Archives for October 2008

Image of the Day : Aurora Borealis

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

A warrior of light practises a powerful exercise for inner growth.

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Today’s Question by the reader : Paola

I wanted to ask you your opinion on two subjects: In Brida you mention San Juan de la Cruz – John of the Cross – and one of his teachings. San Juan de la Cruz wrote about the Dark Night of the Soul, and there are many interpretations of what he was actually referring to. I believe the darkest moment of the soul is when you loose your faith, that moment when you don’t hear God’s voice anymore. You can still remember the peace you once felt, but you can’t find the way to get to that “place” anymore. The night is darker than ever. Some people recover their faith eventually, others never do. What happens in those hours of struggle? Why do we go through that?

My second question is about your opinion on life’s cycles. Many people go through a very distressing cycle: they believe they have found something meaningful to do/to take care of in their life – be it a job, a relationship, a hobby, any form of dream – which keeps them happy. But with time, they find no meaning in what they do. Does this mean that the person is not really pursuing their true dream, is not really fulfilling the task they are meant to do in this lifetime?

In regards to your first question (let’s be very virgo about this) :there’s a progression in San Juan de la Cruz poems. The darkest hour can of course represent the total solitude and abandon of the soul, yet, it is also the beating heart of the mystery of God.

Your second question is about the difference between contentment and enthusiasm – in the first case, people make the choice of living a life according to outward rules, whilst in the second they follow their inner truth. Those that choose society’s dream – convince themselves that this is what they want – but this is a short term illusion. Those that face the risks of following their dreams, brake away from the collective illusion. They pay a price but they find their reward in their own hearts.

This is the good fight in my eyes.

Mercedes Benz – Exibhition 20th Anniversary of The Alchemist

Petrus and Good Combat

By Paulo Coelho

In 1986, I went for the first and only time on the pilgrimage known as the Way to Santiago, an experience I described in my first book. We had just finished walking up a small hill, a village appeared on the horizon, and it was then that my guide, whom I shall call Petrus (although that was not his name), said to me:

– Look around and let your eyes settle on some point; then concentrate on what I shall say.

I chose the cross of a church I could see in the distance. Petrus began:

– Man must never stop dreaming; dreams nourish the soul, just as food nourishes the body. Often in our existences, we see our dreams come undone and our desires frustrated, but we must continue to dream, otherwise our soul dies. Much blood has flowed on the field which lies before you, and some of the cruelest battles of the Reconquista were fought here. It does not matter who was right, or who had the truth: the important thing is that both sides were engaged in Good Combat.

“Good Combat is that which is fought because our heart demands it. In heroic times, the times of the wandering knights, that was easy, there was much land to conquer and much to be done. Nowadays, however, the world has changed , and Good Combat has been transported to the battlefields within ourselves.

“Good Combat is that which is fought in the name of our dreams. When they explode inside us with all their might – in youth – we have plenty of courage, but haven’t yet learned to fight.

“After much effort, we eventually learn to fight, and by then no longer have the same courage to enter combat. Because of this, we turn against and fight our own selves, and become our own worst enemy. We say our dreams were childish, difficult to carry out, or the fruit of our ignorance of life’s realities. We kill our dreams because we are afraid of engaging in Good Combat.

“The first symptom that we are killing our dreams is the lack of time. The busiest people I have met in my lifetime always had time for everything. Those who did nothing were always tired, couldn’t cope with the little work they had to do, and complained that the days were too short: in reality, they were scared to engage in Good Combat.

“The second symptom of the death of our dreams are our certainties. Because we do not wish to accept life as a great adventure to be lived, we start to see ourselves as wise, just and correct in the little we demand of our existence. We look beyond the battlements of our everyday lives, hear the sound of clashing lances, smell the sweat and gunpowder, the great falls and warriors’ thirsty glare of victory. But we never notice the joy, the immense Joy dwelling in the hearts of those who fight, because they do not care about victory nor defeat, the important thing is to engage in Good Combat.

