The secret of happiness (ENG, ESPA, PORT)

EN ESPANOL CLICAR AQUI: Las dos gotas de aceite
EM PORTUGUES, CLICAR AQUI: As duas gotas de óleo

Story taken from my book “The Alchemist”, one of the Top 20 Bestselling Books from all times

A merchant sent his son to learn the Secret of Happiness from the wisest of men. The young man wandered through the desert for forty days until he reached a beautiful castle at the top of a mountain. There lived the sage that the young man was looking for.

However, instead of finding a holy man, our hero entered a room and saw a great deal of activity; merchants coming and going, people chatting in the corners, a small orchestra playing sweet melodies, and there was a table laden with the most delectable dishes of that part of the world.

The wise man talked to everybody, and the young man had to wait for two hours until it was time for his audience.

With considerable patience, the Sage listened attentively to the reason for the boy’s visit, but told him that at that moment he did not have the time to explain to him the Secret of Happiness.

He suggested that the young man take a stroll around his palace and come back in two hours’ time.

“However, I want to ask you a favor,” he added, handling the boy a teaspoon, in which he poured two drops of oil. “While you walk, carry this spoon and don’t let the oil spill.”

The young man began to climb up and down the palace staircases, always keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon. At the end of two hours he returned to the presence of the wise man.

“So,” asked the sage, “did you see the Persian tapestries hanging in my dining room? Did you see the garden that the Master of Gardeners took ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful parchments in my library?”

Embarrassed, the young man confessed that he had seen nothing. His only concern was not to spill the drops of oil that the wise man had entrusted to him.

“So, go back and see the wonders of my world,” said the wise man. “You can’t trust a man if you don’t know his house.”

Now more at ease, the young man took the spoon and strolled again through the palace, this time paying attention to all the works of art that hung from the ceiling and walls. He saw the gardens, the mountains all around the palace, the delicacy of the flowers, the taste with which each work of art was placed in its niche. Returning to the sage, he reported in detail all that he had seen.

“But where are the two drops of oil that I entrusted to you?” asked the sage.

Looking down at the spoon, the young man realized that he had spilled the oil.

“Well, that is the only advice I have to give you,” said the sage of sages. “The Secret of Happiness lies in looking at all the wonders of the world and never forgetting the two drops of oil in the spoon.”

from the book “The Alchemist”


  1. Abubakar Matori says:

    Your work especially THE ALCHEMIST has had great positive impact on the way I and my family and friends view the world. You have inspired and touched the lives of many people even in my home country Nigeria and the entire world. May God grant you more wisdom!

  2. Jennyffer says:

    Fue realmente hermoso, da los puntos de vista más allá de los que normalmente tenemos

  3. Anasatia Sundarela says:

    Thank you, Mr. Coelho. Now I know the secret.

  4. Meera says:

    This is awesome.I read it long back.Thanks for refreshing it!

  5. bana says:

    I read the Alchemist before…gotta admit i LOVE it…always an inspiration

  6. Antonella says:

    Il segreto della felicití ? Accettare se stessi per cií² che si è… Condividere se stessi con gli altri… Accettare gli altri per cií² che sono… Vivere lo spazio della propria vita come un’esperienza unica, ma transitoria… un breve cammino insieme ad altri, che come noi, cercano la felicití … e, alla fine del loro cammino, trovano cií² che cercano, solamente in se stessi…

  7. The great part about the Alchemist is that it causes you to pause and focus on what you really want to do with your life and then you can determine if what you are working towards is really something you want.

    Well worth reading and thinking about.


