The Oak and the Reeds

There was once an oak tree growing beside a river, and there was also a reed growing beside that same river. The oak tree was very proud and boastful, while the reed was very modest. Even when the oak tree insulted the little reed, the reed remained cheerful, refusing to argue with the sturdy tree.

“You are such a puny and small plant,” the oak tree said to the reed. “Just look at how tall I am and how hard my trunk and branches are! You, on the other hand, are tiny, weak, and worthless.” The reed simply smiled at the oak tree but said nothing in reply.

Then one day the sky grew dark with thunderclouds. Rain began to pour down from the sky and mighty winds began to blow. The reed was able to bend and sway in the wind, but the oak tree was torn up by the roots and fell to the ground. In the end, it was the reed, not the oak, who survived. – Aesop

The Oak and the Reed by Achille Michallon, 1816 © Fitzwilliam Museum

The Oak and the Reed by Achille Michallon, 1816
                      © Fitzwilliam Museum

The moral of the story is that it is better to be flexible like the reed instead of rigid like the oak tree. 

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