Alice and the queen

In Lewis Carroll’s famous masterpiece “Alice through the Looking Glass,” there is a dialogue between the main character and the Queen, who has just told something quite extraordinary.

– I can’t believe it – says Alice.

– Can’t believe it? – the Queen repeats with a sad look on her face. – Try again: take a deep breath, close your eyes, and believe.

Alice laughs:

– It’s no good trying. Only fools believe that impossible things can happen.

– I think what you need is a little training – answers the Queen. – When I was your age I would practice at least half an hour a day, right after breakfast, I tried very hard to imagine five or six unbelievable things that could cross my path, and today I see that most of the things I imagined have turned real, I even became a Queen because of that.

Life constantly asks us: “believe!” Believing that a miracle can happen at any moment is necessary not only for our happiness but also for our protection, or to justify our existence. In today’s world, many people think it is impossible to put an end to misery, to build a fair society, and to alleviate the religious tension that seems to grow worse every day.

Most people avoid the struggle for a whole variety of reasons: conformism, maturity, the sense of the ridiculous, the feeling of impotence. We see injustice being done to our neighbor and remain silent. “I’m not getting involved in fights for nothing” is the explanation.

This is a cowardly attitude. Whoever travels down a spiritual path carries an honor code to be fulfilled; the voice that is raised against what is wrong is always heard by God.


  1. kim alfred says:

    Sometimes I wonder why I have become so pessimistic.
    They say “most people see obstacles others see possibilities”
    Of course I want to belong to the group who could do what others do not wish to dare.
    They are those that will surely have fulfillment with their lives but I have become so stuck with my fears and each effort i take becomes thrice I need to exert. One part for my resistance another for counteracting the resistance and lastly for the actual exertion. This make me so weary.

    I’ll sure try what the queen does…
    This way it will be easier for me to be insane and override my autopilot manual and live my life the way I should…
    there is no harm in trying…

  2. Anthony Camacho says:

    Not quite right! I cut & pasted the following:
    ‘Oh, don’t go on like that!’ cried the poor Queen, wringing her hands in despair. ‘Consider what a great girl you are. Consider what a long way you’ve come to-day. Consider what o’clock it is. Consider anything, only don’t cry!’

    Alice could not help laughing at this, even in the midst of her tears. ‘Can YOU keep from crying by considering things?’ she asked.

    ‘That’s the way it’s done,’ the Queen said with great decision: ‘nobody can do two things at once, you know. Let’s consider your age to begin with””how old are you?’

    ‘I’m seven and a half exactly.’

    ‘You needn’t say “exactually,”‘ the Queen remarked: ‘I can believe it without that. Now I’ll give YOU something to believe. I’m just one hundred and one, five months and a day.’

    ‘I can’t believe THAT!’ said Alice.

    ‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’

    Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘one CAN’T believe impossible things.’

    ‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

  3. Mathilde says:

    nothing is impossible and even that is not so..cause nothing Is..

  4. Believing is the first step. It is the door that will lead us towards where we plan to go, towards what we want to achieve. When we refuse to believe, we close the door of possibility.

    Thank you for this inspiring piece, Sir. God bless you.

  5. Elena says:

    I completely agree with this sentence , if we all will keep silent the worst things in this world can grow up unlimited , even we can do nothing we have our own opinion ,let us tell it without scare . we have to believe that we can turn this world to the better side,,we can influence on development of situations , events ,, we teach our children do it , but don`t do it ourselves ,, we always try to hide from world into our houses as snails . But that is not possible indeed .

  6. nora says:

    se ognuno di noi coltivasse la speranza che ogni singolo individuo,( cosi come il granello di sabbia ha bisogno degli altri per riflettere la luce del sole, la stella piu’ lontana ha bisogno delle altre per rendere meraviglioso il firmamento)abbisogna dell’amore del prossimo per dare un senso alla propria vita,ogni piccolo passo compiuto nel tempo azzererebbe molte problematiche.

