In the place desired

C. Martins comes over to serve our table in a café in San Diego, California. I met Cláudia in Brazil four years ago, and I tell my friends about the life she leads in the United States, getting only three hours sleep a day, working at the café until late at night and then as a baby-sitter during the whole day.

“I don’t know how she can stand it,” someone says.

“There is a Buddhist tale about a turtle,” says an Argentinian at our table. “The turtle is moving through a swamp, covered in mud, when it passes in front of a temple. There it sees a turtle shell, all covered in gold and precious stones.

“I don’t envy you, old friend,” thought the turtle. “You’re covered in jewels, but I’m doing what I want to.”

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  1. Alexandra says:

    Well.better.I really experienced the golden cage.Is a real prison,killing dreams and happiness.Freedom are the most valuable thing in the world,or at least one of utmost importance.

  2. Fernanda Signato Marques says:

    E viva o livre-arbí­trio, a liberdade de expressí£o e a diversidade humana!

  3. Lucie says:

    Thank you Paulo Coelho for the story. I admire your mind.
    Turtles are magic animals, also wise in their behaviour.
    It makes me remember when I was a child, we used to say it holds its house on its back, then, we had to call it a carapace, or a shell. Less long maybe… But Isn’t it revealing of the childhoodtimes, to the mature ones?

    Claudia may be as my bestfriend. She always runs, from right to left, and for a very bit of money back. I tried to explain her that, she’d gain more time if doing activities she loves, but she simply did not hear; doing the same duties everyday.
    She spends her shorty days in the fear of lacking, sometimes I feel. But we have all our fears.
    Me, I never really cared, too much, maybe. In a way, we should share to balance:
    my friend with less work and me more steps outside, to visit the golden but stagnant turtles. :)

    Love and smiles.

  4. Cristina S. says:

    I can say I feel part of that story too..

    I’m having a busy wonderful life, I love it, for now.
    In the mornings I’m going to school (last year of high school), then in the evenings I work till 11pm. And still I find time to read, on the bus, school breaks.. there are so many books that are to be read and meditated that a life seems to short.

    I love your books… but who doesn’t? :)

  5. Vanessa says:

    Dear Paulo!
    Eu sempre ficava pensando sobre uma amiga que leva este mesmo estilo de vida aqui nos US. Agora eu entendo o que se passa com ela. Ela esta onde ela desejou estar! Um grande abraco! Vanessa

  6. THELMA says:

    It is the ‘warning’ for the Sunday afternoons danger!! That we may become just ‘shells’ covered with gold, precious stones but no ‘burning’ from… love hearts!!

  7. Uku says:

    Nice one, mate! :)

  8. Asphodel says:

    Ah Mr Coelho, you put the simplest facts in the most beautiful forms.