1 min reading: the world as a mirror

EM PORTUGUES AQUI: Narciso e o lago
EN ESPANOL AQUI: Narciso y el lago


(below the opening page of “The Alchemist”. May every single day of this new year reflect our joy)

The alchemist picked up a book that someone in the caravan had brought. Leafing through the pages, he found a story about Narcissus.

The alchemist knew the legend of Narcissus, a youth who knelt daily beside a lake to contemplate his own beauty. He was so fascinated by himself that, one morning, he fell into the lake and drowned. At the spot where he fell, a flower was born, which was called the narcissus.

But this was not how Oscar Wilde, the author of the book, ended the story.

He said that when Narcissus died, the goddesses of the forest appeared and found the lake, which had been fresh water, transformed into a lake of salty tears.

“Why do you weep?” the goddesses asked.

“I weep for Narcissus,” the lake replied.

“Ah, it is no surprise that you weep for Narcissus,” they said, “for though we always pursued him in the forest, you alone could contemplate his beauty close at hand.”

“But…was Narcissus beautiful?” the lake asked.

“Who better than you to know that?” the goddesses said in wonder. “After all, it was by your banks that he knelt each day to contemplate himself!”

The lake was silent for some time. Finally, it said:

“I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful.
“I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.”

“What a lovely story,” the alchemist thought.

HAPPY 2012!



    Admiro la grandeza de un supremo creador posada en la inteligencia de un escritor comu Tu amigo mio en realidad siempre he creido que quienes tienen este don y otros distintos tienen una relacion muy estrecha con el creador de cielo y tierra, y Tu amigo mio eres uno de ellos. No cabe la menor duda que esa inspiracion proviene de la propia mano de Dios quien escribe atravez de tus palabras, gracias por compartir tu conocimiento y la inspiracion de Dios en tus manos con quienes apreciamos tus palabras y estamos en la busqueda continua de ese zahir, de esa quinta montaña, o aquellos 11 minutos, o el saber la capacidad de la resistencia humana atravez de El Demonio y la señorita primm. Gracias Amigo Paulo Cohello, por llenar nuestras vidas de un nuevo conocimiento atravez de tu hermosa filosofia.

  2. Leonila says:

    very beautiful! Belated Merry X’mas and a Happy, Happy New Year To you!

    1. robson rotta says:


  3. Subi says:

    Sooo beautiful! ❤

  4. Doris Agius says:

    Dear Paolo,

    First of all I would like to wish you and your family a wonderful year 2012. May each of your days be a good day. I was given a collection of your books by my son as a Christmas present. The whole family are taking it in turns to read the books and in a way they (the books) have brought us much closer to each other because we keep discussing them. They are so inspirational.
    BUT I have one disappointment. The above story is nowhere in the copy of the Alchemist which I possess. Can someone please explain to me why this is so.
    Doris Agius – Malta

  5. FATIMA says:

    Sr. Coelho feliz nuevo año. sus libros han sido una gran inspiracion en mi vida en especial veronika decide morir. gracis por ente que el alma esta mas alla de los sueños y de la realidad.

  6. ann says:

    Thnx paulo

  7. Thiago says:

    mirror to mirror

  8. arleth says:

    Ang kagandahan ay nasa tumitingin. Ngunit and tunay na kagandahan ay nasa kabutihan at busilak na puso ng isang nilalang. (Beauty lies on the beholder. But true beauty is found in the kindness and purity of heart of the person.)

    Mabuhay 2012!

  9. Pandora says:

    You who want
    see the Oneness

    There you
    will find
    the clear mirror
    already waiting.

    Hadewijch II (Antwerp, 13th century)

    HYN 2012, thank you for everything and everyone here!

  10. Marie-Christine says:

    Photo looks good 2011 washed the natural way by the water element.

  11. Maryam says:

    Dear Paulo,
    Happy New Year to you wish you a wonderful year full of miracles.
    i have started to read all your books again, and i really enjoy reading your books. in every line there is a message and sign that helps my heart, my belief and my soul shine. thanx for every single words you share with your readers….

  12. yinette says:

    me encanta el mensaje, es muy hermoso

  13. ebony brown says:

    Thanks for sharing. I’m looking forward to the beauty that is this New Year!

  14. isaura galicia says:

    k bonito muchas veces vemos nuestra belleza sin fijarnos que tan hermosas pueden ser las personas que nos rodean muy linda historia

  15. Siriwan (Rosa) says:

    Happy New Year 2012 to you and your family. May Our Father bless you and your family to have a good health, joy, peace, hope, love, happiness, and big smiles always. May God bless your friends, collegues, fans, works, and your loved ones to be happy. In addition, I would like to thank you for your signed card for my friend on his birthday. He was so surprised and happy. I really appreciated. It is a gift not only for him but also for me, because I got your letter the day I went back home after 6weeks of evacuation because of flood in Thailand. I can not tell you how surprised and happy I am . Thank you so much again. Knowing you from your books is also a gift from you. Please take good care of yourself. Big hug for you.

  16. Ley says:

    Love this book.

  17. Gabriela Busch says:

    “Der Alchimist” ist das beste Buch, dass ich je gelesen hab. Ich liebe diese Geschichte und kann es nur weiterempfehlen!
    Thank you Paulo Coelho

  18. Angelamoreyes says:

    good reading to start this new year admiring the beauty in our life, in each step where we walk, in every person that cross in our way …. in every morning when open your eyes

  19. Andri says:

    Thank you for the lovely story. Certainly it is.

    Happy 2012 for you and family.


