1 MIN READING: the circle of joy

A farmer knocked heavily at a convent’s door. When the brother doorkeeper opened the door, the farmer stretched out a magnificent bunch of grapes to him.

“Dear brother doorkeeper, these are the most beautiful grapes produced in my vineyard. And I come here to give them to you as a gift,” said the farmer.

“Thank you. I will take them immediately to the Abbot, who will be happy about your offer,” said the doorkeeper happily.

“No. I brought them for you,” said the farmer.

“For me?” The doorkeeper turned red because he thought he didn’t deserve such beautiful gift of nature.

“Yes!” the farmer insisted, “Because whenever I knock at this door, you open it. Whenever I needed your help because of the harvest being destroyed by drought, you gave me a piece of bread and a cup of wine. I want this bunch of grapes to bring you a little of the sun’s love, of the rain’s beauty and of God’s miracle, as He made it grow so beautifully.”

The doorkeeper placed the bunch of grapes in front of him and spent the morning admiring it. As the bunch of grapes was really gorgeous, he decided to give it to the Abbot as a gift, who had always stimulated him with words of wisdom.

The Abbot was very happy about the grapes, but remembered that there was a brother who was sick at the convent, and thought, “I will give him the grape bunch. Who knows, it might bring some joy to his life.”

And so he did. However, the grapes didn’t stay very long with the sick brother, because he thought, “Brother cook has been taking care of me for so long, nourishing me with the best there is. I am sure he will appreciate it.”

When brother cook brought his meal at the lunch time, he gave him the grapes.

“They are yours,” said the sick brother, “as you are always in contact with the produce that nature offers; you will know what to do with this work of God.”

Brother cook was fascinated by the beauty of the bunch. So perfect, he thought, that there is no one better to prize them as brother sacristan; as he was responsible for the guard of the Blessed Sacrament and many at the monastery saw him as a holy man; he would be able to value the marvel of nature.

The brother, on his turn, gave the grapes as a gift to the youngest novice, so that he could understand that God’s work is found in the smallest details of creation.

When the novice received it, his heart filled with the glory of the Lord, because he had never seen such a beautiful bunch of grapes. At the same moment, he remembered the first time he came to the monastery and the person who opened the door to him; it was this gesture that allowed him to be in that community of people who knew how to value miracles today.

Before the nightfall, he took the grape bunch to brother doorkeeper.

“Eat it and enjoy it,” he said. “Because you spend most of your time here alone and these grapes will make you very happy.”

The doorkeeper understood that the gift had really been destined to be with him, so he savoured each grape of that bunch and slept happily.

The circle was closed “” the circle of happiness and joy, which always stretches out around the generous people.

Illustration by Ken Crane


  1. sandeep kumar jha says:

    amazing words!!! there should be an altruistic way in life.. Paulo Coelho..u really are an alchemist for us.

  2. niccolo says:

    quante volte un cerchio della gioia si chiude e noi non ce ne accorgiamo! quante volte abbiamo mancato di gioire distratti da falsi problemi!
    quante volte ci avviciniamo all’ uva ma non la mangiamo!

  3. mohamed saed says:

    This is nothing but the most sublime example of altruism and how it is amply rewarded. Kudos to our esteemed Paulo.

  4. jay says:

    it was nice. generosity truly pays. God’s blessing

  5. Mabel says:

    Precioso. Así­ deberí­a ser, que todos participarámos de ese cí­rculo de la alegrí­a, el mundo serí­a mejor.

  6. Faysal says:

    There still one thing that i still cannot figure out. Since the giver, the farmer had given the gift, why it did not return to him. It returned to the Taker, the one whom it was given to. And the real benefactor was not a part in the last phases of the cirle.

    1. Terry says:

      Farmer had a vineyard full of those bunches of grapes i believe…
      And, his generosity will be paid by the Nature (Almighty) in the form of a good produce from that vineyard…:)

  7. Olga Victoria Calles says:

    Truly wise.

  8. Lillian Daniel says:

    This is a true story happened in a monastery in upper Egypt and It was written in a famous christian Coptic book called “بستان الرهبان”. The abbot was Saint Macarious the Great.

  9. Karina says:

    É o ciclo da vida, é o ciclo do amor, é o ciclo da generosidade…
    Tudo que se faz de uma forma ou de outra volta de acordo com a tamanho de nossas ofertas e intencoes. Seja pelo próprio homem ou por Deus as bencaos sempre chegam para formar os ciclos…
    Comovente esta mensagem!

