Posts tagged with "folktales"

Gullah Tale: The Slick Scorpion And The Foolish Frog

There’s an old Gullah Geechee tale about the slick scorpion & the foolish frog:

Once upon a time, there was a very smart frog who befriended a conniving scorpion. The frog wished he could he could be a scorpion. He admired their exoskeletons & how other animals respected their stinger. He loved them so much, he could even speak like them. 

The scorpion, however, wished he could be a frog. But he knew he could never swim or jump like his friend. 

“Dem scorpion gwine sting yuh soonman,“ the other frogs warned. “Him got poison in he bookey.”

“The scorpion is my friend,” he told his fellow frogs. “Plus, I’ve seen a frog eat a tadpole. Why should I be more worried about a scorpion than my own people?”

They tried to explain that scorpions eat the same insects as frogs, but they also EAT FROGS, so they consider frogs to be their competition AND THEIR PREY.  

The older frogs even tried to explain that scorpions are born with an exoskeleton because they CAN’T jump. They have stingers because they are not quick enough to catch their prey. 

They even warned the foolish frog  that the other animals weren’t afraid of scorpions; they just knew  the only way a scorpion could hurt them is if they got too close. 

 “Lissen tuh we, churrn,” said the other frogs. “Unnah seen how dem scorpion do we.” 

“This is why we can’t move forward as a species,” said the frog. “We need to stop focusing on the past and let go of that victim mentality”.

But the frog wouldn’t listen.

One day, the river flooded and all of the other frogs began swimming to the banks. But the scorpion couldn’t swim, so he asked the articulate frog for a ride on his back.

“My people say you’ll sting me,” the frog said to his scorpion friend reluctantly.

“Have you ever seen me sting another scorpion?” The scorpion said. “Maybe if your people stopped worrying about being stung  and focused on being  as articulate as you are, people would respect them more. Now let me ride on your back.”

“Dem scorpion gwine sting yuh,“ the other frogs warned. “Him got poison in he bookey. Unnah de how he do we?”

But the articulate frog wouldn’t listen. “You really should stop hating scorpions so much, he told the other frogs. “Why would he sting me when we both have the same goals? Can’t you see that we’re all just trying to get our of the river?” 

So the frog let the scorpion  ride on his back. Of course, halfway across, the scorpion stung the frog.

“Why did you sting me?” Asked the frog. “I thought we were friends!” 

The frog could see the other frogs watching safely from the bank of the river. The scorpion could see all of the other scorpions drowning. Just before they both succumbed to their watery death, the scorpion leaned in close, smiled, and whispered his response loud enough for all the surviving frogs and the dying scorpions to hear. 


Anyway, here’s a video of a frog getting stung.

Editor’s Note: This folktale was shared on Twitter (X) by Michael Harriot, Writer, The Grio