  20. Nileema Dias says:

    This story made me wonder if am too reflecting the beauty of someone else in my eyes without even me realising it..maybe at some point of time..!!!
    beauty truly lies in the eyes of the beholder…love this story
    thank u Paulo for such a truly inspirational story:)
    Happy New Year to u n your family..!!!!

  21. Allouche says:

    opening to love who we are, i mean reversing the love vibration towards our own heart is for me one of the key of realising God, revealing that we are one with God, that we are the manifestation of real love or God on earth. This reversion movement open compassion towards our own humanity, or duality and this movement unify and reveal that we are beyond duality, that we are the power of creation. Being in that state, the heart flood amplify the vibes of Love and transmute our egos, we begin to be more and more transparent to let God wisdom and live shining in and out. We begin to be a miracle transforming matters. Sometimes, it is easier ti begin to love our self by meeting a person that reflect who we are. We see our qualities in that person, her divinity and this help learn to love her human part. And as we love her human part we begin to accept and love our own part. This is the blessing of love. If two people at least live the same thing, the love vibration shared amplify both people vibes and we manifest more and more our spirit here on earth. This open the Aleph. The real knowledge. Knowing by God spirit, Seing by God’s eyes, talking with God words, creating and loving through God’s inspiration and heart. Healing everything in and out. To my companions of love that allowed me this experience.

  22. Peter says:

    Thanks for sharing these great thoughts! You have one new Twitter subscriber!

  23. jane says:

    Bonne continuation du chemin de vie, Aleph est un trés beau livre comme tous les autres qui montre que le chemin de vie n’est pas toujours facile mais qu’il apporte du bonheur et de la paix pout tous ceux et celles qui cherchent í  s’épanouir en se remettant en question pour progresser

  24. Cynthia E. Smale says:

    So right nothing is per chance… busy reading Aleph, Ah my friend you made me cry…page 21… In love and lite… had not finished but needed to continue my travel so i shall be in the bookshop tomorrow to buy my very own copy… Thank you for all the blessings I have received from having you in the world at this time.

  25. Carina says:

    Another quick question about the Alef if people come back ( karma) not the best word as indicated in the book So why was Yao’s wife stuck and not able to unite with the Devine ( do souls unite with the Devine or return in new forms ) . Did not get that?

  26. Carina says:

    I just finished reading the alef and I thought what if maybe Narcissus at this point was in the Alef and in his reflection and in his eyes went through the same experience Hilal and you went through… Was enchanted by what he had seen and was engulfed with his emotions into parallel universes . Hence falling into the lake ? Would that make any sense?!?!

  27. ary says:

    I truly love this book. not to sound dramatic but this book changed my life! I recommend everybody to read it!

  28. Sumaya says:

    very great. The best thing I have read about Narcissus was this excerpt from Mahmoud Darwish’s “The Dice Player” where he says:

    Narcissus is not beautiful as he thought.
    His makers entangled him with a mirror.
    He prolonged his meditation in the air distilled with water…

    Had he been able to see others,
    he would have loved a girl gazing at him,
    oblivious the reindeers running between the lilies and the daisies …

    Had he been a bit more clever,
    he would have broken his mirror
    and saw how much he was the others…

    Had he been free,
    he would have not become a legend…

    1. Cynthia says:


      I love your post even more than Paulo’s.

    2. Sumaya says:

      Thank you Cynthia, ya it is amazing indeed.

  29. Vidya says:

    Beautiful as everything written by Paulo Coelho…And I’m not sure if in the western world is known that the flower “narcissus” is actually the daffodil, this beautiful spring flower…

  30. Nicky says:

    In the world we live in today, this is both beautiful and apt.

  31. yossra says:

    this story shows that man looks at anything by his own view and his own way of thinking … it’s like “i see u by my own eyes according to who i am .. while u see me by urs according to who r u “..

  32. Bela says:

    Beautiful story-is teaches me that what I want to find in someone I need to find first in myself:) All the Best in 2012 Paulo, lots of health! X

  33. halil canda says:

    an Old Turkısh poem (hıs name Aşık Veysel)

    your beaty feckless ıf I have not my heart
    my beaty null If I have not reflect anybody

  34. karima says:

    lovely and wonderful story ,,,

  35. kishore says:

    The very first time i read “The Alchemist”, i was about to cry because in the very depths of my heart, i felt it was written for me.. my own story… At each point, each page and each part of the book, my own image has reflected instead of the young shepherd…

    Since then, i have read the book for more than 15 times and will be reading another 100 times… what a great book written by a great personality like you… Thank you very much for the book and also others in series… Let your book be a inspirational master piece for all the people who read those books… Im positively trying for making my dreams come true because “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”

    Also thanks a lot for sending a personally signed greeting card..

  36. Cristy says:

    Happy new year Paolo and Christina!
    Thank you for sharing your personal journey with us, thank you for sharing your life with us.
    I currently have Aleph but somehow I wasn’t able to get past the first few pages yet. There is a time for everything, yes, and I believe that when the time is right, I will read the book.
    God bless us!

  37. jaya says:

    the story also teach us that giving happiness to someone can give happiness to ourselves…………………….
    i liked the story the first tym i read alchemist…………….

  38. smita gaonkar says:

    its great !!!!
    wishing you and your family happy new year

  39. Claudio Chami says:

    Feliz año para todos, y que podamos ver en los demás a los demás, y no a nosotros mismos

  40. Alexandre says:

    This story is incredible. The first Coelho book I read is the alchemist and what motivated me was this story. Often I open up the book just to read this story! Thank you Paulo!

  41. Anna Sergi says:

    Does it mean that sometimes we cannot see our own beauty unless it is reflected in someone’s eyes? I should overcome this, that is my purpose for new year… <3

  42. martha becht says:

    Fiel admiradora de paulo coelho…feliz. 2012…….