The old man was bald, and his skin was leathery. He had a short fireplug of a body, with disproportionately large, gnarled hands. His eyes were dark and glittering. His dark skin had a waxy sheen in the harsh light of the sun.
"I am Grandfather Scorpion," he told me. "I am old. I was the first on land. When the others crawled ashore, I was there, waiting for them. I was the death of snapping claws and flashing sting.
"Once, when the world was younger, and all the People spoke, I needed to cross a sea. The water was deep, and hateful to me. I was the first of her children to leave, and the sea has never forgiven me that.
"A turtle passed by, and I asked for a ride on its shell. It refused, saying that I would sting it, and it would die.
"Later, a bird flew overhead. I asked for it to fly me to the other side. It refused as well, saying I would tear it apart with my claws. I was stronger then, you understand, and larger, too.
"Finally, a fox passed by. I asked if it would carry me across the sea. It refused at first, but I promised that I would not harm it. It agreed out of pity, and I climbed atop its head.
"When we were halfway across, I stung the fox, and we both began to sink. 'Why?' asked the Fox. 'Now we both will die.' I shrugged. 'I am Grandfather Scorpion. It is in my nature.' And so I drowned in the sea."
The old man sipped his tea. "But I am the old sting, and I have died many times, and I always live again. I will live and die long after Man has quit this Earth. I was the first out of the water. I am the oldest. I am Grandfather Scorpion."