The Means

If I only had the means, he said, if I only had the means, greatness would be within my grasp. Give me an orchestra, that I might write a symphony. Give me a hundred dancers, that I might stage a ballet. Give me a film crew that I shoot a movie. Give me twenty canvasses taller than horses, that I might paint a mural. Life would be the subject: life in all its colours and shades. Life in all its highs and lows. Everything and nothing. How great it would be! How great I could be, if I only had the means.

She scratched her nose and smiled. A great artist, she said, a great artist works within whatever means he or she has. Prove you deserve the means before you dare to ask for them. Master your whistle and I shall give you a drum. Master your drum and I shall give you a trumpet. Master your trumpet and I shall give you a flute. Master your…

But he was no longer listening.

(From a Livonian folk-tale)

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