First People :: American Indian Legends : T-U

One Stick, Two Sticks

An old man is dying, and calls his people to his side. He gives a short, sturdy stick to each on his many offspring, wives, and relatives. "Break the stick," he instructs them. With some effort, they all snap their sticks in half. "This is how it is when a soul is alone without anyone. They can be easily broken."

The old man next gives each of his kin another stick, and says, "This is how I would like you to live after I pass. Put your sticks together in bundles of twos and threes. Now, break these bundles in half." No one can break the sticks when there are two or more in a bundle. The old man smiles. "We are strong when we stand with another soul. When we are with another, we cannot be broken."

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