The Twa Scorpies

THERE once lived a big scorpion who decided one day to leave its kind and find its way in the world. Scorpions are by their very nature averse to the company of other scorpions but this one in particular wanted to get as far away as possible. As far as it knew, it was the only scorpion in the world with a red stripe around the base of its tail.

Wandering through the desert, it hid under rocks when the sun was high and travelled and hunted most during the night when it was coolest.

After several days it came across a large rock, unaware that a little scorpion had found shelter in its shade. Just as the big scorpion was settling in, it was disturbed by a sound that the little scorpion had made. The big scorpion backed up in surprise and flashed its tail, so the little one had no choice but to do the same. At that moment they both realised that they had the same red stripe around the base of their tails and did the little dance that scorpions do when they are happy to see each other.

When night-time came, they travelled and talked together. Eventually, they chanced upon the edge of an ocean, where they sat for a while and looked at the stars, happy just to be.

But then the big scorpion suddenly remembered the reason for its journey and before the little scorpion had a chance to understand what hit it, the big one inflicted such a wound to the weakest part of the little one’s body that it was dead on the spot.

Consumed with guilt, the big scorpion burrowed a little hole in the sand and, with as much care and reverence as possible, buried the little scorpion.

After a few days wandering along the shoreline, just as the big scorpion was considering turning back and returning home, it was approached by an enormous spider, who offered an opportunity in which both would do very well. The scorpion accepted the spider’s generous offer and left all thoughts of regret behind.

In no time at all, the scorpion wanted for nothing. The memory of the little scorpion faded, but not how different life could have been had it not taken the path it had.

II

ONE DAY the scorpion wanted to be get away from the spider, and ventured back out into the open desert. It was just getting used to the solitude again in the shade of a rock, when it heard a little voice. It spun round and was ready to snap when it recognised the little scorpion. At first the big scorpion was over the moon that it had not killed the little scorpion but then it felt ashamed.

When the little scorpion saw how confused the big one was that it had no thoughts of hate or revenge, it backed up and showed off its tail. The big scorpion was astounded.

“Look! Instead of one stripe, I now have two!” laughed the little scorpion.

“How did that happen?” asked the big one.

“Well,” said the little one, “it’s like this. The wound you gave me was not mortal, for you must have forgotten to put the venom in your sting. A strong wind took the sand away and when I felt better I carried on. Although it was very painful, it was really just a bruise. In time it healed and before I knew it, in its place another stripe appeared.”

The little scorpion did a little dance, you know, the one that scorpions do when they are saying thank you.

Copyright (c) M K MacInnes 2015

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