“Finally, the third symptom of the death of our dreams is Peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon, with no great demands, certainly nothing greater than we are willing to give. And so we think we are mature, having left behind childish fantasies, and having achieved personal and professional success. But in truth, in our innermost heart, we know that what happened was that we renounced the fight for our dreams, ceased to engage in Good Combat.

“When we renounce our dreams and find peace, we encounter a short period of tranquility. But the dead dreams start to rot inside us, and infest every part of our lives.

“We start to become cruel to those around us, and in the end we turn this cruelty upon ourselves. Illnesses and psychoses emerge. That which we sought to avoid in combat – deception and defeat – becomes the only legacy of our cowardice. And one fine day, the dead, rotten dreams make the air difficult to breathe and we begin to long for death, which delivers us from our certainties, from our preoccupations, and from that terrible Sunday afternoon peace.”

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Image of the Day : Sufi Dancer

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

A true warrior of light knows that every garden has its own mysteries, which only the patient hand of the gardener can unravel.

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Today’s question by the reader : Barbara

I would like to ask you if you think that Santiago would have eventually found God in the seminary? One of my students and I were discussing how interesting it would be if you were to write a parallel novel to The Alchemist where Santiago actually does listen to his parents and does attend the seminary. What would his road be like there?

I can’t answer this since I would be re-writing something that has already an existence of its own. Of course, I can always wonder…

The Alchemist was thought at the time as a metaphor for my life. I wanted to tell my story through the life of a spanish shepard that goes after his dream. What would happen if I had never written my books? This would be as the story of a Santiago that never leaves his father and family. By putting things under this light – it becomes clearer to me: he would have abandoned his dream, his personal legend. The consequences of that would be dying while being alive.

Image of the Day : Reflections

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

A very large group of people is standing in the middle of the road, barring the way into Paradise … The warriors of light go in.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

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Today’s Question by the reader : Mat

When you wrote The Alchemist, did you think about and meticulously refine every metaphor and symbol, or did the words just happen upon the page?

Dear Mat,

I had a vision in my head, but I didn’t know before embarking into this story where it would lead me.

I think it’s impossible to completely control writing – because it is like life. You have an idea of where you want to get, but you never truly know which path will take you there.

Edizione nº 184 – Sesta virtí¹ cardinale: Coraggio

Secondo il dizionario: Dal latino cor, cuore s.f.; fermezza di spirito, energia davanti al pericolo; intrepidezza; animo; valentia; perseveranza.

Per Gesí¹ Cristo: Voi siete il sale della terra; ma se il sale fosse insipido, con che cosa lo si potrí  rendere salato? A null’altro serve che ad essere gettato via e calpestato dagli uomini. Voi siete la luce del mondo; non puí² restare nascosta una cittí  collocata sopra un monte, né si accende una lucerna per metterla sotto il moggio, ma sopra il lucerniere perché faccia luce a tutti quelli che sono nella casa. (Matteo, 5, 13-15)

Nel caldo della lotta: Ieri ho avuto il coraggio di lottare. Oggi avrí² il coraggio di vincere. (Bernadette Devlin, attivista politica cattolica nell’Irlanda del Nord)

Tra i padri del deserto: Un gruppo di monaci del monastero di Sceta – fra cui il grande abate Nicerius – passeggiava nel deserto egiziano quando gli comparve davanti un leone. Terrorizzati, si misero tutti a correre.

Anni dopo, mentre Nicerius giaceva nel suo letto di morte, uno dei monaci disse:

– Abate, vi ricordate del giorno in cui incontrammo il leone? Fu l’unica volta che vi vidi aver paura.

– Ma io non ebbi paura.

– Allora perché vi metteste a correre insieme a noi?

– Ritenni meglio fuggire da un animale un certo pomeriggio piuttosto che passare il resto della vita fuggendo dalla vanití .

