The camel and the critic

(Arab oral tradition)

An administrator, a painter, a poet and a critic were crossing the desert.

One night, to kill the time, they decided to describe the camel that was accompanying them.

The administrator went into the tent; in ten minutes he wrote an objective report on the animal’s importance.

The poet also took ten minutes to describe the animal’s nobility in beautiful verses.

In a few rapid strokes, the painter offered his friends a drawing.

Finally the critic entered the tent.

He came out two hours later, by which time they were all annoyed at how long he was taking.

“I tried to be quick, but I discovered flaws in the animal,” said the critic.

“It doesn’t run. It’s uncomfortable. It’s ugly.”

And he handed his friends a wad of pages with the title:
“The perfect camel, or how God should have made the camel.”