  7. Thanks. I really liked reading this :).

  8. Mariana says:

    “žMinunile sunt la tot pasul – trebuie doar să deschidem ochii ÅŸi să le vedem”
    Sfí¢ntul Nectarie

    Crede í®n miracole, gí¢ndeÅŸte pozitiv ÅŸi luptă pentru í®nfăpuirea lor, aceasta e esenÅ£a fericirii noastre ! L-aÅŸ considera un crez după care oamenii ar trebui să se conducă í®n viaţă.
    íŽnsă uneori aceÅŸtia pornesc cu idei preconcepute ÅŸi cred că un lucru este imposibil de realizat sau de schimbat. Aceasta mi se pare ceva lipsit de sens ÅŸi de neí®nÅ£eles. Să spui nu, nu se poate! fără nici măcar a í®ncerca să faci sau să schimbi ceva í®ntr-o anumită situaÅ£ie, poate fi considerată o dovadă de ignoranţă, nepăsare sau chiar de laÅŸitate. Altfel stau lucrurile atunci cí¢nd í®ncerci, dar este peste puterile tale. Măcar eÅŸti í®mpăcat cu gí¢ndul că ai í®ncercat!
    Părerea mea este că cei care ar putea să facă ceva, nu o fac, pur ÅŸi simplu, iar cei care í®ncearcă să facă ceva, sunt prea puÅ£ini sau prea neputincioÅŸi, ca să poată í®ndrepta lucrurile.
    “Oricine calatoreste pe o cale spirituala poarta un cod de onoare să fie í®ndeplinite, vocea care se ridică í®mpotriva a ceea ce este greÅŸit este í®ntotdeauna auzit de Dumnezeu.”

    “Eu n-am să te las ca să pieri
    Cí¢nd treci prin necazul cel greu
    Atunci cí¢nd mă chemi í®n dureri,
    Eu vin!, a promis Dumnezeu.

    Cheamă-mă í®n ziua cea grea
    Cí¢nd nori de necaz vor veni
    Atunci Eu te voi ajuta,
    Iar tu-n cí¢nt mă vei proslăvi.

    “Cí¢nd ziua s-a dus, e tí¢rziu
    Åži singur í®n noapte rămí¢i
    íŽn jurul tău totu-i pustiu
    Åži-o piatră de-Å£i pui căpătí¢i,

    Cheamă-mă şi am să vin
    Åži-o scară la cer voi ‘nălÅ£a
    íŽn noapte, sub cerul senin
    Cu tine de vorbă voi sta.

    Te simţi de furtuni clătinat
    Åži valul te-mpinge spre stí¢nci
    íŽn jur mai auzi disperat
    Un vuiet de ape adí¢nci,

    Cheamă-mă-n clipa cea grea
    Cí¢nd valul loveÅŸte cumplit
    íŽn Mine pe stí¢ncă vei sta
    Furtuna privind liniÅŸtit

    Eu sunt Cel ce sunt, Dumnezeu
    Åži-aud cí¢nd mă strigi din necaz
    Căci Eu văd din cer chinul tău
    Şi lacrima pe-al tău obraz.

    Crede ÅŸi nu te-ndoi
    Aşteaptă-n tăcere-ajutor
    Căci Eu lí¢ngă tine voi fi
    Åži chinul va fi mai uÅŸor

    Cheamă-mă í®n ziua cea grea
    Cí¢nd nori de necaz vor veni
    Atunci Eu te voi ajuta,
    Iar tu-n cí¢nt mă vei proslăvi.”

    Pace ÅŸi dragoste í®ntre oameni !
    Cu admiraţie şi multă iubire, Mariana

  9. Amjad Mumtaz says:

    He believes in telling us for not getting disappointed and being an optimist I do follow same recipe to remain content.But passive optimism and daydreaming cannot be made as a golden principle of life because miracles do not take place for everybody.Queen might be the luckiest to live in a palace but Alice may not.Every cricket player starts his innings with a single run or boundry and believe in scoring at least a 50.. but does every player get it..No sir.

  10. roshi says:

    Thank you sheela – what you wrote here was something that affirmed something i was struggling with. it is sometimes such a lonely road.

