The Scorpion and the Frog

Is there gratitude in this story? I recently heard this story and immediately thought about it all day! that I wanted to share it with you.


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 stream’s bank on the river’s other side. 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? I would have much gratitude for you if you did!”

“Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you won’t 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 won’t 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 drowning 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.

What are your thoughts on this story? Many people are like the scorpion; they think they cannot change. I ‘blame’ their actions on the idea that they are who they are (as Popeye used to say, ‘I yam who I yam!‘)

People can change. Nothing is set in stone, especially when it comes to who you think you are and what you can accomplish! If you want to be more grateful, look around and start to express gratitude for all the things you can see!

What is your take on this story? Leave a comment below.

Scorpion photo by:

Be Well.
The Gratitude Guru


  1. jeannedowell on June 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I love the frog and the scorpion story. I teach Yoga and am the owner of with my daughter. All based on AOG Attitude of gratitude. I shall share this with my Yoga students. Thanks Paul. We have yoga and accessories all based on gratitude and I look forward to your mail daily.

  2. Howard on August 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    This is an old story. In my view it is a harsh interpretation of acceptance. In the movie, “The Crying Game.” It was used by The gay and gender identity groups as an example of they can try to appear a way that is acceptable. Give all the correct answers but at some point who they are will need to come out. The most important line of I was born a scorpion and I can’t change that and it is something I cannot change and scorpions sting other animals. Now I die and sorry but I was a scorpion when you agreed.

    The most recent Lady GaGa Album, “Born This Way,” is based on the same ideal of I can’t change the way I was born. It may be a physical deviation, or a mind that reacts differently to common stimulus that the majority reacts a different way. Her popularity is it is ok to be bazaar. Not only ok but now a show it can be more successful expressing yourself than others who follow a traditional career to make enough money so you can afford to express who you really are. Can you imagine how it must have been to be the third smartest physicist on the world when Einstein was alive?

    When you look at the major religions today. At the start of Christians and Islam, the early believers were considered to be crazy. Others are think just go to a god’s temple and do that thing and worship in private. Just as today a “good” Christian worships in public. That is a lesson of the believers back when they were outcasts. Islam and the at least once in a lifetime. They prove their faith by going to Mecca. Other life codes I am weak, or unknowing to comment on.

    I can’t chose my parents their wealth of lack there of. I was born a certain race in a certain country and based most of the teachings of those similar to me based on being born on the good or bad side of the tracks, I am what I am. All lot of who I attract or runoff, is based on the currently accepted views of beauty or desired looks.

    The junkies and the alcoholics. If they get help after the self commitment to “get better.” I doubt anyone of them when planning their lives as you do many times when young. Put drunkard or addict on their life goals. But those born that way, if they face it and “lower” themselves (which is strange that some has to be lowered, because of something they couldn’t control at birth.) But, the early and still more common answer is that it is just because of their weak morals. I know that a part of a person long on the trail in both situations, reach a point of “Attitude of Gratitude.” It comes I think mostly from beat so heavy odds and you realize that by going through the self awareness then action and the lesson it is possible to appreciate many things the regular people never need to call on in their lives.

    • Paul on September 1, 2013 at 11:08 am

      Thanks for sharing, Howard!

    • Charlotte Williams on November 4, 2018 at 9:36 am

      an old story, but very worth the revisit. Thank you Paul..

      • Paul on December 16, 2018 at 9:37 pm

        Thanks, Charlotte!

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