In un discorso: Il popolo volterí  le spalle a coloro che insultano la dignití  umana, descrivendo che alcuni devono essere i maestri, altri i servitori. Perché questo trasforma ogni essere umano in un predatore, la cui sopravvivenza dipende dalla distruzione dell’altro. In tal modo, avremo creato una societí  coraggiosa, che riconosce come tanto i neri quanto i bianchi appartengano alla stessa razza, siano nati uguali, e possiedano gli stessi diritti alla libertí , alla prosperití  e alla democrazia. Questa societí  non dovrí  mai accettare di nuovo l’esistenza di prigionieri di coscienza. (Nelson Mandela, che per 28 anni fu prigioniero di coscienza, quando ricevette il premio Nobel per la Pace, 10/12/1993)

Davanti al male assoluto: Due rabbini si prodigano in tutti i modi per portare il conforto spirituale agli ebrei nella Germania nazista. Per un anno, benché spaventati da morire, ingannano la Gestapo (la polizia segreta) e officiano le loro funzioni religiose in varie comunití .

Alla fine vengono arrestati. Uno di essi, terrorizzato da quello che potrí  accadere in seguito, non smette di pregare. L’altro passa tutto il giorno a dormire.

– Perché dormi? – domanda il rabbino spaventato. – Non hai paura? Non sai che cosa puí² accaderci?

– Ho avuto paura fino al momento dell’arresto. Ora che sono in prigione, a che serve avere timore? Il tempo della paura è finito: adesso comincia il tempo del coraggio per affrontare il tuo destino.

Su una spiaggia: Che cosa c’è intorno a te? Non esiste né gioia né coraggio, ma solo terrore in questo bell’imbrunire. Terrore di rimanere solo, terrore del buio che popola l’immaginazione di demoni, terrore di fare qualcosa che non rientri nel manuale delle buone maniere, terrore del giudizio di Dio, terrore dei commenti degli uomini, terrore di rischiare e perdere, terrore di guadagnare e dover convivere con l’invidia, terrore di amare ed essere respinto, terrore di chiedere un aumento, di accettare un invito, di recarsi in luoghi sconosciuti, di non riuscire a parlare una lingua straniera, di non avere la capacití  di far colpo sugli altri, di invecchiare, di morire, di essere notato per i tuoi difetti, di non essere notato per le tue qualití , di non essere notato né per i tuoi difetti né per le tue qualití . (in “Il diavolo e la signorina Prym, 1998)

Secondo un saggio: Il coraggio si manifesta negli atti, non a parole. Non è un bluff, non è arroganza o follia. Un uomo coraggioso è colui che osa fare cií² che ritiene giusto e sopporta le conseguenze delle proprie azioni – siano esse politiche, sociali o individuali.

L’uomo puí² obbedire a un altro uomo per due ragioni: per paura di essere punito, o per amore. L’obbedienza che deriva dall’amore per il prossimo è mille volte pií¹ potente della paura del castigo.(Mahatma Ghandi, 1869 – 1948)

Édition nº 184 – Sixième vertu cardinale : le courage

Selon le dictionnaire : du latin cor, cÅ“ur, s. f. ; fermeté d’esprit, énergie face au danger ; intrépidité ; bravoure ; vaillance ; persévérance.

Pour Jésus-Christ : Vous íªtes le sel de la terre. Si le sel perd sa saveur, comment redeviendra-t-il du sel ? Il ne vaut plus rien ; on le jette dehors et il est foulé aux pieds par les hommes. Vous íªtes la lumière du monde. Une ville située sur une hauteur ne peut íªtre cachée. Quand on allume une lampe, ce n’est pas pour la mettre sous le boisseau, mais sur son support, et elle brille pour tous ceux qui sont dans la maison. (Matthieu 5, 13-15)

Dans la chaleur de la lutte : Hier j’ai eu le courage de lutter. Aujourd’hui j’aurai le courage de vaincre. (Bernadette Devlin, activiste politique catholique en Irlande du Nord)

Chez les pères du désert : un groupe de moines du monastère de Sceta – parmi lesquels le grand abbé Nicerius – se promenaient dans le désert égyptien quand un lion surgit devant eux. Effrayés, tous se mirent í  courir.

