Our Rabbis have taught: A person should always be soft like a reed and not hard like a cedar.
It happened that R. Eleazar the son of R. Simeon was coming from Migdal Gedor on his donkey, and he was feeling very happy because he had learned a lot of Torah.
He passed by a very ugly man who said to him "Peace be upon you."
R Eleazar did not answer. He said: "Good for nothing! How ugly this man is!"
Then he asked him, "Are all the people of your city as ugly as you are?"
The man said: I do not know, but go and tell the artist who made me, how ugly is the vessel which you have made."
When R Eleazar realized he had done something wrong, he got down from his donkey and bowed in front of the man and asked for forgiveness.
[The man] said to him: "I will not forgive you until you go to the artist that created me and tell him: how ugly is the vessel that you created."
R. Eleazar walked behind [the other man] until he reached [the man's] city. When the people who lived in the city came out to meet him and said "Peace be upon you rabbi and teacher," the ugly man asked them "Who are you calling Rabbi?"
They replied: ‘The man who is walking behind you.’ He said to them: ‘If this man is a rabbi, may there not be any more like him in Israel!'
They asked him: ‘Why'
He replied: "He did such and such to me." They said to him: "Nevertheless, forgive him, for he is a man of great Torah learning."
The man replied: ‘For your sakes I will forgive him, but only if he does not make a habit of acting this way.’
Immediately, R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon went to the beit midrash (study house) and taught: "A man should always be soft like a reed and not hard like a cedar."
And for this reason the reed merited that of it should be made a quill for the writing of the Torah scroll, tefillin and mezuzot.