The two angels

By Paulo Coelho

In the year 1476, two men are standing in a medieval church, talking. They pause for a few moments before a painting showing two angels, hand in hand, walking towards a city.
‘We are living through the horrors of the bubonic plague,’ says one of the men. ‘People are dying. I don’t want to see images of angels.’
‘This painting is about the Plague,’ says the other man. ‘It is a representation of the Golden Legend. The angel dressed in red is Lucifer, the Evil One. Notice that attached to his belt he has a small bag; inside that bag is the epidemic that has devastated our lives and those of our families.’
The man studies the painting carefully. Lucifer really is carrying a small bag; however, the angel leading him along looks serene, peace-loving and enlightened.
‘If Lucifer is bringing the Plague, who is the other angel leading him by the hand?’
‘He is the angel of the Lord, the messenger of Good. Without his permission, the Evil One would be unable to reveal himself.’
‘What is he doing, then?’
‘He is showing him the place where men are to be purified by a tragedy.’

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  1. Marlene says:

    I wouldn’t dare to judge life anymore…I’ve learned my lesson (at least I think so)and now there is no way back and no doubt about is the ultimate gift

  2. Ellinor Aspeflo says:

    Why is it so? That we somehow need evil around us, we need it in our lives. That makes us se the good things easier in life. If we have had a bad day, a day when it seems like everything went wrong. When we come home and just sit in our sofa with a cup of tea, doesn´t that makes us happy and calm. Would we have felt the same feeling of peace if we have had a great day? Would we have appreciated our tea and time i our sofa just as much?

  3. Maria says:

    When is it than that there is too much pain and suffering? When a heart, a body and a mind feel like they can no longer take it anymore… what is the lesson than?

    You always amaze me and I stand in awe of you always.

  4. melike says:

    hello Paulo Coelho if you want to communicate with me ,I ‘am very happy.I 12 years old.

  5. Marco Plá says:

    estou em Santiago, vim parar aqui quase que por acaso, minha namorada veio fazer um curso.
    Li alguns livros seus, sempre como a maioria dos leitores, tive meu coraí§í£o tocado.
    Hoje, durante o dia li algumas coisas a seu respeito, pois este lugar me lembra bastante vc. Pois, bem, meu coraí§í£o está me indicando que vc está por perto, ou até mesmo aqui, como o caminho é feito de encontros, e também acredito em sinais (como vc), aceitei o pedido do meu coraí§í£o e resolvi escrever-te, para o caso de estar aqui, qui sa pudessemos trocar umas breves palavras nesta nossa jornada de vida. Caso, meu coraí§í£o esteja enganado, ní£o terá problema, eu continuarei acreditando. Fica com Deus!

  6. through pain… we get purified in order to go back to our selves … and reveal our own truth

    god sent evil and misery to earth for a reason, and that reason is to show us the way, and help us make a choice that will determine the path of our lives…

    thanks dear paolo for the story

  7. Leaf says:

    Free will, KayC.
    What love can we ourselves gain through even the mildest coercion ? not enough to satisfy any soul, let alone that of God.
    That’s why he gave us free will, to choose, to obey, or to live with the false feeling of respect/pride etc for ourselves, like children, when defying a request.
    Causing drought to add misery upon us – it is our choices, past and present, which are either burned up as dry grass, or endures, and learns to bend, like metal.
    Then, we can hope to become something useful, Not ‘here today and gone tomorrow’, but something valuable, (like a clay pot!?) in His Kingdom.
    with Love
    LJ xx

  8. KayC says:

    If god can take the time and effort to cause drought, misery and the like to purify people then why cant he show the same effort and interest to keep and maintain them in the same “pure” sate that he sent them to earth ?

  9. Boubékeur says:

    What is good what is evil ? All in one, inside us providing voices or noises ; depending on our mood and actions …

    Keep an eye on the world beauties or insanities, and try to keep yourself as an actor and as a viewer, be able to act and be able to think, all at the same time…
    That’s the Human beeing’s desesperate and glorious mission : a crossroad between Good and Evil …

    J’aime beaucoup ton oeil et ton engagement, Paolo, et suis sí»r qu’un jour nos routes se croiseront dans un café du Quartier Latin …



  10. KettyMuñoz says:

    Solo puedo decir gracias……tus libros me duran con suerte 3 dias, y no puedo decir nada mas que gracias.