    1. You are not alone, Roshi :)

      I feel the same way sometimes… I have even developed a love-hate relationship with myself when I get lost and then find the right direction then get lost again… I think it really is a lifetime search. Even when we have already reached the spiritual path, there’s no assurance that we will remain there forever. We have to work on it, constantly.

      Thanks for the insight, Sheela. :)

      the province girl

  11. Adriana says:

    Yes,I believe in miracles and they happen, only sometimes I don’t believe in anything and have ,like today, to be reminded that faith can move mountains. When I don’t believe I surrender and beg for strength, and sooner or later it returns. Faith is my most difficult conquest.

  12. Anna Sergi says:

    I wrote a blog inspired by this very excerpt back in July, when I needed to believe in miracles, I needed protection and I needed to have answers that someone wasn’t willing to give me.
    I will always believe in impossible things before and after breakfast, I would be already dead otherwise…and actually I am not even religious, I just feel I need to find some meaning and keep believing in something, because sometimes I feel so frustrated by things getting wrong, that if I didn’t have inside me this ability to believe I would just be dead.

  13. Carla says:

    Paulo, tienes que venir a Canarias porfavor!

  14. hibiscus says:

    I believe. As long as I live I will believe. I also believe in rest from fights when my head and body tell me to rest. :)

  15. Laila says:

    Its so easy to lose hope and think that things will never get better or change for the better. “why try,it wont happen anyway…” I stuggle with an Eating dissorder,and so many times I’ve been thinking I will never get better,so why even try? Negative..I know…but I’ve decided to give it a try,and I hope that what I now find impossible will be possible afterall. I just have to believe,and go for it.
    Thank you for always come with your wise words to remind me to never give up. You are an inspiration.

    ps: I just have to tell you that I’m about to start reading 3 of your books ;)

  16. Keith says:

    There are two Alice books:
    – Alice in Wonderland
    – Alice Through the Looking Glass

  17. Keith says:

    Lewis Carroll is one of my favourite writers. He lived in Guildford with his sisters. A cross provided by his sisters can be found in St Mary’s Church in Guildford, a church in which the Rev Charles Dodgson occasionally preached.

    Last summer I treated my lovely friend Sian to a special Alice day out in Guildford.

    We had a wonderful day out.

    We went to an enactment of the courtroom scene, we visited spots associated with Lewis Carroll including his house, we visited a special exhibition on Lewis Carroll and Alice and his links with Guildford, we had lovely afternoon tea at the back of Guildford House, we sat by the river where I read to Sian passages from Alice, much as Alice’s sister had read to Alice and I gave Sian a beautiful illustrated copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

    Synchronicity: As I sat down to write, I found I had received a request asking me was the house Lewis Carroll shared with his sister open to the public. Sadly not, it is a private house, though I believe they occasionally acceded to special requests.

    Alice and the queen
    Curiouser and Curiouser

  18. Keith says:

    Only fools believe that impossible things can happen. And Tunisians and Egyptians.

    Who would have believed a week ago, let alone a year ago, that today we would see a million Egyptians on the streets of Egypt calling for Hosni Mubarak to go?

    Young and old, rich and poor, Christian and Muslim, men, women and children, all united in their call for Hosni Mubarak to go. On Friday we saw Christians guarding their Muslim brothers at prayer.

    Unarmed protesters faced down the forces of the repressive regime and won. They faced down the forces of repression and the forces of repression fled with their tails between their legs.

    Tear gas was fired. Tear gas with Made in USA on the side of the cannisters. A repressive regime paid for with US dollars.

    Our hearts go out to the brave Egyptian people. Once they lost their fear, anything was possible, even the impossible.

    Enduring images are of a girl on her father’s shoulders, calling for Mubarak to go, of a former policeman beating his uniform with the soles of his shoe, of an eight-year-old girl giving wise advice to Mubarak to go.

    A butterfly flapped its wings …

    A young unemployed man set fire to himself in protest at not being allowed to set up a fruit and vegetable stall, his only way of earning a living. The Jasmine Revolution was born, the most enduring image was that of a Tunisian woman singing in the street of the martyrs. Ben Ali fled Tunisia like a rat up a drainpipe.

