What would you save?

By Paulo Coelho

A journalist went to interview Jean Cocteau, whose house was a jumble of ornaments, paintings, drawings by famous artists and books. Cocteau kept absolutely everything and felt a deep affection for every object. It was then, in the middle of the interview, that the journalist decided to ask Cocteau: ‘If this house were to catch fire right now and you could take only one thing with you, what would you choose?’

‘And what did he reply?’ asks ílvaro Teixeira, a fellow guest at the castle where we were staying and himself an expert on Cocteau’s life.

‘Cocteau said: “I would take the fire.”‘

And there we all sat in silence, applauding in our hearts that brilliant response.

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