  8. Marie-Christine says:

    Je pense que ces deux gouttes d’huile sont des huiles essentielles.
    J’ai decide de faire l’experience.
    J’ai mis deux gouttes d’huile essentielle dans une petite cueillere et je suis partie a l’aventure dans ‘.mon chateau’.
    J’ai explore toutes les pieces et j’ai vu beaucoup de choses – evidemment je suis familiere de ‘mon chateau’ –
    Mais ce qui m’a le plus marque, c’est qu’en marchant , tenant la petite cueillere qui contenait l’huile essentielle, c’est que l’odeur de l’huile a declanche les autres sens.
    C;’etait tout simplement magique.
    On appelle cela le flair
    Et le retour s’est effectue sans avoir tombe une goutte d’huile essentielle, mais m’a permis d’evoquer tant de choses.
    Merci pour le partage, la magie des sens.
    Le flair c’est important.
    C’est pour moi l’intuition en action.

    Avec amour,

  9. Marie-Christine says:

    I just did the experimentation in ‘my castle’ .
    I put two drops of essential oil in a teaspoon and I went along and check the rooms.
    I was able to see so many things -Of course, I am familiar with the place –
    You know what the thing that really had a big impact, was the smell of the essential oil. It revived all the other senses,
    I am pleased to report the essential oil arrived intact at the port of departure/arrival.

    with love

  10. Momiza says:

    Following the path to your Personal Legend will make you Legendary. The best example is Mr. Coelho himself! Congratuations :) xxx

  11. arun says:

    life is like sand in the hand, the hard you hold it, the more it slips. Live normal is best and motto of life.
    The living should be like a life of a child. He lives completely and happily. He lives with himself and never feels alone. While doing a small work you will find his mind completely sets over that work. With the completion of each step toward the accomplishing the target, his happiness gets double. You just enter in the house , he leaves everything behind and run to you. He would describe his day, small things of school and after five minutes he would be busy with something else. On the other side a matured man would remain in his chaos of life. This chaos is normal for his life. Every moment he would fight to be in the race without even understanding the pros and cons of his act. They feel empty if they have no stress in life.; They try to find their meaning of life in the stress. As we grow up we forget about enjoying the small things of life and make our search for better, best, excellent and outstanding. The outstanding if we get , do not give us happiness as well feel as stale.
    Life is a book and nothing extra-ordinary is required to be done to read this.

  12. Astral says:

    Never forget you purpose, but while you on that road to the journey of your dreams, don’t forget to look around and see the beauty around you. Don’t forget who you really are.

  13. Cherry Jain says:

    i have that same copy :)
    u made it more memorable :)

  14. lucy says:

    i accidental came across this book about 8 yrs ago Paulo books are as deep as the ocean, but its up to the person who is reading how far they want to swim that ocean

  15. Sally says:

    The Alchemist – An amazing book.

  16. Touriya says:

    Merci Monsieur Coelho grí¢ce í  vous j’ai appris í  jeter sur la vie un regard tout í  fait différent.Un regerd plein de sagesse et de sérénité

    1. Touriya:

      Vous n’íªtes pas le seul, je cherchais ma voie et grí¢ce aux lectures des livres de Paulo Coelho, j’ai compris que je suis un guerrier de la lumière.

  17. Omneya says:

    Actually I’ve just started to read for Paulo
    but really i like it
    i can feel am dissolving in his writings

  18. Florence says:

    I read the Alchemist years ago and totally Loved it, still do !!! But I must admit that like others I might have missed some things cuz I never fully understood the meaning of the two drops of oil at the end of that sentence… what do they represent exactly ? anyone, thanks for sharing your understanding of it… ! :)

    1. faizan says:

      i think it mesans ur parents:)

    2. Lynne says:

      I wondered the same thing. What do the two drops of oil represent? Are they the same for everyone?

    3. Lynne says:

      I just read Proud Believer’s response. It’s a good one!

    4. heena says:

      i’m wondering too, exactly what are the 2 drops?

    5. anonymous preferebly says:

      the two drops represents the things owned by the boy, his reality, his ideology, his own treasure… whatever else he is looking at are not his and does not belong to him but the two drops in the spoon are his own.
      the actual concept is to be yourself and believe in your self rather then concentrating on others and forgetting your own identity.

      this is what I get from it.