Des années plus tard, alors que Nicerius était sur son lit de mort, un des moins commenta :

« Abbé, vous souvenez-vous du jour oí¹ nous avons rencontré le lion ? Ce fut la seule fois oí¹ je vous ai vu avoir peur.

– Mais je n’ai pas eu peur du lion.

– Alors pourquoi avez-vous couru avec les autres ?

– J’ai pensé qu’il valait mieux fuir un après-midi une bíªte que passer le restant de la vie í  fuir la vanité. »

Dans un discours : Le peuple doit tourner le dos í  ceux qui insultent la dignité humaine en racontant que les uns doivent íªtre les maí®tres, les autres leurs serviteurs. Parce que cela transforme chaque personne en un prédateur, dont la survie dépend de la destruction de l’autre. Ainsi nous aurons créé une société courageuse, qui reconnaí®t que les Noirs comme les Blancs appartiennent í  une míªme race, sont nés égaux, et ont les míªmes droits í  la liberté, í  la prospérité et í  la démocratie. Cette société ne devra plus jamais accepter l’existence de prisonniers de conscience. (Nelson Mandela, qui fut pendant vingt-huit ans prisonnier de conscience, lors de la réception du prix Nobel de la paix, 10/12/1993)

Devant le mal absolu : deux rabbins tentent par tous les moyens d’apporter le réconfort spirituel aux juifs dans l’Allemagne nazie. Pendant un an, mourant de peur, ils trompent la Gestapo (la police secrète) et réalisent des offices religieux dans plusieurs communautés.

Finalement ils sont arríªtés. L’un d’eux, redoutant ce qui risque de se passer par la suite, ne cesse de prier. L’autre passe toute la journée í  dormir.

« Pourquoi dors-tu ? demande le rabbin effrayé. Tu n’as pas peur ? Tu ne sais pas ce qui peut nous arriver ?

– J’ai eu peur jusqu’au moment de notre arrestation. Maintenant que je suis en prison, í  quoi sert d’avoir peur ? Le temps de la peur est fini ; maintenant commence le temps du courage d’affronter son destin. »

Sur une plage : Qu’y a-t-il autour de vous ? Il n’y a ni joie ni courage, seulement la terreur en cette belle fin de journée. Terreur de rester seul, terreur de l’obscurité qui peuple l’imagination de démons, terreur de faire un geste qui s’écarte du manuel du bon comportement, terreur du jugement de Dieu, terreur des commentaires des hommes, terreur de prendre un risque et de perdre, terreur de gagner et de devoir supporter l’envie, terreur d’aimer et d’íªtre rejeté, terreur de demander une augmentation, d’accepter une invitation, d’aller dans des lieux inconnus, de ne pas réussir í  parler une langue étrangère, de ne pas íªtre capable d’impressionner les autres, de vieillir, de mourir, d’íªtre remarqué í  cause de ses défauts, de ne pas íªtre remarqué í  cause de ses qualités, de ne pas íªtre remarqué, ni pour ses défauts, ni pour ses qualités. (in Le Démon et mademoiselle Prym, 1998)

Selon un sage : Le courage se manifeste dans des actes, pas dans des mots ; ce n’est pas le bluff, l’arrogance ou la folie. Un homme courageux est celui qui ose faire ce qu’il croit juste et supporte les conséquences de ses actes – qu’ils soient politiques, sociaux ou individuels.

Un homme peut obéir í  un autre pour deux raisons : par peur d’íªtre puni, ou par amour. L’obéissance qui tire son origine de l’amour du prochain est mille fois plus puissante que la peur du chí¢timent. (le Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948)

Edición nº 184 – Sexta virtud cardinal: fortaleza

Según el diccionario: Del provenzal fortalessa. Sustantivo femenino. Fuerza o capacidad para vencer las contrariedades; firmeza de espí­ritu; perseverancia; recinto fortificado.

