This good villager, whose name was Astina, enjoyed reading the holy stories of Bali. Every morning after his work was finished and all his children had been fed and put to bed, Astina took out his book of holy stories and read them till he felt too tired and went to sleep himself. He believed in the teachings of these holy stories, and tried both to understand and to follow them, in order that he might lead an even better life than he was already leading.
However, Astina’s four sons were not like him. They did not follow their father’s kindly ways. Every day his sons fought among themselves or with their neighbor, and caused much trouble within their village. This distressed Astina very much, and he spent many night wondering how to change the ways of his boys. During these nights Astina also consulted the holy books of Bali, hoping to learn from them some way to solve his problem and to stop his children from quarrelling.
One evening his four sons had been especially naughty, and Astina had had to listen to complaints from several neighbours on his return home after a hard day in the field.
Astina decided that the time had come to call his children together and to talk seriously to them. Astina asked his sons to sit down. Then he went to the kitchen and brought out the kitchen broom, which was made from the strong veins of the leaves of the coconut palm.
“Please” Astina said to his sons, “take this broom and try to break it.” The youngest tried first, but he could not break the strong broom, because the straws were tightly bound together. Then the third son tried, and also failed. Then the second, and finally the eldest, but none could break the broom.
“Now” their father said, “I want to show you something. “He untied the broom and the straws fell to the floor. He picked them up one by one and broke them. “the straws of this broom are easily broken when they are tied together in one bunch,” the kind father told to his sons.
“we are the same, my sons. One by one, we can be broken, but when we stay together we are strong. If we do live as one family, we will be un happy. Disorder will easily come among us. Let us live as one and be like this broom – close together, strong and happy.”