A turtle was happily swimming along a river when a scorpion hailed it from the shore.

"Dear friend turtle!" called the scorpion. "Please let me climb upon your back and swim me to the other side of the river!"

"No," replied the turtle, "for if I do, you shall sting me, and I shall die."

"Nonsense!" replied the scorpion. "If I kill you in the middle of the river, you shall sink, and I shall drown and die with you."

The turtle thought this over, and saw the truth of the scorpion's statement. He let it upon his back and began swimming towards the other side of the river. Halfway across, he felt a sharp pain in the back of his neck.

"Why have you stung me?!" cried the turtle as his body began to stiffen. "Now you shall die as well!"

"Because it is in my nature," replied the scorpion as the turtle sank beneath the waters.

A variant of the "you knew I was a rattlesnake when you picked me up" story.

In the game Legend of the Five Rings there is a group called The Scorpion Clan whose mascot is the Scorpion. The religious figure Shinsei told them the same story, which the head of the clan had already heard a million times. Shinsei revealed the "secret" last line to the story, though: "But little frog, I can swim." Puts an entirely different moral to the story.

(The Rokuganese version used a frog as the replacement for a turtle.)

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