    6. Ruben says:

      The 2 drops of oil represent inner attention..
      Most people give all their attention outwardly and lose themselves in the world and the world becomes a struggle for them.
      If we turn our attention inward, we find ourselves and we begin to discover a place of stillness within us. The world then loses its seriousness, and all problems begin to fade away.
      What is left is observing the beauty.

      The wise man says, practice the balance of inward and outward attention.
      For most people, inward attention is absolutely foreign to them. One will take a look inside themselves when they are ready!

  19. Renz says:

    I guess this means in order for us to be happy, we need to balance work and play. Logic and intuition, etc…

  20. toñi says:

    si, cierto. contemplar el mundo que nos rodea sin perder nuestro equilibrio. las gotas de aceite las entiendo como nuestra vida, nuestro tesoro y …no hay que perder o dejar de lado nuestra propia vida…podemos contemplar el mundo y cuidar de nuestras vidas, las dos cosas a la vez…eso nos dará la felicidad. muy bonito, hoy precisamente me he levantado pensando en eso: hay que estar pendiente de nuestro camino y de nuestra familia, y contemplar también el mundo que nos rodea. voy a dedicar más tiempo a mi vida y reduciré mis tiempos de lectura.
    Gracias, Toñi.

  21. Proud Believer says:

    In Our religious perspective that is called ‘Taqwa’ an excellent example to enjoy and appreciate the blessings of the world whilst never forgetting your are accountable for all your actions and deeds to God on the day of Judgment. Lovely

    1. sara says:

      Yes, i think so too.It sure was tiring to watch over the oil & not seeing the beauties of the palace, so after that getting back to look at the beauties of the palace I think it had more pleasure for him, because he no longer had to care for the oil. I mean after suffering a great deal, looking at the beauties is more enjoyable.

    2. gloriana says:

      i agree with u

  22. Roxanne says:

    I dont get it…

  23. Ciao Bella says:

    You are my mirror and Santana is my light:)


  24. Binod Silwal says:

    Alchemist is one of the best books that I’ve ever read

  25. yash says:

    There was a great sage in India called Vyí¢sa. This Vyí¢sa is known as the author of the Vedanta aphorisms, and was a holy man. His father had tried to become a very perfect man and had failed. His grandfather had also tried and failed. His great-grandfather had similarly tried and failed. He himself did not succeed perfectly, but his son, Shuka, was born perfect. Vyasa taught his son wisdom; and after teaching him the knowledge of truth himself, he sent him to the court of King Janaka. He was a great king and was called Janaka Videha. Videha means “without a body”. Although a king, he had entirely forgotten that he was a body; he felt that he was a spirit all the time. This boy Shuka was sent to be taught by him. The king knew that Vyasa’s son was coming to him to learn wisdom: so he made certain arrangements beforehand. And when the boy presented himself at the gates of the palace, the guards took no notice of him whatsoever. They only gave him a seat, and he sat there for three days and nights, nobody speaking to him, nobody asking him who he was or whence he was. He was the son of a very great sage, his father was honoured by the whole country, and he himself was a most respectable person; yet the low, vulgar guards of the palace would take no notice of him. After that, suddenly, the ministers of the king and all the big officials came there and received him with the greatest honours. They conducted him in and showed him into splendid rooms, gave him the most fragrant baths and wonderful dresses, and for eight days they kept him there in all kinds of luxury. That solemnly serene face of Shuka did not change even to the smallest extent by the change in the treatment accorded to him; he was the same in the midst of this luxury as when waiting at the door. Then he was brought before the king. The king was on his throne, music was playing, and dancing and other amusements were going on. The king then gave him a cup of milk, full to the brim, and asked him to go seven times round the hall without spilling even a drop. The boy took the cup and proceeded in the midst of the music and the attraction of the beautiful faces. As desired by the king, seven times did he go round, and not a drop of the milk was spilt. The boy’s mind could not be attracted by anything in the world, unless he allowed it to affect him. And when he brought the cup to the king, the king said to him, “What your father has taught you, and what you have learned yourself, I can only repeat. You have known the Truth; go home.”

