The fire of friendship

ICI EN FRANçAIS: Le feu de l’amitié
AQUI EN ESPANOL: El fuego de la amistad

AQUI EM PORTUGUES: O fogo da amizade

When I arrive at the Moscow hotel with my publisher and my editor, a young woman is waiting outside for me. She comes over and grasps my hands in hers.
‘I need to talk to you. I’ve come all the way from Ekaterinburg to do just that.’

I’m tired. I woke up earlier than usual and had to change planes in Paris because there was no direct flight. I tried to sleep on the journey, but every time I managed to drop off, I would fall into the same unpleasant, recurring dream.
I hold out my hand to say goodbye and notice that hers is very cold.
‘Why didn’t you wait for me inside?’
‘I read your blog the other day and realised that you were talking directly to me.’

She takes out a piece of paper containing the article. I know it by heart, although I can’t remember who told me the story.
A man called Ali is in need of money and asks his boss to help him out. His boss sets him a challenge: if he can spend all night on the top of a mountain, he will receive a great reward; if he fails, he will have to work for free. The story continues:

When he left the shop, Ali noticed that an icy wind was blowing. He felt afraid and decided to ask his best friend, Aydi, if he thought he was mad to accept the wager.
After considering the matter for a moment, Aydi answered:
‘Don’t worry, I’ll help you. Tomorrow night, when you’re sitting on top of the mountain, look straight ahead.
‘I’ll be on the top of the mountain opposite, where I’ll keep a fire burning all night for you.

‘Look at the fire and think of our friendship; and that will keep you warm.
‘You’ll make it through the night, and afterwards, I’ll ask you for something in return.’

Ali won the wager, got the money, and went to his friend’s house.
‘You said you wanted some sort of payment in return.’

Aydi said, ‘Yes, but it isn’t money. Promise that if ever a cold wind blows through my life, you will light the fire of friendship for me.’

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  1. bryan & bette says:

    great reading and seems we take advantage of those little things unknowinlg. bette, love you so much and soon we can be together and live finaly like normal people inches or feet apart. no more 6, 500 miles of a long , rough but wonderful life we soon will share together, love bryan

  2. M.Anis Chhipa says:

    it was given a prodigious example of true friendship……:)

  3. Raju says:

    The idea of taking the warmth of distant fire is something I read in an indian historical story, birbal.

  4. Brandy says:

    It’s as if your books find me just when I need them or I find my way to your books. Either way your words speak for me, through me and warm my spirit. Thank you!

  5. Hana says:

    so beautiful story, which makes me to miss my best friend so much when in city where i dont know anyone but at the same moment i feel so blessed to have just few but very good friends and one the best friend ever for whom i would always blow the fire of friendship even they are all so far away from me.

  6. maria regina says:

    What a wonderful story of friendship =)
    i suddenly miss my bestfriend…

  7. Suzan says:

    Lovely story !!

  8. aicha says:

    I love your warms my heart,thank you .

  9. Haiku says:

    You can always sense the fire of friendship when you reunite with a friend that you may have lost contact with for many years and when you speak with one another its as if no time has passed.

    I experienced this in the past few days and the energy exchange was definitely one of warmth, compassion and love! Keeping the fire burning…..

  10. Priya says:


    This is a classic Indian folk tale under the name of Birbal – the wise man. The story continues in it differently. When the boss/ king knows that his guy was watching the fire – he took away the reward saying that the fire kept him warm even from the distance. So to prove that the king was wrong one of his brightest courtmen – Birbal invited the king for lunch. He was cooking an Indian delicacy. The pot was very high hanging on branch of a tree the fire was very low and far far down on the ground. The king got angry when he saw this. He asked Birbal what joke it was – how can the fire cook the food from so much distance. Birbal told him if the tiny fire so far from the man could keep him warm then so can this tiny fire cook the meal. The king accepted his fault and rewarded the man generously.

    1. Nimish says:

      yes that’s right! i think that delicacy was some porridge..:D. I used 2 enjoy Akbar-Birbal stories…Any Indian will realize this….I believe that its just the iternal power of the human subconcious mind! :)

    2. Priya says:

      Hey Nimish

      True… :)
      I think it was called Birbal ki khichdi… I enjoyed those stories as well…


    es una historia que realmente hace vibrar a uno es caso excepcional y produce en uno un sentimiento de admiración y sosiego en el alma lo felicito por esa pequeña historia y que DIOS lo bendiga

  12. Timothy David says:

    I have all your books. Love your storytelling!

  13. This reminds of a beautiful friendship story I heard a while back. I will share it to best of my recollection…

    A young boy was walking home after school one day. He had taken all of his books with him, completely emptied out his locker. Across the street, were a small of group kids who were in the same class as the young boy. They began to tease him, making fun of him as they usually did at school. They crossed over to him and started pushing him around, “you think you are smarter than the rest of us by taking all your books home.” They knocked him down and all his books fell to the ground. They left him there on the ground with his books all over the place, laughing and feeling proud over what they had just done.

    A few moments later, another boy approached him. He crawled down on the ground and helped the young boy pick up his books. He could not help but wonder why he was taking all his books home. They were in the 4th grade and the teacher had not given them all that homework for the weekend. So, to satisfy his curiosity, he decided to walk home with, helping him carry the books. He had never really paid much attention to him before, but, today he was intrigued by this boy who was constantly bullied at school. ” We are getting together to play baseball at the park tonight, would you like to join us?”

    The young boy was speechless, this was the most popular kid in school and he just invited him to play baseball!!! He accepted!

    The reason for the books never came up and some point became irrelevant. The boys went on to become the best of friends. They were always there for each other, supporting each other…

    After University, they sat together during the ceremony. The young boy (now a young man) walked up to the podium to say his speech…

    He started, One day, when I was in the fourth grade, I decided to take all my books home with me. You see, that night I was going to commit suicide, I was no longer able to cope with being bullied. I did not want that my mom would have to empty out my locker, so, I took all my books home with me. On my way, a group of boys pushed me to the ground and I dropped all my books. A boy, who I had never really hang out with, helped me pick them up and from that day on, my life had a new meaning…Today, I want to thank my very best friend for having come in my life when I needed him most, although he did not know it, he reached out to me and gave me hope! Thank You!!!

    1. Anju Trehan says:

      Thank you for sharing this story. I almost cried after reading whole story.

    2. fatin says:

      This so beautiful. thank you for posting it

    3. vanessa says:

      What a wonderful story!!!
      but I wonder that will there be a person who always lights the fire of friendship for me in my life ???

    4. Neha says:

      Hi Antonia,

      simply superb story thanks for sharing such a wonderful story with all of us :)

    5. Brian says:

      sent shivers down my back… thank you

    6. shivani says:

      everytime i read this story, it feels like new…. thnq for sharing and reminding Antonio

    7. Jane says:

      That was so touching!!! It brought tears to my eyes!!

    8. Dipti says:

      Touched my heart! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Van Bueno says:

    Thank you for writing such simple yet wonderful stories that really touch the heart of your readers. You have a great gift and sharing it with other people makes it even more special. God bless you always :)

  15. Ainnie says:

    Really beautiful Mr.Paulo

  16. Nic says:

    It sounds as he is buying friendship.

  17. Polina says:

    Dear Paulo! We are looking forward your book “Aleph” in Moscow!! Thank you for your short but such important stories! We love you !!! warm greetings from Russia !

  18. Leslie says:

    wish I had a friendship such as this in my life…
    thanks for heart-warmth story and a reminder of what I truly want in my relationships ;)

  19. Florence says:

    I just so Love that story I can hear it again and again :)