At a riverbank, a scorpion asks a tortoise for a ride across the river. The tortoise refuses, saying that if she gives him a ride on her back, the scorpion will likely sting her.
The scorpion, who can’t swim, promises not to sting the tortoise. She reluctantly agrees, and the scorpion jumps on.
Halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the tortoise.
When the tortoise protests, the scorpion says, “But that’s my nature!”
The tortoise quickly sinks below the surface of the water and shakes the scorpion off.
As she surfaces alone, the tortoise can see the scorpion struggling to reach the surface. She swims away.
“And that,” says the tortoise, “is my nature.”
And the tortoise swims to the far riverbank a little wiser, unencumbered by the feckless scorpion.