    Thus the man that has practiced control over himself cannot be acted upon by anything outside; there is no more slavery for him. His mind has become free. Such a man alone is fit to live well in the world. We generally find men holding two opinions regarding the world. Some are pessimists and say, “How horrible this world is, how wicked!” Some others are optimists and say, “How beautiful this world is, how wonderful!” To those who have not controlled their own minds, the world is either full of evil or at best a mixture of good and evil. This very world will become to us an optimistic world when we become masters of our own minds. Nothing will then work upon us as good or evil; we shall find everything to be in its proper place, to be harmonious. Some men, who begin by saying that the world is a hell, often end by saying that it is a heaven when they succeed in the practice of self-control. If we are genuine Karma-Yogis and wish to train ourselves to that attainment of this state, wherever we may begin we are sure to end in perfect self-abnegation; and as soon as this seeming self has gone, the whole world, which at first appears to us to be filled with evil, will appear to be heaven itself and full of blessedness. Its very atmosphere will be blessed; every human face there will be god. Such is the end and aim of Karma-Yoga, and such is its perfection in practical life.

    Swami Vivekananda’s words.

  26. madhavi sood says:

    True Sir, I re read your book again ( i think I have lost count how many times) – each time I find new inspiration in your words and insights of life. Thanks Sir for Writing “The Alchemist” – I relate to it in so many ways…. my only wish is I wish I had read it much earlier when I was younger…

  27. ian says:

    Thanks… :-)

  28. macquelinedc says:

    The story is great and teaches a good lesson. I have read The Alchemist some years ago and i loved it. Now I’m reading Like the flowing rivers again for the second time. :)

  29. chirag says:

    a wonderful message…Splendid

  30. Aruna Gururaj says:

    Dear Mr Cohelo ,

    This originally is the story from Indian Mythology. I am not sure from where you have derived it or interpreted it from. This story has been passed down for ages in India.

    The story highlights the importance of prayer(Bhakthi) and work (Karma).

    Once Lord Vishnu ( the preserver in the holy trinity of Hinduism) was questioned by sage Narada. Sage Narada is a great devotee of lord Vishnu and who constantly chats His name Narayana(one of the names of Lord Vishnu), a great scholar and wonderer of the universe.

    “Hey Narayana who is your greatest devotee ?” asked Sage Narada
    to which Lord Vishnu replies ” A farmer in a remote district whose name is Srinivasa ( I am unsure of the name so I have given him this name).

    Sage Narada then observes this simple peasant. He lives in a small mud house and tends to his fields. Morning he wakes up early prays and works in field all day long. In the afternoon he comes home, and eats his lunch and before which he takes lords name once and does the same before dinner.
    His life is full of commonest of his work and duties and no extraordinary feature to attribute.
    The sage is puzzled as to why is he a greater devotee than me when I chant lords name constantly and he does only 3 times a day.

    That’s when the lord assigns the sage to take a small bowl of oil and not to spill it and roam the Universe.

    When the sage returns he has not spilled any oil. Lord Vishnu asked him how many times did you chat my name and the sage realises how preoccupied he was with the oil not spilling that he didn’t chant lords name even once.

    Lord Vishnu then replied. “This is the difference between you and the farmer.He is performing all the task and duties assigned to him ( his Karma) and yet takes my name thrice a day, offers me his food before he consumes.”

    It tells the moral of the story that devotion doesn’t mean giving up all and praying but to perform you assigned task and yet be devotional ( bhakthi).
    Balancing Bhakthi and karma.

