Who is the strongest?

The village pond was frozen and all the children were happy because that meant they could skate on the ice. Namyoka and Kurba were neighbours. They were the first to arrive at the pond. They were warmly clothed in thick coats and woollen scarves for it was very cold. This winter was the coldest in many years and the old people were not happy at all. But the children of the village, like Namyoka and Kurba, did not mind the cold. They played and went skiing down the mountain slopes near their village.
But one day Namyoka and Kurba quarrelled. Kurba had boasted that he was the strongest boy in their village. “That isn't true. You know I beat you in the races last year. That makes me the strongest,” cried Namyoka. Kurba became very angry and he began to hit his friend. Their friends tried to part them.
“Namyoka, Kurba, this is silly. You have been friends for so long. Why quarrel over such a silly thing as who is the strongest. We are all strong in our own way,” said their friends.
Namyoka and Kurba took no notice of them. Then Namyoka said, “I'm the strongest. You must all bow to me.” Kurba was so angry that he pushed him and Namyoka fell and hit his head on the ice.
“You can't be the strongest as the strongest is the ice on which you fell. Mr. Ice, isn't that so? Aren't you stronger than my friend?” asked the boy.
“That may well be true but there is one who is stronger than I am,” said Mr. Ice.
“Who's that?” asked Namyoka, rubbing his head.
“It's Mr. Sun, of course. When the weather gets warm I begin to melt because the sun's rays are so warm. So Mr. Sun is the strongest. Bow to the Sun,” said Mr. Ice.
Just then the Sun began to peep through the clouds al­though it was still very cold. “Good morning, Mr. Sun. Please help us to settle our argument. Kurba and I have been fighting because each of us claimed to be the strongest. We asked Mr. Ice and he said you're the strongest,” said Namyoka.
“It's kind of Mr. Ice to say that but I don't think that's quite true. I think the Cloud is stronger than I am. When it casts its shadow, the Earth becomes so cold because my rays cannot shine through the thick cloud.”
The boys went to see the Cloud who was hanging low over a high mountain to the north of their village. After a long and difficult climb, they reached the top of the mountain. “Good day, Mr. Cloud, we've come to see you as the Sun told us that you are the strongest.” The Cloud wandered over the mountain top, making everything beneath it dark and foggy. The boys shivered for suddenly it became much colder. Their coats were covered with ice. Then a cold wind blew and the Cloud had no time to reply as it was blown away. Just as suddenly, it became warmer. The crust of ice melted and made their clothes damp and uncomfortable.
Then the Sun shone and before long, their clothes were dry. “Look, the Rainbow!” cried out Kurba.
"It's beautiful. Perhaps the Rainbow is the strongest. Let's ask it,” said Namyoka.
But before they could open their mouths a strong wind blew. “I am the strongest!” boasted the Wind.
“Can you move the Mountain from its place?" asked Kurba.
The Wind did not reply. Instead it began to blow. It puffed and puffed and still the Mountain stayed in its place. “You'll never move me. I am the strongest,” said the Mountain. Again the Wind blew. It roared up and down the mountain through the valleys but only a few grains of sand flew off its top.
“Oh, Mr. Wind, I don't think you're the strongest after all. It would take you years to move the Mountain,” said Namyoka. The Wind, realizing that it was defeated, blew down the mountain-side, and disappeared.
The boys bowed to the Mountain. “You Sir, are truly the greatest,” they said. But the Mountain only groaned.
“Oh, it isn't true. I only wish it were, but the Tree must surely be the strongest. It grows on my back and its roots dig deep into me although it does protect me from the Wind,” said the mountain.
“Are you indeed the strongest of them all?” asked the boys. The Tree shook in the wind but did not fall down.
“Yes, it's true. I'm the strongest of all! Bow to me.”
“You're wrong. You're telling lies,” said Namyoka. He took an axe that was lying beneath the tree and felled it. “Man is the greatest, the strongest of all,” said the boys.
Then everyone bowed to them. The Mountain groaned as the trees dug their roots deeper. The Wind roared down the Mountain calling out, “Man is the greatest. Bow to Man.” The Sun shone warmly and melted the ice.
And ever since that day, everybody believed Man to be the strongest of all.

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