Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Be sure to keep the box

Author: Paulo Coelho

By Paulo Coelho

The old man had worked all his life. When he retired, he bought a farm for his son to manage and decided to spend the rest of his days sitting on the verandah of the big house.
His son worked for three years. Then he began to grow resentful.
‘My father doesn’t do a thing,’ he said to his friends. ‘He spends all his time staring out at the garden, while I slave away in order to feed him.’
One day, he resolved to put an end to this unfair situation. He built a large wooden box, went over to the verandah and said:
‘Pa, would you mind getting into this box?’
His father obeyed. His son placed the box in the back of his truck and drove to the edge of a precipice. Just as he was preparing to push the box over, his heard his father say:
‘Son, throw me over the edge if you must, but be sure to keep the box. You’re setting an example here, and your children will doubtless need the box for you.’

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