“I was working in the studio of Artan Gro when I heard a great laugh behind me. If ever there was derision in a laugh, there was derision in this one. I flung down my gaudy brushes and my palette and turned about in a rage—to find the master himself, his red cave of a mouth wide open in his black beard. I cooled my temper with an effort; for great indeed is Artan Gro, master artist of Sub Atlan.
“I am sorry, Mutan Mion,” he gasped, “but I can’t control my laughter. No one ever has conceived, much less executed, anything worse than what you have put upon canvas! What do you call it, ‘Proteus in a Convulsive Nightmare’?”
But Artan Gro could control himself, I was sure. It is one of the things I have learned of the really great in the arts; they make no pretenses. He was laughing because he wanted to tell me frankly what he thought of my ability as an artist. It is bad enough when your friends mock your work (and they had), but when the master is convulsed with laughter it is high time to wake up to the truth.”