The North Wind and The Sun

One day the North Wind was feeling especially full of bluster, so he said to the sun, “You think you’re so hot, but I’m much more powerful than you. I can blow down a three hundred year old oak – all you can do is make it curl up its leaves.”

The Sun smiled, “Alright my friend, see that traveller riding along down there? Let’s see if you can get him to take off his coat.”

So the North Wind took in a deep, powerful breath, and blew it down at the traveller, with so much force the traveller was almost blown right off his horse. His coat flew up over his head and would have flown off completely but for the sleeves. The traveler shivered, pulled his jacket down around him, and buttoned up every button it had.

This made the North Wind even more determined. He sucked in an even longer, deeper breath, and blew down one quick, terrible burst of wind, which flung the traveller up into the air. He did two somersaults before he landed in a heap on the ground; but he still had on his jacket.

Then the North Wind, who was growing very frustrated indeed, drew in the longest, deepest breath of all, gathering up all the cold, dark power of the North, and blew down with everything he had at the poor little traveler and his horse. They would have both been flung up into the sky except that the traveler saw the great storm coming, and pulled his horse down behind a boulder and clutched onto the ground for dear life while trees and houses blew past them.

The North Wind had blown himself out completely the traveller was still clinging for dear life to his horse which had wedged itself beneath the boulder, and he still had on his coat, so the North Wind had no choice but to catch his breath and let the Sun take a turn. The Sun smiled down at the brave little traveler, and the warmth of his smile melted away the black clouds. A mist rose up from the earth, and birds all over that side of the world flew up to the tops of the trees to warm themselves. When the traveller saw the storm had passed he climbed back on his horse and started off again. When the Sun saw the traveler brush himself off and get traveling again his smile broadened, and the air began to warm, and for miles and miles around people looked out the window and decided to go out and hang some laundry, or take a walk. The flowers turned their heads and looked up, the birds began chatting with each other, and the traveler unbuttoned his jacket.

And when the sun looked down and saw the whole world beginning to stir this way his smile broke open warm and wide. Then the flowers still been making up their minds went ahead and opened, and even people who weren’t inclined to notice such things came outside and remarked what a beautiful day it was. By then the traveler had started feeling very warm indeed, so he took off his jacket; and when he came to a river, it looked so cool and inviting he took off every stitch of clothing he had on, and went for a swim.

And so the sun, with warmth and gentleness, was able to accomplish what the North Wind, in all his strength and fury, could not do.


A fable by Aesop.

(This version by Lee Scher.)


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