Thursday 30 April 2015


A friend of mine, called Roberto, wanted a fine bookcase for his balcony.  He was so enthusiastic that he hired the services of the refinest artisan and did not scrimp in the budget. The carpenter took measures and placed a high price to his work. Our man immediately accepted it and paid a good cash advance to the artisan.

The cabinetmaker asked if he could start the major bulk of work at his own home and install it later in Roberto’s balcony. He argued that his residence was much better equipped and that the annoying, work noise and waste could be reduced to a minimum. No sooner had the client heard the argument that he accepted delighted.

Some days afterwards, the carpenter went to his client’s to install the shelves. Our friend eagerly gazed at the rack construction. Suddenly, the artisan said that the work was finished.

“That’s it.” – Said the carpenter – “What do you think?”

Horrified, Roberto contemplated something which was rather similar to a niche: straight and totally graceless boxes that had been stacked up without any adjustment to the wall. There was neither a glass nor a door or a latch. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the present that the artisan gave Roberto: a black frame with a photo of a chrysantemus that he placed at the base of the bookcase.

- “The Chrysanthemum has the color of Majorca” – said the carpenter.

Roberto, who is a very good man but somewhat insecure, did not dare to tell the carpenter what he really thought. Instead, he popped into a neighbor’s, whom we will call “Mario”, and asked him to come over and give him an opinion.

Mario left everything aside and went to Roberto’s as soon as possible. Of course he had his own opinion about that bookcase. But he did not want to sadden our friend. So he merely answered that it looked really interesting. More comforted, the client transferred the artisan the remainder of the purchase price.

In the afternoon, Roberto’s wife arrived home. And she spared no adjectives to express her opinion about the masterpiece. Outraged, my friend went quickly to Mario’s to tell him his wife’s reaction. And there he found the cabinetmaker, who had just installed a case which was almost identical to the one he had initially commissioned.

If you ever have any doubt, ask yourself, not your neighbor.


Copyright Luisa Fernández Baladrón

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