A rich noble once commissioned a famous artist to paint him a picture of a crane. The artist agreed, though he set a rather steep price, even for one as rich as the noble. The artist asked his patron to return in a month.
After a month, the noble returned to the house of the artist. The artist asked the noble to sit down, and said, “Just a moment, please.”
The artist unrolled a piece of paper, grabbed his brush and paints, and before the nobleman’s very eyes, completed his painting of the crane. It was undeniably beautiful. So lifelike was its pose, so delicate were the brushstrokes!
The noble, rather than being pleased, was furious. “How can you expect me to pay so much for something that took you only a few minutes to do?”
The artist calmly walked over to a nearby cupboard and opened it.
Contained within were dozens – no, hundreds – of badly drawn cranes.
When reading a research paper that you think isn’t very good or very interesting, keep in mind that it may be a crude, but necessary, first step towards making something great.
It may just be a badly drawn crane.
Note: I didn’t create this story; I believe it is a traditional story from Asia.
Picture by origamiwolf on Flickr; used under a Creative Commons license.