The "parable of the arrow/sticks", as described in the title, is frequently repeated amongst many nations and civilisations, even though many of them have not come into contact with each other.
One version of the story that was quoted from Iroquois folk legends by John Hancock goes:
“…They have frequently taken a single arrow and said, children, see how easy it is broken, then they have tied twelve together with strong cords – and our strongest men could not break them. See, said they, this is what the Six Nations mean. Divided a single man may destroy you – united, you are a match for the whole world.”
What is the oldest known reference to this story?