The hunter’s apprentice

By Paulo Coelho

An old hunter of foxes, considered to be the best in the region, decided finally to retire. He gathered together his belongings and resolved to set off for the south of the country, where the climate was milder.
However, before he could finish packing up his things, he received a visit from a young man.
‘I would like to learn your techniques,’ said the newcomer. ‘In exchange, I will buy your shop, your hunting license, and I will also pay you for all your secrets.’
The old man agreed, they signed a contract and he taught the young man all the secrets of fox-hunting. With the money he received, he bought a beautiful house in the south, where the climate was so mild that not once during the whole winter did he have to worry about gathering wood for the fire.
In the spring, though, he felt nostalgic for his own village and decided to go back and see his friends.
When he arrived, he bumped into the young man who, some months before, had paid him a fortune for his secrets.
‘So,’ the old hunter said, ‘how was the hunting season?’
‘I didn’t catch a single fox.’
The old man was surprised and confused.
‘Didn’t you follow my advice?’
With eyes downcast, the young man replied:
‘Well, to be honest, no, I didn’t. I thought your methods were out of date and I ended up discovering for myself a better way of hunting foxes.’

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  1. Waed Ahmad says:

    What works for others doesn't necessary have to work for us! The young man might have implemented every word the old hunter taught him and still got nothing! maybe hunting is not what he is meant to do!!
    I do agree with Miss Egyptiana , there is a need to develop our own style but we have to benefit of elder's experiences….

    Kind regards ,

  2. A of Philippines says:

    Another great story by paolo coelho

    He really writes a story so deep that every words had its meaning.

    I myself is still on my search for my personal leGend, I believe its just near me.

    And as the story above, my point of view is this:

    People tend to listen sometimes to the crowd but in the end, he still follows what he wanted.

    Carpe diem

    A of Philippines

  3. fLUXman says:

    excuse me guys, paulo,
    but i still dont get it?
    how was the younger mans technique better when he had no foxes in his bag?
    was he environmentally concious or wot?
    lol to every one, leaf keep the fire burning, and your insanity is beautifull don’t you agree paulo,
    yours in light

  4. Leaf says:

    Good morning;
    I’m not arguing,
    I’m pointing to another angle on the Diamond of Life – which was after all, once a piece of coal…but
    There is nothing we can not do;
    Jesus shared – shed- even his blood, and the water from the cross…
    is why I never am facetious – humorous at in appropriate times – in Britain it’s known as ‘taking the piss’ ( Sorry Mr Moderator x)
    and I’m often accused of taking things too seriously –
    well, I’d rather call a dying man a paramedic than laugh at his ‘assumed’ drunkeness.
    and if I need a laugh
    I’ve got my insanity to keep me going.
    Have a good day all x

  5. Celia says:

    My dearest Paulo,

    There are some things in life we can not share, and some of those things are our secrets/ways in which we succed in life.

    This story is wonderful, and has a beautiful simple meaning in the laws of nature..

    Love, love, love



  6. Yajna says:

    Dearest Paulo,

    i think that in life, as much as an elder can teach you their secrets, one also needs to experience themselves, at listen to themselves. I think that as much as you do need guidance, and support in life, elders should also see that each individual is themselves, and different things work for different people. Even if children make mistakes, they will learn from it. Its the way life works. One needs to fall to learn how to get up. I think that in this world, many people, especially in the indian community, are governed by elders in a negative manner. I’ve seen friends of mine who are afraid to fall in love, because they know that their parents will never accept it. Afraid to love?! It just shows how in life, one needs to decide for themselves, how they want to run their life according to their needs and wants. Whether it is hunting foxes or marrying someone. Because at the end of the day, your happiness is what matters, and its your experiences in life that create the individual you are. This is a profound story paulo.

    Thank you for being.

  7. Ellinor Aspeflo says:

    Why did he want to learn from the old man if he didn´t wanted to use his advice anyway?? When we learn somethin gnew, don´t be afraid to learn from the elder, the do have alot of experience. But, be critical, the methods may not always be the best. In the other hand, if the wheel once has been invented, why invent it again?

    Love E

  8. Leaf says:

    Did the old hunter catch foxes during his first ever season, or did he discover his personal ‘secret’ technique, during experience/ trial and error?
    And had they both lived for Love instead of exchanging precious ‘gold’, living together, the old man could have retired, without missing his village and friends, and the young man would work, receiving guidance and encouragement when he failed to catch a fox.
    Love LJ x

  9. fLUXman says:

    bet there were no more foxes left in the woods!
    discovering a better way, the young man had the guts to learn from the old mans wisdom.
    his downcast eyes are surely the respect he has for his teacher.
    he ended up discovering for myself a better way of hunting foxes???
    was this better way no foxes in the bag???
    bo0om paulo

  10. fLUXman says:

    bo0om paulo

  11. Waed Ahmad says:

    What works for others doesn’t necessary have to work for us! The young man might have implemented every word the old hunter taught him and still got nothing! maybe hunting is not what he is meant to do!!
    I do agree with Miss Egyptiana , there is a need to develop our own style but we have to benefit of elder’s experiences….

    Kind regards ,

  12. as far as i understood, this story is about ignoring the elders advices … and their experience!

    i agree in some way, and disagree in another
    it is important to listen to the elders, their experiences in some matters, so we wont do same common mistakes …

    but at the same time, there is a need to develop our own style thru try and error

    but anyway it was lovely as usual … thank you

  13. Dear Paulo,

    Although I am for a long time reader of your blog and for much longer student of your books, it is the first time that I write to you.
    I come from Greece, the born place of Democracy, Arts and Sciences. By reading ‘The hunter’s apprentice’ story, I understood that no matter how much you pay to learn a secret, then this counts for nothing if you do not feel it with you hurt. Each one of us has a magical ability: To make even the most little thing in the whole universe to count as the biggest secret! And this can be done just by truly Loving it. Love has the magical power to bridge physics with metaphysics and mortality with divinity. Once we find our power to Love then we have made our first step towards esoteric enlightenment… and then each of us becomes an individual flame of knowledge. For others this knowledge sounds as a secret, but actually this secret just lies inside everyone… It is only needed true Love to unlock it. In this respect, Love is the highest secret.

    Thank you Paulo for enlighting my soul all these years.