Translated by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
A certain king built himself a palace and summoned two men to decorate it for him. The king divided the palace into two parts, putting one man in charge of one half and the second in charge of the other. The king set a time limit within which they had to complete their work.
The two men went off. One of them struggled hard to teach himself the art of painting and plastering as best as he possibly could, and he did so well that he was able to paint his part of the palace with very beautiful and highly unusual murals of animals and birds and the like. Everything was executed with wondrous beauty.
However, the second man paid no attention to the king's command and did nothing whatever about it. As the date for the completion of the work approached, the first man had already finished his side in all its beauty and wonder. The second man then began to look at himself and ask what he had done! He had wasted his time on futility and nothingness without giving a thought to the king's instructions.
He tried to think what to do. He realized that in the few days left before the time expired, it would be impossible even to teach himself to paint let alone actually paint his part of the palace. The closing date was almost upon them. But he had an idea. He plastered his entire portion with a kind of shiny pitch. He plastered this dark pitch over his entire section, and the pitch was like a mirror: it reflected everything, just like a mirror. He then hung a curtain in front of his section to act as a partition between it and that of the other man.
When the appointed time came, the king went to inspect the work the men had done in the allotted time. He examined the first side with its amazingly beautiful paintings executed with exceptional skill. However, the other side was covered with a curtain, behind which everything was dark: nothing whatsoever was visible.
Then the second man stood up and drew aside the curtain. The sun was shining, and because of the pitch, which reflected everything like a mirror, all those remarkable paintings were visible on his side too. All the painted birds and other wondrous forms painted in the first man's side could be seen in the second man's side as well.
Everything the king had seen in the first man's section he also saw in this man's section. Not only that, but even all the precious objects and furnishings which the king had brought into the palace were all visible in the second man's side as well. This found favor in the eyes of the king.
Chayey Moharan #98
By Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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