Perfect peace? I asked for perfect peace and what do I get? A picture of a storm!? Nonsense. What was the artist thinking of…” The king felt a storm of anger rising within his belly the effrontery of one of his subjects to disobey him so openly. To cool his temper, he looked at the next painting.
“Now this painting here, that’s what I call peaceful. A calm lake, some beautiful mountains reflected in it. Oh and that magnificent sky, with just a touch of puffy little clouds. What artistry, what serenity, what…”
The king moved on to the next painting in his huge exhibition gallery. All the best artists of his kingdom and abroad had entered his competition to depict “perfect peace” and win the coveted position of Royal Court Painter.
Gazing at a serene pastoral painting, the king found himself thinking again “This is indeed a peaceful scene, but somehow it doesn’t help me feel peaceful.” His mind returned to pondering the picture of the storm. Had he missed something, or was the artist a practical joker? He walked back to that first painting to have another look.
Lightning flashed on the bare crags of the mountains, knifing into a dark and furious sky. Foaming waters gashed the dark gullies as they thundered into the flooding river. The king found his gaze following the line of the largest torrent from its source downwards.
He peered closely at the painting.
A smile spread across his face.
There, in the heart of the raging waters, growing from a cracked rock was a delicate shrub shielding a nest. Unaffected by the violent surroundings was a small bird sitting calmly in its nest.
The king knew he had a winner.