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Sam, a master carpenter, worked for John for nearly 50 years.  When Sam announced that he wanted to retire, John told him how much he appreciated Sam’s work. John gave Sam a $5,000 bonus and asked him if he would build just one more house. John owned a magnificent lot with a spectacular view and he wanted to build a dream home.

Sam was bitterly disappointed at the small bonus, but his last building fee would help him buy a small cottage, so he agreed to build the dream house.

Sam prided himself on his uncompromising commitment to quality, but his resentment caused him to cut corners, ignore details, and accept shoddy workmanship from other workers. He even looked the other way when some of them substituted cheaper materials and pocketed the difference.

When the house was finished Joe shook Sam’s hand and gave him an envelope with a thank-you card and a folded piece of paper. Sam was disdainful — until he unfolded the paper and found the deed to the house he had just built.

Sam was ashamed that he had misjudged his old friend and betrayed his own values, and he was remorseful that the house he would live in for the rest of his life was made so carelessly.

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The story of the carpenter
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