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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  1. Team Roster says:

    Best you should edit the page name What would you save? Paulo Coelho’s Blog to something more specific for your content you make. I loved the the writing yet.

  2. Marie-Christine says:

    I was watching a video yesterday – someone mentioned that “knowledge is power” and I believe it is too, however, what that person said stroke a chord with me he said “only applied knowledge is power”. Very true. Learning is a slow process.

  3. Janardhanaya says:

    Knowledge is power and also a cost saving tool for the future. Read my sig for more info on getting faster more efficient and targetted search results with one simple step.

  4. Marie-Christine says:

    the fire and its passion

  5. Marie-Christine says:

    I would save the “memories” and the fire to keep me warm

  6. marie says:

    this makes me think about the people of hurricane Katrina.

    lots of love, peace, and plenty of blessings to ALL!!!!!!!


  7. Leaf says:

    Thank you
    she survived
    she does not believe in prayers/god
    but I told her
    God will do what you REALLY want to do
    I took a risk
    in many ways
    my love for you all here
    is present in her life
    when we meet

    Thank you

    I have ‘seen’ Greece in complete darkness
    some St day (David or Andrew, forgive me, I forget)
    My prayers also
    and Revelation
    is only to be rewritten
    is it not?
    Let the Warriors of Light
    and change the world
    so be it

  8. Kathleen says:

    Leaf, I hope your friend pulls through. My prayers are with her/him.
    If your friend sees this message I just want to say that I don’t know the reasons for feeling that you can’t go on but I know in my lowest lows the thought that has pulled me through is that “tomorrow this will be over, tomorrow I will feel differently”. You may not think you can ever feel happiness, but think back in time to when you were and what made you happy. Life changes, goes in cycles. Please let your friends help you.
    Love Kathleen xx

  9. aditya says:

    Yes AVC, u r right.

    what u have written makes me rethink what is success and what is failure. if someone can be as detacahed as leaf ( imagine some one enjoying barbeque with freinds where the fuel for fire is whatever one has treasured till then !) however appropriate / spiritaully corrcet that may be, it still scares me and makes me send a prayer, to be spared such tribulations.


  10. Leaf says:

    My friend is just now threatening /tempting suicide

    I am asking all here for prayers
    and will show her this
    i hope

  11. fLUXman says:

    oh people of greece , my heartfelt condolonces for all departed,
    another aspect of the disaster called global warming,
    has god left humanity,
    rains galore , floods,, hurricanes with winds gusting 200+ in some zones,
    what is happening oh paulo
    lets merge our fires together and invite the energy god amongst us,
    oh master is it time?
    love to all,,,/-

  12. Leaf says:

    It’s true!
    My ex husband admitted being jealous of my paintings
    he said – what if I just tore them all up?!

    I said
    there are some things you cannot take away
    like, the fact that I did them.

    I left him a few, along with my wedding dress, which I offered to alter for his new-ish girlfriend.

  13. Leaf says:

    And if I couldn’t take/put the fire out, I’d have to be facetious and take the sausages from the fridge
    invite the neighbours round for a barbeque,
    watching and warming to the glow of our past lives
    thank you

  14. A.V.C. says:


    I second your opinion. I just want to add that we often label our efforts as “successful” or “a failure”, without knowing the ultimate consequences.

    It is impossible, I feel, to use these words in any meaningful way if we only take the individual and micro-cosmical perspective into consideration.

    If one expects individual and swift economical success merely by following one’s dream, one is likely to get very disappointed indeed…

  15. Serene says:

    I will remember this.

  16. aditya says:

    Dear Freinds / lovers.

    all this romanticism is good, Paulo writes brilliantly, universe conspires to help one succeed ( perhaphs this is the one promise which has mad paulo more popular than everything else put togather ); the fact remains that for every one person who is successful there are hundreads who are not successful. still ! it is better to try and fail rtaher than not even starting,

  17. Wow! What an answer!!!

    Olá Paulo! Atma Namaste! :)

    Thanks for sharing this message with us!

    Beijo in you soul! That is pure fire!

    Marta ;)

  18. er – hello webmaster – not sure if this is working? Just sent a message but didn’t get one to say that you were checking it. It came with my love so I hope it arrived. How often does love miss its mark? ha ha x isabel losada

  19. This is a brilliant answer. As you may know, if your publicist has reached you today, I’m trying to reach you for a ten minute interview for TV to ask you which 3 books you’d keep if you could only take two from all that you own. The audience of the programme is women 25 – 35 – your best audience. I would not set any rules around your answer – so I wonder what fun we could have with this question. Am reading ‘The Zahir’ trying to reach you by day and reading your site at night. In my life I am experiencing you as a source of frustration and consolation all in the same day.

    May the fire be always with you. x isabel losada