The Scorpion and the Frog  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
The Frog and the Mouse, urge, psychopathy, something stronger than oneself, "it is in my nature to sting you"

The Scorpion and the Frog is a fable about a scorpion asking a frog to carry him across a river. The frog is afraid of being stung during the trip, but the scorpion argues that if it stung the frog, the frog would sink and the scorpion would drown. The frog agrees and begins carrying the scorpion, but midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both. When asked why, the scorpion points out that this is its nature. The fable is used to illustrate the position that the behaviour of some creatures is irrepressible, no matter how they are treated and no matter what the consequences.

Variations commonly include a farmer, youth, turtle, kangaroo, or fox in place of the frog, and a snake in place of the scorpion. The Farmer and the Viper is a specific variant that can be attributed to Aesop. There is also another variation in which the final words of the scorpion are "It is better we should both perish than that my enemy should live."


The origin and author are unknown. Variations of the fable appear in West African and European folktales. The story is often identified with Aesop's Fables, although only variants appear therein. A study published in a German journal in 2011 points out a connection between the genesis of the fable and the tradition of the Panchatantra, a collection of animal fables dating back to India in the 3rd century BCE. Whereas the original Sanskrit work and its early translations do not contain any fable resembling The Scorpion and the Frog, an earlier version of it, The Scorpion and the Turtle, is to be found as an interpolated fable in Islamic variants of the Panchatantra. The study suggests that the interpolation occurred between the 12th and 13th century in the Persian language area and offers a constructive frame of orientation for further research on the question of the fable's origin.

See also

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Scorpion and the Frog" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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