The moral of ‘The North Wind and the Sun’


By April Holthaus

Special to The PREVIEW

When I was a little girl, my mother would read to me from “Aesop’s Fables.” The original version had the most wonderful ink drawings. They illustrated moral tales written by a Greek slave observing human nature. One of my favorites fables was “The North Wind and the Sun.”

The story is about a quarrel these two who had to decide which one of them was the stronger.

It begins: “As they were disputing, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak. ‘Let’s agree,’ said the Sun, ‘that he is the stronger who can strip Traveler of his cloak.’

“‘Very well,’ growled the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the Traveler.”

The first gust of wind whipped the cloak around the Traveler’s body and he immediately wrapped it closer to himself. The harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it. The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts were in vain.

Then the Sun began to shine. At first his beams were gentle and in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind, the Traveler unfastened his cloak to hang loosely over his shoulders. As the Sun’s rays grew warmer and warmer the man took off his cap and mopped his brow. At last he became so heated he pulled off his cloak and found welcome shade under a tree by the roadside.

The moral of this fable, and there’s always a moral, is that gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail.

The thought that brought this fable to my memory is this: In the past when people were going through difficulties, I prayed their hard times would turn them to God for help and wisdom.

Recently, I recognized a powerful new way to pray for others no matter their circumstances. God wants people to experience the warmth of His love, not howling winds of perceived adversity. Today my prayers are for others to experience God’s incredible love under the shade of His everlasting arms. There they will be encouraged by His unfailing compassion. It is not up to me to determine the outcome of their faith or lack of it. My desire is to share His love.

Psalm 36:7 reads, “How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings” (New Living Translation).