Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Bundle of Sticks


"Boys, why are you always quarreling? That is no way to live," said a farmer to his sons one day.

The sons would not listen to their father. Each wanted the best of everything. Each thought the father did more for the others than for him.

The father bore the quarreling as long as he could. One day he called his seven sons to him. He had in his hand a bundle of seven sticks.

"I wish to see which one of you can break this bundle of sticks," he said.

The oldest one tried first. He was the strongest, but he could not break it though he used all his strength. Then each of his brothers tried hard to break the bundle. None of them could break it.

At last they gave the bundle of sticks back to their father, saying, "We cannot break it."

The father untied the bundle and gave each son one stick.

"Now see if you can break the sticks," said their father.

They all said, "That is very easily done," and they held up the broken sticks.

"Now tell us why you asked us to break these sticks," said the sons.

"Do you not see," replied the father, "that if you all stand together, nothing can harm you; but if each of you stands by himself, you may easily be ruined?"

from Fifty Famous Fables retold by Lida Brown McMurry 1917