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Q: The Scorpion and the Frog ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: The Scorpion and the Frog
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Movies and Film
Asked by: mbw620-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 29 Dec 2002 17:05 PST
Expires: 28 Jan 2003 17:05 PST
Question ID: 134743
Can you provide a list of movies in which they refer to the fable
about the scorpion and the frog (see link below).  I'm trying to
discern where I first heard this, but have never seen most of the
movies that have referenced it according to my research.

Request for Question Clarification by tehuti-ga on 29 Dec 2002 17:49 PST
It would be useful if you could list the movies that you have found in
your research. That way researchers can avoid giving you information
which you already have.

Clarification of Question by mbw620-ga on 29 Dec 2002 19:02 PST
Umm, there is a film by Orson Welles, but I forget the title, and one
other that I have only heard of in passing.  I forget its title as
well.  Sorry.
Subject: Re: The Scorpion and the Frog
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 29 Dec 2002 20:22 PST
The parable of the scorpion is also told with a fox or a turtle,
rather than a frog, providing the ride across the river. Sometimes the
poisonous creature is a snake rather than a scorpion.

Here is an interesting article about the fable:

According to the above link, the fable has appeared in an episode of
"Star Trek: Voyager," in the 1992 film "The Crying Game," the 1994
film "Natural Born Killers," and the 1989 film "Skin Deep." To that
list I can add the 1955 film "Mr. Arkadin," which is almost certainly
the Orson Welles movie that you mention.

Here's a bit of documentation~


"Mr. Arkadin" (alternative title, "Confidential Report"):

Arkadin tells a story: A scorpion wanted to cross a river, so he asked
the frog to carry him. The frog refused because the scorpion would
sting him. That would not be logical, explained the scorpion, because
if he stung the frog they would both drown. So the frog agreed to
carry the scorpion. Half way across, the frog felt a terrible pain -
the scorpion had stung him. There is no logic in this, exclaimed the
frog. I know, replied the scorpion, but I cannot help it - it is my

Pocket Essentials

More on "Mr. Arkadin":

At a party in the protagonist's Spanish castle, Arkadin tells some of
his guests a fable. A scorpion, who could not swim, approached a frog
and pleaded with him to carry him on his back to the other side of a
stream. The frog was reluctant, given the scorpion's reputation for
stinging its victims. The scorpion calmed the frog's fears by pointing
out to him that if he were to sting the frog, he, too, would drown.
The frog accepted and halfway across he felt a piercing pain in his
back where the scorpion had stung him. "Is that logic?" screamed the
frog. "No, it's not," replied the scorpion, "but I can't help it. It's
my character."

To Welles, the point of the fable is "to show that a man who declares
himself in the face of the world, I am as I am, take it or leave it,
that this sort of man has a tragic dignity."



"The Crying Game":

They exchange small talk when Jody tells Fergus the story about "The
Frog and the Scorpion." This allegory will become the major theme of
the film.


Dialogue from the actual script of "The Crying Game":

             Scorpion wants to cross a river, but he
             can't swim. Goes to the frog, who can,
             and asks for a ride. Frog says, "If I
             give you a ride on my back, you'll go and
             sting me." Scorpion replies, "It would
             not be in my interest to sting you since
             as I'll be on your back we both would
             drown." Frog thinks about this logic for
             a while and accepts the deal. Takes the
             scorpion on his back. Braves the waters.
             Halfway over feels a burning spear in his
             side and realizes the scorpion has stung
             him after all. And as they both sink
             beneath the waves the frog cries out,
             "Why did you sting me, Mr. Scorpion, for
             now we both will drown?" Scorpion
             replies, "I can't help it, it's in my

Bjørn Erik Hundland's Movie Page: The Crying Game


A story involving a fox and a scorpion is a key metaphor for a
two-part episode of "Star Trek: Voyager." In the episode, entitled
"Scorpion," a Native American fable told by Commander Chakotay serves
as an allegory for the perilous relationship between the Federation
and the Borg:

There's a story I heard as a child. A parable. I never forgot it. A
scorpion was walking along the bank of a river, wondering how to get
to the other side. Suddenly he saw a fox. He asked the fox to take him
on his back across the river. The fox said: "No, if I do that, you'll
sting me and I'll drown." The scorpion assured him: "If I did that,
we'd both drown." So the fox thought about it and finally agreed. So
the scorpion climbed upon his back and the fox began to swim, but half
way across the river, the scorpion stung him. As the poison filled his
veins, the fox turned to the scorpion and asked: "Why did you do that?
Now you'll drown too." "I couldn't help it", said the scorpion. "It's
my nature."

McKinley Station

My search strategy for locating this information included several
Google searches using various combinations of the key phrase "my
nature" with the keywords "frog," "river," and "scorpion."

I hope this is useful. If anything I've said is not clear, or if any
of the links don't function, please request clarification before
rating my answer, and I'll gladly offer further assistance.

Best regards,
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