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THE SCORPION AND THE TORTOISE
A SCORPION and a Tortoise became such fast friends that they took
a vow that they would never separate. So when it happened
that one of them was obliged to leave his native land, the
other promised to go with him. They had traveled only a short
distance when they came to a wide river. The Scorpion was
now greatly troubled.
"Alas," he said, "you, my friend, can easily swim, but how
can a poor Scorpion like me ever get across this stream?"
"Never fear," replied the Tortoise; "only place yourself
squarely on my broad back and I will carry you safely over.
No sooner was the Scorpion settled on the Tortoise's broad
back, than the Tortoise crawled into the water and began
to swim. Halfway across he was startled by a strange rapping
on his back, which made him ask the Scorpion what he was doing.
"Doing?" answered the Scorpion, I am whetting my sting to
see if it is possible to pierce your hard shell."
"Ungrateful friend," responded the Tortoise, ,it is well
that I have it in my power both to save myself and to
punish you as you deserve." And straightway he sank his
back below the surface and shook off the Scorpion into