O Henry's Mr. Behrman did succeed, finally, in painting his masterpiece. His masterpiece turned out to be something extraordinary. It was a masterpiece not because the painting fetched him worldwide fame or financial rewards. It was a masterpiece for a different reason.
He remained the same old Mr. Behrman, a drunk, a frivolous character till the very end. It was pitiable to see his blank canvass on which his masterpiece was supposed to be painted. It was old, worn-out and turning brown, like Behrman himself, telling its own tale of the never-ending wait.
One couldn't help but wonder if that one stroke of genius' inspiration that he's been waiting for, would ever come. After all, he was an old drunk who was to be found more often than not in an inebriated state rather than sober.
But he did.
His muse woke him up one stormy night and amidst the beating rain and weakening body, despite the shivering cold, he got up to paint his masterpiece with his old, worn out, shaky hands.
No, he didn't paint it on the canvass reserved for this long awaited "Godot.' He painted it on the windowsill. And what did he paint? A mere "ivy leaf." But what a painting it turned out to be! What a masterpiece it was!
It was a life saving leaf that he painted, a single, lorn, little green leaf. Poor Mr. Behrman! He didn't live long, not even a day, to see the miracle his masterpiece had performed.