  31. Anna says:

    es wäre so schön, wenn man gleichzeitig auf zwei Dinge schauen könnte. Bei mir geht das aber nicht. Ich weiss nicht warum, es ist einfach zu schwierig.
    Danke für Deinen Rat, ich werde es versuchen

  32. ANIES says:

    Dear Paulo,
    Alchemist is the finest book; I ever read. I read this book around eight times. This is one of the best motivational book. Sometime I lose my hope in life. I read this book it’s an energy booster as well as confidence booster and a pathfinder in life.
    Thanks Paulo to give this world a great Book.
    Now I am going through ALEPH.

  33. Loma Loots says:

    ‘You don’t know a man, if you don’t know his house’. Dealing with men from their offices, we never get the opportunity to get to know the house. Guarding the two drops of oil in the spoon as main objective, we concentrate on the oil and not the vehicle, the spoon. If we change the spoon to a jug/cup/bottle, the drops will not spill.

    We do not know in full, because we do not exploit in full. The unknown brings uncertainty, which brings fear and which will ultimately rob us from happiness.

  34. salvara says:

    siempre me olvido de las dos gotas de aceite!

  35. Mais uma vez, Paulo Coelho, o mestre das palavras.

  36. estela says:

    Cada libro deja un pensamiento y se habre una luz !nueva en nuestra vida,es por eso que admiro a mi querido escritor!,muy pensante y muy terrenal,El alquimista no lo lei me lo comi ” pues quede maravillada,viaje con el chico y vivi sus experiencias creo que de eso se trata leer un libro.

  37. Lana says:

    I do wish you would read this blog post, a Muslim woman’s response to The Witch of Portobello:

    Your words have touched people of all faiths and nationalities. Thank you for the gifts you’ve shared with us.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you for sharing, Lana!

  38. Bellatrix says:

    i read this post at the moment when i have some big problems in my life and it helped solve some of them. thank you.

  39. Heimo Kruschinski says:

    What can I say about this excerpt of this book? Nothing. One can not write it better. It’s unbelievable, but true. The book is very simple. That is why it is so diffult. A secret without secrets. It is a masterpiece!

    I wish everyone a wonderful Easter Monday

  40. ham says:

    I don’t understand the meaning of the last line which says about never forgetting about the 2 drops of oil in the spoon. Any help?

    1. Heimo Kruschinski says:

      It’s difficult. Everyone must find his translation of the book. It’s like having a nice evening. For each, it means something else. For me the meaning of this story is as follows. If you fly, never lose the ground under the feet. Paulo did not write what kind of oil. For me it is the oil of rose. But that’s just my opinion.

      I wish you a wonderful day

  41. khaled says:

    when you felll lonely start reading for paulo

    1. Momiza says:

      That’s what humbled me through the many days. It’s true

  42. khaled says:

    now days i am reading brida it s great book
    full with secret

    1. noura says:

      brida is his best :)

  43. the story is really brilliant,thanks

  44. ishita says:

    another wonderful piece of your writing. very true and heart touching.
    such a simple way to teach big lessons of life.!

  45. salma says:

    I’ve recently read this book and I liked it so much !

  46. helix says:

    paulo coelho, your stories are beautiful, yet is this how you define HAPPINESS? maybe it’s just me, but i don’t understand what this stories point got to do with the REAL happiness? i know you probably mean; you must look at the world with all it’s beauty and ugliness, balance and everything else, but? awh well every individual has their own definition of what happiness really is, who am i to judge :]

  47. Andrés T. P. says:

    …………ya lo recuerdo……jeje…..mi primer libro. yo ya tenia 33 años……. una noche llegue a dormirme y despertarme, a lo menos tres veces para seguir leyéndolo ………la vida es como un paseo por el parque; si solo miras el suelo para no pisar las cacas, sera lo único que veas y no disfrutaras del paseo…………un abrazo.

    1. Trish says:

      Bien dicho o well said!!

  48. noori says:

    it was wonderful…

  49. Ashwin says:

    Every time u read this book…
    And depending upon the life condition then – this book gives different expirence :) as if readin a new book and book knows us better than we expect it too :)

  50. clarise says:

    this book always inspires me, truly has changed my life