The problem tree

By Paulo Coelho

The carpenter finished another day’s work. As it was the weekend, he decided to invite a friend to come back home with him for a drink.
When he got to his house and before they went in, the carpenter stood for a few moments in silence before a tree growing in his garden. Then he touched its branches with both hands.
The expression on his face changed completely. He went into the house, smiling; he was greeted by his wife and children; he told them stories; and then he went out onto the verandah with his friend for a drink.
They could see the tree from there. Curiosity got the better of his friend and he asked the carpenter to explain his earlier behaviour.
‘Oh, that’s my problem tree,’ said the carpenter. ‘I know that I’m bound to have problems at work, but those problems are mine, not my wife’s or my children’s. So, when I get home, I hang all my problems on that tree. The next day, before leaving for work, I pick them up again. The oddest thing is, though, that when I come out in the morning to get them, some of them have gone, while others seem much heavier than they were the previous night.’

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  1. Wendy Espinoza says:

    if it were that easy… how many headaches have i given my beautiful mother and family? many… i tried not to be stressed with all my problems when i get home but it seems impossible.

  2. Marie-Christine says:


  3. Sharley says:

    Love the concept of the story. We shouldn’t bring our problems from work into our homes and also the other way around.

  4. fLUXman says:

    bo0om paulo,
    trees to me are like great sages who do all the hard trance work for us to understand the universal vibration. whenever you see a sage next time put your hands on him and you will feel his vibration that will reconnect us back to mother at the earliest,

  5. Kishen Raj says:

    welcome to the world of warrior supreet..

  6. B.L. says:

    That’s the Master working good with the trees and wood!

  7. Mara says:

    Great idea. This man had found something that worked for him,

    There is no sense in hanging on to worries.

    Thanks !

  8. Radhika says:

    I really loved this:
    very beautiful thought

  9. Marlene Jauregui Idensjö says:

    That is beautiful…For as long as I remember I´ve been seeking connections with everything that´s filled with life and strenght. Just to rest in the affinity.
    And sometimes, when I need it the most,it´s possible to leave a bit of my worries in the “arms” of a great, lovable tree.

    Thank you, Paulo, one of my other make-believe friends. You also brighten many of my days.

  10. Guilherme says:

    Paulo, qual é o segredo para ní£o morrer na praia sempre?? Como ultrapassar a barreira final e definitivamente vencer? Eu sei que vocíª tem alguma resposta para isso. Obrigado.

  11. Supreet says:

    My message is dedicated to “Paulo Coelho” & all his readers ….

  12. Supreet says:

    Claasy story I will say, I am going to do that from now, from this moment onwards.
    Till now i was in habit of telling all my problems (offcourse related to work, I am a software Engineer) to my family members but from now I am going to find a “Problem Tree” or something of that sort.
    One more thing I finished “The Alchemist” yesterday & that lead me to find your offcial website today (because i wanted to know more about you. Thanks to Google) & so i am writing this blog may be its an “Omen” which tells me that what i am doing will be good for me in future.

  13. Douglas says:

    One thing I don’t understand is… if the man put the problems on the tree, why would the same problems be “heavier” the next morning? Been heavier doesn’t mean that they’re worst?

  14. Quennie says:

    I’ve read about something like this before. Except that (if I remember correctly) the plant–or tree–could wither if you hang too many problems.

  15. Wendy Espinoza says:


    i’m still shocked… i just finished reading the valkyries. and in that book you tell about an experience you had with darkness(DEVIL) and that you also practice black magic in your youth, but you also tell that you didn’t quite believe in it untill that experience. while i was reading i felt the chills going through my spine. it must have been really scary for you. i just couldn’t believe that someone so spiritual someone who speaks of God the way you do. could have had a pact with the devil. i don’t judge i’m just surprise. i’m glad you had that awfull experience, because it brought you to the path of light. and because of that you inspire us everyday with your writings, thank you.

    i just have a question

    after you’ve been in the path of light have you been tempted to go back to darkness?????

  16. Wendy Espinoza says:

    if it were that easy… how many headaches have i given my beautiful mother and family? many… i tried not to be stressed with all my problems when i get home but it seems impossible.

  17. Svenja says:

    beautiful idea that makes many things easier

  18. Yajna says:

    Dearest Paulo,

    I loved this story. Just the concept of hanging your problems on a tree til morning. Very cool. :)
    But on a more serious note, its always good to take a break from your problems- as much as they might worry you, when you just take sometime off, to relax, thing about other things and just spend time with the people you love- you find you can think clearer, and you tend to be in a better mood. Inevitably you will have better solutions to your worries. Furthermore, by him leaving him problems outside, his also leaving that stress, anger and so on, outside, so when he is at home he is able to make his home a happy one. Because of problems at work people of often take out their frustration on their childran and/or spouses. And this can lead to serious domestic problems like woman/child abuse.

    On the upside, somethimes when things really worry you, you should talk to someone and let them in- who’s better to do that than your own family? I suppose to an extent its good to leave your problems outside, but at times, its also good to let them know at home. From personal experience, i am proud to say i know my parents, who they, because i was able to see them over come many obstacles in life. As mush as they have tried to shelter me, i’ve seen them deal with very difficult situations, and honestly, i wouldn’t have it any other way. Because unlike alot of youngersters, i know who they are- and might i say, they are simply incredible. Just remarkable and i wish to be even half of what they are. Being with them through rough times- i feel like i am part of the family, like i stuck by them in a way, even if i just prayed, and we’ve grown so much stronger as a family. I know that how to make my parents happy- that at times i can be their tree. Just like my brothers do. We can help them to hang their problems up for a while, and just relax and laugh, and at the same time, we can sit together and examine our options in a given situation.
    Ahhh, I love my family. Great- doesn’t even adquately put how they are! Sure everyone has their false, and their problems, but i guess because my parents let us in, let us see them in the worse times we are able to learn from their strength to overcome it. I’m just born blessed :)

    Thank you for being