Once upon a time there was a great house, the largest and most beautiful in all the land. People from all over would come just to look at it, because it was so wonderful. But the owner had fallen upon hard times, and the house had fallen into disrepair. Eventually, the owner reluctantly sold the house.
The new owner insisted the magnificent house be brought back to its former glory. He hired carpenters to rebuild the porch, brought in skilled glaziers to fix the broken windows, and a family of painters, all brothers and sisters, to repaint the entire house, inside and out.
The carpenters, a father and son, worked tirelessly, soon finishing the porch.
The glaziers showed their excellence, and soon all the windows were again sparkling sheets of glass.
The painters painted. And painted. And painted. They painted the porch. They painted the window frames. They painted the rooms inside. Soon there was only the dining room left to paint, but the painters were tired. The smallest brother was eventually chosen to paint the floor of the massive space.
Under the watchful eyes of his family, he began to paint. He painted. And painted. And painted. His work was without peer, the surface as smooth and perfect as a still pond. But the room was large.
He painted. And painted. And painted, until at last the floor was done.
Proud of his workmanship, he looked up to his siblings for approval. But he found them laughing instead.
“Poor little brother,” they cried across the vast empty room. “You have painted yourself into a corner!”
And they laughed and laughed.
And his heart sank as he saw they were right. He would have to destroy the perfect floor in order to leave.
“Why wouldn’t you tell me so earlier, brothers? Why wouldn’t you save me when you saw my mistake, sisters?” he called to them. Tears welled in his eyes.
And they saw him crying, and their hearts went out to him. “Poor brother, we didn’t mean for you to be upset. Had we known you would be upset, we would never have let you continue. It was just so funny to watch you go. Now that we know, we will never let you make such a mistake again. We will do better now. Everything will be fine now.” they called to him.
But the boy sat on his small triangle of unpainted floor, far from those who loved him, and cried and wondered how those that loved him so much could let all his hard work go to waste.