The Master

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Two Rivers


Only when he is receptive, can the apprentice learn from the master,


The ancient master sat with his long gray hair and gray beard, staring at his canvas with his paintbrush in his hand.  His palette lay on the low, square table beside him.  Pretty soon he felt the presence of his apprentice behind him looking at the painting too.

The old man said nothing but continued to wipe bristles of his brush with a small cloth.  Presently, the apprentice asked, “Is it finished?” 

The elderly man never looked up but asked him, “Is it?”

The younger painter came around him, studying the painting more closely.  “The entire canvas is covered in blue.  I like blue.  It is my favorite color!”  The Master rolled his eyes and dipped his brush in some solvent and then turned back around to look at the painting and wiping his brush again.  “The blue is the blue of the sky,” the boy said.  It is eternity and goes on in every direction the same.  Then he looked at the old man.

“And the black mark?” the master said.

The apprentice turned back to the painting, acting as if he had only noticed it for the first time.  “The black mark begins near the left edge of the painting, but not touching the edge.  It just begins, dark and wide, and then narrows as it proceeds to the right, getting smaller and lighter until it fades to nothing.”  He stops and studies some more.  “It is a man’s life that begins with exuberance, wonder, and energy, but then closes down to nothing at the end of his life.”

“Is it finished?” the author of the painting asks. 

The learner answers slowly, “Yes, a person leaves their mark in the vastness of time, but when he is gone that is all that is left—is his mark.”  He doesn’t turn but a tear rolls down his cheek.  “The old painter dies and this is all that is left.  The young painter must pick it up and remember this was once the life of a very wise master.”  He turns to meet his master’s eye, but the man is slumped in his chair.  “Yes, it is finished!” he says.  Then he turns back to the painting to notice, on the far right corner of the painting one word, the title, “Honesty.”


Submitted: December 15, 2017

© Copyright 2021 DannyDee. All rights reserved.

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