and landed itself on a lily leaf by the river’s



‘Mr. Frog…..or Mrs…….”

“You were right the first time,” replied the bullfrog, “how might I help you?”

The scorpion explained his predicament, including a mini-treatise on the political

wasteland both were currently occupying—a land of broken promises, unfulfilled

dreams and Marxist-Leninist coffee shops. I mean, what's wrong with Starbucks?

“I see,” said the bullfrog. “But if I try to help you, what’s the guarantee that you

won’t sting me with that impressive stinger of yours when we get to the other side?”

The scorpion slithered closer to the river’s edge.


“Mr. Frog, if I were to kill you in the crossing, then I would never make it across, for I

can’t swim. And, furthermore, what would be the point of killing you once we were

on the other side? I would only have the utmost Machiavellian gratitude for your

kindness. After, all this isn’t England! Did I miss a meeting?”


“Well,” said the bullfrog, “in that case I’m thinking that I should be inclined to

believe you, even though, intuitively and metaphysically, I have some serious doubts.

But, sir scorpion, not today. In two sleeps, meet me back here at this very spot…….”

The scorpion thanked the bullfrog profusely.


Two sleeps later, the pair met and the scorpion crawled onto the bullfrog’s back and

off they set, into the teeth of the river of unpredictability. The bullfrog used its 

strength and balance to navigate the current, until, almost hallway across, it felt a

sharp prick in its back. Tilting its head to one side it could see the scorpion remove

the stinger from its back.


“Sir scorpion, why did you just do that…you said you wouldn’t…and I half believed



Meanwhile the scorpion was thinking of doing a petite jig on the frog’s back.

“Mr. bullfrog…I could not help myself. It is in my nature. And you should be numbing

up something awful now if I’m not mistaken…..”


“You are very much mistaken, my friend. You see I have used the two sleeps to build

up my immunity to scorpion stinger poison.”  And, with a nifty back flip, he tossed

the incredulous scorpion into the teeth of the current where it died instantly.

Moral:  [i] Frogs know fables nowadays.