    The revolution will spread across the Arab World and the Middle East. One by one the dominoes will fall.

    Who next? The corrupt House of Saud? The evil Mullahs and Ayatollahs in Iran?

  19. Pamela says:

    Belief, necessary and simple. Love it!

  20. Richard Kirov says:

    Ok, i didn’t saw my previous publication with the poem show up in the comment but still… I am sending the next translated from the not yet published book. It is called

    ~ I see~

    I see: not so many meetings
    do offer us eternity;
    you understand the whole absurd
    surrounding us,
    and as if putting a cross on Devil’s circle
    you can walk free…

    I see: your heart in the mystic music
    bather to oblivion;
    unextinguishable stars and ancient paths
    crossing their flashes…

    I see: we walk forward,
    led by a Sphinx’s face;
    I know, you keep inside no doubts,
    beyond the cross the sacred road
    fades toward our love.

    I see: the time has stopped
    and with intoxicating glance
    you show to me the exit
    from death’s Labyrinth.

  21. Neha Jain says:

    i read the same thing today itself in your collection of short stories ‘Like the Flowing River’, its an inspiring collection of wonderful stories that make you think and question your way of living without any sense of fulfillment and with no purpose or goal to strive for. every small tale was an eye opener and they encourage you to make your own choices and decisions based on patience, courage and most importantly love even if they do not conform to the conventional beliefs. thanks for letting us know and giving us the courage to think that each one of us is strong enough to make our own destiny and fulfill our personal legend. Thanks :)

  22. roberto says:

    Saludos señor coelho, me tomé el atrevimiento de traducir al español y citar su entrada en mi blog:

    Gracias una vez más por tan excelente enseñanza!

  23. mona says:

    I met a older Pakistani muslim Women,who believed in God,who can turn all the impossible…….into possible but at the end she lost the belief,faith and hope and she died that week.

  24. Hi Paulo,

    We must picture, believe and receive how God sees fit. Few picture the life of their dreams since they don’t see it as a possibility.

    Thanks for sharing with us.


  25. jb says:

    just like as the power of positive thinking”,)

    there can be miracles, when you believe.

  26. nancy says:

    your works are fantastic.they are so inspirational, you always show another way to see every situation. Not every hard situation is bad and not every good situation is permanent. after reading your works it is as if so much i want to say. i just love your work a lot keep doing such beautiful work and god bless.

  27. I believe that if I can think of something – whatever it may be – then it can happen. Only condition is that I must start working in that direction. As you yourself said – if you want something then the universe conspires to ensure that you get it. I firmly, undoubtedly and irrevocably believe in this truth.

  28. Grace Booc says:

    You’re like God’s messenger. I don’t know how you do it but it seems like you always got the right message for me or maybe for everyone. Thank you sir for at least I feel better now. “…the voice that is raised against what is wrong is always heard by God.” :)

    May God Bless you!

  29. Greekgirl says:

    it is safer when you dont belive in the (with your point of view) impossible things…because if you dont believe you never get disappointed…

    1. mona says:

      Living in the third world country in choas n conflicts
      my only rescue was day dreaming and belief that one everything will be ok and heavenly.I don’t know what i would have done with that.

    2. Hi everyone,

      Believe is a powerful tool to reach out our dreams, above all, believe in you, because you are the founder of your life, the sculptor of your path.


      Kind Regards

  30. Selva says:

    Belief is an essential subject which attracted me toward Paulo’s writings.

    I believe in carrying the torch of belief, and on the way sharing the light of belief with those empty torches.
    Paulo is master in doing that, The Alchemist, has left an unquenchable faith and belief in myself and in the world around.

    With Love,

  31. nat says:

    Can’t wait to read your biography Paulo. Actually it’s on every library here in my country already lend, so i have to wait till i finially get it in my hand. At the moment i can’t afford your book, but if it’s really as great as i read on the net, i can’t wait to buy it for myself. I like your work and determination and i think it’s awesome that everything turned out so great for you.
    In my world the last couple of years weren’t good at all. Actually i already stopped believing in myself. I know you probably won’t read this comment but i hope one day i can come back here and say i reached something or i finailly got healthy after all this years struggling.