  10. Thank you Universe
    Thank you Paulo
    for sharing your words of wisdom

    ‘The alchemist’ is truly inspiring , and it has changed me for the better how to live my life, the knowledge about omens and dreams is magestic !!!!

    wish Peace , love and happiness for all beings of the universe

  11. Dear Paulo,
    Recently read Eleven Minutes after reading an extract you had posted earlier. It brought a crashing understanding about relationships. :) I am so glad that you have a way of shattering my ego and yet being there to hold me as you do. Knowing you exist makes me want to stand up again and redefine all things life has to offer and live by the bylines, rather than the headlines, just to give life a chance to stun me….again and again. Hope to stand next to you and connect with you soul to soul someday.
    Love & a happy teacher’s day to you. You have taught me life.

  12. waheed says:

    same sort of story regarding a meal exists in the early history of ISLAM regarding prophet Muhammad and his companions.

    1. Lillian Daniel says:

      Sir , it’s a coptic true story . the abbot was Saint Macarious the Great. and the story was written thousand of years ago. the hymn “كان فى عنقود عنب” was made years ago and unfortunately was copied to an islamic way. no offense, but it was a very old story written in a very old book.

  13. Marie-Christine says:

    Anything to do with life is round , it has a circle, an O like the shape of the Earth and O2 (water) to sustain life in it , it reminds me of the saying going round and round (in circle) it fits well.
    Visually, Let’s take a bird’s eye view of our world, moon, sun, grape, animal, flowers, nature, night and day, it all flows in nicely into the water O2. All it needs it’s a loving hand to help it to grow you can even have a round table to discuss it . Some of it we can see it, other is hidden (night and day, moon and sun) it is a daily cycle in a constant renewal,
    It is just going back to the source of it.
    With love

    1. prahaladv says:

      nice words.life is best lived than disscussed,life is best let free than captured, life does not need help,life helps .stop capturing life with words. live life……

    2. Marie-Christine says:

      Thank you prahaladv
      Yes, do live life to the M A X
      let the energy move around in your body. Breathe in and out
      With love
      Thank you for being

  14. john says:

    yea a lovely little story ….

  15. Alex Alberto Nicholls Rudas says:

    Paulo, sencillamente genial, sigo tus escritos, no me canso de leer el Alquimista, siempre se lo sugiero a mis estudiantes de la universidad, ojala pueda algún dí­a conocerlo, muchas gracias a Dios por haberle concedido tan extraordinario don y compartirlo con la humanidad.

    Con mucho respeto Alex Nicholls Rudas

  16. Laura Charles says:

    Paulo, you remind me to listen to my soul – thank you.

  17. Rasha says:

    Absolutely beautiful. I have fell in love with your writing ever since the Alchemist fell between my hands, and my eyes read every part of it. There was just so much wisdom in that book, so much lessons to learn from and teach others as well. I started collecting your books and reading your blogs ever since. I even began writing more inspired by your and your beautiful way of expressing the deep emotions and wisdom you put into your writing. I hope I get the chance to meet your once day.


  18. Jen says:

    Thank you for sharing your gift to others. It is such a wonder how the power of faith and destiny always find their way. God bless you today and always..

  19. coolguy1609 says:

    Another circle of Joy…. If you choose to be happy, you will, feel elated, think humorous things, and then, you will have an uninhibited and full throated laugh, and then again you will Be happy after your laugh. That’s when the circle is complete and you can go into a cycle of happiness. You started by choosing to be happy and you ended up laughing, and laughing caused you to Be happy again. You now know how to be in Constant Joy, and just know this too…
    Success comes to those who are happy NOW.

  20. Audrey says:

    Indeed, a very inspiring story. Reading this story made my day. “The circle was closed “” the circle of happiness and joy, which always stretches out around the generous people.” – Thank you for reminding me of this.

  21. DaphneDia says:

    A truly beautiful story which shows that the act of helping others is also an act of helping ourselves because we are really connected in this beautiful cire of life. Thank you for sharing this!

  22. Juliana Novitzki says:

    Obrigada Pauloooo…..

    É impressionante o poder de transmutaí§í£o que cada frase sua tem em meus í tomos !!!!

    That God bless you each days with health and hapiness.

    Tnkx :)

  23. Débora says:

    Recebo essa leitura como presente.
    Que Deus abení§oe seus dias sobre a Terra e que se prolongue com saúde, luz e paz.

  24. niall thomson says:

    Beautiful as ever … thank-you for your wisdom and warriors. One love

  25. AparnaGhosh says:

    Hi Paulo,

    I have been in love with your writing since the time I read The Alchemist. That book changed my life tremendously. I was a computer science engineer in India and I followed the signs — today I am a graduate student at the Columbia Journalism School. I have always blindly trust in omens. And the fact that such a renowned writer also has faith in them, only reinforces my faith. Hope I get to meet you someday!


    1. Himanshu says:

      Thank you sharing your story.