  11. Izz says:

    That is an insightful story. It teaches as much as it calls for us to know that we will always be tempted by evil at any time in our lives.

    However, I’d like to see life as an energy that consists of purity alone. That humans are made up only of purity, and if any other energies, such energies have purity is their primary ingredient.

    The evil that pairs our lives is something that sometimes, or in most times, invite. We do some events that we know are not to be done because of greed and egos and individualism. When that happens, we cause an imbalance and with that imbalance we create a crevace in our hearts that allows the bad floating energy that is evil, to flow in to our hearts.

    In short, I believe that God would not mean harm on any of us, but has as part of his ‘responsibility’, to allow us to learn. If we don’t heed his words, then he will step back, as our stealth, and we become without a shield. In that nakedness, our hearts get ruled, partly or wholly, by that other force, that bad energy that is evil. Such energy has no permanent residence or residence at all for that matter. It temps where it is invited by those who do not listen to the word of their hearts. The word of God.

    That is my take on it, and why i don’t believe the Lord, God our father would pair good with evil. He is omnipetently good.

  12. fLUXman says:

    why was Lucifer carrying this plague around in a red bag ?
    did he realize that in the end this would eat away his soul.
    and why was the other angel leading lucifer to unleash her/his will ?
    what a test of faith it must have been.
    in the end both were angels testing their faiths,
    may we all live up to this moment in our lives,
    bo0om paulo

  13. Waed Ahmad says:

    I have just finished The Devil and Miss Prym and now I accidentally come across this!! This is just great… I really believe that agony and suffering are needed for us to experience true happiness and know pure goodness but when I try discussing that with some Atheists it is not always pleasant and simple, this story will be a back up in our future coming discussions :D
    I am really happy I googled your name today :D

  14. Olá Paulo! Atma Namaste!

    May the Goddess bless all the people in the world that are living a tragedy, may all the souls and all their families be blessed, with peace in their hearts, with love, with mercy, with compassion, and more, much more. May the Divine Blessings be to all!

    Love & Light to you and your loved ones!
    Be blessed you too!


  15. Sara says:

    That made me understand better. That life is full of contradiction. Without pain there can be no compassion.
    And men mostly turn to God and appreciate what they have when they pass by hard times or a tragedy.
    for sure we wouldn’t appreciate the little things we have that make us happy without experiencing bad moments.

  16. Vickie says:

    I was struck by smallness of something that is so fatal – do we not all have our own little bags of destruction? The human condition and yes it must be purified

  17. rosa de los vientos says:

    Ni los malos “Lucifer” son tan malos, ni los buenos “Los Angeles” son tan buenos. Aunque un padre o una madre puede optar por enseñar bajo dos formas: una castigando(estí­mulos negativos), otra premiando(estí­mulos positivos), por experiencia se que bajo los estí­mulos positivos se consiguen mejores resultados y el ser humano crece mejor. Pidámosle a Dios que no infrinja castigo, pidamos a la Madre del Mundo que tenga misericordia.
    Un buen tema Paulo. La dualidad.

  18. Ellinor Aspeflo says:

    Why is it so? That we somehow need evil around us, we need it in our lives. That makes us se the good things easier in life. If we have had a bad day, a day when it seems like everything went wrong. When we come home and just sit in our sofa with a cup of tea, doesn´t that makes us happy and calm. Would we have felt the same feeling of peace if we have had a great day? Would we have appreciated our tea and time i our sofa just as much?

  19. LIANA says:

    This legend is a real answer to the everlasting question: ” If God exists,why is he permitting so many evils to happen all over the world and every day?”. I think I understand it now… And again with the help of Paulo Coelho.

  20. Leaf says:

    Hi Paulo,
    One of my favourites, is….In the furnace of affliction I have refined you, though not as silver.
    along with…the Spirit will teach all things, yes, but it always remains a difficult thing to remember; to learn during our suffering…it’s easier in hindsight though, with God’s Grace.
    Love always
    LJ x