When I was young and tender, they brought me into a room of solid white walls. They said they loved me and were going to paint beauty and happiness for me. They gave me toys to play with and then they brought in the best artist money could afford. He silently began to paint the white walls in brilliant colors: sunsets, mountains, banquets full of rich food and drink, beautiful horses and dogs and cats. They must have bought this man’s soul because he stayed with me all day and all night painting scene after delightful scene. As I got older I began to talk to the artist, I asked him to paint me another horse, a black one please. He even let me help paint when I wanted to. He told me I was a budding artist. I smiled and I was proud. Then one day he painted a window on the wall. In the window he painted a dirty street with naked children and crumbling shacks. I stood back in reverence and shock as he painted the scene in the window with tears flowing down his cheeks. Suddenly, they came back. They saw what he had done and were very angry. They made him erase the window but it left a hole in the wall. I wondered why they were angry. I wondered why my artist cried. I asked him to paint me more pictures like the window. So at night he did. He painted pictures of war and famine. He would cry and I would sob. Yet before morning we would erase them, leaving another hole in the wall. Eventually, there were so many holes in the wall, we couldn’t see the sunsets and the mountains and the banquets or pets without also seeing the holes in the wall.
Then one day I asked the artist, why he had painted all these pictures. For the first time in my life, he spoke. He told me of the place he was born. He was the naked child in the dirty street. He was the soldier. He was the hunger stricken alien. He had sold himself to make my life a beautiful picture. I cried and I sobbed. I ranted and I raged. And in my anger I tore that room to shreds and set it on fire. Now I live in the dirty streets the artist once painted for me. The naked children play and fight in the streets outside my door. The bombs wake me up at night. I barely eat because of the famine. “They” are gone now. They never even visit. I never liked them for deceiving me anyway. The artist. I don’t know where he is either. He too surely was in on the plot. But every day I laugh as I remember. I am no longer a child. Now, I sit in the dirt and hang pretty pictures on the mud walls of a different room. No more am I deceived as I sit in the doorway of my hut overlooking a dusty, war torn, infested street. I laugh and tell stories like the artist did. Some come by to listen. Others pay me no mind. Mostly, I am happy with my walls of mud.
I would like some feedback on this parable.
Who is the artist to you? Who are "they"? What is the moral of this parable? What does it say to you about yourself/others?