Para Jesucristo: Vosotros sois la sal de la tierra. Mas si la sal se desvirtúa, ¿con qué se la salará? Ya no sirve para nada más que para ser tirada afuera y pisoteada por los hombres. Vosotros sois la luz del mundo. No puede ocultarse una ciudad situada en la cima de un monte. Ni tampoco se enciende una lámpara y la ponen debajo del celemí­n, sino sobre el candelero, para que alumbre a todos los que están en la casa. (Mt 5: 13-15)

En el fragor de la batalla: Ayer fui fuerte para luchar. Hoy seré fuerte para vencer (Bernardette Devlin, activista polí­tica católica de Irlanda del Norte).

Entre los padres del desierto: un grupo de monjes del monasterio de Sceta, entre los que se encontraba el gran abad Nicerio, paseaba por el desierto egipcio cuando, de repente, un león les salió al paso. Aterrados, todos huyeron corriendo.

Años después, cuando Nicerio se encontraba en su lecho de muerte, uno de los monjes comentó:

-Abad, ¿se acuerda del dí­a que nos topamos con el león? Fue la única vez que le vi tener miedo.

-Pero a mí­ el león no me dio miedo.

-Y entonces, ¿por qué corrió igual que los demás?

-Porque me pareció mejor huir una tarde de un animal que pasarme el resto de la vida huyendo de la vanidad.

En un discurso: El pueblo ha de darle la espalda a aquellos que insultan la dignidad humana al dictaminar que unos deben ser los señores y otros los siervos. Porque eso transforma a la persona en un predador, cuya supervivencia depende de la destrucción del otro. De tal manera habremos creado una sociedad valiente, que reconoce que tanto los negros como los blancos pertenecen a la misma raza, nacieron iguales, y tienen los mismos derechos de libertad, prosperidad, y democracia. Esta sociedad nunca tolerará nuevamente la existencia de prisioneros de conciencia. (Nelson Mandela, que fue prisionero de conciencia durante 28 años, al recibir el premio Nobel de la Paz. 10/12/1993).

Frente al mal absoluto: dos rabinos intentan de todas las maneras posibles reconfortar espiritualmente a los judí­os en la Alemania nazi. Durante todo un año, aunque muertos de miedo, logran engañar a la Gestapo (servicios secretos) y realizan oficios religiosos en varias comunidades.

Finalmente son capturados. Uno de ellos, aterrado con lo que puede suceder de ahí­ en adelante, no para de rezar. El otro se pasa el dí­a entero durmiendo.

-¿Cómo consigues dormir? -pregunta el rabino asustado- ¿No tienes miedo? ¿No sabes lo que nos puede ocurrir?

-Yo pasé miedo hasta que nos hicieron prisioneros. Ahora que ya estamos aquí­, ¿de qué me va a servir seguir teniéndolo? El tiempo del miedo acabó. Ahora empieza el tiempo de la fortaleza para enfrentar el destino.

En una playa: ¿Qué tienes a tu alrededor? No hay alegrí­a ni fortaleza, sólo terror en este bello atardecer. Terror de quedarse solo, terror de la oscuridad que puebla la imaginación de demonios, terror de hacer alguna cosa ajena al manual de urbanidad, terror al juicio de Dios, terror de los comentarios de los hombres, terror de arriesgarse y perder, terror de ganar y tener que convivir con la envidia, terror de amar y ser rechazado, terror de pedir un aumento, de aceptar una invitación, de ir a lugares desconocidos, de no conseguir hablar una lengua extranjera, de no tener capacidad para impresionar a los demás, de hacerse viejo, de morir, de hacerse notar por los defectos, de no ser notado por las cualidades, de no ser notado ni por defectos ni por cualidades. (En El Demonio y la señorita Prym, 2001, fragmento adaptado).