    1. Kirsten says:

      I hope one day you can come back and say you reached something or are now healthy, Nat.. Good luck on your quest. Peace & love to you

    2. nat says:

      Thanks Kirsten & Marie for the nice and encouraging words! Just when u don’t hear such things around your circle, it’s really nice to read them here.
      Bests to ya!

    3. Marie says:

      Don’t lose hope. God hears all your prayers, and it will be answered
      In God’s time. You just have to have faith and believe. I wish you well.

    4. Keith says:

      The biography – A Warrior’s Life by Fernando Morais – is well worth reading!

    5. Keith says:

      Also – The Alchemist Himself – is well worth listening to. Broadcast by BBC Radio 4 last year, but sadly there does not appear to be an archive of the programme.

  32. margherita says:

    “Nulla è impossibile, basta crederci”, sono le tue incoraggianti parole.
    Infatti, vedi, Paulo, io ho creduto alle tue parole.
    Tu sei diventato scrittore, ci hai creduto, hai combattuto tanto, anche contro i tuoi genitori.
    Percií² anch’io ho deciso di fare la stessa cosa.
    Il mio “problema”, ora, caro Paulo sei Tu, perchè ho bisogno di un piccolo aiuto da te.
    Ti ho scritto su questo blog, ma tu non mi hai risposto.
    Ho scritto altre due lettere indirizzate una a S. Martin, l’altra a Parigi. Chissí  se le hai ricevute! Chissí  se la tua posta passa ancora da lí¬. So che sei stato a Davos e sei molto impegnato. Se ti capiterí  di avere tra le mani la mia richiesta di aiuto, mi risponderai?
    “basta crederci ed i sogni si avverano”, ora vedremo se è vero. Il mio sogno si puí² materializzare presto, basta che tu mi dica un sí¬. Oppure un no. Accetterí² comunque la tua risposta. Ma una risposta ci dovrí  essere. La tua risposta farí  parte del mio sogno avverato o no.
    Ci spero tanto!

  33. Tracey says:

    Thank you Paulo, for sending me another sign.

  34. amanda malinka says:

    Sometimes it’s not easy…But we will try…

  35. Aboli says:

    I wanted to ask sumthing, you mentioned in one of th eline that voice raised again wrong i heard by God, but who decides what’s right and what’s wrong? Something that may be wrong according to me may not be really wrong… May be thats going on by God’s own will??

  36. Ellen says:

    Sometimes I find all of these inspirational stories and tales fantastical and idealistic. If we all lived with valour, honour and fought for our convictions and spoke out against the evils of the world we would live in a far different world; a better world. To “believe” in something won’t necessarily make it true sadly. I suppose I feel pessimistic this evening. I may stand and raise my voice against what is wrong around me, in my country, in the world, I am but one voice; I actually hope God would not be listening to me rather to those suffering, those in need of his favour, as I have been blessed to live in a nation that has given me plenty. Regardless of my pessimism this evening I appreciate the story you have share with us today Mr. Coelho.
    God Bless,

  37. Sonia says:

    What did you do in July 2010 that changed the hits on your blog and started them going through the roof? Would love to know. Please share this secret with other souls. Congratulations.

  38. elaine says:

    “Life constantly asks us: “believe!” Believing that a miracle can happen at any moment is necessary not only for our happiness but also for our protection, or to justify our existence.”

    What a great way to teach a child (or the child within us) to see and to react to events and beings on this world. It certainly is how we view every moment in our lives. Lewis Carroll was a wise teacher. He taught us to believe that miracles happen at any moment which made us more aware of the moment; and, when we are truly in each moment, we do see all kinds of miracles.

    Thanks for posting this, Paulo :+)

  39. katie says:

    “I think what you need is a little training – answers the Queen. – When I was your age I would practice at least half an hour a day, right after breakfast, I tried very hard to imagine five or six unbelievable things ….”

    darn, I can hear her voice in my head ….
    what a cute post. will we see a “Ken Crane” for this?
    yes? please?