Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window.

The other man had to spend all of his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, and where they had been on vacation.

And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside the hospital window.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm through flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in excellent detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the beautiful scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by below. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it in his mind as the gentleman by the window described it.

Weeks went by. One morning, a nurse arrived to bring water for their baths and found the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened, and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate in a few days, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself.

He moved slowly to turn and look out the window beside the bed. The window faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have caused his deceased roommate to describe such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse answered that the man was blind, and could not even see the wall. She replied, "Maybe he just wanted to encourage you.”