A woodman came into a forest to ask the trees to give him a handle for his axe. It seemed so modest a request that the principal trees at once agreed to it, and it was settled among them that a plain, homely ash tree should furnish what was wanted.

No sooner had the woodman fitted the wood to his purpose, than he began laying about him on all sides, felling the noblest trees in the wood. The oak, now seeing the whole matter too late, whispered to the cedar, “The first concession has lost all. If we had not sacrificed our humble neighbor, we might have yet stood for ages ourselves.”

Aesop, from The Trees and the Axe