I can’t get in

Near Olite, in Spain, there is a ruined castle. I decide to visit the place and as I am standing there before it, a man at the door says:
 
‘You can’t come in.’
 
My intuition tells me that he is saying this for the pure pleasure of saying ‘No’. I explain that I’ve come a long way, I try offering him a tip, I try being nice, I point out that this is, after all, a ruined castle…suddenly, going into that castle has become very important to me.
 
‘You can’t come in,’ the man says again.
 
There is only one alternative: to carry on and see if he will physically prevent me from going in. I walk towards the door. He looks at me, but does nothing.
 
As I am leaving, two other tourists arrive and they too walk in. The old man does not try to stop them. I feel as if, thanks to my resistance, the old man has decided to stop inventing ridiculous rules.

Sometimes the world asks us to fight for things we do not understand and whose significance we may never discover. But we always know when some rules need to be broken.

Comments

  1. Dave C says:

    Rules, laws, scripts, expectations seem to be current or ‘modern’ expressions or interpretations of right and wrong. Justice must be something more, something deeper and unconcious, something we all know inside in a place where we may not think we are able to grasp. It is likely not something to believe in, but something to be just known.

  2. Nitza Pretto says:

    ……”But most of all, it is that little man inside you that wants fame, recognition, and money. Getting rid of that little man is the hardest thing to do”., DOFCloud.

    Well, I have a name for that little man, his name is AMBITION. That “littleman” is the motor for success.

    love your comment.

  3. Almaguer says:

    las reglas se rompen ocasionadas por nuestras imprudencias y cuando no es obvio que se apliquen y de quien esta al frente de aplicarlas no tiene la capacidad de resolver.

  4. aarfi says:

    rules are made to be broken, it is the key to evolution ….

  5. Attia says:

    in Pakistan this is a joke all people were passing though a gate but a man asked gatekeeper can i go inside? he said no you cannot go. the man asked why ? everyone else is going and you did not stop them the gate keeper replied they did not ask my permission and you asked for it

    1. bhumit says:

      hey i lik ur story to …….:)

  6. genevieve says:

    i enjoy reading the comments… i too think that we should break rules because some of them don’t apply at certain stages in our lives and also as long as we don’t hurt anyone we should do what is best…

  7. apurva says:

    Thank you for writing it, sir.

  8. pinkshi says:

    Wow. I recognized this excerpt from my fave Coelho book By The River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept. Turns out that it’s a slice-of-life from his many voyages. Makes me want to read the book again. :)

    1. Laura Estela says:

      I recognized that excerpt from that book too when I read it! And it is my favorite too!

  9. You couldn’t be more right! Thanks for posting!

  10. Deniz Saygın says:

    Dear Paolo Coelho;
    I love it!
    As I was reading,I remembered one of Kafka’s parable in Process. It was same situation. A guard dont let the man inside.And the man do nothing. He simply wait there until the guardian let him. But in the end the man spend entire life waiting in front of a door. And when the guardian is about to die, he says that the door is always open for him.

    Sometimes we have to break the rules to see what is upon us.

  11. Ken Crane says:

    I still don’t know when to break rule and not to break rule.
    But I’m starting to feel the key is the Omen (or maybe I should call it Creation,or another word, braveness).

    Thank you very much for this guide!!

  12. roja rawat says:

    ya true, nobody can decide things for y in life after all y r the one who will bear the fruits or may be the thorns than who r other to decide yr destiny. Sometimes god makes us break us such rules so that we can set example for others.

  13. lulu says:

    ‘suddenly, going into that castle has become very important to me.’
    yes i have been here, so many times, the rebellion in us all..the need to break rules

  14. Margarita says:

    Dear Paulo Coelho!!
    I’ve read your story “I can’t get in” and simply love it! Being an immigrant – twice immigrant – and an artist, I was hearing a lot this phrase “you can’t get in”. But nobody, except myself, could determine my further steps in my life. That’s why I am so “brave” and writing you this letter – to ask you to be so kind and just look at couple of my art works that were inspired by reading your books. I would greatly appreciate your respond – it means for me a lot!!!!
    Thanks in advance,
    Margarita

  15. Gaby says:

    I simply love it! It’s so true, I have found myself often in the same position …

  16. Rita Sharma says:

    Follow your heart and live a life of no regrets,vice versa regrets and lots of ifs and if nots.

  17. dofcloud says:

    Perhaps the one thing that holds most men back the most is mediocrity. You can’t escape it. It stands in your way as your friend who demamds that you change your attitude/words/life because it is too out of the ordinary.
    It is your mother when she reads your poem on sex and calls it too vulgar to be written. It is your peer group, and what society expects of you. But most of all, it is that little man inside you that wants fame, recognition, and money. Getting rid of that little man is the hardest thing to do.

  18. You have understood what all great painters understand: in order to forget the rules, you must know them and respect them.
    - Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello

    Some rules seem outdated or inhumane. For instance, at high school, girls were forbidden to wear trousers (not sure why) and boys were forbidden to wear their hair long. During fall or early summer, it was not a problem to wear dresses. But during winter, the rule seemed inhumane, considering the climate and distance some of us traveled. Glad this has changed now. And it may not have, if we did not push the matter.

    Follow the heart.

    Thankyou, enjoying reading the comments also.

    Love,
    Jane

    1. aksh says:

      You have understood what all great painters understand: in order to forget the rules, you must know them and respect them.
      - Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello

      in short be such that u don’t need the rule to behave in accordance with the rule.

      in ancient india, we had no rules books as such, u may have heard of manusmirity eyc, but they were not,really rule book for all.

      rules were there and some people who were called rishis – their behavior was the guide, what they did became the rules for rest.

      luv