An Aesop’s Update: The Scorpion and the Frog by Zeke Jarvis

There was a frog sitting near a river, looking for bugs and worms to eat. A scorpion walked up to the frog and said. “I need to get to the other side of the river. The other side is the most beautiful place. It’s wonderful. Nobody has ever seen a place like the other side of this river.”

The frog, knowing that scorpions often sting, said, “I’d like to help, but aren’t you going to sting me?”

The scorpion said, “Of course not. That’s just the very lying media lying about me. Also, if I did sting you, it would be the best sting. I’m a very good stinger, but don’t worry, because I would never sting you.”

The frog said, “Okay, I trust you, hop on.”

A robin, sitting by the side of the river and watching, said to the frog, “That would be a horrible idea. Scorpions sting, and if you let this scorpion climb onto your back, it will sting you, and you will die.”

The scorpion said, “That’s a lie. Don’t trust the very dishonest robin.”

The frog laughed and said to the robin, “Whatever snowflake. I know my rights and my freedoms, and I can get the scorpion across the river.”

The robin said, “Look, if you’re going to do this, let me just put some leaves or a shell over the stinger so that the scorpion doesn’t kill you.”

The scorpion said, “Are you going to be a weakling who needs my stinger covered to keep you safe?”

The frog shook its head and said, “Of course not, go ahead and climb onto my back.”

The robin said, “It would be no trouble to quickly cover his stinger.”

The frog said, “I don’t want your socialist crap.”

The scorpion got onto the frog’s back, and the frog went into the river. Partway through, the scorpion stung the frog twice. The frog screamed and started to go under water. The robin said, “I told you this would happen.”

The scorpion said, “What happened? I didn’t do anything!”

The frog accused the robin of pecking him. The robin insisted that it had stayed on the riverbank the whole time and that the only reasonable explanation was a scorpion sting. The frog, seizing up from the toxic sting, yelled, “I’m dying from drowning! Don’t claim this as a stinging death!”

The robin yelled, “You should have listened!”

As the scorpion went under the water, it shrieked, “The robin wanted me to fail!”

And along the banks, many animals shook their heads and clucked their tongues. They went out to find scorpions of their own to try to bring across the river. As they carried their scorpions, many animals (both those carrying scorpions and ones who just had the misfortune to be near the scorpions and their carriers) died from stings. Sadly, the animals seeking out scorpions didn’t seem to care. At least, they didn’t change their behavior.


About the Author: Zeke Jarvis is a Professor of English at Eureka College. His work has appeared in Drunk Monkeys, Moon City Review, and Posit, among other places. His books include So Anyway…, In A Family Way, The Three of Them, and Antisocial Norms.

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