Según un sabio: La fortaleza y el valor se demuestran con actos, no con palabras. Son muy diferentes de fanfarronear o de ser arrogante o loco. Un hombre valiente es el que se atreve a hacer lo que cree correcto, y asume las consecuencias de sus actos, sean éstos polí­ticos, sociales o individuales.

Un hombre puede obedecer a otro por dos razones: por miedo a ser castigado, o por amor. La obediencia que proviene del amor al prójimo es mil veces más poderosa que el miedo al castigo. (Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948)

Edií§í£o nº 184 – Sexta virtude cardinal: coragem

Segundo o dicionário: do latim cor, coraí§í£o s. f.; firmeza de espí­rito, energia diante do perigo; intrepidez; í¢nimo; valentia; perseveraní§a.

Para Jesus Cristo: Vós sois o sal da terra; e se o sal for insí­pido, com que se há de salgar? Para nada mais presta sení£o para se laní§ar fora, e ser pisado pelos homens. Vós sois a luz do mundo; ní£o se pode esconder uma cidade edificada sobre um monte; Nem se acende a candeia e se coloca debaixo do alqueire, mas no velador, e dá luz a todos que estí£o na casa. (Mateus 5:13-15)

No calor da luta: Ontem eu tive coragem de lutar. Hoje terei coragem de vencer (Bernadette Devlin, ativista polí­tica católica na Irlanda do Norte)

Entre os padres do deserto: um grupo de monges do mosteiro de Sceta – entre eles o grande abade Nicerius – passeava pelo deserto egí­pcio quando um leí£o surgiu diante deles. Apavorados, todos se puseram a correr.

Anos depois, quando Niscerius estava em seu leito de morte, um dos monges comentou:

– Abade, lembra-se do dia que encontramos o leí£o? Foi a única vez que o vi ter medo.

– Mas eu ní£o tive medo do leí£o.

– Entí£o por que correu junto com a gente?

– Achei melhor fugir uma tarde de um animal, que passar o resto da vida fugindo da vaidade.

Em um discurso: O povo há de virar suas costas para aqueles que insultam a dignidade humana, ao descrever que uns devem ser os mestres, outros os servos. Porque isso transforma cada pessoa em um predador, cuja sobrevivíªncia depende da destruií§í£o do outro. Assim teremos criado uma sociedade corajosa, que reconhece que tanto negros como brancos pertencem í  mesma raí§a, nasceram iguais, e tem os mesmos direitos de liberdade, prosperidade, e democracia. Esta sociedade jamais deverá aceitar de novo a existíªncia de prisioneiros de consciíªncia (Nelson Mandela, que durante 28 anos foi prisioneiro de consciíªncia, ao receber o príªmio Nobel da Paz, 10/12/1993)

Diante do mal absoluto: dois rabinos tentam de todas as maneiras levar o conforto espiritual aos judeus na Alemanha nazista. Durante um ano, embora mortos de medo, enganam a Gestapo (polí­cia secreta) e realizam ofí­cios religiosos em várias comunidades.

Finalmente sí£o presos. Um deles, apavorado com o que pode acontecer dali por diante, ní£o para de rezar. O outro passa o dia inteiro dormindo.

– Por que vocíª dorme: – pergunta o rabino assustado. – Ní£o está com medo? Ní£o sabe o que pode nos acontecer?

– Eu tive medo até o momento da prisí£o. Agora que estou preso, de que adianta temer? O tempo do medo acabou; agora comeí§a o tempo da coragem de enfrentar seu destino.

