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The frog and the scorpion and the lessons this fable teaches us

You’ve probably heard the one about the frog and scorpion. It’s one of those fables that crops up time and time again. Mainly because it teaches us important lessons that can help us to lead happier, more fulfilled lives.

What’s the frog and the scorpion?

In this story, a scorpion is sat on a riverbank, wanting to cross. But as it can’t swim, it asks a frog to carry it across the water. The frog is wary and says: “but you’ll sting me,” however the scorpion reassures the frog and says: “no I won’t, because if I sting you, we’ll both drown.” So the frog agrees to carry the scorpion across the water, but halfway across, the scorpion stings the frog. “Why did you sting me?” gasps the frog. “I couldn’t help it,” replied the scorpion, “it’s my nature.”

It’s difficult to say where this fable originated from. But according to Wikipedia, it emerged in Russia in the early 20th century. However, it is likely that earlier fables inspired this tale. 

What can we learn from it?

Like many fables, we can learn lessons from the frog and the scorpion. Lessons that could save us money, time and energy. 

The image shows a scorpion on some sand. Over the image the text reads: ‘5 lessons we can learn from the frog and the scorpion’.

1) Look at the whole picture

They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But if it looks like a scorpion and it sounds like a scorpion, then it could sting you. It’s also important to remember that sometimes it’s okay to go with your gut instinct and protect yourself. 

If a scorpion has hurt you before, then it could sting again, even if it does promise not to. Occasionally a scorpion will make a decision to fight against its nature to sting, but if it can’t fight the urge and it does sting you again, then what impact will that have on your life?



2) Question what people say

This can be applied in lots of different situations. For example, if somebody is telling you you should buy a product because it will solve all of your problems, ask yourself if it genuinely will. They might tell you they wouldn’t recommend it if they didn’t love the item themselves, but is that strictly true? Or is that salesperson going to hit their monthly target if you put your hand in your pocket? The same applies when somebody is asking to borrow money. If they have in the past and they haven’t repaid you, then how do you know they won’t do the same again?

Sometimes people try to persuade us to do things for their own reasons and they won’t change previous behaviours, so it’s important that you question them so you can gauge their integrity.  

3) You can be too trusting

Trusting other people is a lovely quality to have, but people have to earn that trust. And if the trust is broken and they do sting you, then try to learn from it. Don’t just offer to carry them across the river again after a few kind words. And if you do, be aware that they may hurt you again. 

The image is green and the text over it is advertising a gardening bundle.

4) Accept that scorpions exist

Scorpions are a part of life. They exist amongst us and you’re bound to face one eventually. You might feel disappointed when you encounter one, but it’s part of life and the human condition. People have flaws.  

5) Recognise the scorpion within yourself

We are all able to make choices, but those choices are influenced by our nature. So if you know that having your savings account on show will tempt you to dip into it, hide it. If you know you’re a sucker for Just Eat, despite wanting to save money, then delete the app. There are things we can do to make our choices overrule our nature, we just need to recognise and acknowledge our own weaknesses. 

What are your thoughts? Do you think that the frog and the scorpion teach us any other life lessons? 

You might also be interested in learning how to thrive in isolation and how to work from home productively.



16 thoughts on “The frog and the scorpion and the lessons this fable teaches us

  1. Great read and thanks for sharing! I feel like number 3 has my name written all over it especially this year! Guess I have a lot to learn from both the Frog and the Scorpion. 🐸🦂😂

  2. Haven’t heard this fable in years and forgot it had a bad ending! A very thought-provoking story indeed. As I was reading your interpretations of it I was trying to think of all the scorpions in my life but the part that stood out the most was that we have our own scorpion nature and in my case, bad choices that I’ve made (such as ignoring my gut feeling or using my credit card a little too often) have harmed me more than scorpions in my life if I’m honest. Super interesting!

  3. I can’t remember learning this fable, but it’s so true! I’m definitely too trusting, and it has lead to me being stung myself so I’m always trying to be a little more careful xo

  4. Thanks for sharing. What powerful lessons we can learn from this. I will always be sure (and also to teach my daughter to) question what people say and not be too trusting. Some great morals you can take from this!

  5. Oh I love listening to fables as they are really reminiscient of my childhood. I have to say that I have actually never heard of The Frog and The Scorpion but it sounds really interesting.

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