The oak said to the reed:
"Nature did you wrong.
To you a tiny wren is a burden.
A mild puff of wind forces your head low.
I, a huge Caucasian peak, defy the sun's rays and the raging storms.
A gale for you is a breeze for me.
If you let me shelter you, you would suffer less.
I would defend you.
But you were born on the edges of the kingdom of storms.
Nature was unfair to you."
"Your pity," answered the reed, "is kind, but unnecessary.
I fear not the wind.
I bend without breaking.
You have borne its gusts without flexing your spine.
But wait and see."
And as he spoke, from the distant horizon
came the worst storm the North has ever known.
The oak remained rigid, the reed bent.
Harder, the wind uprooted him whose head touched the sky
and whose feet, the empire of the dead.
NOTE: This version of Jean de La Fontaine's fable, "The Oak and the Reed," is taken from André Téchiné's film Wild Reeds.