Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

The tree and its fruits

Author: Paulo Coelho

The tree and its fruits

A warrior remembers the past. He knows man’s Spiritual Quest, knows that this has accounted for some of the best pages in History.

And also some of its worst chapters; massacres, sacrifices, obscurantism. The Quest has been used for private ends and its ideals have served as a shield for terrible scheming.

The warrior has already heard comments of the type: “how am I to know if this is the right path?” He has seen many people give up the Quest because they did not know how to answer that question.

The warrior, however, has no doubts; he follows an infallible formula. “By its fruits you shall know the tree,” said Jesus.

He follows this rule, and it never fails.

The fruits of those who refuse to listen

A prophet arrived at a large city in Persia and crowds gathered around him every morning. But time passed and his presence was no longer a novelty.

“We already know all that you had to teach us,” they said, going to look for a new prophet to show them the way.

Even without anyone to listen to him, the prophet continued to go to the square to deliver his sermon.

“Why do you insist on continuing here?” asked a boy. “Don’t you see you’re talking to yourself?”

“Those who have the courage to say what they feel in their soul are in touch with God. I try to listen to Him when I am talking.

“The fact that now and again I have an audience does not change a thing.”

The fruits of those who refuse to receive

During a dinner at the Sceta monastery, the oldest priest rose to serve the others water. He moved from table to table with considerable effort, but none of the priests accepted.

“We are unworthy of the service of this saint,” they thought.

When the old man reached Abbot Little John’s table, he was asked to fill his glass to the very brim. The other monks looked on in horror. At the end of dinner, they surrounded Little John:

“How can you deem yourself worthy of accepting that water? Didn’t you notice the sacrifice he was making to serve you?”

“How can I stop good from manifesting itself? You who take yourselves for saints did not have the humility to receive, and deprived the poor man of the joy of giving.”

The fruits of the human heart

Sufi tradition tells the story of a king who looked for good painters to decorate his palace. Two teams – one Greek and one Chinese – appeared with their best artists, trying to obtain some work that would earn them thousands of gold pieces.

As a test, the king asked each of them to decorate a wall of one of the rooms. To prevent one group from seeing the work of the other, he chose opposite walls and hung a curtain in the middle.

The Chinese painted their wall with the utmost care, whereas the Greeks spent the whole time polishing the surface of the other wall over and over again. Finally the day arrived when the king decided to remove the curtain and compare the results.

On one side he saw the beautiful Chinese painting. On the other wall, which had been polished until it turned into a mirror, the king also saw the beautiful Chinese painting – but with his own image in the middle.

“This is the better,” said the king. And the Greeks won the contract, because they knew how to deal with the fruits hidden in the human heart.

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