The Scorpion and the Toad (Tale)

My informant is Courtney. Courtney is white female 19-year-old student at USC. She grew up in Alamo, California. She is of Irish and English descent.


Courtney: “So there was this tale about the scorpion and the toad, um so there was a scorpion and a toad and they were on one side of the river and a storm was coming. A really bad storm. And the only way they could survive was to get to the other side of the river. But the scorpion couldn’t get to the other side of the river because he’s a scorpion and cannot swim. However, the toad can swim and could get him across easily so the scorpion asks the toad if he could help him get across and save his life. The toad says “Why would I ever help you get across you’ve been killing my family members and my friends my whole life and why would I help you now?” And the scorpion was like, “I’ll give you my word if you help me across I wont ever kill any of your family members or friends or you again I will live a good life of honesty and kindness. We will become friends.” The toad is still not trusting him and says that he can’t trust him after all he’s done. The scorpion then begs, “Please take me to the other side! I will owe you my life. I’ll do anything if you help me survive I promise I will be good and wont harm anyone again”. The toad finally accepts this and asks the scorpion for his word and the scorpion gives him his word. So the toad helps him get to the other side and they survive this storm and as soon as the toad turned his back the scorpion stabbed him and killed him with his scorpion tail.

Did he say why the scorpion killed the toad?

Courtney: “Nope he’s just a scorpion and that’s how the story goes”

Is there a lesson?

Courtney: “I guess the lesson is whatever you want it to be like don’t trust scorpions”

When was the first time you heard this?

Courtney: “I heard a long time ago from my Dad and had forgotten about it but then he told the story again a couple of weeks ago”

Does this story have any meaning to you or anything?

Courtney: “I don’t know I haven’t thought about it; I guess only trust the people you are close to”


This is a weird tale. I think Courtney is missing the part at the end where she explained the morale of the story but maybe this is how she heard it and it is definitely how she remembers it. It it typical of a tale with talking animals and a plight they have to overcome. Courtney reveals she first heard this when she was a young girl and it is an ominous tale. One distrusts the other then finally trusts him but should have continued to distrust him. Is it a teaching of a tiger never changes his stripes? Or maybe do not give second chances? What this story means to me is to trust your instinct and to look out for yourself because if the toad had he would still be alive.