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‘Well, to be honest, no, I didn’t. I thought your methods were out of date and I ended up discovering for myself a better way of hunting foxes.’

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