2O SEC READING: What is written?

Illustration by Ken Crane

A blind man was begging on the road to Mecca, when a pious Moslem came over and asked whether the people were giving generously – as the Koran commands. The man showed him his little tin, which was almost empty. The traveler said:

– Let me write something on the card around your neck.

Hours later, the traveler returned. The beggar was surprised, for he had received a large amount of money.

– What did you write on the card? – he asked.

– All I wrote was:
“Today is a beautiful spring day, the sun is shining, and I am blind.”
based on a story by Khalil Gibran


  1. Dominik says:

    Just found your beautiful story, as I watched this:

  2. dr. shivanjali sandhir says:

    my mother who is now no more , always used to say..i always thought i had no shoes till i met a man who ahd no feet…

  3. Selma says:

    I heard the very identical story to have had happened in the life of Maurice Saachi, the ad guru of Saachi and Saachi . The story goes when wrote the same copy for a london street beggar who was holding a placard written ‘I am blind’ where Maurice saachi added ” this is spring and i am blind”. That very the beggar’s bowl overflowed with generous offerings . Truly intriguing to ponder how strong words are and how they evoke beautiful emotions out of nowhere!

  4. Skumar says:

    Magical words indeed :)

  5. Lailah says:

    Genial. Todos los dias debemos ser agradecidos a Dios por que nos dio la vida y no solo eso, también los ojos para ver la vida. Dichosos somos los que podemos ver.

  6. Janina Sunico says:

    as simple as it is, but has every inch of power to strike me like a lightning.

  7. Franco says:

    i love your “20 sec reading” storys!!!
    thanks for share with us…

  8. JasmineStarling says:


  9. Kevin says:

    Que escribiste?

    Un ciego mendigaba en el camino a La Meca, cuando un piadoso musulmán se acercó y le preguntó si la gente habia sido generosa – como lo manda El Corán. El hombre le mostró su hojalata, la cual estaba casi vací­a. El viajero le dijo:

    – Déjame escribir algo en la tarjeta alrededor de tu cuello.

    Horas más tarde, el viajero regresó. El mendigo estaba sorprendido, porque habí­a recibido una gran cantidad de dinero.

    – ¿Qué has escrito en la tarjeta? – Le preguntó.

    – Todo lo que escribi fue: Hoy es un hermoso dí­a de primavera, el sol está brillando, y yo estoy ciego.

  10. James Stygles says:

    In a sense we are all begging. We are all needy for something. We beg to be heard and seen, appreciated. We beg for a chance to work, for contracts, favor. We secretly beg for others to be kind and considerate and our bosses to be merciful. When the signs don’t work we wear masks. The sign changed the pilgrim’s hearts. The masks are just gimmics.

  11. Abi Kinsella says:

    I loved this story! It’s amazing how our outlook on life and the attitude we adopt toward things that happen to us can determine whether we separate ourselves from others or inspire others to count the blessings in their own lives. What I appreciated about this story is that it underlines what I’ve often felt to be true of human nature — which is that pity can only move us so far, but that empathy…those threads of humanity that remind us all that we’re connected to each other, can move us to do even greater things. Thank you for the beautiful reminders, Mr. Coelho!

  12. Jaime Mena says:

    Hermoso ejemplo de solidaridad humana.

  13. Leandro says:

    Eu ní£o conhecia o trabalho desse escritor Khalil Gibran, depois que eu li este texto eu pesquisei um pouco sobre ele , e comprei um livro que se chama O Profeta . Pelo o que eu pude ler , é o melhor livro que ele já fez . Espero que seja tí£o maravilhoso quanto esse texto .
    Ní£o vejo a hora do livro chegar aqui em casa .

  14. sunny says:

    beautiful and moving!!!

  15. Maria says:

    Boa tarde Guerreiro!
    Linda história.
    Obrigada Senhor, pela meus olhos.
    Lembrei de uma oraí§í£o psicografada pelo Divaldo Franco, chamada “Poema da Gratidí£o”

    Deus te ilumine

    Amo vc

  16. Empié says:

    A pesar de estár limitado, disfrúta de lo bello de la vida, los demás aprenden y agradecen, y son tambien consciente, a pesar de no haberlo sido a pesar de tener ojos, de que el sol brilla y de que hoy es un estupendo dí­a de primavera.


  17. Chandni says:

    I have seen a short video, which was based on the same story. I felt your all the stories are your original work. I must say this is really tempting & heart touching story.

  18. Salam says:

    because it matters how we do anything,,the way we do things can change people reactions towards us

  19. Deepa says:

    Does the story mean that to meet one’s ends, one has to always pamper other’s ego’s? People started giving when they were reminded that they were gifted above the blind beggar! and not out of duty of doing good! Difficult to digest for a person like me

    1. Shweta says:

      I think it is not pampering other’s egos but a gentle reminder or a nudge reminding them that they have someone to be thankful for. You didn’t chose how you want to be born, it was fate. And if you are have certain privileges over others, you should be grateful for it and help others who are less fortunate.

  20. olga vaz costa says:

    leio vossos livros e conheí§o ;um bocado de sua estoria…e caminhada;admiro voce……em vários aspectos!boa tarde;paulo coelho,!bjs olga vaz

  21. said says:

    Until now i don’t understand why some people express hatred and ungratfulness towards islamic culture even if the context doesn’t allow it!!!
    Finally thank you Sir paulo for the extract.

  22. arezoo says:

    its beautiful, but i have seen a short movie like it..and it was not related to mecca and muslems..

  23. Claudia says:

    There is several videos of this story. I particularly like the one in English. Beautiful.

  24. vrinda bhargava says:

    i wonder dat wen we post…dere comes dese symbloes..just behind our names…r dey random doodles..or sumthin else?

  25. vrinda bhargava says:

    its not bout da money ..or advertising..it ws bout da card tellin ppl dat..despite being blind..da beggar had faith in god to hv make it a beautifull day….FOR OTHRS *as he himself cant c it* …….dats wat touchd pl ‘s hearts to give money….i think dat we too hv dat blind faith…we r blind lyk da beggar bout ourr lyf n luv…n future..n yet despite it..we get up in da mornin ..leave da serenity of our beds…..n move forward…hopin it 2 b a beautiful day!

  26. Robert van Lieshout-Hendrix says:

    It also goes to show that a religious law to give is not enough. People give from their heart if this heart is moved and not be some law that is imposed on them for the benefit of the poor and to ´deserve´ heaven…
    The guy passing by the blind man knew that and he gave him the biggest gift, one that lasts for ever…

  27. vittoria pagano says:

    Fermare l’attenzione