A Parable of Four Sticks
A Sufi Story from the Balkans
A pious farmer wanted to teach his four children the benefits of working together.
He asked the eldest son to go into the woods and bring back eight sticks of wood.
The dutiful son went out and carefully selected eight strong sticks and brought them home.
“Now, give two sticks to each of your younger siblings, including your little brother”, ordered the farmer.
The eldest son gave two sticks to each of his brothers and kept two for himself.
Then, the farmer asked each of his sons to pick up one of the two sticks and break it. Each of the boys was able to break a stick easily. Even the youngest one was able to break one of his sticks.
The farmer asked his eldest son to pick up the remaining four sticks and tie them together firmly. The boy obliged and tied the sticks together with a rope.
“Now, break the bundle, son”, asked the father of his eldest son.
The boy tried. But hard as he tried, he could not break it. The other boys also tried and but none of them could break the bundle when it was tired together.
“Remember, my sons”, said the farmer, “there in strength in working together. If you are separated, you can be broken like the individual sticks. But if you are united and work together, you cannot be broken. Work together towards justice and the Truth and do not be divided. God helps those who work together to establish justice and the Truth.”