Aesop's Fable 53. The Father, His Sons, and the Sticks

There was once a man whose three sons were always fighting with each other. This made the man sad because he wanted his sons to get along. So, in order to teach the boys about the power of unity, he commanded them to bring him a dozen slender sticks of wood, each about as thick as a pencil.

The father then addressed his eldest son. "Son," he said, "I want you to take one of these sticks and break it." The son did as his father told him, breaking the stick easily. The father then told his second son to take a stick and break it. When the father commanded his third son to do the same thing, the son laughed and said, "Father, it's obvious that these sticks are easy to break. I don't understand why you're making us do this."

The father smiled and replied, "I have my reasons."

Turning back again to his first son, the man commanded, "Take the remaining sticks and tie them into a bundle." The boy did as he was told. "Now try to break the sticks," the father commanded. The boy tried and tried, but he wasn't able to break the bundle of sticks. The father then commanded his other sons to try to break the bundle, but they were not able to do so.

At last, the father explained the lesson. "You, my boys, are like these sticks," he said. "If you cooperate and stand united, no one will be able to break you. If, on the other hand, you quarrel with one another and act on your own, it will be easy for your enemies to break you. Please take this lesson to heart," he concluded, "and stay close to another."

The moral of the story is that strength comes from unity.

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