The Old Man and his Sons

062. THE OLD MAN AND HIS SONS. An old man had many sons, who were often falling out with one another. When the father had exerted his authority, and used other means in order to reconcile them, and all to no purpose, at last he had recourse to this expedient: he ordered his sons to be called before him, and a short bundle of sticks to be brought, and then commanded them, one by one, to try if, with all their might and strength, they could any of them break it.
They all tried, but to no purpose; for the sticks being closely and compactly bound up together, it was impossible for the force of man to do it. After this, the father ordered the bundle to be untied, and gave a single stick to each of his sons, at the same time bidding him try to break it.
Which when each did with all imaginable ease, the father addressed himself to them to this effect: "O, my sons, behold the power of unity! For if you in like manner would but keep yourselves strictly conjoined in the bonds of friendship, it would not be in the power of any mortal to hurt you; but when once the ties of brotherly affection are dissolved, how soon do you fall to pieces, and are liable to be. violated by every injurious hand that assaults you." [more info]

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