Sticking Together

August 29, 2009

An Aesop’s Fable

Audio: Sticking Together

There was once a family with four squabbling siblings. The eldest son wanted to youngest son to work harder and the youngest son wanted the eldest daughter to pray harder and the eldest daughter wanted to youngest daughter to stop whining all the time and the youngest daughter just wanted to grow up, get married and get away from the bickering. So as you can see, they all got on each other’s nerves a little bit.

Their father and mother would return from a hard days work to hear, “He did this and she did that!” from all four of their bitter children.

As time wore on, the father grew weak and ill, but even sitting by his deathbed, the siblings would not cease their quarreling. Now the argument had turned into who should get the money when their father died.

“I should get it, I’m the oldest”, said the eldest brother.

“I should get it, I’m the most hardworking”, said the eldest sister.

“I should get it, I still haven’t finished school”, said the youngest son.

“I should get it, I’ll need it for my dowry”, said the youngest daughter.

Finally, the father had had enough. With much effort and the little strength he had left, he heaved himself out of bed and left the room. The siblings were so busy snapping at each other that they didn’t even notice their dying father had gone.

A few minutes later, the father returned. He quietly leaned against the doorframe for support and waited for his children to notice him. Several moments went by before the youngest son saw his father hunched by the door. He elbowed his elder brother to shut up, who poked his younger sister to keep quiet who prodded her younger sister to stop whining. Finally the house was silent.

Their father took a deep breath and held up a bunch of sticks tied together with twine. He held it out to his youngest daughter. “Try to break this bundle twigs”.

The youngest daughter tried, but the bundle would not budge. Then the eldest daughter tried and failed. By this time the youngest son was laughing at his sisters’ weakness grabbed the bundle. He struggled till his face turned red, but was no more successful than his sisters.

The eldest son smirked and reached out for the bundle but soon his smirk melted into a sweaty frown as he too huffed and puffed, and strained and struggled but could not break even one of the twigs in the bundle.

Then, their father asked for the bundle, and after untying the twine, handed each of his children a single twig. “Now, try to break this.”

Snap! Snap! Snap! Snap!

All the twigs were snapped in a second.

“You are these individual twigs. Alone and unprotected. In times of hardship and trouble, you will snap just like the twig in your hand. But if you learn to get along, support and respect each other, then when your enemies seen and unseen attack, you will be as strong and powerful as the bunch of sticks that none of you could break.”

From that day on, though it was difficult at times, all the siblings worked hard to get along and stick together.

One Response to “Sticking Together”

  1. I have read this story and I think this story is about helping each other never always quarrel.

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