Em uma praia: O que está a sua volta? Ní£o existe alegria nem coragem, apenas terror neste belo entardecer. Terror de ficar sozinho, terror do escuro que povoa a imaginaí§í£o de demí´nios, terror de fazer qualquer coisa fora do manual do bom comportamento, terror do julgamento de Deus, terror dos comentários dos homens, terror de arriscar e perder, terror de ganhar e ter que conviver com a inveja, terror de amar e ser rejeitado, terror de pedir aumento, de aceitar um convite, de ir para lugares desconhecidos, de ní£o conseguir falar uma lí­ngua estrangeira, de ní£o ter capacidade de impressionar os outros, de ficar velho, de morrer, de ser notado por causa de seus defeitos, de ní£o ser notado por causa de suas qualidades, de ní£o ser notado nem por seus defeitos, nem por suas qualidades. (in “O demí´nio e a Srta. Prym, 1998)

Segundo um sábio: A coragem se manifesta em atos, ní£o em palavras; ní£o é blefe, arrogí¢ncia, ou loucura. Um homem corajoso é aquele que ousa fazer o que acha certo, e agüenta com as conseqüíªncias de seus atos – sejam eles polí­ticos, sociais ou individuais.

O homem pode obedecer a outro por duas razíµes: por medo de ser punido, ou por amor. A obediíªncia derivada do amor ao próximo é mil vezes mais poderosa que o medo do castigo.(Mahatma Ghandi, 1869 – 1948)

The cloud and the dune

Paulo Coelho

“Everyone knows that the lives of clouds are very active, but very short,” writes Bruno Ferrero. And that brings us to another story:

A young cloud was born in the middle of a great storm in the Mediterranean Sea. But it hardly had time to grow there; a strong wind pushed all the clouds towards Africa.

As soon as they arrived on the continent, the climate changed: a warm sun shone in the sky, and down below the golden sand of the Sahara desert spread into the distance. The wind continued to push them towards the forests in the south, since it hardly ever rains in the desert.

However, just as it is with young people, so with young clouds: this one decided to break away from its parents and older friends, to see the world.

– What are you doing? – complained the wind. – The entire desert is exactly the same! Come back to the group, and let’s go to the center of Africa, where there are beautiful mountains and trees!

But the young cloud, a rebel by nature, did not obey; little by little, it lowered its altitude, until it was able to float on a gentle, generous breeze down near the golden sands. After wandering all over the place, it noticed that one of the dunes was smiling at it.

It was because the dune was also young, recently formed by the wind which had just passed. Straight away, the cloud fell in love with its golden hair.

– Good morning – said the cloud. – What is it like living down there?

– I have the company of the other dunes, the sun, the wind, and the caravans which pass by from time to time. Sometimes it is very hot, but it is bearable. And what is living up there like?

– There is also the wind and the sun, but the advantage is, I can wander across the sky and get to know everything.

– For me life is short – said the dune. – When the wind returns from the forests, I will disappear.

– And does that make you sad?

– It gives me the impression that I am of no use to anyone.

– I feel the same way. As soon as another wind comes, I will go south and become rain; however, that’s my destiny.

The dune hesitated for a moment, before saying:

– Did you know that, down here in the desert, we call the rain Paradise?

– I didn’t know I could become something so important – said the proud cloud.

– I’ve heard several legends told by old dunes. They say that, after the rain, we are covered in herbs and flowers. But I’d never know what that is like, for in the desert it only rains very rarely.

This time it was the cloud which hesitated. But then it started to smile joyfully:

– If you like, I can cover you with rain. Although I’ve only just arrived, I am in love with you, and would like to stay here forever.

– When I first saw you up in the sky, I too fell in love – said the dune. – but if you turn your lovely white hair into rain, you will die.

– Love never dies – said the dune. – It transforms; and I want to show you Paradise.

And so it began to caress the dune with droplets; they remained together like this for a long time, until a rainbow appeared.

The next day, the small dune was covered in flowers. Other clouds passing towards central Africa, thought that must be part of the forest they were searching for, and poured down more rain. Twenty years later, the dune had become an oasis, which refreshed travelers under the shade of its trees.

And all because, one day, a loving cloud hadn’t been afraid to give up its life in the name of love.

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