Taken from Women
Who Run With the Wolves,
by Clarissa Pinkola Estés,
as told to her by an old African-American in the mid-South.
("This is the way of the old African kings," he said.)
| 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."