The Craftsman, the Critic, and the creation


Russell M. Taylor II

The Craftsman worked very hard, day and night, and after he had worked with love and caring for many long weeks at last it was done. He sat back in his chair and beheld his creation. It was elegant, with a simple beauty that shone forth for all to see. Pleased with his work, the Craftsman went out to find the perfect stand on which to display his creation.

While the Craftsman was away, the Critic came by. Seeing the creation, he became very jealous and angry. The Critic had tried many times to make creations of his own, but always he had failed. You see, the Critic knew not of love and so whatever he touched turned dark and ugly. In his anger, the Critic berated the creation, "You are simple and plain!" he told it, "the Craftsman will not love such a thing as you. You need to be ornamented and adorned with flashy colors. The Craftsman has not given these to you, so surely he thinks little of you. You deserve much better than you have; poor, pitiful creation."

After the Critic had left, the creation thought upon his words. By now, it was feeling very sad and hurt. It wanted the Craftsman to be proud of it, and it surely wanted to be proud of itself. So, before the Craftsman could return, it stretched itself and twisted, pinched itself and pulled until it was quite different from the simple creation it had been. It found paints and vainly spread bright colors across itself, trying to be the flashing beauty that it imagined it should be. Then, when the Craftsman returned, it puffed out its chest and declared, "See, Craftsman, what I have become. I have made myself into a thing of glory and have given myself all the things you did not see fit to give me. Now you must love me, for what I have done."

The Craftsman looked upon his creation, so changed from the work of beauty it had been. The stand he had found dropped from his fingers to the floor, and a tear coursed its was down his cheek as he saw the twisted, prideful creature before him. Gently, soothingly, the Craftsman tried to wipe the paint from his creation, to untwist it and return it to its beauty.

"It is just as the Critic said," exclaimed the creation. "You do not love me, and so you do not want me to have these things that make me ornamented. I do not need you, for I have found Pride and I can make myself into anything I want. Go away and LEAVE ME ALONE!" So saying, the creation ran and hid and tried to forget the Craftsman altogether.

The Craftsman watched as his creation stumbled about. He saw how it tried all sorts of things to replace the love it had from the Craftsman. He saw how it tried painting and reshaping, and how it grew more angry and sad and lonely. "I know," said the Craftsman to himself, "what I shall do."

Once again, the Craftsman took his tools and went to work. With loving and care, he fashioned another creation, as simple and as beautiful as the first. The Craftsman talked to his new creation, and told it that it would be his Messenger. The Craftsman told the Messenger the words of the Critic, and showed it why they were false. He told the Messenger all things, so that it might explain to the first creation and make it understand the truth. All this done, he sent the Messenger to talk with the creation.

When the creation saw the Messenger, it became very angry. "Why do you look so plain and simple?" it demanded. "How DARE you say that the Craftsman loves you? That you come from him to say he loves me? You know nothing of beauty - you are not even painted with bright colors!" When the Messenger tried to explain to the creation, it did not listen - but rather grew ever more angry. At last, the creation got so angry with the Messenger for telling the truth that it tossed it off the workbench and onto the floor below, where it crashed in a heap.

Ever so slowly, the creation peered over the edge of the bench to the floor below. When it saw the beauty of the Messenger as it lay there, broken on the floor, the creation realized the Truth. It looked upon itself, all puffed out and painted, and saw the falseness of its beauty. It realized that the Messenger had spoken the Truth and that it, the creation, had destroyed the Messenger. And it grew very afraid for what the Craftsman would do.

The Critic, who had been watching all this through the window, was smiling a great smile. "Now," he thought to himself, "the Craftsman will suffer and will destroy that creation, or leave it to me!"

But the Craftsman looked upon the creation and had pity. He did not destroy the creation and he did not send it to the Critic, but rather his picked up his tools once more. Gingerly lifting the broken Messenger from the floor of his shop, the Craftsman went to work once more. With loving and care, he fixed the Messenger and sent it back to the creation.

"I have returned," said the Messenger to the frightened creation. "The Craftsman has returned me to beauty. See, here are the cracks from when I fell before - but now I am repaired. The Craftsman still loves you as he always has, and he wants to repair you as well. I go to him now, but I will return again soon and I will bring you to him with me. Until then, clean off the paint, untwist yourself, and wait for my return." With this done, the Messenger returned to the Craftsman and sits in the stand, watching and waiting for the creation.