There was once a hard working carpenter who had four sons. The eldest was bright and clever and wished to expand his horizons through Further Education. This pleased the carpenter very much and, as his beloved first son prepared to leave, he came to his son and said, "You make me so proud. Take this prime timber and the best tools from my shed and build yourself a cart that you can travel faster and in greater safety as you make your way in the world."
And so, well equipped and supplied, the eldest son travelled far and learned many Facts, eventually making a Fairly Good Life for Himself in Foreign Parts Thank you Very Much.
The second son was more introspective and often baffled and frustrated the carpenter by Questioning Established Thinking. Occasionally, the poor carpenter was forced to beat him just to stop him being so uncertain about things. Eventually, this son decided that he wished to continue his apprenticeship with a neighbouring carpenter whose Philosophies Matched His Own. Although disappointed, the carpenter finally realised that there was no dissuading him and sent him on his way saying, "You'll probably not need this, but here is some passable lumber from the store shed that you can take with you and please take what tools you need from what your older brother left behind to get you started."
And so, the second son made his way to the neighbouring village and, after some setbacks, did passably well for himself (despite some minor health issues).
The third son was more Challenging than even the second son. Although very bright, he expressed very little interest in carpentry, especially considering the third-rate quality of the timber left in the store shed. His restless spirit yearned to experience the Good and Bad in the World Outside. Discouraged and Disappointed, the carpenter was impelled to beat him regularly to Keep Him On The Right Path. But this, strangely, seemed only to encourage the third son's Negative Behaviour.
Unfortunately, the saddened carpenter didn't know what else he could do.
When the time came for the third son to make his way into the world, all he found was a Message nailed to the tool shed door. It read: "Son, you are almost as intelligent as your oldest brother and know more of the Good and Bad in the World Outside than my second son (...mostly, I fear, through Direct Experience). I've tried to beat you back onto the Right Path, but you have still Disappointed Us All. I really don't know where You Went Wrong. However, Let It Not Be Said that I didn't give my offspring the same opportunities. Take these tools and make your way in the world."
The third son took up the blunt saw and the loose-headed hammer he had been bequeathed and, with a resigned shrug and a brief hopeful backward glance, he wandered off.
Fortunately, by the time the fourth son came to age, the carpenter (having now fewer expenses) had restocked his timber and tools. The carpenter had also grown more mellow as time had passed. Once in a while his Conscience would try to get his attention about something or other, (but his Pride soon sorted that nonsense out).
Nevertheless, the youngest son came to know a gentler, more thoughtful and generous father than certain of his siblings had. Indeed, the carpenter did his best to ensure that his remaining son did not want for Love and Support. Suffice to say, he never strayed far from home for long.
So, time passed. The eldest son, continued to do well for himself and would, every so often, grace his Family Home with the honour of a quick visit. The carpenter would clasp his clever and noble son to his breast and they would discuss serious matters together in a manly and knowledgeable fashion until the early hours.
The Second son conducted a quiet and humdrum existence in the neighbouring village and tried not to involve himself too much. He spent his time immersed in his own particular brand of carpentry so that the outside world couldn't intrude too much.
The third son didn't have such a great time of things. With the inadequate tools at his disposal, he made rather a hash of things. A number of times, he returned to his father and bemoaned the sorry tool kit he had been given. His father would frown and, tutting at the lack of gratitude from his son (It's not like his other sons caused him so much inconvenience), would hand over another blunt saw blade and some string to hold the hammer together.
The third son began to feel that perhaps he had had a rather poor deal overall, but felt reluctant to say anything to his family. His siblings obviously had been brought up by the same man and they were Doing Fine For Themselves weren't they?. Hadn't his father always helped him when his tools broke? He felt Guilty for being so Ungrateful and Saddened that he was such a Burden to Them All.
He resolved to be less of a Burden and tried his best to fashion his own tools. With a little advice here and some trial and error there, he began to do a little better.
However, around his father and brothers, he felt like he had let them all down for having made such a hash of things.
"Oh look," his brothers would say to each other, "Here he comes again probably expecting father to fix his tools for him. So typical. You don't see us bothering father with things like that."
But the third son would sometimes overhear and feel worse than ever - even though he tried hard to rely on his own hard won tool kit now. He realised that the family would always view him as the complaining one who never took responsibility for his tools.
Once or twice he got up the courage to voice his feelings but they didn't seem to want to understand. Once or twice he stormed off intending never to return but soon found out just how inadequate his cobbled-together tool kit was. He would return, shame-faced to the shaking heads and the sighs of his family. And so, in a subdued fashion, he would try to fit in again.
It is the way of things, that it takes only one small, and seemingly everyday thing, to cause catastrophic effects (this is especially true of camels for some reason). The third son had mistakenly exercised his right to something which ended up upsetting one of his brothers. For the purposes of this tale, it actually doesn't matter what it was. The carpenter berated the third son for hurting his brother's feelings and told the third son that he was tactless and insensitive.
The third son became angry and finally determined to raise his Concerns with his father and made it known that that was what he would do.
Well, almost immediately, the greatest furore erupted. His audacity astounded them all and the family turned on the third son berating him for his insensitivity, his malice, his ingratitude, his troublemaking and, well, just about anything else they thought might fit.
The third son was deeply saddened by the response - but hardly surprised. Nevertheless, he said what he had to say to his father. He had hoped for so many years that things would improve by themselves one day. He realised his folly.
It would be nice to finish this tale by saying that everyone realised the error of their ways and they all had a group hug and lived happily ever after but, well, that sort of the thing only happens in the more saccharin-laden animated movies, doesn't it. The truth is, people don't want their well-rationalised world to be challenged by inconvenient truths, especially when they are spouted by envious minorities, do they, children?
In reality, the third son realised fairly quickly the way the wind was blowing, sadly gave up on any further vain hope and left for good to do the best he could with his cobbled together tool-kit. This time he didn't look back. As time passed, he made good enough tools of his own and finally cast aside the old inferior ones.
The rest of the family, sighing, tutting and shaking their heads at the third son's folly, went back to their normal lives with minimum fuss. Occasionally, when the topic arose, one of them would mutter, "Ah, well, He's the one who walked away from his family, wasn't he? It's not like it's the first time he's gone off in a strop is it?. He'll be back with his tail between his legs, you'll see. Ungrateful bugger.
The old carpenter would nod silently as he watched the embers dying in the grate.