If we substitute for a frog a "Mr. Goodwill" or a "Mr. Prudence," and for the scorpion "Mr. Treachery" or "Mr. Two-Face," and make the river any river and substitute for "We're both Arabs . . ." "We're both men . ." we turn the fable [which illustrates human tendencies by using animals as illustrative examples] into an allegory [a narrative in which each character and action has symbolic meaning]. On the other hand, if we turn the frog into a father and the scorpion into a son (boatman and passenger) and we have the son say "We're both sons of God, aren't we?", then we have a parable (if a rather cynical one) about the wickedness of human nature and the sin of parricide. (22)
Although coming from a family of pioneer landholders who, by their industry had achieved some substance, Paterson wrote for all who were battling in the face of flood, drought and disaster. He saw life through the eyes of old Kiley who had to watch the country he had pioneered turned over to the mortgagees, of Saltbush Bill fighting a well-paid overseer for grass for his starving sheep, of Clancy of the Overflow riding contentedly through the smiling western plains: While the stock are slowly stringing,
Clancy rides behind them singing,
For the drover's life has pleasures
that the townsfolk never know.