  26. JOELLE says:

    La ronde fait partie du monde . Chacun dépend des autres. La pluie verse son eau sur la Terre pour donner de la fraicheur aux arbres et de la nourriture aux racines pour qu’ils renaissent . Mais elle donne aussi aux fleuves qui montent pour inonder la Terre mais la chaleur du soleil sèche le sol mais les rayons du soleil font fleurir la Nature . Les fleuves grossissent et vont s’épanouir dans l’océan . La chaleur évapore l’eau et reconstruit des nuages. Ainsi va le monde , tout tourne et vire míªme nous dans notre corps . Il suffit de prendre quelques fleurs des champs pour faire un joli bouquet de fleurs . Rien n’est impossible , nous pouvons pousser les rivières si nousle désirons parfois la Nature nous donne des armespour nous défendre des Eléments mais avec nos multiples constructions et notre société nous avons de moins en moins de possibilités pour nourrir tout le monde mais il suffit d’y croire. On peut faire le Tour de la Terre avec un vélo ou í  pied comme Sylvain Tesson . L’aventure est meilleur pour les nerfs et calme les esprits . Il est bon parfois de se reposer pour ne pas donner des épines aux Roses . Le vent emportera les pétales et nous aurons d’autres boutons de fleurs í  cueuillir ou í  admirer au printemps prochain . C’est la ronde de la Nature .

  27. Jacky says:

    Beautiful story :) thank you Paulo

  28. There is a beauty, a joy beyond anything we experience when we accept any gifts that are given to us as a way to give back to others. Whether it is of knowledge we have acquired, empathy, understanding, shelter, food…in the end, we will receive gifts of much greater value.

  29. miryam vermeij says:

    Such a beatiful story and so symbolic. How often do we find it hard to accept a gift only to discover that the circle is (read: has to be) round. We should`nt always give, but leran to take kindly and gratefull too. Thanks for a beatiful story. Xx

  30. Monika Rana says:

    Dear sir
    After a long time I gone through ur blogs . Actually reading ur Aleph wonderful really but unable to understand what actually Aleph is. I often try to feel d things….after reading this story I again realised d thing that whatever is meant for u will definitely come to u by all means. Im a pesson actually seeking true love in life …..love of soul mate…..and my guide my philosopher friend Dear Tag time and again told me d same thing..and today Im realising his words. This story conveys msgs as circle of happiness…..and d other is’Jo tera hai wo tujhe har hal mai milega’
    Monika Rana

  31. pat says:

    Hello, Paulo.
    I’ve just realized that it was your birthday last friday!… I didn’t know… and I was thrilled to find it out, because some other meanningfull people in my live have their birthdays in the 22th, 23th anda 25th, so…
    I hope you had a bright day, full of Grace, and I pray that this wole year would be full of Light…

    And I loved this story you shared, about the circle of good will…
    God bless you.

  32. sofia says:

    cuando algo es para nosotros aunque no queramos,

  33. Giuliano says:

    I know the writings of Bruno, I enjoyed them lots of times years ago. I am still trying to figure out a meaning out of my actions.
    Short poetry has helped me in giving words to my feelings, I would like to be able to find love in the simple things, share the love so that it can grow. Just as beautifully as you and Bruno do with your Art.

    Thank you Paulo
    be in peace
    – Giuliano

  34. Joël says:

    A touching story

  35. Cristina B. says:

    I support this kind of circles!!! they make the whole world happy

  36. Галина says:

    С днем рожденья (извините, что с опозданием). Здорово, что есть возможность поздравить и выразить свое восхищение творчеством настоящего гения.

  37. yo-yo says:


  38. Adriana says:

    Don’t you think I had forgotten your birthday. It is impossible for it is my son’s too.
    I made this movie for you hoping to make you smile.


    1. avinash says:

      Hi Andriana
      Well it was nice movie . I did learn to make movies like this,


  39. Giuseppe Amato says:

    Happy birthday Paulo!

    Thankyou and thanks so much to J. for sharing part of your life in Aleph!
    It was exactly what I NEED to read right now :)
    read one year later buyng it and now was the exact moment I did need to read it :) doesn’t is it amazing?

    So happy birthday Paulo and many bless to you J. and all peoples has meet you in some way, personally o by “paper” ;)

  40. Atreyu says:

    Felicidades¡¡¡, no me entero.

    Pásalo bien hoy también, y mañana y pasado… y siempre.

    Un abrazo.

  41. Valentin says:

    So beautifull! You give peace to my heart! Thank you! Thank You!

  42. margherita says:

    Bruno Ferrero: chi è Bruno Ferrero? E’ un nome tipicamente italiano, specificamente della provincia di Cuneo.
    C’è qualche riferimento con i Ferrero famosi di Alba, produttori di cioccolato?
    E’ una pura curiosití .

  43. marja says:

    great story and a belated happy birthday Hope you had a great day. I did!
    My hubby took me on a great car trip for my birthday yesterday Ahoranui

  44. Philip says:

    Happy Birthday, Señor Coelho. May the joy that you give, return to you in the circle of life, love and being!
    God bless, Señor
    With much respect,
    Philip Tullius