Better bent than broken
Once a huge oak tree stood on the bank of a river. It was well nourished by the water of the river. Naturally, it was very strong and had a thick stem. Just nearby, grew some reeds with thin but flexible stems. They stood almost half in water and had flourished well too.
One day, strong winds blew. The tree, though huge and strong, broke from the middle and was thrown across the stream just among the reeds. On the other hand, the tree was very surprised to see that the reeds suffered no harm at all.
The oak could not make out the reason of the safety of the reeds and asked them, "How is it that, you being frail and slender, managed to face the gale without any harm. But I, strong enough, have been broken."