The priest and his son

By Paulo Coelho

For many years, a Brahmin priest had looked after a chapel. When he had to go away, he asked his son to carry out his daily duties until he returned. One of these tasks was to place the offering of food before the Divinity and to see if the food was eaten.

The boy set off cheerily to the temple where his father worked. He placed the food before the Divinity and sat waiting for the image to move.

He remained there all day. And the statue did not move. However, the boy, faithful to his father’s instructions, was sure that the Divinity would descend from the altar to receive his offering.

After a long wait, he said pleadingly:

‘Lord, come and eat! It’s very late and I cannot wait any longer.’

Nothing happened. The boy spoke more loudly:

‘Lord, my father told me I must be here when You come down to accept the offering. Why do You not do so? Will You only take the offering from my father’s hands? What did I do wrong?’

And he wept long and hard. When he looked up and wiped away his tears, he got a tremendous fright, for there was the Divinity eating the food he had placed there.

The child ran joyfully back home. Imagine his surprise when one of his relatives said to him.

‘The service is over. Where is the food?’

‘The Lord ate it,’ the child replied, taken aback.

Everyone was amazed.

‘What are you talking about. What did you just say? We didn’t quite hear.’

The child innocently repeated his words:

‘The Lord ate all the food I gave Him.’

‘That’s impossible,’ said an uncle. ‘Your father only told you to see if the food was eaten. We all know that the offering is merely a symbolic act. You must have stolen the food.’
The child, however, refused to change his story, even when threatened with a beating.

Still suspicious, his relatives went to the temple and found the Divinity sitting, smiling.

‘A fisherman threw his net into the sea and got a good catch,’ said the Divinity. ‘Some fish lay utterly still, making no effort to get out. Others thrashed about desperately, but were unable to escape. Only a few fortunate ones were successful and managed to get away.

Just like those fish, three kinds of men came here to bring me offerings: some did not want to speak to me, believing I would not respond. Others tried, but soon gave up, for fear of disappointment. This small boy, on the other hand, did not give up, and so I, who play with men’s patience and perseverance, finally revealed myself.’

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  2. Marie-Christine says:

    “la verite sort de la bouche des enfants”

  3. Kathleen says:

    Yajna, well put.
    Kathleen x

  4. Leaf says:

    Yes, tis symbolic, but do we not live in a literal/physical ‘world’?

    Yes, the ‘offering’ beit the love or soul of the boy,or physical food, was accepted and rewarded with manifestation – a miracle to assure us that all is not merely as it seems.

    Symbolism, yes…do you have a ‘symbolic existance’, Mayur, or are you so spiritual you are ghost/spirit.
    LOVE to all

  5. Yajna says:

    Dearest Paulo,

    This is a really beautiful story. It is so often that we say, we believe in something, but when miracles do happen, we’re so easy to say, its not possible, and we’re so ready to blame others for being dishonest. Even in children, many people don’t listen to their children, they don’t believe them, and take other peoples word’s to be the truth. As much as kids, will be kids, they should be trusted once in a while, and parents should see their side of things. God is everywhere and in everything. God manifests in so many ways, and sometimes, only a child, graced with innocence, and untouched by the cruel realities of the world, is able to see the signs given us, simply because he or she is “open” to the possibility of these signs actually being real. If we ourselves, open ourselves to the possibility of a miracle, if we truely believe, it will happen.. Although i think the key is not to expect, in the sense that, if a miracle doesn’t happen, you lose your faith in God.. Because you can not love God with the condition he does, this, this and this for you.. But rather, you still believe in him, more than ever, because you trust him, and that he will lead you down a path you were meant to follow..remember, you don’t need a statue to eat, to see God is with you, if you stop focusing on the statue, you’l see his miracles all around you. He is with us all. Just open your eyes.

    Thank you for being.

  6. Mayur says:

    People…some of you..please! The idol consumin the food offerings is symbolic! Its symbolic and not as it is…So stop looking at the outside and read the message..:)

  7. Leaf says:

    If god is love, then it will rarley perform when we call, but will hide in the least expected place to be found when we least expect it but most need it…you know god/love is there, in everything you see say and do…and because of your faith in this…it will come at a fantastic time when you have forgotten, we all have to let go of something, to have an open hand/heart to receive something.

  8. Aparna says:

    Dear Mr. Coehlo,
    You must have heard about that famous incident a few years back in India, when all the Ganesh idols started drinking milk that was offered to them, I was around 12years old then and very religious, I believed in God and his miracles with all the innocence of a 12 year old, so when I was home alone that day I offered the Ganesh idols in my home, some milk, but He didnt drink it, I tried and prayed and prayed but nothing happened, I cried a lot too, but still nothing happened,I am 24 years old now, and life has been both good and brutal to me, but regardless of that I feel incomplete,and every single day I ask Him to manifest in some form, but He doesnt, I have cried, I have been mad at Him, but He doesn’t budge, and there are times when I wonder if such a thing as a God really exists.
    AND I forgot to mention I am a brahmin too

  9. Muy buen dí­a Paulo,

    Muy interesante tu pagina, hasta hoy la veo y te he agregado a mi blog, de igual forma me gustarí­a tu me agregaras al tuyo si quieres escrí­beme y yo te enviare el código en html, si quieres visitar mi blog, eres bienvenido y en la parte inferior de la pagina podrás traducirlo al ingles.

    Un Saludo,

  10. Leaf says:

    Love shines in the eyes of the person who awakens ours, and if the light dims, a warrior steps forth bringing news of another time, when the light never faded but was hid from view, and slowly, love is dawning again….to find love shining in the place it was lost/found…and when love returns, it shall know that the only illusion is time, and the cycle of life and love becomes spheres, reflecting love which spans eternity, in the infinite universe of beauty unbound.

    or something like that.
    LOVE to all.

  11. ”I, who play with men’s patience and perseverance, finally revealed myself”….this perhaps explains why Allah says in the Quran that their is much strength in patience….Thanks as ever Boss!

  12. Sunita says:

    Such miracles are truly lessons for us to believe and to have faith in our convictions and desires!!!

  13. asha says:

    I felt like that boy.Beautiful story

  14. Punam says:

    Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots. But if we
    will allow it, God will use our flaws to grace his table. In God’s
    great economy, nothing goes to waste. Don’t be afraid of your flaws.
    Acknowledge them, and you too can be the cause of beauty. Know that in
    our weakness we find our strength.

  15. Gregorian says:

    We all pray for miracles and when they appear we dont believe them to be such. A true believer, believes in what he or she is praying for.

  16. infinity says:

    lucky boy!

  17. Juan says:

    Nosotros podemos ayudarlos….Un Abrazo a todos !!