A Traditional Tale From India
One day a saint was taking a bath in a river. His disciple sat on the bank guarding the Saint's clothes. The saint noticed a scorpion struggling in the current. Feeling pity, he took the bedraggled scorpion in his palm and began wading toward the shore.
No sooner had the scorpion recovered than it stung the saint on the palm. Though he felt an unbearable pain shoot up his arm, the saint did not drop the scorpion. Instead, he gently shook his hand to encourage the scorpion to move away from the wound.
Watching from the shore, the disciple grew alarmed but didn't say anything.
The saint had only taken a few steps when the scorpion stung him again. The pain this time was even worse and the saint staggered, nearly pitching forward into the river.
This time, the disciple cried out, "Drop the scorpion Holy One! Leave him to his fate. He will only sting you again. Your kindness means nothing to so vile a creature. He will learn nothing from it."
The saint ignored him and continued wading toward the shore with the scorpion on his throbbing palm. He had nearly reached the riverbank when the scorpion stung him for the third time. The searing pain of the third bite exploded into his lungs and his heart. Nevertheless, his face bore a blissful smile even as his knees buckled and he collapsed into the river.
The disciple jumped into the river to rescue the saint. As he dragged the unconscious saint to the shore, the disciple saw that the smiling saint still cradled the scorpion in his palm. As soon as the reached shore the scorpion scurried away.
"Saintly one," said the disciple once the saint had recovered consciousness, "how can you smile? That wretched creature nearly killed you."
"You are right my son," said the saint, "but he was only acting according to his nature. It is the nature of the scorpion to sting and it is the nature of the saint to save lives. He is acting according to his nature and I according to mine. All is as it should be. That is why I am so happy."