The Scorpion and the Frog

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The Scorpion and the Frog

Post by fluffy bunny » 26 Mar 2008

Aesop's was an enigmatic fabulist traditionally believed to have been an African slave who lived in ancient Greece during the sixth century BCE. Most "facts" of Aesop's life are highly uncertain, to say the least.

Of course, the chief reason why we know and love Aesop is because of the collection of fables that are attributed to his authorship. Most of Aesop's fables contain a moral, "a maxim or practical lesson to be drawn from a story, event, etc relating to human character or relating to the distinction between right and wrong, or good and evil, ethics."

As Aesop, the man is "an enigma shrouded in mystery". So too are the precise number of fables that are credited or mis-attributed to him. This is one.
Aesop wrote:The Scorpion and the Frog

One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river. The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn't see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.

Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.

"Hellooo Mr. Frog!" called the scorpion across the water, "Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?"

"Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?" asked the frog hesitantly.

"Because," the scorpion replied, "If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!"

Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. "What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!"

"This is true," agreed the scorpion, "But then I wouldn't be able to get to the other side of the river!"

"Alright then ... how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?" said the frog.

"Ahh ...," crooned the scorpion, "Because you see, once you've taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!"

So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog's back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog's soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.

Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog's back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs. "You fool!" croaked the frog, "Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?"

The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog's back. "I could not help myself. It is my nature." Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.

Self destruction - "Its my Nature", said the Scorpion ...

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Re: The Scorpion and the Frog

Post by andrey » 26 Mar 2008

In the Avyakt Vanis it is said that we say my nature for things which are not ours nature.

There is another story that a saint saw a scorpion in the water and decided to save it from drowning, but it bit it, so he dropped it, so he fell again in the water. He took it again, but it bit it again, so he dropped it again. It happened many times like this untill a side spectator after watching the drama for quite a long time asked the sain that why is he doing this again and again when the scorpion bites him and he said that if the scorpion is not leaving its nature why should i.

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prevention is better than cure

Post by alladin » 26 Mar 2008

On the same line, there's another Aesop's story I am fond of:
  • " The farmer who rescued the viper".
Recently I have thought about its didascalic contents.

During wintertime, a farmer who went for a walk, found a snake in the snow, immobile and almost frozen to death. Out of compassion, he took it with him it inside the house and held it under his clothes against his breast to keep it warm. Soon the tepidity woke up the snake who bit and killed its rescuer.

In a later version of the story, re-written by J. de La Fontaine, the villager places the serpent in the fireplace. The snake stands up and gets ready to bite him but the farmer manages to grab an axe and kills the viper, cutting it into 3 pieces!!

In any case, it's obviously a fable about ingratitude. On top of that, I was reflecting on the lack of discrimination power, which leads us to not distinguish a poisonous snake from a harmless one. And about overconfidence, that makes us think a viper will change its nature just out of gratitude towards the rescuer. The desire to control others may also be lurking somewhere in our consciousness and play a role.

BKs, religious minded people and those who try to be saints often become a bit irrealistic, thus vulnerable, when judging the nature of the people they meet.

Sure it's great looking at/for the qualities in others, and especially having good wishes. However, extreme idealism and seeing everything and everybody through pink lenses, can also put us in perilous situations. We may later regret our lack of wisdom. Especially since it takes time and energy to heal and recovering from the emotional, health and financial losses we meet due to an excess in granting credit and trust.

I am sure there are many worthy and harmless Bambis out there who need and deserve being saved! Why should we engage ourselves and be distracted by scorpions and snakes?

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Re: The Scorpion and the Frog

Post by fluffy bunny » 27 Mar 2008

I don't disagree with either of the above posters.

There may be another element too. The fables might also be roadmaps, quiet warnings to us.

It is not that we should NOT pick up and help snakes and scorpions that are bound to bite us. They say helping others is good karma that will come back to us, regardless. Its is just that we should be aware that they will still bite and that we out to learn how and when to stand back right back and protect ourselves and those we are responsible for.

In Buddhism, the Buddha is recorded as saying, "Indiscriminate charity is a sin" (approximate translation) and I think this is a very deep point. We are encouraged to perform altruistic charity, that charity can all to easily become serving a false master, who teaches us to be discriminating about our charity ... only experience, I fear.

One helps, one encourages, one chats, one enthuses ... one provides some kind of warmth they need to re-awake, then they strike back. OK, so perhaps the lesson is to give just 'not quite enough' and then step back. Of course, attachment to the fruit of our karma is also a sin for which we will suffer until we learn to let go ... but I think these are two sides of the lesson.

Learning who to give to is a big lesson on the spiritual path. Within Hinduism, although I am sure it is the same in other traditions, they say that the 'master takes on the karma of the student', so that if the student takes and does bad with what he is given ... then the master must suffer too. This is the same in Gyan. They, the Seniors, claim the Baba takes on their karma. What they do has no karma because it is done in his consciousness. But I don't think this is true. If they or their students screw up, it still reflects back on the source.

I think there is also sin in becoming too close involved with those one is helping (perhaps this comes into the attachment above) and pain in required to separate one to the proper distance. Also those of a different spiritual order must and will be separated ... storks an swans etc.

I can see andrey's point is fair too. One must also know the real self and not be deluded by any false impressions. But how often we live inside and strengthen those delusions. That scorpion might nor be a scorpion at all.

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