"WELL, little one,” said a Tree to a Reed that was growing at its foot, “why do you not plant your feet deeply in the ground, and raise your head boldly in the air as I do?”
“I am contented with my lot,” said the Reed. “I may not be so grand, but I think I am safer.”
“Safe!” sneered the Tree. “Who shall pluck me up by the roots or bow my head to the ground?” But it soon had to repent of its boasting, for a hurricane arose which tore it up from its roots, and cast it a useless log on the ground, while the little Reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.
Obscurity often brings safety.
Not from Phædrus, nor in the original Romulus, but inserted by Stainhöwel at the end of his selections from "Romulus" to make up the number twenty of the fourth book. Probably from Avian 16, though it also occurs in the prose Æsop, Ed. Halm, 179 (which is ultimately derived from Babrius 36). It is probably Indian, as in Mahabharata the Sea complains that the Rivers bring down to it oaks, but not reeds. It occurs also in the Talmud, Tanith 20. B. Cf. the line in the dirge in Cymbeline, "To thee the reed is as the oak." Wordsworth's poem: The Oak and the Broom develops the subject at great length.
Tree and the Reed, The
Fables of Aesop, The
Aesop & Jacobs, Joseph
Macmillan & Co.
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ATU 298C*: The Reeds Bend before Wind (Flood)