In The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho speaks about simple things and the happiness that lives in the one who can feel and enjoy them. Let’s read a fragment that is by itself a beautiful short story:

the alchemist by paulo coelho

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A certain shopkeeper sent his son to learn about the secret of  happiness from the wisest man in the world. The lad wandered through the  desert for 40 days, and finally came upon a beautiful castle, high atop  a mountain. It was there that the wise man lived.
Rather than finding a saintly man, though, our hero, on entering the  main room of the castle, saw a hive of activity: tradesmen came and  went, people were conversing in the corners, a small orchestra was  playing soft music, and there was a table covered with platters of the  most delicious food in that part of the world.
The wise man conversed with everyone, and the boy had to wait for two  hours before it was his turn to be given the man’s attention.
The wise man listened attentively to the boy’s explanation of why he  had come, but told him that he didn’t have time just then to explain the  secret of happiness. He suggested that the boy look around the palace  and return in two hours.
“Meanwhile, I want to ask you to do something,” said the wise man,  handing the boy a teaspoon that held two drops of oil. “As you wander  around, carry this spoon with you without allowing the oil to spill.”
The boy began climbing and descending the many stairways of the  palace, keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon. After two hours, he  returned to the room where the wise man was.
“Well,” asked the wise man, “Did you see the Persian tapestries that  are hanging in my dining hall? Did you see the garden that it took the  master gardener ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful  parchments in my library?”
The boy was embarrassed, and confessed that he had observed nothing.  His only concern had been not to spill the oil that the wise man had  entrusted to him.
“Then go back and observe the marvels of my world,” said the wise man. “You cannot trust a man if you don’t know his house.”
Relieved, the boy picked up the spoon and returned to his exploration  of the palace, this time observing all of the works of art on the  ceilings and the walls. He saw the gardens, the mountains all around  him, the beauty of the flowers, and the taste with which everything had  been selected. Upon returning to the wise man, he related in detail  everything he had seen.
“But where are the drops of oil I entrusted to you?” asked the wise  man. Looking down at the spoon he held, the boy saw that the oil was  gone.
“Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you,” said the wisest of wise men.
“The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.”


If you enjoyed this fragment from The Alchemist, you should read next The Egg by Andy Weir and Cookies by Douglas Adams, two short stories written ad-hoc by these amazing novelists.