The North Wind and The Sun

The wind and the sun bet on which can force a man to remove a coat. The sun wins.

Kindness effects more than severity.

Aesop For ChildrenAesop For Children

North Wind

Milo Winter (1919)

The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was the stronger. While they were disputing with much heat and bluster, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak.

“Let us agree,” said the Sun, “that he is the stronger who can strip that Traveler of his cloak.”

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


Milo Winter (1919)

With the first gust of wind the ends of the cloak whipped about the Traveler’s body. But he immediately wrapped it closely around him, and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him. 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 and let it hang loosely from his shoulders. The Sun’s rays grew warmer and warmer. The man took off his cap and mopped his brow. At last he became so heated that he pulled off his cloak, and, to escape the blazing sunshine, threw himself down in the welcome shade of a tree by the roadside.


Gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail.

Eliot-JacobsEliot/Jacobs Version

The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.”

So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.

Samuel CroxallSamuel Croxall (The Wind and the Sun)

Croxall - The Wind and the SunA DISPUTE once arose betwixt the North-wind and the Sun, about the superiority of their power; and they agreed to try their strength upon a traveller, which should be able to get his cloak off first. The North-wind began, and blew a very cold blast, accompanied with a sharp. driving shower. But this, and whatever else he could do, instead of making the man quit his cloak, obliged him to gird it about his body as close as possible. Next came the Sun; who breaking out from a thick watery cloud, drove away the cold vapors from the sky, and darted his warm sultry beams upon the head of the poor weather-beaten traveller. The man growing faint with the heat, and unable to endure it any longer, first throws off his heavy cloak, and then flies for protection to the shade of a neighbouring grove.


Whittingham - Wind and Sun

C. Whittingham (1814)

There is something in the temper of man so averse to severe and boisterous treatment, that he who endeavours to carry his point that way, instead of prevailing, generally leaves the mind of him, whom he has thus attempted, in a more confirmed and obstinate situation, than he found it at first. Bitter words and hard usage freeze the heart into a kind of obduracy, which mild persuasion and gentle language only can dissolve and soften. Persecution has always fixed and rivetted those opinions which it was intended to dispel; and some discerning men have attributed the quick growth of Christianity, in a great measure, to the rough and barbarous reception which its first teachers met within the world. The same may have been observed of our reformation: the blood of the martyrs was the manure which produced the great protestant crop, on which the church of England has subsisted ever since. Providence, which always makes use of the most natural means to attain its purpose, has thought fit to establish the purest religion by this method: the consideration of which may give a proper check to those who are continually endeavouring to root out errors by that very management, which so infallibly fixes and implants all opinions, as well erroneous as orthodox. When an opinion is so violently attacked, it raises an attention in the persecuted party, and gives an alarm to their vanity, by making them think that worth defending and keeping, at the hazard of their lives, which perhaps, otherwise, they would only have admired a while for the sake of its novelty, and afterwards resigned of their own accord. In short, a fierce turbulent opposition, like the north-wind, only serves to make a man wrap up his notions more closely about him; but we know not what a kind, warm, sun-shiny behaviour, rightly applied, would not be able to effect.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

Wind and Sun

Ernest Griset (1874)

A dispute once arose between the North wind and the Sun as to which was the stronger of the two. Seeing a traveller on his way, they agreed to try which could the sooner get his cloak off him. The North Wind began, and sent a furious blast, which, at the onset, nearly tore the cloak from its fastenings; but the traveller, seizing the garment with a firm grip, held it round his body so tightly that Boreas spent his remaining. force in vain. The Sun, dispelling the clouds that had gathered, then darted his most sultry beams on the traveller’s head. Growing faint with the heat, the man flung off his cloak, and ran for protection to the nearest shade.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

The north wind and the Sun disputed as to which was the most powerful, and agreed that he should be declared the victor who could first strip a wayfaring man of his clothes. The North Wind first tried his power and blew with all his might, but the keener his blasts, the closer the Traveler wrapped his cloak around him, until at last, resigning all hope of victory, the Wind called upon the Sun to see what he could do. The Sun suddenly shone out with all his warmth. The Traveler no sooner felt his genial rays than he took off one garment after another, and at last, fairly overcome with heat, undressed and bathed in a stream that lay in his path.


Persuasion is better than Force.

Crane Poetry VisualCrane Poetry Visual


Wind and Sun

The Wind and the Sun had a bet,
The Wayfarer’s cloak which should get;
Blew the Wind … the cloak clung;
Shone the Sun … the cloak flung
Showed the Sun had the best of it yet.

True strength is not bluster.

Fables de La Fontainede La Fontaine (Phébus et Borée)

Fontaine-North Wind and SunBorée et le soleil virent un voyageur
Qui sétoit muni par bonheur
Contre le mauvais temps. On entroit dans l’automne,
Quand la précaution aux voyageurs est bonne:
Il pleut, le soleil luit; et l’écharpe d’Iris
Rend ceux qui sortent avertis
Qu’en ces mois le manteau leur est fort nécessaire:
Les Latins les nommoient douteux, pour cette affaire.
Notre homme s’étoit donc à la pluie attendu:
Bon manteau bien doublé, bonne étoffe bien forte.
Celui-ci, dit le Vent, prétend avoir pourvu
A tous les accidents; mais il n’a pas prévu
Que je saurai souffler de sorte
Qu’il n’est bouton qui tienne: il faudra, si je veux,
Que le manteau s’en aille au diable.
L’ébattement pourroit nous en être agréable:
Yous plaît-il de l’avoir? Hé bien! gageons nous deux,
Dit Phébus, sans tant de paroles,
A qui plus tôt aura dégarni les épaules
Du cavalier que nous voyons.
Commencez: je vous laisse obscurcir mes rayons.
Il n’en fallut pas plus. Notre souffleur à gage
Se gorge de vapeurs, s’enfle comme un ballon,
Fait un vacarme de démon,
Siffle, souffle, tempête, et brise en son passage
Maint toit qui n’en peut mais, fait périr maint bateau:
Le tout au sujet d’un manteau.
Le cavalier eut soin d’empêcher que l’orage
Ne se pût engouffrer dedans.
Cela le préserva. Le vent perdit son temps;
Plus il se tourmentoit, plus l’autre tenoit ferme:
Il eut beau faire agir le collet et les plis.
Sitôt qu’il fut au bout du terme
Qu’à la gageure on avoit mis,
Le Soleil dissipe la nue,
Récrée et puis pénètre enfin le cavalier,
Sous son balandras fait qu’il sue,
Le contraint de s’en dépouiller:
Encor n’usa-t-il pas de toute sa puissance.
Plus fait douceur que violence.

1001Sol et Ventus

Sol et Aquilo certabant uter sit fortior. Conventum est experiri vires in viatorem, ut palmam ferat qui excusserit viatoris manticam. Boreas horrisono turbine viatorem aggreditur. At ille non desistit, amictum gradiendo duplicans. Assumit vices Sol qui, nimbo paulatim evicto, totos emolitur radios. Incipit viator aestuare, sudare, anhelare. Tandem progredi nequiens, sub frondoso nemore, obiecta mantica, resedit, et ita Soli victoria contingebat.

Perry #046