An old man meditating by the riverside opened his eyes to see a scorpion flailing helplessly in the water. The water washed the scorpion nearer to a tree growing on the river bank. Supporting his body on one of the long roots stretching into the water, the old man extended his hand out to reach the creature. His fingers barely touched the scorpion when it stung him.
The old man instinctively withdrew his hand. A moment later, he got back his balance and again lay down on the roots to rescue the scorpion. This time the scorpion stung him well and truly. The old man lay there in agony, his hand bloodied and swollen.
A traveler who was passing by saw the whole incident happen. He shouted, “What’s wrong with you? Only a fool or madman would risk his life trying to save that evil, vicious creature! Do you realize you could have died trying to save that scorpion?”
Still lying there, the old man turned his head to look at the traveler calmly. “Dear brother, it is the nature of the scorpion to sting. That does not mean I can change my nature, which is to save. ”
The scorpion behaved true to its nature. So did the old man.